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Chapter 14:

On November 3, 1863, General Bragg summoned Longstreet, Hardee and Breckinridge, then his infantry corps commanders, in consultation. Longstreet had an inkling that it was proposed to send him against Burnside at Knoxville, Tenn. At a much earlier date he had advocated a campaign north of the Tennessee river, to compel the surrender of Rosecrans, but a division of the army at this later period did not appear to him as practicable. The advance against Knoxville being decided on, Longstreet was given for the expedition his two divisions, McLaws' and Hood's, with Wheeler's cavalry, to which Buckner's division was added. Ransom's Southwest Virginia division, mainly cavalry was ordered to co-operate. It was ten days later before Longstreet was able to cross the Tennessee at Loudon and begin active field operations, as transportation was very limited and the weather inclement. On the 17th the enemy was driven into Knoxville, and on the morning of the 29th the famous but unsuccessful assault was made upon Fort Loudon.

The four Georgia brigades were conspicuous in every important encounter of this ill-fated campaign, and sustained the heaviest brigade losses. Gen. Goode Bryan's brigade—the Tenth Georgia, Col. John B. Weems; Fiftieth, Col. Peter McGlashan; Fifty-first, Col. Edward Ball; Fifty-third, Col. James P. Simms—was selected for duty on the picket line of Hood's division on the 27th, Lieu. [265] tenant-Colonel Holt, of the Tenth, having expressed the opinion that he could take the works. The final orders for the assault directed that a regiment from Wofford's brigade (Phillips' Georgia legion) and one from Humphreys' Mississippians should lead the assaulting columns, one of which should be composed of Wofford's brigade and the other of two regiments of Humphreys' and three of Bryan's. The assault was gallantly made and persisted in as long as there was any hope of success. Wofford's brigade did not fall back until Colonel Ruff and Colonel Thomas had both been killed and the next in command wounded, and they rallied within 400 yards of the fort. ‘Adjt. T. W. Cumming, of the Sixteenth Georgia,’ said General Longstreet in his report, ‘with great gallantry marched up to the fort with 10 or 12 of his men and made his way through an embrasure to the interior, where the party was finally captured.’ General McLaws reported concerning this fight:

The conduct of General Bryan during the siege and afterward, and especially at the assault, is worthy of all praise. He led his brigade to the work, and after seeing that all was done that could be done, was the very last to retire. Col. E. Ball, of the Fifty-first Georgia, and Colonel Simms, of the Fifty-third, who was wounded in the assault; Lieut.-Col. W. C. Holt, Major McBride, Adjutant Strickland and Lieut. J. T. Stovall, of the Tenth, were distinguished for gallantry and good conduct during the siege. Captain Ellis, adjutant-general of the brigade, who was wounded during the assault, . . . I recommend for promotion; Major Hartsfield and Captain Vandegriff, Fifty-third . . . and Captain Norris, Phillips' legion, deserve especial mention. Captain Dortch, of the Twenty-fourth Georgia, drove in the enemy's pickets with his regiment on the night of the 28th; Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchins, commanded the sharpshooters on that occasion, and afterward the brigade; Major Hamilton, who commanded Phillips' legion and led the assault on the left of the line against the northwest bastion of Fort Loudon, and who was wounded in his efforts to get his men into the work, is an officer of great gallantry, fine intelligence and a good disciplinarian.... Colonel Ruff, of the [266] Eighteenth Georgia, who commanded Wofford's brigade and led it to the assault, was shot while cheering on his men. He was a gallant and accomplished officer, whose merit was concealed by his modest and unobtrusive manner, but who was fast becoming known as occasions forced a display of his zeal and worth. I knew of no one whose career promised to be more useful. Colonel Thomas, of the Sixteenth Georgia, a brave and determined officer, was also killed while leading his regiment and attempting to scale the work. He was found sitting in the corner of the ditch facing the enemy.

