previous next

[76] and begged him to hold the enemy in check. With gallantry which has been so often conspicuous, General Polk replied that he would do his best, and the enemy should not pass. Buford's cavalry, guarding a road which intersected the line of retreat four miles from Rockcastle river, was scattered very soon after our columns passed, while all through the day the booming of cannon, with occasional rattle of musketry, could be heard from the neighborhood of London. But our brave soldiers held their ground with unflinching firmness, and the army was saved.

Here ended the pursuit. It is needless to recount the farther hard-ships of the retreat. They were such as an army marching through a mountainous country, without rations and shoes, and scantily clothed, at the verge of Winter, must necessarily suffer.

Finally, on the 24th of October the van of General Smith's army entered Knoxville. Under the trying circumstances of the retreat the entire army preserved admirable discipline and order, but at Knoxville many brave men who had taxed nature beyond the limits of her endurance, sank utterly prostrated. It was estimated that not less than 15,000 men went immediately into hospital.1

1 I heard this estimate made by Dr. S. A. Smith, the Medical Director of the Army of East Tennessee, a careful man, not given to exaggeration.

A poem,

by Mary Ashley Townsend,
Dedicated to the Army of Northern Virginia, New Orleans, May 10th, 1881, on the occasion of the unveiling of Stonewall Jackson's Statute which surmounts the tomb built to receive the dead who fought under him.

Comrades, halt! The field is chosen.
     'Neath the skies of Southern May,
Where the Southern roses ripen,
     We will bivouac to-day.
Here, no foe will draw our sabres
     In the turbulence of war,
Nor will drum beat, nor will bugle
     Wake the old pain in a scar.

All is rest, and calm-around us
     Beauty's smile and manhood's prime;
Scents of Spring, like ships, go sailing
     Balmy seas of summer time.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Knoxville (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Rockcastle (Kentucky, United States) (1)
London, Madison County, Ohio (Ohio, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Mary Ashley Townsend (1)
S. A. Smith (1)
Kirby Smith (1)
W. N. Polk (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Buford (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1881 AD (1)
October 24th (1)
May 10th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: