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The battle of Chickamauga.

Report of Brigadier-General Preston, Commanding Di-vision.

Greenville, S. C., October 31, 1863.
Captain Gallaher, Assistant Adjutant General:
Captain,—I have the honor to transmit, in obedience to orders, a report of the part taken by my command in the battle of Chickamauga. [559]

On the 18th of September our forces advanced in several columns to cross the Chickamauga and give battle to the Federal army under General Rosecrans. Major-General Buckner's corps, consisting of Stewart's division and mine, moved on the road to Tedford's Ford, and on the evening of that day (Friday) my command bivouacked at Hunt's or Dalton's Ford, on the south bank of the river and east of the road. The skirmishers of Colonel Kelly's brigade soon discovered the enemy posted along the opposite bank of the stream, extending above in the direction of Lee and Gordon's Mill. Soon after nightfall General Gracie's brigade was moved across the ford and established in line of battle, running almost east and west, near Hunt's house, and a few hundred yards north of the river, where it remained during the night.

On the next morning my two remaining brigades crossed the river at dawn and were formed in line of battle in Hunt's field. Stewart's division soon occupied a position on my right and extended eastward in the direction of Tedford's Ford. Riding forward, I found troops of Brigadier-General Johnson's and Major-General Hood's commands forming in line of battle nearly at right angles to my own line, facing westward, toward the Chattanooga road, and afterwards met General Bragg, Major-General Hood and Major-General Buckner, who were conferring together. Having reported to Major-General Buckner the position of my troops, I returned, and about 8 o'clock received an order from him to advance through Hunt's field, in the direction of the enemy. Gracie's brigade was immediately conformed to the general line of battle and moved westwardly toward the main road— that runs north from Lafayette to Chattanooga. After advancing about six hundred yards it arrived near a sharp curve of the Chickamauga, which impeded further progress. I halted the command on the brow of the hill overlooking the stream and plain below. The enemy's lines and batteries were discovered about fifteen hundred yards distant, in the direction of Lee and Gordon's Mill, across the bend of the river, which it would have been necessary to cross twice, with an open field intervening, swept by their artillery, had the advance continued straight forward. Having halted Gracie, I drew up Kelly's brigade three hundred yards in the rear, upon a declivity in the field, and Trigg's brigade about three hundred yards in rear of Kelly's, on the prolongation of Bates' brigade, of Stewart's division, which was on the right—thus forming my division in a column of three brigades.

A rocky hill near Gracie's right, overlooking the field below, afforded [560] an excellent position for artillery. Upon it I posted Jeffries' battery. The enemy commenced shelling my lines rapidly, and I lost a commissioned officer—killed—and a few men of the Sixth Florida, with Lieutenant Lane and others of the Sixty-Third Tennessee wounded. A shot or two was fired by Jeffries, but I ordered the battery to cease firing, as the distance was too great to assure proper accuracy. My troops remained in ranks without further reply, patiently enduring the fire. About 12 o'clock, in compliance with an order received from Major-General Buckner, I moved my command by the right flank, from about six or eight hundred yards, to a position somewhat west of north from Hunt's field. Trigg's brigade occupied the front, in a woodland near a small cabin. Gracie was formed near Trigg, and Kelly was posted in the rear, supporting Leyden's battalion of artillery.

No further event of importance occurred during the day to Gracie's or Kelly's brigades. Soon after Trigg occupied his position, some three hundred yards in advance of Gracie and Kelly, his skirmishers, under Colonel Maxwell, engaged those of the enemy with spirit, and some two hours afterwards were driven in by the enemy's artillery. There was a small cornfield three or four hundred yards in front of Trigg, in which the enemy were posted. About 2 or 3 o'clock a continuous and heavy fire of infantry and artillery, and their shells exploding behind our rear lines, announced a conflict near the field in front. I was informed that Hood's division was attacking the enemy in the field, whilst my division was held in reserve. Soon after I received an order from Major-General Buckner to detach a brigade and reinforce General Hood. For this purpose Colonel Trigg was ordered to advance in the direction of the firing, and to give the required support. The action soon became hot in front. Trigg joined Brigadier-General Robertson, of Hood's division, and attacked the enemy. They were broken in confusion. The Sixth Florida, under Colonel Findley, sustained heavy loss, but owing to some misapprehension of orders, the brigade failed to capture the enemy's battery, or to reap the fruits of their repulse. As I was not personally superintending the attack, I refer to the report of Colonel Trigg for details.

