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[254] disastrous defeats in the field and because of the fact that Vicksburg was now closely besieged. There was also much distrust among soldiers and citizens of all officers of Northern birth. General Johnston therefore addressed a communication to Mr. Davis to the effect that it had been suggested to him that General French's arrival would be a source of weakness instead of strength. President Davis in his reply informed General Johnston that General French was a citizen of Mississippi and a wealthy planter until the enemy had robbed him. He also stated that before the Confederate States had an army, General French ‘was the chief of ordnance and artillery in the force Mississippi raised to maintain her right of secession.’ General French entered upon his duties and was soon one of General Johnston's most trusted officers. The people of Mississippi knew him already and believed in his fidelity and honor. He served under Johnston and then under Polk in Mississippi, and was in Polk's (afterward Stewart's) corps under Johnston and Hood in 1864. He and his division, consisting of the brigades of Cockrell, Ector and Sears, were engaged in all the battles of the Atlanta and Tennessee campaigns, and were surpassed by none in heroic devotion to the cause of the South. In the fall campaign in north Georgia it was French who made the gallant attack upon Corse at Allatoona. He had driven the Federals from their outer works and into a little star fort, and was pressing the attack with vigor when he was informed of the approach of Sherman's army. He was compelled reluctantly to retire when victory was almost in his grasp. At the battle of Kenesaw Mountain it was the guns of French on Kenesaw that poured such a destructive fire upon the Union forces, who had broken through the right of Walker's skirmishers, as to drive them back before they came within range of Walker's line of battle. Wherever French was engaged he and his men never failed to give a good account of themselves. General

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