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[38] friend the impression that he had a large army in position. With selfsacrificing fortitude he remained silent under reproaches for not advancing to attack the enemy. When Forts Donelson and Henry were more immediately threatened, he gave reenforcements from his small command until his own line became more like one of skirmishers than an entrenched line of battle; when those forts were surrendered, and his position became both untenable and useless, he withdrew in such order and with such skill that his retreat was unmolested by the army. Though he continued to be the subject of unreasoning vituperation, he sought not to justify himself by blaming others, or telling what he would have done if his government had sent him the arms and munitions he asked for, but which his government he learned did not possess.

There are yet those who, self-assured, demand why Johnston did not go himself to Donelson and Henry, and why his forces were not there concentrated. A slight inspection of the map would suffice to show that, Bowling Green abandoned, the direct road to Nashville would be open to the advance of Buell's army. Then the forts, if held, would cease to answer their purpose, and, being isolated and between hostile armies above and below, would be not only valueless but only temporarily tenable; of his critics it may be asked, Who else than himself could, with the small force retained at Bowling Green, have held the enemy in check so long, and at last have retired without disaster?

To collect the widely separated troops of his command so as to form an army which might offer battle to the invading foe was a problem which must have been impossible, if the organized armies by which he was threatened had been guided by a capacity equal to his own. It was done, and with the genius of a great soldier he seized the opportunity, by the rapid combination of new levies and of forces never before united, to attack the armies of the enemy in detail while they were endeavoring to form a junction.

The southwestern states presented a field peculiarly favorable for the application of a new power in war. Deep rivers, with banks frequently but little elevated above the water, traverse the country. On these rivers iron-plated steamboats with heavy guns may move with a rapidity incomparably greater than that of marching armies. It is as if forts, with armaments, garrison, and stores, were endowed with locomotion more swift and enduring than that of cavalry.

The Ohio, Mississippi, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers all were in the field of General Johnston's operations, and at the stage of water most suited to naval purposes. Apart from the heavy guns which could thus be brought to bear at interior places upon an army having only field

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A. S. Johnston (2)
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