Riding forward, however, I found the evidences of a stubborn and sanguinary conflict in the margin of the wood and the cornfield beyond, from which the enemy were retiring their lines. Night coming on, Trigg bivouacked in the woodland and near the edge of the cornfield, while Gracie and Kelly occupied a position in front of a little [561] hut, near which Major-General Buckner had established his headquarters.

I have no means of ascertaining, with accuracy, the loss sustained by my division on Saturday, but estimate it at about one hundred and fifty or one hundred and seventy-five killed and wounded nearly all of whom were from Trigg's brigade. During the night Gracie's and Kelley's brigades were vigorously engaged in constructing defences to strengthen the left, and in the morning Williams's and Leyden's battalions of artillery were supported by my infantry, under cover of good field entrenchments.

On Sunday, about midday, the battle became fierce along the right towards Chattanooga, and there was a general advance of the left wing under Lieutenant-General Longstreet. Stewart's division and Trigg's brigade were moved forward northwestwardly, in the direction of Brotherton's house, on the Chattanooga road. Under an order from Major-General Buckner, I advanced with Gracie's and Kelly's brigades, with the exception of the Sixty-fifth Georgia, Colonel Moore, which was left to protect Jeffries's battery, near Hunt's field, on the left. Gracie's and Kelley's brigades were formed in line of battle across the Chattanooga road in front of Brotherton's house, and Trigg a short distance in the rear. The enemy, in some fields on the north, maintained an active fire of shot and shell on my troops until about half-past 3 o'clock, when I received an order to move towards Dyer's house and field to support Brigadier-General Kershaw. Guided by Captain Terrill, I advanced with Gracie's and Kelly's brigades. Trigg's having been retained near Brotherton's by Major-General Buckner to resist an apprehended attack of cavalry on our left and rear. After moving through the woodland between the Chattanooga road and Dyer's farm house, I reached a large field extending northward to some wooded ravines and heights.

These heights stretch nearly east and west from the Lafayette and Chattanooga road, to another nearly parallel road running from Crawfish Spring to Rossville, and about two miles west of the former. From the edge of Dyer's field the ground descends to a wooded ravine, and after two or three intervening depressions, each succeeding height being more elevated, you reach the summit of the ridge, which is some two hundred feet above the level of the plain. Along this ridge the enemy were drawn up under General Thomas, as it is believed from the statement of prisoners. A strong battery was posted on the loftiest and most eastern of these heights, towards [562] Snodgrass' house and Chattanooga. On the northeast the undulations were gentle, and cleared fields and farms stretched away to the eastward to open and wooded plains.

Upon these plains the battle had raged during the day, and the heights were the key of the enemy's position, and his last stronghold. As soon as the advance brigade of Gracie reached Dyer's field, I ordered him to form in line of battle, with his left wing resting near a tall pine on the summit of the hill near the edge of the field, and in front of the enemy's strongest position. This was done with great animation and in admirable order. I then directed Colonel Kelly to form his brigade on the left of Gracie, and to change direction to the right as he advanced. The owner of the farm, John Dyer, one of my couriers, gave me a most accurate and valuable description of the local topography, and I directed Kelly to cover and protect Gracie's left. Whilst engaged in bringing Kelly into position, Gracie's brigade disappeared in the wood, advancing against the battery hill. I ordered Captain Blackburn, my volunteer Aid-de-Camp, to follow and ascertain from General Gracie by what authority he had moved. General Gracie replied that he had been ordered to advance by Brigadier-General Kershaw, who was in the ravine just beyond the field. The movement was slightly premature, as Kelly was not formed, but I at once ordered his brigade forward, and sent Captain Blackburn to direct him to oblique to the right again, so as to press toward the slope of the hill in the rear, while Gracie was attacking in front. The enemy had kept up a rapid artillery fire from the hill and across the field, but Gracie, passing through Kershaw's ranks, which were halted in the first ravine beyond the field, dashed over the ridge beyond and into the hollows between it and the battery hill.

