to give, so far as the very restricted scope of my account would permit, full justice to that noble corps of veteran soldiers, as well as to its officers.
As I have had special occasion to say of the action of Opdycke
's brigade and of the 12th and 16th Kentucky of the Twenty-third Corps at Franklin
, the conduct of those troops was beyond all praise.
I believe little disputes always arise out of the honorable rivalry which exists between bodies of troops acting together in a great battle.
was no exception to that general rule.
For the purpose of ‘pouring oil on the troubled waters’ after Franklin
, I said that in my opinion there was glory enough won in that battle to satisfy the reasonable ambition of everybody who was on the field, and of some who were not there, but who were at first given ‘the lion's share’; but if the disputants were not satisfied with that, they might take whatever share of credit was supposed to be due to me, and divide it among themselves.
I was then, as I am now, perfectly satisfied with the sense of triumph which filled my soul when I saw my heroic comrades hurl back the hosts of rebellion with slaughter which to some might seem dreadful, but which I rejoiced in as being necessary to end that fratricidal war. It is not worth while to conceal the fact that most earnest patriotism sometimes arouses in the soldier's breast what might seem to be a fiendish desire to witness the slaughter of his country's enemies.
Only a soldier of fortune or a hireling can be a stranger to such feelings.
Yet I aver that I had not the slightest feeling of personal enmity toward my old friend and classmate General Hood
, or his comrades.
It was the ‘accursed politicians’ who had led them into such a fratricidal strife who were the objects of our maledictions.
But even that feeling has been softened by time, and by reflection upon the deeper and more remote causes of the war, and that the glorious fruits of final