The report by Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchins indicates that Wofford's brigade advanced in column of regiments, and in the following order: Phillips' legion, Maj. Joseph Hamilton; Eighteenth regiment, Capt. John A. Crawford; Sixteenth, Lieut.-Col. Henry P. Thomas; Cobb's legion, Maj. William D. Conyers. The brigade moved forward with enthusiasm through fallen timber and tangled bushes, while the Third battalion of sharpshooters kept the enemy under cover at the start; but when the fort was reached, it was found that the ditch had been underestimated in depth, that the parapet was eighteen feet from the bottom of the ditch to the summit, the berme was narrow and soon worn away in the effort to obtain a foothold, and the surface of the earth was slippery with ice. Some men succeeded in getting on the slope, but not in sufficient force to venture over the parapet into the fort. The loss of the brigade was 246 wounded and missing.

Col. Edward Ball, commanding Bryan's brigade, reported that the Tenth Georgia volunteers, commanded by Lieut.-Col. W. C. Holt, drove the enemy from his rifle-pits to the works on the night before the assault. The three other regiments, Fifty-third, Fifty-first and Fiftieth, took part in the assault, and suffered a loss of 212 men. In Hood's division, under Jenkins, the only brigades participating in the assault were those of Anderson and Benning, Anderson leading and taking the main part. [267] The experience of these Georgians was the same as has been briefly related. Their loss—was 187. More than three-fourths of the loss of November 29th was borne by the brigades of Wofford, Bryan and Anderson.

The Georgia cavalry in the department of East Tennessee during these movements acted a gallant part. On November 6th near Rogersville, Tenn., Col. H. L. Giltner, had a successful fight with the enemy, in which he said that the Sixteenth Georgia, under Maj. E. Y. Clark, being ordered to pursue and overhaul the flying enemy, performed that work ‘in the most praiseworthy manner.’ Gen. William T. Martin, in his report of cavalry operations in east Tennessee, says that in a successful fight at Russellville ‘the First and Sixth Georgia and Third Alabama cavalry were conspicuous for gallantry,’ and that ‘Col. C. C. Crews deserves mention for his skill and bravery.’ On the 24th of December a spirited cavalry battle occurred between Dandridge and New Market. Speaking of the Georgia troops, General Martin says:

In the meantime four regiments of Crews' brigade in all 600) moved in the rear of the enemy. Two of the regiments in advance made a spirited charge on the enemy and captured his battery of artillery. Support being too far off, the brave men who made the charge were driven from the guns, and Major Bate, commanding the Sixth Georgia, was left dead in the midst of the battery. Two pieces of artillery and the two remaining regiments of the brigade coming up, and the whole command being dismounted, the enemy was pushed from one position to another until, finally routed, he abandoned one gun and caisson, his dead and wounded, and under cover of night escaped capture. I have never witnessed greater gallantry than was displayed by Colonel Crews and the officers and men of the First, Second, Third and Sixth Georgia cavalry. The Fourth Georgia cavalry was on detached service.

Longstreet's army remained in east Tennessee during the winter of 1863-64, enduring hardships comparable to those of Valley Forge. In the spring he and his corps [268] were recalled to Virginia to join again the army of Lee.

Meanwhile events of great importance had occurred at Chattanooga. On the 20th, General Bragg had notified the President that Sherman had reinforced Grant, ‘and a movement on our left is indicated. The same game may have to be played over. Our fate may be decided here, and the enemy is at least double our strength.’ It was soon apparent, however, that the former Federal movement would not be repeated, as Sherman moved, according to observations from the heights, into Chattanooga. This first disposition preceded and partly covered the march of Sherman's main body in a circuit northward behind the hills, prepared to bridge the river and attack Bragg's right at the northern extremity of Missionary ridge. On the 23d of November an advance was made in front in which Grant pushed his lines nearer to the rampart of Missionary ridge. On the 24th Lookout was taken, exposing the Confederate left, while Sherman suddenly appeared on the right, crossing the river and making a resolute assault. Hooker crossed Lookout and forced the gap at Rossville. From either flank there came to the Confederate lines the news of overwhelming numbers, and when the brave but weary veterans on Missionary ridge, November 25th, saw yet other strong columns drawn up in their view and moving upon their front, they gave way before an assault they were unable to resist. Yet it should not be concluded that the Federal charge up the slope of Missionary ridge, or that Hooker's fight on Lookout mountain, or Sherman's assault on the Confederate right, was unattended by losses. As an example of Federal casualties, it may be noted that one Indiana regiment in Thomas' charge lost 202 killed and wounded out of a total of 337, in forty-five minutes. It was General Grant's estimate: ‘In this battle the Union army numbered in round figures about 60,000 men; we lost 752 killed, and 4,713 wounded, and 350 captured and missing.’ The records show that General Grant had [269] in and around Chattanooga, 80,822 effectives present for duty.

