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June, 1863.

1st June, 1863 (Monday).

We all went to a review of General Liddell's brigade at Bellbuckle, a distance of six miles. There were three carriages full of ladies, and I rode an excellent horse, the gift of General John Morgan to General Hardee. The weather and the scenery were delightful. General Hardee asked me particularly whether Mr. Mason had been kindly received in England. I replied that I thought he had, by private individuals. I have often found the Southerners rather touchy on this point.

General Liddell's brigade was composed of Arkansas troops-five very weak regiments which had suffered severely in the different battles, and they cannot be easily recruited on account of the blockade of the Mississippi. The men were good-sized, healthy, and well clothed, but without any attempt at uniformity in color or cut; but nearly all were dressed either in gray or brown coats and felt hats. I was told that even if a regiment was clothed in proper uniform by the Government, it would become particolored again in a week, as the soldiers preferred wearing the coarse home-spun jackets and trousers made by their mothers and sisters at home. The Generals very wisely allow them to please themselves in this respect, and insist only upon their arms and accoutrements being kept in proper order. Most of the officers were dressed in uniform which is neat and serviceable-viz., a bluish-gray frock-coat of a [156] color similar to Austrian yagers. The infantry wear blue facings, the artillery red, the doctors black, the staff white, and the cavalry yellow; so it is impossible to mistake the branch of the service to which an officer belongs-nor is it possible to mistake his rank. A second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and captain, wear respectively one, two, and three bars on the collar. A major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel, wear one, two, and three stars on the collar.

Before the marching past of the brigade, many of the soldiers had taken off their coats and marched past the general in their shirt-sleeves, on account of the warmth. Most of them were armed with Enfield rifles captured from the enemy. Many, however, had lost or thrown away their bayonets, which they don't appear to value properly, as they assert that they have never met any Yankees who would wait for that weapon. I expressed a desire to see them form square, but it appeared they were “not drilled to such a manoeuvre” (except square two deep). They said the country did not admit of cavalry charges, even if the Yankee cavalry had stomach to attempt it.

Each regiment carried a “battle-flag,” blue, with a white border, on which were inscribed the names “Belmont,” “Shiloh,” “Perryville,” “Richmond, Ky.,” and “Murfreesborough.” They drilled tolerably well, and an advance in line was remarkably good; but General Liddell had invented several dodges of [157] his own, for which he was reproved by General Hardee. The review being over, the troops were harangued by Bishop Elliott in an excellent address partly religious, partly patriotic. He was followed by a Congress man of vulgar appearance, named Hanley, from Arkansas, who delivered himself of a long and uninteresting political oration, and ended by announcing himself as a candidate for re-election. This speech seemed to me (and to others) particularly ill-timed, out of place, and ridiculous, addressed as it was to soldiers in front of the enemy. But this was one of the results of universal suffrage. The soldiers afterwards wanted General Hardee to say something, but he declined. I imagine that the discipline in this army is the strictest in the Confederacy, and that the men are much better marchers than those I saw in Mississippi.

A soldier was shot in Wartrace this afternoon. We heard the volley just as we left in the cars for Shelbyville. His crime was desertion to the enemy; and as the prisoner's brigade was at Tullahoma (twenty miles off), he was executed without ceremony by the provost-guard. Spies are hung every now and then; but General Bragg told me it was almost impossible for either side to stop the practice.

Bishop Elliott, Dr. Quintard, and myself got back to General Polk's quarters at 6 P. M., where I was introduced to a Colonel Styles, who was formerly [158] United States minister at Vienna. In the evening I made the acquaintance of General Wheeler, Van Dorn's successor in the command of the cavalry of this army, which is over 24,000 strong. He is a very little man, only twenty-six years of age, and was dressed in a coat much too big for him. He made his reputation by protecting the retreat of the army through Kentucky last year. He was a graduate of West Point, and seems a remarkably zealous officer, besides being very modest and unassuming in his manners. General Polk told me that, notwithstanding the departure of Breckenridge, this army is now much stronger than it was at the time of the battle of Murfreesborough. I think that probably 45,000 infantry and artillery could be brought together immediately for a battle.

