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The Tennessee army and its

[from our own Correspondent.]
Thomaston, Ga., Dec. 23, 1863.
I proceed, in accordance with a previous to furnish you with a series of sketches of the officers attached to this army. But let us first take a glance at the


Army of Tennessee.

The army itself is composed of quite as good material as the Army of Northern Virginia, though it has not been near so successful. The original Army of the Potomac--the army that fought the first battle of Manassas--was made up chiefly from the volunteer companies in the towns and cities, and was composed of young men of ardent temperaments and great military pride and spirit. A majority of these men have fallen victims to battle and disease, but they lived long enough to make their impress upon the army, and to set an example to their of courage, of heroic endeavor, and asprit d'corps, which has reproduced itself in every battle in which they have been engaged. A large proportion of the soldiers of the first Manassas were men of light hair and blue and gray eyes, possessing sanguine natures, impetuous courage, and reckless daring — men of the highest and purest type of chivalry, of unusual intelligence, and large wealth, who could not brook the idea of being made "newers of wood and drawers of water" to the sordid and mechanical race which inhabits the colder region of the North. They came from all the States in the Confederacy accept Missouri, being five first to from their respective communities. The troops who succeeded them, and who now make up our armies, on the contrary, are for the most part men of dark hair and eyes, who, being less excitable and less impetuous, were not so quick to take the field. Perhaps even now they do not possess the same dash as the 4th Alabama, the 7th and 8th Georgia, Hampton's South Carolina Legion, the 6th North Carolina, Jackson's Virginians, Wheat's Louisianian, and other regiments that met the invader upon the banks of Bull Run; but they can boast of other soldierly qualities of equal, if not greater, importance in a protracted war like this — firmness patience, and great powers of physical endurance.

The career of the Army of Tennessee, from the retreat from Bowling Green and fall of Fort Donelson, down to the disaster at Missionary Ridge — whether under Sidney Johnston, Beauregard, or Bragg — has been one of constant retreats and few victories. The troops, with hardly an exception, have always fought well, and have always fought against superior numbers, and always against the best officers in the Federal army; and if they had been as successful at Donelson or Shiloh as the Army of the Potomac was at Manassas, the probability is, they would now be holding Grant at bay in Kentucky, as Lee is holding Meade at bay in Northern Virginia. But there are other causes for their want of success besides the inequality of numbers. The Army of Tennessee has always operated in a region where the physical features of the country were against it, as witness the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, large navigable streams by which the enemy has been enabled to penetrate into the very heart of the Confederacy. The loss of Kentucky and Tennessee, of Missouri, and a large portion of Arkansas and Mississippi, together with the Father of Waters and all his tributaries, were the natural, of Forts Henry and Donelson, those neglected gateways by which the enemy has rea is it homes and desolated our fields that--

‘ streamist
"A the course of many a river,
A dewdrop on the baby plant
Has warped the giant oak forever!"

To the cause here alluded to should be added the conduct of a portion of the Confederate press which has been as violent and unreasonable in its denunciations of a majority of the commanding officers in this army as it has been blind and extravagant in its laudations of others who were less deserving. The country has not forgotten with what bitterness Sidney Johnston — a peer upon any field and in any assembly of men — was assailed and driven, it may be, to a premature grave, because, with the insufficient force given him by the Government, he could not accomplish the impossibility of overcoming the physical geography of the country and staying the march of a foe three times as strong as himself Beauregard, who succeeded him, was, without reason, more fortunate with the people; but he fell under the ban of the authorities, and was made to give way to Bragg upon whom all the seven phials of popular wrath have been poured to the last drop. In the meantime, the dragon's teeth own during the command of Johnston became full grown men of mischief under Bragg. Certain subordinate officers, whose previous civil training enabled them to ingratiate themselves with certain newspapers nearest the scene of action, entered upon a war for the succession, and under took to play the role of Warwick, the King maker, in which they had the assistance of their unsuspecting organs in the preliminary work of perverting the public mind and impairing the efficiency of the army. Some of them fought their Commander-in-Chief quite as hard as they did the enemy, and were fully as anxious to cut a figure in the public prints as upon the field of battle.--These officers are all men of ambition and decided merit, and had they cooperated with their chief as cordially as they opposed him, history might have recorded a far different result. Their chief might not have been all that could have been desired; but if he was not, so much greater the obligation resting upon them to hold up his hands that he might prevail against a common enemy. If they did not repose full confidence in his fitness and capacity, it was right to call upon the President to remove him, but wrong to bring him into discredit with his own troops, and thus invite disaster.--That some of them should have had their heads turned by the extravagant puffing resorted to, and should have became insubordinate, and refused to report to this officer or that, and applied for independent commands, was natural if not pardonable, but shall no part of the public indignation be visited upon these principals and their echoes, the authors of much of the mischief that has befallen this army? Shall we condemn only the pilot who runs his vessel upon the recks, and pass by the wretch who hopes a hole in her bottom?

Sallust.

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