Gen. Alfred Cumming's brigade, Stevenson's division, was distinguished for gallantry in the fight against Sherman at the tunnel. After the Federal skirmishers appeared at the base of the ridge, the Thirty-ninth Georgia, Col. J. T. McConnell, and Fifty-sixth, Lieut.-Col. J. T. Slaughter, went down the hill and briskly engaged them. About the same time Col. J. A. W. Johnson, of the Thirty-fourth, and Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, of the Thirty-sixth, were seriously wounded. The Thirty-ninth made a second advance to the foot of the hill and burned some buildings which the Federals were occupying. The remainder of the service of Cumming's brigade on the 25th is well described by General Cleburne, the hero of the fight on the right, about the railroad tunnel near the northern extremity of Missionary ridge. He had on the previous day gallantly held his position, and was now assailed again by the divisions of Jeff. C. Davis, Sherman's corps from Vicksburg, and Howard's corps from Virginia, all under command of Sherman. Smith's Texas brigade, supported by part of Govan's Arkansans and Swett's and Key's batteries, were struggling desperately to hold their position, even rolling down heavy stones where artillery was ineffective. General Cleburne says:

At this point of the fight Colonel McConnell, commanding a Georgia regiment of Cumming's brigade, came up to the threatened point, and moved his regiment forward to where Warfield's men were fighting. McConnell was shot through the head, and his regiment fell back or was withdrawn. Brigadier-General Cumming now reported to me with the remainder of his brigade, and was posted in rear of the threatened point. [A charge being suggested] Brigadier-General Cumming gallantly proposed to lead it with two of his regiments. I immediately consented, and directed General Cumming to prepare for the charge, and went to the left to see that a simultaneous charge was made on the enemy's right [270] flank. . . . In the meantime, General Cumming, having placed the Fifty-sixth Georgia in line for the charge, and supported it by placing the Thirty-sixth Georgia ten paces in the rear, moved forward to the charge; twice he was checked and had to reform.

In the last effort Tennesseeans, Arkansans and Texans joined and the enemy was driven back with a loss of 500 prisoners and eight stand of colors, of which two were taken by the Georgia regiments. ‘Colonel McConnell, of Cumming's brigade, and other gallant soldiers who fell in front of my works, I can but lament,’ said the heroic Cleburne. ‘I did not personally know them, but I saw and can bear witness to their gallant bearing and noble death.’

In General Sherman's account of the fight he says: ‘The enemy at the time being massed in great strength in the tunnel gorge, moved a large force under cover of the ground and the thick bushes, and suddenly appeared on the right and rear of this command. The suddenness of the attack disconcerted the men, and exposed as they were in the open field, they fell back in some disorder to the lower edge of the field and reformed.’ General Sherman contends that his main attacking columns were not repulsed. ‘They engaged in a close struggle all day, persistently, stubbornly and well.’ But at 3 o'clock Sherman's command remained in statu quo, and he did not gain the hill until the Confederate center had yielded to Thomas, when Gen. Morgan L. Smith's division advanced and found the heights before him vacant except for the mingled Northern and Southern wounded and dead. In this splendid fight Colonel Slaughter, the last regimental commander of Cumming's brigade, was wounded. Captains Morgan and Grice commanded the Fifty-sixth and Thirty-sixth regiments in the charge. In the last advance Captain Cody and Lieutenant Steiner, of Cumming's staff, were badly wounded.