The brigade advanced with splendid courage, but was met by a destructive fire of the enemy from the cover of their field works on the hill. The Second Alabama battalion stormed the hill and entered the entrenchments. Here an obstinate and bloody combat ensued. Brigadier General Gracie, whilst bravely leading his men, had his horse shot under him. Lieutenant-Colonel Fulkerson, commanding the Sixty-third Tennessee; Lieutenant-Colonel Jolly, of the Forty-third Alabama; Lieutenant-Colonel Holt, of the First Alabama battalion; and Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, of the Second Alabama battalion, were severely wounded whilst gallantly leading their respective commands in the assault on the hill. Many brave officers and men here fell. The brigade carried into action about two thousand and three officers [563] and men, and, in the space of an hour, lost six hundred and ninety-eight killed and wounded. The Second Alabama battalion, out of two hundred and thirty nine, lost one hundred and sixty-nine killed and wounded. In the action its color was pierced in eighty-three places, and was afterwards, by request, presented to his Excellency, the President, who promoted the brave standard-bearer, Robert W. Heith, for conspicuous courage. George W. Norris, of Captain Wise's company, of Hall's battalion, fell at the foot of the enemy's flag-staff, and was buried at the spot where he had so nobly died.

Gracie's brigade advanced between four and five o'clock, and Kelly moved about ten minutes afterwards to assail the second hill on the ridge, three or four hundred yards west of the battery hill. I ordered him to change direction obliquely to the right, which was promptly done, and, in a few minutes, the brigade had passed beyond the troops halted on the left of Kershaw's brigade, in the ravine, and engaged the enemy on the ridge, three or four hundred yards beyond. Then a desperate combat ensued, the hostile forces being not more than thirty or forty yards apart. Kelly gained the hill after a bloody struggle, and the enemy vainly sought to dislodge him from it.

Just as I first formed and moved Kelly into action, I met Major-General Hindman and staff, on the summit of the hill, near Dyer's field. The General, though suffering from a contusion in the neck, from a fragment of shell, remained in the saddle. He informed me of the state of affairs, and assured me of my opportune arrival, and authorized me to post a battery of his on a point of the field so as to guard against, and cover any repulse of my troops, or any adverse event. This was done by me, though I did not learn the name of the officer commanding the battery. When the fire on Gracie and Kelly was fully developed, its great volume and extent assured me that support was indispensable. At once I despatched Captain Blackburne, Captain Preston and Lieutenant Johnston, of my staff, with orders to bring Trigg's brigade forward rapidly, and to inform Major-General Buckner, at Brotherton's, of my situation, and the urgent necessity of the order. Shortly after Captain Harvey Jones, Acting Adjutant-General of Gracie's brigade, rode up and informed me that Gracie had gained the hill, but could not hold it without reinforcements. I instructed him to inform Gracie that the hill must be held at all hazards, and that I would send Colonel Trigg to his support in a few minutes. Soon after Colonel Kelly sent me word, [564] by Lieutenant McDaniel, that he could not hold the hill without succor, and I gave him a similar response. This was about the period of the heaviest fire, and I rode forward to where Colonel Kelly was engaged on the hill, and Lieutenant McDaniel brought him to me. I reiterated the order, and the assurance of Trigg's speedy arrival, and passed on to the right, where I met General Gracie. He reported his ammunition almost exhausted, and was withdrawing his men to replenish his cartridge-boxes.

In the meantime General Buckner had sent me Colonel Trigg's brigade, which, advancing in double-quick time, arrived at a critical moment, while the battle was raging fiercely. One of Trigg's regiments went to the support of General Gracie, while the remainder of his brigade was ordered to form on the left of Kelly, and to attack the enemy on the ridge. This fresh brigade, moving over the troops halted in the valley below, assaulted with great ardor the enemy on the left of Kelly, and quickly carried the first ridge. The fresh and lengthened line of fire from this fine command reanimated our men, and disheartened the enemy, who relinquished their first position, and fell back to a second ridge, occupied by a strong force and posted behind fieldworks. A momentary lull ensued. Brigadier-General Robertson reported to me, and I directed him to occupy and hold the position from which Gracie had withdrawn to replenish his ammunition. I sent, at this time, for Colonel Kelly, who reported in person, and informed me that the enemy in his front seemed in confusion. I directed him to use his discretion and press the advantage by advancing as far as practicable, with Trigg wheeling to the right, toward the declivity of the battery hill, stretching towards Chattanooga. It was now moonlight, and Kelly, returning to his command, after a few minutes absence from it, the fire reopened, and, continuing for a short time, ceased. It was the last fire of the day, and closed the battle.

