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[297]

The complete refutation by General Grant of the falsehood ended the hostility which had been shown toward me during all that time, and gradually led to a general recognition of the truth, which had always been known and maintained by the most ardent friends of General Thomas, like the late General J. S. Fullerton and General H. V. Boynton, and the staff officers and the relatives of the general himself. Finally, when it was proposed in Congress to recognize my past services by promotion to the grade of lieutenant-general on the eve of my retirement from active service, not a voice in opposition was heard from the old Army of the Cumberland; and when we met, for the first time in many years, by their cordial invitation, on the historic fields of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, to dedicate those grounds as sacred to the memory of the Army of the Cumberland and its great commander, we met again as brother soldiers, without any trace of the bitterness which malicious slander had for so many years sunk deep into our hearts.

For my part, I had for many years before refused to believe that my old commander, whom I had so faithfully served and so highly respected, could possibly have done me in his own mind and heart the grievous wrong which he appeared to have done. Not long after his death, and many years before the public refutation of the slander which he was said to have accepted and believed, I put on record my deliberate opinion that of General Thomas's character as a man and a soldier his warmest eulogists had not spoken too highly. And now, no matter what injustice General Thomas may have done me under the malign influence which surrounded him, I refuse to alter that deliberate judgment. He is to me in memory the same noble old soldier and commander that he was when he intrusted to me the command of his army in Tennessee, from Pulaski through Columbia, Spring Hill, and Franklin

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