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Appendix B.

Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's correspondence with President Davis in regard to his operations in Kentucky, his retreat from Bowling Green, the capture of Donelson, and the evacuation of Nashville, also as to his future purposes, is given here.

Telegram to President Davis.

Huntsville, March 7, 11 a.m.
Your dispatch is just received. I sent Colonel Liddell to Richmond on the 28th ult. with the official reports of Generals Floyd and Pillow of the events at Donelson, and suppose he must have arrived by this time. I also sent by him a dispatch containing my purposes for the defense of the valley of the Mississippi and for co-operating or uniting with General Beauregard, who has been urging me to come on.

The stores accumulated at Murfreesboro, the pork and provisions at Shelbyville and other points, and their necessary protection and removal, with the bad roads and inclement weather, have made the march slow and laborious and delayed my movements. The general condition of the troops is good and effective, though their health is impaired by the usual camp disorders and a winter campaign. The fall of Donelson disheartened some of the Tennessee troops and caused many deserters from some of the regiments, so that great care was required to inspire confidence. I now consider the tone of the troops restored, and that they are in good order. The enemy are about 25,000 strong at Nashville, with reinforcements arriving. My rear guard under General Hardee is protecting the removal of supplies from Shelbyville. Last evening his pickets were near Murfreesboro, but gave no information of an advance by the enemy. There are no indications of an immediate movement by the enemy from Nashville. I have no fears of a movement through Tennessee on Chattanooga. West Tennessee is menaced by [217] heavy forces. My advance will be opposite Decatur on Sunday.

Letter from President Davis to General Johnston.

Richmond, Va., March 12, 1862.
My Dear General: The departure of Captain Wickliffe offers an opportunity, of which I avail myself, to write you an unofficial letter. We have suffered great anxiety because of recent events in Kentucky and Tennessee, and I have been not a little disturbed by the repetition of reflections upon yourself. I expected you to have made a full report of the events precedent and consequent to the fall of Fort Donelson. In the meantime I made for you such defense as friendship prompted and many years of acquaintance justified; but I needed facts to rebut the wholesale assertions made against you to cover others and to condemn my administration. The public, as you are aware, have no correct measure for military operations, and journals are very reckless in their statements.

Your force has been magnified and the movements of an army have been measured by the capacity for locomotion of an individual. The readiness of the people among whom you are operating to aid you in every method has been constantly asserted, the purpose of your army at Bowling Green wholly misunderstood, and the absence of an effective force at Nashville ignored. You have been held responsible for the fall of Donelson and the capture of Nashville. It is charged that no effort was made to save the stores at Nashville, and that the panic of the people was caused by the army. Such representations, with the sad forebodings naturally belonging to them, have been painful to me and injurious to us both; but, worse than this, they have undermined public confidence and damaged our cause. A full development of the truth is necessary for future success.

I respect the generosity which has kept you silent, but would impress upon you that the question is not personal but public in its nature; that you and I might be content to suffer, but neither of us can willingly permit detriment to the country. As soon as circumstances will permit, it is my purpose to visit the field of your present operations; [218] not that I should expect to give you any aid in the discharge of your duties as commander, but with the hope that my position would enable me to effect something in bringing men to your standard. With a sufficient force, the audacity which the enemy exhibits would no doubt give you the opportunity to cut some of his lines of communication, to break up his plan of campaign, and, defeating some of his columns, to drive him from the soil as well of Tennessee as of Kentucky.

We are deficient in arms, wanting in discipline and inferior in numbers. Private arms must supply the first want; time and the presence of an enemy, with diligence on the part of the commanders, will remove the second, and public confidence will overcome the third. General Bragg brings you disciplined troops, and you will find in him the highest administrative capacity. Gen. E. K. Smith will soon have in East Tennessee a sufficient force to create a strong diversion in your favor; or, if his strength cannot be made available in that way, you will best know how to employ it otherwise. I suppose the Tennessee or Mississippi river will be the object of the enemy's next campaign, and I trust you will be able to concentrate a force which will defeat either attempt. The fleet which you will soon have on the Mississippi river, if the enemy's gunboats ascend the Tennessee, may enable you to strike an effective blow at Cairo; but to one so well informed and vigilant I will not assume to offer suggestions as to when and how the ends you seek may be attained. With confidence and regard of many years, I am

Very truly your friend,

General Johnston's reply.