2d June, 1863 (Tuesday).

Colonel Grenfell and I rode to the outposts, starting on the rode to Murfreesborough at 6 A. M. It rained hard nearly all day. He explained to me the method of fighting adopted by the Western cavalry, which he said was admirably adapted for this country; but he denied that they could, under any circumstances, stand a fair charge of regular cavalry in the open. Their system is to dismount and leave their horses in some secure place. One man is placed in charge of his own and three other horses, whilst the remainder act as infantry [159] skirmishers in the dense woods and broken country, making a tremendous row, and deceiving the enemy as to their numbers, and as to their character as infantry or cavalry. In this manner Morgan, assisted by two small guns, called bull-dogs, attacked the Yankees with success in towns, forts, stockades, and steamboats; and by the same system, Wheeler and Wharton kept a large pursuing army in check for twenty-seven days, retreating and fighting every day, and deluding the enemy with the idea that they were being resisted by a strong force composed of all three branches of the service.

Colonel Grenfell told me that the only way in which an officer could acquire influence over the Confederate soldiers was by his personal conduct under fire. They hold a man in great esteem who in action sets them an example of contempt for danger; but they think nothing of an officer who is not in the habit of leading them; in fact such a man could not possibly retain his position. Colonel Grenfell's expression was, “every atom of authority has to be purchased by a drop of your blood.” He told me he was in desperate hot water with the civil authorities of the State, who accuse him of illegally impressing and appropriating horses, and also of conniving at the escape of a negro from his lawful owner, and he said that the military authorities were afraid or unable to give him proper protection. [160]

For the first nine miles our road was quite straight and hilly, with a thick wood on either side. We then reached a pass in the hills called Guy's Gap, which, from the position of the hills, is very strong, and could be held by a small force. The range of hills extends as far as Wartrace, but I understand the position could be turned on the left. About two miles beyond Guy's Gap were the headquarters of General Martin, the officer who commands the brigade of cavalry stationed in the neighborhood. General Martin showed me the letter sent by the Yankees a few days ago by flag of truce with Mr. Vallandigham. This letter was curiously worded, and ended, as far as I can remember, with this expression: “Mr. Vallandigham is therefore handed over to the respectful attention of the Confederate authorities.” General Martin told me that skirmishing and bushwhacking went on nearly every day, and that ten days ago the enemy's cavalry, by a bold dash, had captured a fieldpiece close to his own quarters. It was, however, retaken, and its captors were killed.

One of General Martin's Staff officers conducted us to the bivouac of Colonel Webb (three miles further along the road), who commanded the regiment on outpost duty there-51st Alabama Cavalry. This Colonel Webb was a lawyer by profession, and seemed a capital fellow; and he insisted on riding with us to the videttes in spite of the rain, and he also desired [161] his regiment to turn out for us by the time we returned. The extreme outposts were about two miles beyond Colonel Webb's post, and about sixteen miles from Shelbyville. The neutral ground extended for about three miles. We rode along it as far as it was safe to do so, and just came within sight of the Yankee videttes. The Confederate videttes were at an interval of from 300 to 400 yards of each other. Colonel Webb's regiment was in charge of two miles of the front; and, in a similar manner, the chain of videttes was extended by other corps right and left for more than eighty miles. Scouts are continually sent forward by both sides to collect information. Rival scouts and pickets invariably fire on one another whenever they meet; and Colonel Webb goodnaturedly offered, if I was particularly anxious to see their customs and habits, to send forward a few men and have a little fight. I thanked him much for his kind offer, but begged he wouldn't trouble himself so far on my account. He showed me the house where Vallandigham had been “dumped down” between the outposts when they refused to receive him by flag of truce.

The woods on both sides of the road showed many signs of the conflicts which are of daily occurrence. Most of the houses by the roadside had been destroyed ; but one plucky old lady had steadfastly refused to turn out, although her house was constantly an object [162] of contention, and showed many marks of bullets and shell. Ninety-seven men were employed every day in Colonel Webb's regiment to patrol the front. The remainder of the 51st Alabama were mounted and drawn tip to receive

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