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[134] the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry; the soil which drank up the blood of Southern soldiers bears its precious burden of golden corn and snowy white fleecy cotton; the laughter of women and prattle of children, and the merry whistle of the plowman fill the places of the brazen trumpet and the martial music of the fife and drum, and the hoarse shouts of contending men, and groans of the wounded and dying; the entrenched camp and ragged village of 1865 has given place to the thriving city of fifty thousand inhabitants, with its workshops, factories, well filled stores, electric lights and railways, and its universities of science and literature.

Here in this historic place the weary invalids of the Northern clime may rest in the shadows and bathe their fevered brows in the cool breezes of these grand mountains.

In this brief record of the heroic efforts of the soldiers of the Armies of Mississippi and Tennessee to defend the Southern States from the Northern invaders, we have time but to make a brief allusion to the defence of the Mississippi river by the Confederate Government, which was characterized by a long chain of disasters.

The fall of Forts Henry and Donelson opened the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to the iron clads of the Federals and convoyed and protected their armies as they marched into the heart of the Confederacy. The strong fortifications erected by General Leonidas Polk, at Columbus, Kentucky, were evacuated by the orders of the commanding Generals, Albert Sidney Johnston and G. T. Beauregard.

Island No.10 fell with a loss of seventeen killed and five hundred prisoners, on the 8th of April, 1862, and the navigation of the Mississippi river was secured by the Federal fleet up to the walls of Fort Pillow, above Memphis, Tennessee.

New Orleans, the commercial emporium of the Confederacy, fell after an inglorious defence (April 18, April 28, 1862), characterized by indecision, incompetence and insubordination, with the trifling loss of one hundred and eighty-five killed, one hundred and ninety-seven wounded, four hundred prisoners; total Confederate loss, seven hundred and eighty-two.

Wise statesmanship dictated that the entire power and resources of the Southern Confederacy should have been concentrated upon the defence of the mouth of the Mississippi river. The future historian of this war will find in the tall of Forts Henry, Donelson, and of New Orleans the first and greatest disasters of the Southern cause from which unnumbered and fatal disasters flowed, and which ended in the final destruction of the Confederacy.


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E. B. Wise (1)
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