Decatur, Alabama, March 18, 1862.
My Dear General: I received the dispatches from Richmond, with your private letter by Captain Wickliffe, three days since, but tile pressure of affairs and the necessity of getting my command across the Tennessee prevented me from sending an earlier reply.

I anticipated all you tell as to the censures which the fall of Fort Donelson drew upon me, and the attacks to which you might be subjected; but it was impossible for me to gather the facts for a detailed report or spare the time which was required to extricate the remainder of [219] my troops and save the large accumulations of stores and provisions after that disheartening disaster.

I transmitted the reports of Generals Floyd and Pillow without examining or analyzing the facts, and scarcely with time to read them. When about to assume command of this department, the government charged me with the question of occupying Bowling Green, which involved not only military but political considerations. At the time of my arrival at Nashville, the action of the legislature of Kentucky had put an end to the latter by sanctioning the formation of camps menacing Tennessee, by assuming the cause of the government at Washington, and by abandoning the neutrality it professed; and in consequence of their action the occupation of Bowling Green became necessary as an act of self-defense, at least in the first step.

About the middle of September General Buckner advanced with a small force of 4,000 men, which was increased by the 5th of October to 12,000, and though accessions of force were received, continued at about the same strength until the end of November, measles, etc., keeping down the effective force. The enemy's force then was, as reported to the war department, 50,000, and an advance impossible. No enthusiasm as we imagined and hoped, but hostility, was manifested in Kentucky. Believing it to be of the greatest moment to protract the campaign, as the dearth of cotton might bring strength from abroad and discourage the North, and to gain time to strengthen myself by new troops from Tennessee and other States, I magnified my forces to the enemy, but made known my true strength to the department and the governors of States. The aid given was small. At length, when General Beauregard came out, in February, he expressed his surprise at the smallness of my force, and was impressed with the danger of my position. I admitted what was so manifest and laid before him my views for the future, in which he entirely concurred, and sent me a memorandum of our conference, a copy of which I send you. I determined to fight for Nashville at Donelson, and gave the best part of my army to do it, retaining only 14,000 men to cover my front, and giving 16,000 to defend Donelson. The force at Donelson is stated by General Pillow's report at much less, and I do not doubt the correctness [220] of his statement; for the force at Bowling Green, which I supposed 14,000 effective men (the medical report showing a little over 500 sick in hospital),was diminished more than 5,000 by those unable to stand the fatigue of a march, and made my effective force on reaching Nashville less than 10,000 men. I inclose medical director's report. Had I wholly uncovered my front to defend Donelson, Buell would have known it and marched directly on Nashville. There were only ten small steamers on the Cumberland, in imperfect condition, only three of which were available at Nashville, while the transportation of the enemy was great. The evacuation of Bowling Green was imperatively necessary and was ordered before and executed while the battle was being fought at Donelson. I had made every disposition for the defense of the fort my means allowed; and the troops were among the best of my forces, and the generals, Floyd, Pillow and Buckner, were high in the opinion of officers and men for skill and courage, and among the best officers of my command. They were popular with the volunteers and all had seen much service. No reinforcements were asked.