In the last attack made by Trigg and Kelly, Colonel Hawkins, of the Fifth Kentucky, a brave and skillful officer of Kelly's brigade, captured two colonels, one lieutenant-colonel, a number of company officers, and two hundred and forty-nine prisoners. The Twenty-second Michigan, the Eighty-ninth Ohio and part of the Twenty-first Ohio regiments were captured by Trigg's and Kelly's brigades, and five stand of colors were taken by Sergeant Timmons, of the Seventh Florida regiment, and by Privates Heneker, Harris, Hylton and Carter, [565] of the Fifty-fourth Virginia. Colonels Carlton, Lefebvre and Lieutenant-Colonel Glenn were among the prisoners

The next morning about four thousand five hundred stand of arms, which had been thrown away by the flying enemy, were secured by my command. I learned that Steadman's division and troops from General Granger's reserve corps held the heights attacked by my division, and from captured artillerists, at Snodgrass' house, that the hill had been occupied by a battery of the regular army and another from Ohio.

Among the wounded at Snodgrass' house, where a hospital had been established by the enemy, were many prisoners, some of whom were from Crittenden's corps, portions of which seem also to have occupied the hill. In the attack on the hill no artillery could be used by us effectively.

The struggle was alone for the infantry. Few fell who were not struck down by the rifle or the musket. Whilst at the height of the engagement, the reserve artillery of Major Williams opened fire, by order of Major-General Buckner, on the rear lines of the enemy, but with what effect I could not judge. The fire served, however, to draw that of the enemy to another part of the field on my right.

As my line advanced, I sent word to General Buckner requesting him to cause Williams to cease firing, or he would enfilade my men, who had now the ridge, and the batteries were promptly stopped. The battalion of Georgia artillery under Major Leyden was engaged with Colonel Trigg on Saturday, and that of Captain Jeffries, protected by the Sixty-fifth Georgia, occupied an important position on the left. Captain Peebles's battery, of Major Leyden's command, sustained a small loss in the engagement. No opportunity for the advantageous use of his guns was offered in that quarter of the field.

I refer to Major Leyden's report for details.

The next morning I ordered the burial of the dead. Many of our brave men had fallen in charging the slopes leading to the summit of the ridge. The musketry from the low breastworks of the enemy on the hill, attacked by General Gracie, had set fire to the dry foliage, and scorched and blackened corpses gave fearful proof of the heroism and suffering of the brave men who had stormed the hill. The ground occupied by the enemy's battery was strewn with slain. [566] More to the north, in a wooded dell in front of Kelly and Trigg, many dead and wounded of the enemy were found, who had fled the combat and sought concealment in its shadows All the dead along my lines, whether friend or enemy, were buried, and the wounded removed to the hospital

I have already mentioned the services of Brigadier-General Gracie and his command, and desire to express my approval of the courage and skill he manifested in the battle. It also affords me pleasure to notice the valuable services of Colonel I. M. Moody, Lieutenant-Colonel Sanford, Major McLennan, Captain Walam and Surgeon Luckie, of Gracie's brigade. Colonel Trigg maintained and increased his justly merited reputation as a brave and skillful officer. Every order was executed with energy and intelligence. To the rapidity with which he moved his command to the support of Kelly's and Gracie's brigades, and availed himself of the advantages of the field, I attributed, in a great measure, the success of my command in carrying the position. Colonel Findlay, of the Sixth Florida, moved at once to my support, with Lieutenant-Colonel Wade, of the Fifty-fourth Virginia, while the Seventh Florida, under Colonel Bullock, was brought forward by Colonel Trigg in person. During the struggle for the heights Colonel Kelly had his horse shot under him, and displayed great courage and skill. He animated his men by his example, and with unshaken firmness retained the ground he had won. During the action he was reinforced by a regiment from the brigade of Brigadier-General Patton Anderson, who was in his vicinity; for which timely aid I desire to express my obligations.

Colonel Kelly took into action eight hundred and seventy-six officers and men; one of his regiments (the Sixty-fifth Georgia) being detached, and lost three hundred killed and wounded. Colonel Palmer, of the Fifty-eighth North Carolina, though wounded, remained on the field, and bravely commanded his regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Kirby, a young, brave and lamented officer of the same regiment, fell early in the action. Captain Lynch, of the Sixty-third Virginia, and Lieutenant-Colonel Conner, Major Myneher and Adjutant Thomas B. Cook, of the Fifth Kentucky, merit honorable mention. Captain Joseph Desha, of the Fifth Kentucky, who, though painfully wounded, remained on the field until the enemy was defeated, deserves especial commendation. Captain Desha has [567] been often in action, and always honorably mentioned, and I respectfully recommend him for promotion.

