To mass troops against the fire of a covered line is simply to devote them to destruction.
The greater the mass, the greater the loss—that is all. A large mass has no more chance of success than a small one.
That this is absolutely true since the introduction of breechloaders is probably not doubted by any one; and it was very nearly true with the muzzle-loading rifles used during our late war, as was abundantly demonstrated on many occasions.
I have always believed that the true tactics of our late war, whenever our force was double that of the enemy (as it sometimes was and always should have been at all points where decisive movements were to be made), were to throw one half the force upon the enemy's rear, so as to compel him to attack that force or else retreat by side roads with loss of trains and artillery.
This would doubtless have been a bold departure from the ancient tactics, which had not yet been proved obsolete.
Yet I always thought it strange that our leading generals were unwilling to attempt it. Had Sherman
divided his army in such a way, and struck at Hood
's rear, he might have found a chance to destroy that army as well as the railroads in Georgia
The death of McPherson
, on July 22, was felt by all to be an irreparable loss, and by none more so than by General Sherman
, who manifested deep feeling when the body was brought to the Howard House
, east of Atlanta
I recollect well his remark to the effect that the whole of the Confederacy
could not atone for the sacrifice of one such life.
My recollection of some of the incidents of that day differs in some respects from that of General Sherman
As soon as it was known that the Army of the Tennessee was heavily engaged I drew out of line the larger part of my troops, leaving the picket-line in position, with strong reserves behind the parapets, and massed them