The Georgians of Bate's brigade shared in the distinguished [271] service of Breckinridge's division under Bate's command, in repelling the attacks upon their front, and in forming a second line after the first was abandoned. Colonel Rudler, Thirty-seventh Georgia, took command of the brigade after Colonel Tyler was killed, and was himself badly wounded and carried from the field, during the heroic struggle after dark which saved the rear guard of the army. Lieut.-Col. Joseph T. Smith was mentioned for special gallantry.

Hardee did for Bragg at Missionary Ridge what Thomas had done for Rosecrans at Chickamauga, and deserves just as much fame for it. Hardee's corps was the last to leave the field at Missionary Ridge, and Cleburne's division covered the retreat.

The following Georgia batteries were in the battle of Missionary Ridge: Captain Corput's Cherokee artillery, Capt. John B. Rowan's, Stephens' light artillery, Captain Dawson's battery under Lieut. R. W. Anderson, the Griffin light artillery of Capt. John Scogin, Captain Havis' battery under Lieut. James R. Duncan; Capt. Thomas L. Massenburg's Jackson artillery, and Capt. Evan P. Howell's battery, two guns of which were on Lookout mountain under Second Lieut. R. T. Gibson. Major-General Stevenson, in his order to his division (Brown's, Pettus' and Cumming's brigades and the artillery, which included the Cherokee and Stephens' light artillery), congratulated them on the fact that whatever happened elsewhere, they had held their ground, repulsing every assault, and that Cumming's brigade had actually charged and routed the enemy in their front, capturing several colors. The army was soon in Georgia, whence it did not again enter Tennessee until a year later.

Cleburne halted on the night of the 26th on the banks of the ice-cold waters of the main branch of Chickamauga creek at Ringgold. There he received orders to take a strong position in the gorge of Taylor's ridge at that [272] place, and check the pursuit of the enemy and punish him until the trains and the rear of the army were well advanced. This brought on the battle of Ringgold Gap, for which Cleburne and his heroes received the thanks of Congress. It was Cleburne's battle, and though he only had Hooker to whip, it was a glorious performance, considering that the Union army had just achieved the greatest victory on their record. Indeed, it would have been a splendid and memorable achievement for troops in the course of unchecked triumphs. The following account of it is substantially that given by General Cleburne, abbreviated somewhat that the more personal references given in the narratives of Arkansas, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi soldiery engaged may not be unnecessarily repeated here.

The town of Ringgold stands on a plain between the east Chickamauga creek and Taylor's ridge, on the Western & Atlantic railroad, about 200 miles southeast of Chattanooga. Taylor's ridge, which rises up immediately back of the town, runs ,in a northerly and southerly direction, parallel to Lookout mountain about 18 miles west. Back of the town the ridge is intersected by a narrow gap, which admits the railroad, a wagon road, and a good sized creek, a tributary of the Chickamauga. The creek hugs the southernmost hill, and the wagon road and railroad run close to the creek. At its western mouth, near Ringgold, the gap widens out to a breadth of over 100 yards, leaving room for a patch of level wooded land on each side of the roads. The gap is about a half mile through, but the plain into which it opens to the east is so cut up by the windings of the creek that three bridges or fords have to be crossed in the first half mile out toward Dalton. Consequently it was a dangerous position if the enemy should succeed in turning either flank. The gap and adjacent hills were thinly wooded, and the only heavy shelter of timber was a young grove running northward 300 or 400 yards at the foot of the hill [273] next to Ringgold. Behind this grove Cleburne placed Granbury's and Kennard's Texas regiments, Taylor's Texas regiment on the right, and the Seventh Texas on top of the hill, to watch the north flank of the troops in front. This brought in play all of Smith's brigade, Granbury commanding, on the north side of the gap. On the south side he concealed Ashford's Alabama regiment, supported by three Arkansas companies. In the ravine itself he posted four short lines of Govan's Arkansas brigade, which also furnished skirmishers for the mouth of the gap, in front of which he posted two Napoleon guns under Lieutenant Goldthwaite, concealed by screens of withered branches, with shelter for the artillerymen in a ravine close by. The remaining three regiments of Lowrey's Mississippi brigade were held in reserve in the center of the gap, and a portion of Polk's Tennessee and Arkansas brigade was placed temporarily at the rear mouth of the gap.