The actual strength of the command taken by me into action on Sunday, was three thousand seven hundred and fifty-two men, and three hundred and twenty-six officers, being an aggregate of four thousand and seventy-eight infantry, and my total loss in the battle was twelve hundred and seventy-five killed and wounded, and sixty-one missing—nearly all of the lost having been subsequently accounted for.

I desire to express my thanks to my staff for the efficient aid they rendered me. Major W. M. Owen, Chief of Artillery; Captain Sanford, Assistant Adjutant-General; Captain Edward C. Preston, Division Inspector; Lieutenant Edward Whitfield, Ordnance Officer; Lieutenant Adams, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector-General; Lieutenant Harris H. Johnston, Aid-de-Camp, and Captain I. C. Blackburne, volunteer Aid-de-Camp, were actively employed during the battle, and I tender to them the assurance of my sense of their valuable services on the field. Lieutenant Bowles, of Morgan's cavalry, was temporarily attached to my staff, and assisted me greatly during the engagement. Major Edward Crutchfield, Quartermaster, and Major Bradford, were under orders a short distance in the rear, but availed themselves of each interval to join me at the front, and fulfilled their respective duties to my entire satisfaction. Surgeon Benjamin Gillespie, by the establishment of field hospitals and his care of the wounded, merits my thanks and official notice.

Enclosed, I transmit the reports of General Gracie, Colonels Kelly and Trigg, with others of subordinate officers. I refer to them for many details which cannot be embraced in this report, and invite attention to the instances of skill and gallantry shown by officers and men, which they record. The troops of my division had never been engaged in any important battle, having been stationed during the war chiefly in Southwestern Virginia and East Tennessee, to defend their mountain passes from invasion. Held in reserve while the conflict raged around them for a day and a half, they manifested a noble ardor to share its dangers and its glories. Though long in service and not aspiring to the title of veterans, I felt strong confidence in their patriotism, courage and discipline. The hour for the trial of all these great qualities arrived; every hope was justified, and I feel assured that both officers and men, won honorable and enduring renown [568] upon the memorable field of Chickamauga. I have the honor to remain your obedient servant,

W. Preston, Brigadier-General, P. A. C. S.

Tabular statement of the strength of Preston's division in the battle of Chickamauga, and the return of the killed, wounded, and missing.

command.effective strength.killed, wounded, and missing.
Sept. 19TH, 1863.Sept. 20TH,
Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.Officers.Enlisted Men.
Gracie's Brigade1351,9921341,8696843057827725
Trigg's Brigade1191,4171081,091343182135282
Kelly's Brigade11091,037847925571522329329

W. Preston, Brigadier-General Commanding Division.

Notes and Queries.

Did General George H. Thomas hesitate to draw his sword against his native State—Virginia?

We have collected the most conclusive proof that General Thomas had at first fully decided to come South and cast his lot with his own people, and we only await some additional proofs that have been promised us before publishing a full statement of the facts. But, in the meantime, it may be as well to put into our records the testimony of Senator Cameron, of Pennsylvania, in his speech in the United States Senate, on the bill for the relief of General Fitz. John Porter. Mr. Cameron, in the course of his defence of General Porter, said: [569]

It became my duty to take charge of the railroad from Harrisburg to Baltimore, and while so engaged an incident occurred in my office which impressed me greatly at the time, and which it has always seemed to me should atone to a great extent for any errors General Porter may have committed, if any, at a later period of the war. It was to a great extent through him, in my judgment, that the services of General George H. Thomas were secured to the side of the Union. General Thomas, then Major Thomas, was stationed at Carlisle Barracks. There were at the same time two other Majors of the army stationed at the same place—I have forgotten their names, but that is immaterial, for the records of the War Department will show—when an order was received from the War Department by a messenger, who came across the country, directing Major Porter to send the troops then at Carlisle to Washington, with directions to have them cut their way through. It is the language of this order which makes me say that this was at one of the darkest periods of the war. The capital of the nation was menaced by an enemy camping within a few miles of it, and had but a handful of men for its protection. Porter, with a quick perception of the gravity of the situation and showing a thorough knowledge of the fitness of the man for the duty to be performed, selected Thomas from the three Majors, and ordered him to report to him at my office in Harrisburg, that being Porter's headquarters.

