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Thomas C. DeLeon, Four years in Rebel capitals: an inside view of life in the southern confederacy, from birth to death., Chapter 24: echo of Seven days, North and South. (search)
ssion of Tennessee and Alabama--as a base for attack upon Georgia and cutting through to the seaboard; and to push the army under Grant down through Mississippi to the Gulf. These movements would not only weaken the Confederacy, by diverting so many men, ill to be spared, to watch the various columns; but would, moreover, wrest from it the great grain-producing and cattle-grazing sections from which the armies were mainly fed. Simultaneously with these a heavy force was to be massed under McClernand in Ohio, to sweep down the Mississippi; while the weak show of Confederate force in the states west of the river was to be crushed before it could make head. Such was the Federal programme; well conceived and backed by every appliance of means, men and material. To meet it we had but a small numerical force to defend an extensive and varied tract; and at the Capital grave fears began to prevail that the overpowering numbers and points of attack would crush the little armies we could m
nced as bad soldiership and possible of success, only through an enemy's weakness. At this time, he was certainly not in high estimation of his own army, because of dogged disregard of loss in useless assaults; and it will be recalled that General McClernand was court-martialed for his declaration that he could not be expected to furnish brains for the whole army! The estimate of Grant's compeers is not refuted by any evidence in the War Department that, from Shiloh to Appomattox, he ever maderk of any soldiership, higher than courage and bull-dog tenacity. Even scouting the generally-accepted idea, in the army of Vicksburg and later in that of Chattanooga — that McPherson provided plans and details of his campaigns; and dismissing McClernand's costly taunt as mere epigram-this was the accepted estimate of General Grant's tactical power. But he inaugurated his command at Chattanooga with boldness and vigor. He concentrated 25,000 troops in the town; opened his communications; a