Cleburne had scarcely half an hour to make these dispositions, when he was informed that the enemy's skirmishers were pushing his cavalry across Chickamauga creek, and immediately afterward the cavalry retreated through the gap at a trot, and the valley in front was clear. But close in rear of the ridge the immense army train was still in view struggling through the fords of the creek and the deeply cut roads leading to Dalton. Cleburne's division, silent, but cool and ready, was the only barrier to the eager advance of Hooker's corps, the division of Osterhaus in front, Geary following, and Cruft in the rear.

The Federal skirmishers were in view advancing shortly after 8 a. m., and under their fire Hooker formed his lines of battle and moved with the utmost decision and celerity against the ridge on the north.

The attack was so quick and confident that Cleburne felt that the Federals had guides familiar with the region. But, nothing daunted, the artillery opened upon the flank [274] of the Federals as they moved toward the ridge, and they broke and took shelter under the railroad embankment. Farther to the north, however, the line of attack went on in the face of a deadly fire from Taylor's regiment, as if to turn the flank of the Texas brigade. Taylor thwarted this by deploying skirmishers up the side of the hill, and charging with three companies, routing the enemy and capturing over 600 prisoners and the colors of the Twenty-ninth Missouri regiment.

This effective resistance led Osterhaus to send the Seventy-sixth Ohio to attempt the ridge further north, and supported it with the Fourth Iowa. Observing this, Cleburne notified Brigadier-General Polk, in reserve, to meet the movement, but Polk was on the lookout for an opportunity and had sent the First Arkansas up the hill. They met the Federal skirmishers within a few yards of the top, and, supported by the Seventh Texas, repelled the attack. But the massing of the enemy in that quarter continued and Lowrey's brigade was sent to support Polk. At a critical moment two regiments of his Mississippians came up at a rush and sent the enemy flying down the hill. All of these two brigades were now massed on the crest. Colonel Williamson, commanding the Federal column, sent in two more Iowa regiments. Three regiments of the Twelfth corps also entered into the fight, and (Williamson relates) unheeding the warnings of the soldiers who had already encountered the Confederates, marched up as if on parade, declaring they would show the Westerners how it was done, when Polk's and Lowrey's men opened a terrific fire on them. ‘They stood manfully for a minute or two,’ said Williamson, ‘when they gave way and came down like an avalanche, carrying everything before them, and to some extent propagating the panic among my regiments.’ General Cleburne mentions an attack of a heavy column, probably the same, in which the enemy lost many killed, several prisoners and the colors of the Seventy-sixth Ohio. The colors [275] and most of the prisoners were captured by the First Arkansas. The fight had been so close that many of Cleburne's men used pistols and rocks, finding the latter missiles effective in making prisoners. Williamson concluded he could not carry the hill without reinforcements, and in the lull Polk rapidly threw up slight intrenchments.

It was Creighton's brigade of Geary's division that charged the hill as mentioned by Osterhaus, and the Seventh Ohio, which sustained a flank attack by the Second Tennessee, lost 12 out of 13 officers and nearly half its men disabled. General Creighton was mortally wounded, and Colonel Crane, of Ohio, was killed. Two regiments of the brigade held an advanced position under shelter, but could not advance ‘without almost total annihilation.’ Geary's other brigades, Cobham's and Ireland's, also came up about this time. The advance brigade of Cruft's division entered the town, but did not participate in the fight.

