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[144] and a newspaper controversy, in which each charged upon the other the responsibility of our failure at Murfreesboro. General Breckinridge, in a conversation with the speaker, stated that his reason for declining to sign the paper was that his opinion of the Commanding-General was known, and, as their relations were already unfriendly, his motives might be misconstrued.

No better illustration of the prevailing opinion among the higher officers, as well as the rank and file of the army, in reference to the efficiency of the Commanding General can be given than the substance of a conversation between Cheatham and Cleburne as they joined in a social glass after signing the petition. ‘Here are my congratulations upon your recovery from your bad cold,’ said Cleburne. ‘I have had no bad cold,’ said Cheatham. ‘Let me tell you an old fable,’ replied Cleburne. ‘The report had been circulated among the beasts of the forest that the lion had a bad breath, whereupon, as king, the lion summoned all to appear, and admitted them to his presence one by one. As each would answer upon smelling his breath that it was bad, the lion would devour him. When at length the fox was brought in, he replied to the question that he had a bad cold, and escaped. You had a bad cold when you wrote Bragg, after the battle of Murfreesboro, that you didn't know whether he still retained the confidence of the army. You have at last recovered.’

Hill cherished no unkind feeling toward Bragg, and at the time reluctantly reached the conclusion that it was his duty to join his comrades in urging his removal, hoping that it might still be within the range of possibility to find a leader like Jackson, who could overcome superior numbers by vigilance, celerity and strategy.

Mr. Davis was induced to believe that Hill was the originator and most active promoter of the plan to get rid of Bragg as a chief, and both the President and General Bragg determined to visit the whole sin of the insubordination of inferior officers of that army on him. His name was not sent to the Senate for confirmation as Lieutenant-General, and the repeated efforts of Johnston, backed by many of his subordinates, to have Hill returned to the command of a corps, were refused up to the last campaign of Johnston in North Carolina. In response to repeated demands made upon Bragg and the Adjutant for a court of inquiry to report upon any charge or criticism that


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