Thomas arrived there promptly the same evening. When informed of the duty to be performed, Thomas hesitated, and then began a conversation between the two officers, which continued until morning, and made a lasting impression on my mind. Thomas argued against the war, taking the ground that the trouble had been brought upon the country by the abolitionists of the North, and that while deploring it as sincerely as any man could, the South had just cause for complaint. Porter took the position that he, Thomas, as a soldier, had no right to look at the cause of the trouble, but as an officer of the United States army it was his duty to defend his flag whenever it was attacked, whether by foes from without or from within. Porter pleaded as zealously, as eloquently, as I have ever heard any man plead a cause in which his whole heart was engaged, and it was this pleading which caused Thomas to arrive at a decision.

‘I do not say that Thomas refused to obey his orders, but I do say that he hesitated and would much have preferred that the duty [570] had devolved upon another. Thomas was a Virginian, and had, as many other good and patriotic men had, great doubts as to the ability of the government to coerce the States back into the Union that had, by their legislatures, formally withdrawn, but having that night decided to remain with the Union, from that time forward there was no doubt, no hesitancy, no wavering, but an earnest, hearty support to the side which had for its interest the Union, and to-day his name is among the brightest, best and purest of its military heroes. If Fitz John Porter was to any extent instrumental in saving this great name to our list of military heroes, I ask, Should not this country be grateful to him? I think it should.’

General Sherman's slanders of Confederate leaders.—

Time does not seem to soften the bitterness of the ‘Great Bummer’ and Burner of the war, but he seems to lose no opportunity to vent his spleen against ‘Rebel conspirators’ and ‘Traitors.’ And in his blind malignity he shows a reckless disregard of the truth, which is utterly amazing. At the formal opening of the new hall of the Frank Blair Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a few weeks ago, General Sherman, in the course of his address, stated that President Davis (‘Jeff. Davis,’ he rudely calls him), ‘was a conspirator a the opening of the rebellion, and that his aim was to make himself dictator of the South, and that, in a letter to a man who is now a United States Senator, he had said he would turn Lee's army against any State that might attempt to secede from the Southern Confederacy.’

This statement brought out the following reply from our patriotic, chivalric chief:

Beauvoir, Miss., November 6, 1884.
Editor St. Louis Republican .
Dear Sir,—I have to-night received the enclosed published account of remarks made by General W. T. Sherman, and ask the use of your columns to notice only so much as particularly refers to myself, and which is to be found in the following extracts. The following is taken from the St. Louis Republican.

Frank P. Blair Post, G. A. R., opened their new hall, corner of Seventeenth and Olive streets, last evening. General Sherman said the people of the North would have all been slaves.’ [571]

The following is from the Globe-Democrat's report:

‘Referring to the late war, he said it was not, as was generally understood, a war of secession from the United States, but a conspiracy. “I have been behind the curtain,” said he, “and I have seen letters that few others have seen, and have heard conversations that cannot be repeated, and I tell you that Jeff. Davis never was a secessionist. He was a conspirator. He did not care for division from the United States. His object was to get a fulcrum from which to operate against the Northern States, and if he had succeeded he would to-day be the master-spirit of the continent, and you would be his slaves. I have seen a letter from Jeff. Davis to a man whose name I cannot mention, because he is a United States Senator. I know Davis's writing, and saw his signature, and in that letter he said he would turn Lee's army against any State that might attempt to secede from the Southern Confederacy.” ’

This public assault, under the covert plea that it is based upon information which regard for a United States Senator does not permit him (General Sherman) to present, will, to honorable minds, suggest the idea of irresponsible slanders. It is thus devolved upon me to say that the allegation of my ever having written such a letter as is described is unqualifiedly false, and the assertion that I had any purpose or wish to destroy the liberty and equal rights of any State, either North or South, is a reckless and shameless falsehood, especially because it was generally known that for many years before, as well as during the war, between the States, I was an earnest advocate of the strict construction State rights theory of Mr. Jefferson.

‘What motive other than personal malignity can be conceived for so gross a libel? If General Sherman had access to any letters purporting to have been written by me which will sustain his accusation, let him produce them, or wear the brand of a base slanderer.’

