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[333]

It was only on the 23d that General Hood took leave of the army, after addressing a circular to his troops, in which, with characteristic manliness, as will be seen, he took upon himself the entire responsibility of the Tennessee campaign. He said:

Soldiers,—At my request I have this day been relieved from the command of this army. In taking leave of you accept my thanks for the patience with which you have endured your many hardships during the recent campaign. I am alone responsible for its conception, and strived hard to do my duty in its execution. I urge upon you the importance of giving your entire support to the distinguished soldier who now assumes command, and I shall look with deep interest upon all your future operations and rejoice at your success.

J. B. Hood, General.

From that day till the time of its transfer to Georgia and South Carolina, Lieutenant-General Taylor became the commander of what was left of the Army of Tennessee; not, precisely, against his will, but strictly in obedience to orders, and without having either sought or desired the position. He wrote a simple but energetic address to the troops, and did his best to stimulate them to the performance of their last duty to the cause for whose triumph they had so nobly fought and bled. But he well knew, while he thus endeavored to quicken to new deeds of heroism the overtaxed valor of the broken forces he now had under him, that it was too late to arouse them to further hope and endurance.

General Maury had repeatedly called General Beauregard to Mobile, for the purpose of inspecting its defensive works and of giving such advice as his experience should suggest. Other duties, more pressing at the time, had prevented compliance with the request, which, however, had not been overlooked or forgotten.

General Beauregard reached Mobile on the 21st of January, and remained there four days. He visited every work around the city, and gave minute instructions for its protection, as well as that of the various harbor approaches. To Major-General M. L. Smith, Chief-Engineer, who was not with him during this inspection, he telegraphed, on the 23d, as follows:

‘City land defences, next to lower bay, where enemy will probably attack, are still unfinished. System of barbette guns adopted for land batteries is the worst possible. Their fire will be silenced by enemy's sharp-shooters as soon as they get within range.’

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