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‘ [4] accompanied by General French, whose division rested on his left in line of battle. General Polk had not asked General French—who was of his corps—to be present for the occasion, and General Hood's action in bringing him was altogether gratuitous. On arriving with French, General Hood excused his action by stating that he considered the situation so vital to himself and French that he had taken the liberty to ask General French to come with him to the conference.’

This shows that Polk and Hood had decided (at a consultation in advance) to hold a conference before I went with Hood to the rendezvous, to which they invited Johnston. About my being there I have this to say, and the facts are these: The little firing that had taken place almost ceased awhile before dark; so taking a staff officer with me we went to our wagon to get dinner, and while returning to my command, we met General Hood on his way to General Johnston's. We halted, and while conversing he told me his line was enfiladed by the batteries of the enemy in position, and that he was going to see General Johnston at General Polk's, and asked me to ride with him to get supper, etc. His meeting me, therefore, was purely accidental, and this place where we met was near by Polk's quarters.

So I went with him, socially, without any special object in view. He said nothing to me about a conference to be held on the situation, called by him and General Polk.

Soon after supper Generals Johnston, Polk and Hood went to General Polk's office, and General Johnston asked me to go with them.

The matter presented to the meeting was ‘Can we win the battle on the morrow?’ Hood said he thought not, for if attacked in the morning, he would not be able to hold his line, because it was enfiladed by the guns of the enemy, now in position, and that General Polk's line was also enfiladed, and could not be held against a vigorous attack, or words to that effect.

General Polk confirmed Hood's statement in regard to his line. General Johnston maintained the contrary. Of course I took no part in the discussion. When asked, I explained how my line curved, near the end, to the left sufficient to be enfiladed by one battery on the extreme left of the enemy's line. I have no recollection of being asked if I could hold my part of the line. But had the question been asked me, I am quite sure it would have been suppositively in the affirmative.

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Leonidas Polk (9)
Hood (8)
Joseph E. Johnston (6)
S. G. French (4)
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