To this letter General Sherman has made no reply, save to publish a letter purporting to have been written by Vice-President Stephens to Honorable H. V. Johnson, and condemning in strong terms some of the measures of Mr. Davis's administration, though affording not a scintilla of proof of General Sherman's charges, and utterly at variance with some of Mr. Stephens's published opinions concerning Mr. Davis.

General Sherman has not yet produced the letter which he claims to have seen, and he cannot produce any evidence to substantiate his slander. [572]

Another of General Sherman's recent slanders is his charging General Albert Sidney Johnston with a ‘conspiracy’ to turn over to the Confederacy the troops he commanded on the Pacific Coast at the breaking out of the war.

Colonel William Preston Johnston (the gallant and accomplished son of the great soldier and stainless gentleman) promptly branded this statement as false, and its author as a slanderer. General Sherman's own witness failed him, and, indeed, gave strong testimony against him, and he was forced to admit that he was, in this case, mistaken.

But we need go into no further details. If our readers will recall what we have published concerning General Sherman's connection with the burning of Columbia, and the conflicting statements he has made concerning it, and if they will turn to his own Memoirs, Vol. II, page 278, and see how he coolly publishes to the world an admission that in his official report he was guilty of willful and deliberate false-hood in charging General Wade Hampton with burning Columbia, when he knew that he did not, ‘in order to shake the faith of his people in him’[Hampton]—we say that if they will only look a little into the record of this champion slanderer of the South, they will not be surprised at any reckless statement which he may make.

Mr. Corcoran's tribute to General Lee.—In sending Professor J. J. White, of Lexington, Va., a contribution of $1,000 towards making up the last $6,000 necessary to complete the Lee Mausoleum, Mr. W. W. Corcoran, the noble philanthropist, paid General Lee the following graceful and feeling tribute, which is worthy of a place in our records:

‘It is, perhaps, superfluous to add that it affords me a melancholy satisfaction to testify—even in this imperfect manner—my respect for the memory of a valued friend, the grandeur of whose character commanded the admiration of ever Southern heart. Happily blending the qualities of a hero with the graces of a Christian, General Lee was the embodiment of my ideal conception of all that constitutes a truly good and great man.’

A Northern estimate of relative numbers and losses

During the war.—We clip the following from the Philadelphia Record:

A correspondent asks us to state the number of men engaged in [573] the late war on both sides. Respecting the Confederate force, statistics are at variance. The Adjutant-General of the Confederate army, in a statement since the close of hostilities, estimated the entire Confederate force, capable of service in the field, at 600,000 men. Of this number, not more than 400,000 were enrolled at any time, and the Confederate States never had in the field at once more than 200,000 men. When the war ended the Southern army was reduced to less than one-half this number. The official reports of the War Department set down the grand total of troops furnished the Union armies at 2,850,132. Reduced to a uniform three years standard, the whole number of troops enlisted amounted to 2,320,272. The number of casualties among the Union troops and those taken prisoners together, by far exceeded the entire Confederate forces. The Provost-Marshal General reported in 1866 that the losses of the Union were: Killed in battle, 61,362; died of wounds, 34,727; of disease, 183,287; total, 279,376. The Union troops captured during the war numbered 212,008. Actual decrease of the army, 491,984.

the Appomattox apple tree once more.—We have received from Colonel T. M. R. Talcott, at that time in command of the First Regiment of Confederate Engineers, the following letter, in reply to an inquiry from us, which fully confirms the note made in our last issue:

Richmond, November 3d, 1884.
The Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D. D., Secretary, &
Dear Sir.—The note on ‘Appomattox Apple Tree’ states correctly the fact that my regiment furnished a guard to General Lee; but it is also true that there were no negotiations between General Lee and General Grant at the point referred to. General Lee himself stated to me at the time that he was waiting for a reply to a dispatch he had sent to General Grant, and as soon as a reply was received he rode towards Appomattox Court House with Colonel Marshall. On his return from Appomattox Court House (as he passed my lines) he told me of the terms of surrender, which he had accepted.

The cordon of sentinels was placed around General Lee and his staff at the request of Col. Walter Taylor; and one object was, I think, to keep straggling Federal officers away from the General. I remember seeing several Federal officers of high rank who seemed to be very inquisitive.

Yours, very truly,

1 The Sixty-fifth Georgia detached on September 20th.

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