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He said that, after Polk's Corps had taken the position assigned to it on the left of Hood's Corps, and in the rear of Cassville, General S. G. French, one of the division generals of the corps, sent a report to General Polk that his position was enfiladed, and that he could not hold it.

General Polk thereupon sent his inspector general, Colonel Sevier, to ascertain about it; this officer reported back that, in his opinion, General French was warranted in his apprehension.

General Polk requested Colonel Sevier to proceed to General Johnston's headquarters and place the facts before him, which this officer did. General Johnston was loath to believe in the impossibility of holding that part of the line, for, though exposed, it could be made tenable by building traverses and retiring the troops some little to the rear. He instructed Colonel Sevier to have General French build traverses; this General considered them useless, and persisted in his inability to hold his position.

Colonel Sevier reporting this back to General Polk, in the absence of Captain Walter J. Morris, engineer officer of General Polk's corps (off on some duty), the General sent Major Douglas West to the position of General French's division to have his opinion also, and to have him talk over the situation with this General. When Major West reached there, there was no firing from the enemy, and he could not form an opinion in that way. He, however, conversed with General French on the subject, and returned, reporting General French as highly wrought up about the exposure of his division. General Polk then sent Major West to General Johnston to state the result of his visit to General French's position, and General Johnston reiterated his opinion about the feasibility of holding the position with the use of traverses.

Upon reporting back the remarks of General Johnston, Major West found that Captain Morris had reached General Polk's headquarters, and the captain, in turn, was sent to French's position to make a thorough survey and report of it. He made a very thorough one, and reported the position as very exposed for the defensive, but as admirable for the offensive. General Polk, since the first report from General French, appeared much annoyed at this unexpected weakness in his line, which, from the pertinacity of General French, was growing into an obstacle to the impending battle, for which General Polk shared the enthusiasm and confidence of the troops.

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William Polk (10)
S. G. French (9)
Joe Johnston (5)
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Sevier (4)
Walter J. Morris (2)
John B. Hood (1)
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