During the main attack on the north the Thirteenth Illinois took possession of some houses and barns from which they annoyed the Confederates in the gorge. Cleburne's skirmishers held them in check, and finally Osterhaus made a charge which was badly .repulsed by the infantry and Goldthwaite's battery, the Federals leaving killed and wounded and a stand of colors between the lines. The battery then shelled the houses with good effect. Both Geary and Osterhaus tell of a charge made by the Confederates which is not mentioned by Cleburne. Osterhaus said that ‘seeing their artillery threatened, and with it the key to their position, the enemy rallied a strong force and dashed from the gorge and down the hill with great energy.’ Geary relates, that Osterhaus was sorely pressed, and he sent in Cobham's and Ireland's brigades; Cobham crossed the railroad under severe fire, and lay down in position; Ireland advanced under a murderous fire of grape, canister and musketry, [276] and ‘compelled the enemy to recoil in the zenith of his audacious charge.’ So the fight raged for two hours and a half.

At noon General Hardee sent word that the train was safe, and after consultation with Generals Breckinridge and Wheeler, who were present, Cleburne withdrew from the ridge, hauled back his cannon by hand, and undisturbed except by the Federal artillery, just arrived, took up a position a mile to the rear. Cleburne had 4,157 men in this fight, and lost 20 killed, 900 wounded and 11 missing. Among the killed and wounded were some gallant regimental officers. Of the Federal losses no official report is available for Osterhaus' division, but it is stated that the Seventy-sixth Ohio suffered a loss of forty per cent. of the men engaged. Geary reported that he had 1,870 men engaged and lost 34 killed and 169 wounded. Grant reported that the loss was heavy in valuable officers and men. General Grant was at Ringgold at the close of the fight and ordered Sherman to send a brigade down east of the ridge to flank Cleburne, buts changed his mind a half hour later, decided not to pursue further, and directed Thomas to send Granger to relieve Knoxville if Longstreet was there. A rumor was afloat that Longstreet would make a junction with Bragg at Dalton the next day.

Grose's brigade advancing to reconnoiter, the Confederate position found a line strongly posted at Tunnel Hill, which remained the northern outpost of the army of Tennessee during the winter. Heavy rains set in and the roads were rendered impassable.

So far, the fighting in north Georgia had been confined within the territory enclosed by the Oostenaula and Coosa rivers. Outside of those boundaries, the district of Northwest Georgia was in command of Maj.-Gen. Howell Cobb. As commander of the State Guard he had suffered much embarrassment on account of lack of staff officers, and up to November 1st he had had 5,000 men [277] in the field at various points without a commissary or surgeon.

In the midst of these military movements threatening Georgia, the State legislature was in session, and concurred in the recommendation of Governor Brown for a fast day December 10th, ‘in view of our national calamity and distress.’ The legislature adopted resolutions reaffirming the resolutions of 1861, declaring that the separation of those States now forming the Confederate States of America from the United States is and ought to be final and irrevocable, and that Georgia would under no circumstances entertain any proposition from any quarter which might have for its object a restoration or reconstruction of the late Union on any terms or conditions whatever.

At Dalton, December 2d, General Bragg issued an address of farewell to the army of Tennessee, and turned over the command temporarily to Lieut.-Gen. William J. Hardee. In the address issued by the latter, he declared that there was no cause for discouragement. ‘The overwhelming numbers of the enemy forced us back from Missionary ridge, but the army is still intact and in good heart. Our losses were small and will be rapidly replaced. Let the past take care of itself; we can and must secure the future.’