I waited the event opposite Nashville. The result of the conflict each day was favorable. At midnight on the 15th I received the news of a glorious victory; at dawn of a defeat. My column was during the day and night of the 16th thrown over the river. A battery had been established below the city to secure the passage. Nashville was incapable of defense from its position and from the forces advancing from Bowling Green and up the Cumberland. A rear guard was left under Floyd to secure the stores and provisions, but did not completely effect the object. The people were terrified and some of the troops were discouraged. The discouragement was spreading, and I ordered the command to Murfreesboro, where I managed, by assembling Crittenden's division and the fugitives from Donelson, to collect an army able to offer battle. The weather was inclement, the floods excessive, and the bridges were washed away; but most of the stores and provisions were saved, and conveyed to new depots. This having been accomplished without serious loss, in conformity with my original design I marched southward and crossed the Tennessee at this point, so as to co-operate with Beauregard for [221] the defense of the valley of Mississippi. The passage is almost completed, and the head of my column is already with General Bragg at Corinth. The movement was deemed too hazardous by the most experienced members of my staff, but the object warranted the risk. The difficulty of effecting a junction is not wholly overcome, but it approaches completion. Day after to-morrow, unless the enemy intercepts me, my force will be with Bragg and my army nearly 50,000 strong. This must be destroyed before the enemy can attain his object.

I have given you this sketch so that you may appreciate the embarrassments which surrounded me in my attempts to avert or remedy the disaster of Donelson before alluding to the conduct of the generals.

When the force was detached I was in hopes that such dispositions would be made as to enable the forces to defend the fort or withdraw without sacrificing the army. On the 14th I ordered General Floyd by telegram, ‘if he lost the fort, to get his troops back to Nashville.’ It is possible that this might have been done; but justice requires to look at events as they appeared at the time, and not alone by the light of subsequent information. All the facts in relation to the surrender will be transmitted to the secretary of war as soon as they can be collected in obedience to his order. It appears from the information received that General Buckner, being the junior officer, took the lead in advising the surrender and General Floyd acquiesced, and they all concurred in the belief that their force could not maintain the position. Subsequent events show that the investment was not so complete as the information from their scouts had led them to believe. The council resulted in the surrender. The command was irregularly transferred and devolved on the junior general; but not apparently to avoid any just responsibility, or from any want of personal or moral intrepidity.

The blow was most disastrous and almost without remedy. I thereupon in my first report remained silent. This silence you were kind enough to attribute to my generosity. I will not lay claim to the motive to excuse my course. I observed silence, as it seemed to me the best way to serve the cause and the country. The facts were not fully known, discontent prevailed, and criticism or condemnation was more likely to augment than cure the evil. I refrained, knowing that heavy censures [222] would fall upon me, but convinced that it was better to endure them for the present, and defer to a more propitious time an investigation of the conduct of the generals; for in the meantime their service was required and their influence was useful. For these reasons Generals Floyd and Pillow were assigned to duty, for I felt confidence in their gallantry, their energy, and their devotion to the Confederacy.

I have thus recurred to the motives by which I have been governed, from a deep personal sense of the friendship and confidence you have always shown me, and from the conviction that they have not been withdrawn from me in adversity. All the reports requisite for a full official investigation have been ordered.

You mention that you intend to visit the field of operations here. I hope soon to see you, for your presence would encourage my troops, inspire the people, and augment the army. To me personally it would give the greatest gratification. Merely a soldier myself, and having no acquaintance with the statesmen or leaders of the South, I cannot touch springs familiar to you. Were you to assume command it would afford me the most unfeigned pleasure, and every energy would be exerted to help you to victory and the country to independence. Were you to decline, still your presence alone would be of inestimable advantage.

The enemy are now at Nashville, about 50,000 strong, advancing in this direction by Columbia. He has also forces, according to the report of General Bragg, landing at Pittsburg, from 25,000 to 50,000, and moving in the direction of Purdy.

