I believe if General Sherman
had been in our place he would have thought it ‘more than a skirmish-line’ (Vol.
II, page 108) in Stanley
's front that gave us that fire both of musketry and artillery which my staff officers have frequently spoken of as one of the ugliest they ever experienced.
's fault was, not that he deployed his troops, but that he did not put them in at once when he arrived on the ground, instead of waiting for orders.
But General Stanley
, whose gallantry was never questioned, was a subordinate in experience.
He had but recently risen to the command of a corps, and had been little accustomed to act on his own responsibility.
Feeling overburdened with the responsibility wrongfully thrust upon him that day, he naturally sought relief from it by reporting for orders to General Thomas
as soon as his corps was reunited to the main army.
The failure at Jonesboroa
, as at so many other places, was due to that erroneous interpretation of the law that threw the supreme responsibility at the crisis of battle upon untried and (in this case) unwilling shoulders, or else left the lawful commander without recognized authority, to beg in vain of others to ‘cooperate’ with him.
During the night of August 31 others besides General Sherman
were too restless and impatient to sleep (Vol.
II, page 108). The sounds of explosion in Atlanta
were distinctly heard, and the flashes of light distinctly seen.
With the compass for direction and the watch for intervals of time between flash and sound, there was no difficulty in locating their origin at Atlanta
An untutored farmer may well have thought ‘these sounds were just like those of a battle,’ but a practised ear could not have failed to note the difference.
First there would come an explosion louder than and unlike the report of one or several guns, and this would be followed by numerous smaller, sharper, and perfectly distinct reports,