On the next day Gen. R. E. Lee addressed President Davis a letter stating that he had considered with some anxiety the situation in Georgia and Tennessee, and believed that there were grounds to apprehend that the enemy might penetrate Georgia and get possession of the depots of provisions and important manufactories. Alluding to the problem of permanently replacing General Bragg, he said only that if General Beauregard were considered suitable for the position, General Gilmer could take his place at Charleston. More force, he thought, should be sent into Georgia, and it could only be had, so far as he knew, in Mississippi, Mobile and the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Closing, [278] he said: ‘I think that every effort should be made to concentrate as large a force as possible under the best commander to insure the discomfiture of Grant's army. To do this and gain the great advantage that would accrue from it, the safety of points practically less important than those endangered by his army must be hazarded. Upon the defense of the country threatened by General Grant depends the safety of the points now held by us on the Atlantic, and they are in as great danger from his successful advance as by the attacks to which they are at present directly subjected.’ Beauregard, greatly unlike Lee, but nevertheless a military genius, also offered a plan of campaign. It was his judgment that all other operations must be subordinated to the defense of Atlanta against Grant, holding such places as Richmond, Weldon, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, etc., merely as fortified posts with garrisons strong enough to hold out until they could be relieved after Grant had been cared for. Twenty thousand men should be drawn from Virginia and a like number from other sources, forming with Hardee and Longstreet a force of 100,000. Let this army take the offensive at once, and properly handled it should crush any force that Grant could assemble in time, in his scattered and unprepared condition. ‘It is concentration and immediate mobility that are indispensable to save us.’

Hardee's force was increased after the battle of Missionary Ridge by Baldwin's and Quarles' brigades from Mississippi, about 4,000 men; and in addition to that there was a clear gain in twenty days of over 3,500. Though a general and liberal system of furloughs had been adopted, the effective strength of the two infantry corps and artillery was over 35,000, December 20th. Gen. H. R. Jackson had by energetic efforts brought about a system of co-operation among the railroads, which improved the commissariat.

There was a general desire on the part of the country [279] and of the army that Gen. Joseph E. Johnston should be put in command. Gen. Leonidas Polk wrote to the President, ‘I think your friends and history would justify you in this, and that magnanimity perhaps may require it at your hands.’ General Johnston was assigned to command December 16th, and assumed this position of tremendous responsibility December 27, 1863. On arriving at Dalton he found a ‘letter of instructions’ from Secretary Seddon, which in brief expressed a hope that he would be able to provision the army and inspire in the people and authorities ‘a more willing spirit,’ that as soon as the condition of the forces permitted, it was hoped he would be able to resume the offensive, and if the enemy ventured to separate his army, the detachments might be struck with effect. These ‘instructions’ were prefaced by the statement that ‘it is apprehended the army may have been by recent events somewhat disheartened, and deprived of ordnance and material,’ and the hope was expressed that Johnston's presence would ‘do much to re-establish hope and inspire confidence. . . . It is desired that your early and vigorous efforts be directed to restoring the discipline, prestige and confidence of the army, and increasing its numbers; and that at the same time you leave no means unspared to restore and supply its deficiencies in ordnance, munitions and transportation.’ It was feared that he would have ‘serious difficulties in providing the supplies required for the subsistence of the army.’

A few days later another letter of instructions, from the President, arrived, of a different tone. It stated that Colonel Ives, of the President's staff, had reported the army well armed and provided with artillery; that the transportation was in reasonable condition, and the troops in good spirit and tolerably well supplied with clothing and with thirty days provisions. With stragglers and convalescents rapidly coming in, two brigades from Mississippi and the cavalry back from Longstreet, said the [280] President, ‘the army would perhaps exceed in numbers that actually engaged in any battle on the Confederate side during the present war.’ The President continued that it was unnecessary to suggest that there was an ‘imperative demand for prompt and vigorous action,’ to recover the territory from which the army had been driven, and restore the prestige of Confederate arms.

In his answer to the President, Johnston stated that to assume the offensive he must either invade middle or east Tennessee. The obstacles to the first course were Chattanooga, now a fortress, the Tennessee river, the rugged desert of the Cumberland mountains, and an army outnumbering his more than two to one. The second course would leave open the road to Atlanta. There was neither subsistence nor field transportation enough for either march. ‘I can see no other mode of taking the offensive here,’ he said, ‘than to beat the enemy When he advances, and then move forward. But to make victory probable, the army must be strengthened.’ He made the suggestion that negroes be substituted for soldiers on detached or daily duty, as well as company cooks, pioneers and laborers for engineer service, which would relieve 10,000 or 12,000 men for active duty.

