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[31] people. It was further stated that they did not come to recommend anyone as the successor; that it was conceded that the President was better able than they were to select a proper officer, and they only asked that he would give them a general.

Painfully impressed by this exhibition of distrust toward an officer whose place, if vacated, I was sure could not be filled by his equal, realizing how necessary public confidence was to success, and wounded by the injustice done to one I had known with close intimacy in peace and in war, and believed to be one of the noblest men with whom I had ever been associated, and one of the ablest soldiers I had ever seen in the field, I paused under conflicting emotions, and after a time merely answered, ‘If Sidney Johnston is not a general, the Confederacy has none to give you.’

On February 17th the rear guard from Bowling Green reached Nashville, and on the 18th General Johnston wrote to the Secretary of War at Richmond, saying:

I have ordered the army to encamp to-night midway between Nashville and Murfreesboro. My purpose is to place the force in such a position that the enemy can not concentrate his superior strength against the command, and to enable me to assemble as rapidly as possible such other troops in addition as it may be in my power to collect. The complete command which their gunboats and transports give them upon the Tennessee and Cumberland renders it necessary for me to retire my line between the rivers. I entertain the hope that this disposition will enable me to hold the enemy for the present in check, and, when my forces are sufficiently increased, to drive him back.

The fall of Fort Donelson made a speedy change of his plans necessary. General Johnston was now compelled to withdraw his forces from the north bank of the Cumberland, and to abandon the defense of Nashville—in a word, to evacuate Nashville or sacrifice the army. Not more than eleven thousand effective men were left to him with which to oppose General Buel with not less than forty thousand men, moving by Bowling Green, while another superior force, under General Thomas, was on the eastern flank; and the armies from Fort Donelson, with the gunboats and transport, had it in their power to ascend the Cumberland, so as to interrupt all communication with the south.

On February 17th and 18th the main body of the command was moved from Nashville to Murfreesboro, while a brigade remained under General Floyd to bring on the stores and property upon the approach of the enemy, all of which would have been saved except for the heavy and general rains. By the junction of the command of General Crittenden and the fugitives from Donelson, who were reorganized, the force of

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