This army corps moving to join Bragg is about 20,000 strong. Two brigades, Hindman's and Wood's, are, I suppose, at Corinth. One regiment of Hardee's division, Lieutenant-Colonel Patton commanding, is moving by cars today (20th March), and Statham's brigade, Crittenden's division. The brigade will halt at Iuka, the regiment at Burnsville. Cleburne's brigade, Hardee's division, except regiment at Burnsville, and Carroll's brigade, Crittenden's division, and Helm's cavalry at Tuscumbia; Bowen's brigade at Courtland; Breckinridge's brigade here; the regiments of cavalry of Adams and Wharton on the opposite bank of the river; Scott's Louisiana cavalry at Pulaski, sending forward supplies; [223] Morgan's cavalry at Shelbyville, ordered on. Tomorrow Breckinridge's brigade will go to Corinth; then Bowen's. When these pass Tuscumbia and Iuka, transportation will be ready there to further other troops to follow immediately from these points, and if necessary from Burnsville. The cavalry will cross and move forward as soon as their trains can be passed over the railroad bridge. I have troubled you with these details, as I cannot possibly communicate them by telegram. The test of merit in my profession with the people is success. It is a hard rule, but I think it right. If I join this corps to the forces of Beauregard—I confess a hazardous experiment—those who are now declaiming against me will be without argument.

Your friend,

P. S.—I will prepare answers to the questions propounded by General Foote, chairman of the committee to investigate the causes of the loss of the forts, as soon as practicable; but engaged as I am in a most hazardous movement of a large force, even the most minute detail requiring my attention for its accomplishment, I cannot say when it will be forwarded to the secretary of war to be handed to him, if he thinks proper to do so.1

General Johnston's address to the army just before Shiloh.

Headquarters Army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Miss., April 3, 1862.
Soldiers of the Army of the Mississippi:
I have put you in motion to offer battle to the invaders of your country. With the resolution and discipline and valor becoming men fighting, as you are, for all worth living or dying for, you can but march to a decisive victory over the agrarian mercenaries sent to subjugate you and to despoil you of your liberties, your property and your honor. Remember the precious stake involved; remember the dependence of your mothers, your wives, your sisters and your children, on the result; remember the fair, broad, abounding land, and the happy homes that would be desolated by your defeat. The eyes and the hopes of eight millions of people rest upon you. You are expected to show yourselves worthy of your lineage; worthy [224] of the women of the South whose noble devotion in this war has never been exceeded in any time. With such incentives to brave deeds and with the trust that God is with us, your generals will lead you confidently to the combat, assured of success.

A. S. Johnston, General Commanding.

The following epitaph was found shortly after the interment of General Johnston in St. Louis cemetery, New Orleans, pasted upon a rough board attached to his tomb:

In Memoriam.

Behind this stone is laid, for a season,
     Albert Sidney Johnston,
A General in the Army of the Confederate States,
     Who fell at Shiloh, Tennessee,
On the Sixth of April,
     Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-two.
A man tried in many high offices
     And critical Enterprises
And found faithful in all;
     His life was one long Sacrifice of interest to Conscience;
And even that life, on a woeful Sabbath,
     Did he yield as a Holocaust at his Country's need.
Not wholly understood was he while he lived;
     But in his death his Greatness stands confessed
In a People's tears.
     Resolute, moderate, clear of Envy, yet not wanting
In that finer Ambition which makes men great and pure;
     In his Honor, impregnable;
In his Simplicity, sublime;
     No country e'er had a truer Son—no cause a nobler Champion;
No People a bolder Defender—no Principle a purer Victim
     Than the dead Soldier
Who sleeps here!
     The Cause for which he perished is lost—
The People for whom he fought are crushed—
     The Hopes in which he trusted are shattered—
The Flag he loved guides no more the charging lines;
     But his Fame consigned to the keeping of that Time which
Happily, is not so much the Tomb of Virtue as its Shrine,
     Shall, in the years to come, join modest Worth to Noble Ends.
In honor, now, our great Captain rests;
     A bereaved People mourn him;
Three Commonwealths proudly claim him;
     And History shall cherish him
Among those choice Spirits who, holding their Consciences unmixed
     with blame,
Have been, in all conjunctures, true to themselves, their People and
     their God.

1 This letter was begun on March 17th and finished March 20th.

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