The army of Tennessee spent the winter in the positions taken when the Federal pursuit stopped, Johnston fearing to remove to a better strategic line in the rear lest he might create an injurious impression. Cleburne held Tunnel Hill; Stewart, Mill Creek gap; Breckinridge lay between the gap and Dalton; Hindman was mainly southwest of Dalton; Stevenson near Hindman; Walker east of Dalton, and Cheatham south of Walker. Grant's army, 80,000 strong, occupied Chattanooga, Bridgeport and Stevenson.

During 1863 two regiments of Georgia State troops were organized with E. M. Galt as colonel of the First, and R. L. Storey of the Second. These were on duty at Charleston and Savannah, and late in the year on the [281] State railroad, guarding bridges. Several more regi. ments had been completed for the Confederate service: The Sixtieth, Col. William H. Stiles; Sixty-first, Col. John H. Lamar; Sixty-second, Col. J. R. Griffin; Sixty-third, Col. George A. Gordon; Sixty-fourth, Col. John W. Evans, and Sixty-fifth, Col. John S. Fain.

Four cavalry regiments had already been formed, the First under Col. J. J. Morrison; Second, Col. W. J. Lawton; Third, Col. Martin J. Crawford; Fourth, Col. Isaac W. Avery; and in 1863 a second Fourth was organized under Col. Duncan L. Clinch; the Fifth under Col. R. H. Anderson; the Sixth under Col. John R. Hart; the Seventh, Col. E. C. Anderson, Jr.; the Eighth, Col. J. L. McAllister, and the Ninth, Col. J. Taliaferro.

On the 22d of June, Governor Brown, in obedience to a requisition of the national government, issued a proclamation calling for the organization of a force of 8,000 men over the age of forty-five years, or otherwise not subject to military duty, to be mustered in for six months from August 1st, for home defense. ‘To hold in check the mighty hosts collected for our destruction by the abolition government,’ said the governor, ‘the President is obliged to mass the provisional armies of the Confederacy at a few important key points, and cannot, without weakening them too much, detach troops to defend the interior points against sudden incursions. He therefore calls upon the people of the respective States who are otherwise not subject to be summoned to the field under the conscription laws to organize, and while they attend to their ordinary avocations at home, to stand ready at a moment's warning to take up arms and drive back the plundering bands of marauders from their own immediate section of country.’ The governor requested the citizens of the various counties to assemble at their courthouses on the first Tuesday of July, and organize the number required of them by counties, and he closed his proclamation with this appeal: ‘Gray-headed sires! your [282] influence and your aid are invoked. The crisis in our affairs is fast approaching. Georgia “expects every man to do his duty.” Fly to arms and trust to God to defend the right!’

The response to his call was very creditable to the patriotism of the State. Not only 8,000,but 18,000 men offered themselves for this service. The command of this force was conferred upon Howell Cobb, promoted to major-general with headquarters at Atlanta, and under him were Brig.-Gens. Alfred Iverson, Jr., with headquarters at Rome, and Henry R. Jackson at Savannah. Maj.-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith, who had resigned from the Confederate army, entered the service of the State with especial charge, at this time, of fortifications.

At the close of the year 1863, according to the statement published by authority of the government at Richmond, Georgia had lost a greater number of soldiers than any other State of the Confederacy. The list as published is: Georgia, 9,504; Alabama, 8,987; North Carolina, 8,361; Texas, 6,377; Virginia, 5,943; Mississippi, 6,367; South Carolina, 4,511; Louisiana, 3,039; Tennessee, 2,849; Arkansas, 1,948; Florida, 1,119.

During the fall of this year the fortification of Atlanta was begun, under the direction of Col. M. H. Wright, commanding. [283]

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