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[166] that the Cumberland river cut his rear, and the occupation of Bowling Green was dependent upon the proper guarding of that stream. If, then, Fort Donelson was intended to prevent the passage of gunboats, its location was an admirable one; it accomplished its mission, and its founder need feel no hesitation in claiming its paternity. Nor does the final result of the operations of the land forces necessarily convict General Johnston of a mistake in the reinforcement of Donelson. At that time he was believed to possess that ability as a general which events soon verified, and his condemnation will have to rest on surer proofs than the charges of flippant writers. To the average mind the whole matter resolves itself into the simple question: Whether General Johnston sufficiently reinforced Fort Donelson to successfully resist the forces that invaded the State of Tennessee under General Grant by way of Fort Henry; and, if so, is he fairly chargeable with the blunders of his generals, in allowing themselves to be cooped in temporary trenches until reinforcements to the enemy could come up the Cumberland? Any close student of the ‘Operations at Fort Donelson,’ embraced in series No. 1, Vol. 7, of the ‘Records of the Rebellion,’ will probably detect by whom the mistakes were made. It is doubtless there recorded when and where the opportunity of withdrawing the Confederate forces was disregarded; that General Johnston was unfortunate in the selection, or rather the grouping of his lieutenants, on this occasion, is beyond controversy. His army consisted of raw recruits; his generals were ready made for him; their commissions were presumptions of merit; there had been no opportunity for development, and he had no alternative but to accept the patents of ability issued to them by the War Department. The senior general arrived at the eleventh hour, and seems to have been lacking in disposition or in power to hold his second in due subjection. The latter had been on the ground for about a week; he was full of energy and physical activity, and possessed rare executive ability, He was restless under restraint, probably prone to insubordination, and it was almost impossible for him to yield his sceptre to a new comer. He gave orders affecting the whole army without any known rebuke or remonstrance from his chief. The performances of these two chieftains afford an apt illustration of a very homely old saying that will readily recur to most of you. This rule of duality of commanders, according to some of the official reports, seems to have obtained in the heavy batteries, but as it was not then known or recognized, it did not create any confusion. When I reported there for duty very little


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