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[67]

The Bond of heroism.

Blending of the blue and gray.


The Chicago Tribune of July 14, 1894, republishes the following from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.:

At General H. V. Boynton's talk about the Chattanooga campaign, before the Army and Navy Club, two good war stories were told. The audience embraced distinguished ex-Confederates as well as ex-Union officers, together with many officers of the regular army. General Roger Q. Mills, of Texas, was one of the ex-Confederates present. His brigade was one of the three or four which Cleburne marched to the northern end of Missionary Ridge and successfully pitted against Sherman in the hard fighting for possession of Tunnel Hill.

When General Boynton had concluded his talk General Mills showed on the map where his brigade had fought.

“There was an incident,” he said,

connected with that battle which I recollect very distinctly. I am not able to tell it all, and perhaps some one here can complete the story with the name of the officer. Down below where we lay on Tunnel Hill was a large open field. Beyond that was some woods. A Federal brigade came through the woods and out into the open field. There the troops reformed their lines. The officer in command was perfectly cool. He took his time, and the troops formed as if they were on dress parade. They were within easy range and we fired into them. They broke and went back into the woods. In a few minutes they came back and formed again in the same deliberate way. When the officer in command had got them formed to suit him, he made them lie down, while he rode up and down the front as if waiting for orders. General Hardee came up to my brigade while we were firing on them, and said:

“Stop shooting at those men. It's murder.”

We stopped. Some time afterward I talked with McDowell about Hardee's order, and asked him what he thought of the situation. He said: “It was not murder; it was war.”

Hardee was an officer of the regular army; he had fought under the flag, and I suppose he couldn't stand seeing it fired on when [68] carried by such brave men. The way that brigade and its commander acted under fire impressed me, and I have often wondered who the officer was.

One of the officers present was able to tell to whom General Mills' tribute of bravery applied. He was General Carman. After a careful examination of the map, General Carman decided that the brigade was that of General John M. Loomis, composed of the Twenty-sixth and Ninetieth Illinois and the Twelfth and One Hundredth Indiana. General Loomis, General Carman said, is, or was until quite recently, a resident of Chicago.

The other story of Chattanooga related to the wonderful assault upon Missionary Ridge. It was told by General Joe Reynolds, who was on the staff of General Thomas. This officer pointed out on the map the elevation in front of Chattanooga where General Grant and General Thomas took position to see the grand advance of the divisions against the Confederate works at the bottom of the ridge. Back of these works rose the precipitous front of the ridge. It was Grant's plan of battle to have Sherman take the north end of the ridge and sweep toward the center, while Hooker took the south end and advanced from the opposite direction. While both of these movements were being executed, the army of Thomas, on the plain of Chattanooga, was to advance to the foot of the ridge, and carrying the works there, was to await orders, and move up to the summit at the proper time.

Grant and Thomas,” said General Reynolds,

watched the advance through their glasses. They exchanged very few words. The long lines were in full view to us in the rear, as they moved forward toward the works at the foot of the ridge. They were also in full view of the Confederates on the summit of the ridge. We saw the Confederates swarm out of their lower works, and retreat up the ridge as our lines approached. Then, instead of stopping when they had reached the foot of the ridge, our troops went right on up the steep hill, along the summit of which lay General Bragg's army.

When the advance of our forces passed over the works below, and began to climb the steep, General Grant lowered his glasses and turning to General Thomas, asked:

“What does that mean?”

General Thomas turned to me and said:

General Grant wishes to know what that means.”

I had already recognized the command which had gone over the [69] works, and was now well on the way up the steep, leading the assault. It was a regiment that had been in my brigade. I replied:

“That is the Eighty-sixth Indiana, I think, and it is going up the hill.”

General Thomas turned to General Grant and said:

General Reynolds says he thinks it is the Eighty-sixth Indiana, and that it is going up the hill.”

General Grant gazed through his glasses for some time, until it was evident that the whole army was assaulting successfully what had seemed to be an impregnable position for Bragg. Then, turning once more to Thomas, he said:

“Are battles chance?”

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