[In presenting the following paper from the gallant soldier and accomplished gentleman who wrote it, it is, perhaps, proper to say again that the Southern Historical Society is not responsible for any sentiments uttered by writers in these pages.
When there are points of controversy among Confederates we give impartially both sides, and leave the intelligent reader to judge for himself without comment from us.]
The publication of General Hood
's book, entitled Advance and retreat,
the wide circulation which circumstances have concurred to give it, and the fact that a new generation has grown up, unfamiliar with the matters there referred to, make it essential that certain charges and imputations therein made against General William J. Hardee
should be met and refuted.
Some of these matters, consisting of suggestion and opinion, and of alleged verbal communications between persons, all of whom are now dead, are difficult to deal with.
This difficulty is enhanced by the lapse
of time — over fifteen years--since the events transpired, by the death of many of the chief actors in those events, and by the loss of most of General Hardee
's official records and papers, which, during active operations, were, from time to time, sent to places in the rear, which proved insecure; but, as a member of General Hardee
's staff, on duty with him during all that period, and honored, then and afterwards, with his friendship and confidence, I deem it my privilege and duty to contribute what I can towards the right and the truth in these matters.
In the early part of 1865, General Hood
made an official report to the War Department, covering the operations at and about Atlanta
, which was afterwards published in the public press of the day, and which I take to be the same as contained in the appendix to this book.
This elicited from General Hardee
a communication to the Department, bearing date 5th of April, 1865.
This paper does not purport to be a report, in the ordinary sense of the term; and having been prepared amid the duties and activities of a campaign, and without access to sources of information afterwards open, it may be inaccurate in some matters of mere detail; but it was mainly addressed to certain specific statements contained in General Hood
's report, and it is as to these statements only that I quote it. It is as follows: