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[81] from Confederate service in case they were ordered beyond the limits of the State. After a full conference with yourself I was perfectly satisfied that for the purpose intended it was right and proper the movement should be made, and I gave orders accordingly. Notwithstanding some objections made by a portion of officers and men the order was willingly obeyed.

It is shown by the foregoing extracts from my official reports that the movement of troops through Savannah to South Carolina was settled upon between General Hardee and myself; not by General Toombs and General Taylor, as the latter would have it believed. General Toombs was chief of my staff. General Taylor had no command in this military department, and I heard nothing whatever of him during the time in question. ...

On reaching the depot to which I had ordered the trains to be transferred, I called around me about a dozen representative men of the command, briefly explained to them the necessity of our going beyond the limits of the State; told them the substance of what had passed between General Hardee and myself, and directed them to communicate this to the men, who were still in the cars, and let me know quickly what they said about it. The reply came in a very few minutes. Nearly all the officers said they were willing to go anywhere General Smith wanted them to go.

On receiving that message I told the representative men to go back and inform all concerned they were going to South Carolina because it was my order, and they would start in ten minutes, would be engaged in a hot fight before 12 M. that day, must win it, and would be brought back to Georgia within forty-eight hours. In a few minutes I heard laughter from every car, and at once ordered the conductors to put both trains in motion immediately. I stepped on the rear platform of the last car, and before reaching Grahamville Station passed through every car in both trains and let all the men understand that we were to protect the railroad from raiding parties and thus enable the Confederate reinforcements to reach Savannah.

In this critical emergency, involving large consequences in two States, General Smith did what every soldier may at any time have to do—he took the responsibility, regardless of orders. His conduct stands out in honorable mention in our war history, and no Georgian or Carolinian cognizant of this incident will ever be wanting in appreciation of his services living, or in respect to his memory now that he has ‘crossed over the river.’


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