The battle of Chickamauga.
Report of Brigadier-General Preston, Commanding Di-vision.
Notes and Queries.Did General George H. Thomas hesitate to draw his sword against his native State—Virginia? We have collected the most conclusive proof that General Thomas had at first fully decided to come South and cast his lot with his own people, and we only await some additional proofs that have been promised us before publishing a full statement of the facts. But, in the meantime, it may be as well to put into our records the testimony of Senator Cameron, of Pennsylvania, in his speech in the United States Senate, on the bill for the relief of General Fitz. John Porter. Mr. Cameron, in the course of his defence of General Porter, said:  It became my duty to take charge of the railroad from Harrisburg to Baltimore, and while so engaged an incident occurred in my office which impressed me greatly at the time, and which it has always seemed to me should atone to a great extent for any errors General Porter may have committed, if any, at a later period of the war. It was to a great extent through him, in my judgment, that the services of General George H. Thomas were secured to the side of the Union. General Thomas, then Major Thomas, was stationed at Carlisle Barracks. There were at the same time two other Majors of the army stationed at the same place—I have forgotten their names, but that is immaterial, for the records of the War Department will show—when an order was received from the War Department by a messenger, who came across the country, directing Major Porter to send the troops then at Carlisle to Washington, with directions to have them cut their way through. It is the language of this order which makes me say that this was at one of the darkest periods of the war. The capital of the nation was menaced by an enemy camping within a few miles of it, and had but a handful of men for its protection. Porter, with a quick perception of the gravity of the situation and showing a thorough knowledge of the fitness of the man for the duty to be performed, selected Thomas from the three Majors, and ordered him to report to him at my office in Harrisburg, that being Porter's headquarters. Thomas arrived there promptly the same evening. When informed of the duty to be performed, Thomas hesitated, and then began a conversation between the two officers, which continued until morning, and made a lasting impression on my mind. Thomas argued against the war, taking the ground that the trouble had been brought upon the country by the abolitionists of the North, and that while deploring it as sincerely as any man could, the South had just cause for complaint. Porter took the position that he, Thomas, as a soldier, had no right to look at the cause of the trouble, but as an officer of the United States army it was his duty to defend his flag whenever it was attacked, whether by foes from without or from within. Porter pleaded as zealously, as eloquently, as I have ever heard any man plead a cause in which his whole heart was engaged, and it was this pleading which caused Thomas to arrive at a decision. ‘I do not say that Thomas refused to obey his orders, but I do say that he hesitated and would much have preferred that the duty  had devolved upon another. Thomas was a Virginian, and had, as many other good and patriotic men had, great doubts as to the ability of the government to coerce the States back into the Union that had, by their legislatures, formally withdrawn, but having that night decided to remain with the Union, from that time forward there was no doubt, no hesitancy, no wavering, but an earnest, hearty support to the side which had for its interest the Union, and to-day his name is among the brightest, best and purest of its military heroes. If Fitz John Porter was to any extent instrumental in saving this great name to our list of military heroes, I ask, Should not this country be grateful to him? I think it should.’
General Sherman's slanders of Confederate leaders.—Time does not seem to soften the bitterness of the ‘Great Bummer’ and Burner of the war, but he seems to lose no opportunity to vent his spleen against ‘Rebel conspirators’ and ‘Traitors.’ And in his blind malignity he shows a reckless disregard of the truth, which is utterly amazing. At the formal opening of the new hall of the Frank Blair Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a few weeks ago, General Sherman, in the course of his address, stated that President Davis (‘Jeff. Davis,’ he rudely calls him), ‘was a conspirator a the opening of the rebellion, and that his aim was to make himself dictator of the South, and that, in a letter to a man who is now a United States Senator, he had said he would turn Lee's army against any State that might attempt to secede from the Southern Confederacy.’ This statement brought out the following reply from our patriotic, chivalric chief:
To this letter General Sherman has made no reply, save to publish a letter purporting to have been written by Vice-President Stephens to Honorable H. V. Johnson, and condemning in strong terms some of the measures of Mr. Davis's administration, though affording not a scintilla of proof of General Sherman's charges, and utterly at variance with some of Mr. Stephens's published opinions concerning Mr. Davis. General Sherman has not yet produced the letter which he claims to have seen, and he cannot produce any evidence to substantiate his slander.  Another of General Sherman's recent slanders is his charging General Albert Sidney Johnston with a ‘conspiracy’ to turn over to the Confederacy the troops he commanded on the Pacific Coast at the breaking out of the war. Colonel William Preston Johnston (the gallant and accomplished son of the great soldier and stainless gentleman) promptly branded this statement as false, and its author as a slanderer. General Sherman's own witness failed him, and, indeed, gave strong testimony against him, and he was forced to admit that he was, in this case, mistaken. But we need go into no further details. If our readers will recall what we have published concerning General Sherman's connection with the burning of Columbia, and the conflicting statements he has made concerning it, and if they will turn to his own Memoirs, Vol. II, page 278, and see how he coolly publishes to the world an admission that in his official report he was guilty of willful and deliberate false-hood in charging General Wade Hampton with burning Columbia, when he knew that he did not, ‘in order to shake the faith of his people in him’[Hampton]—we say that if they will only look a little into the record of this champion slanderer of the South, they will not be surprised at any reckless statement which he may make. Mr. Corcoran's tribute to General Lee.—In sending Professor J. J. White, of Lexington, Va., a contribution of $1,000 towards making up the last $6,000 necessary to complete the Lee Mausoleum, Mr. W. W. Corcoran, the noble philanthropist, paid General Lee the following graceful and feeling tribute, which is worthy of a place in our records: ‘It is, perhaps, superfluous to add that it affords me a melancholy satisfaction to testify—even in this imperfect manner—my respect for the memory of a valued friend, the grandeur of whose character commanded the admiration of ever Southern heart. Happily blending the qualities of a hero with the graces of a Christian, General Lee was the embodiment of my ideal conception of all that constitutes a truly good and great man.’