Gen Albert Sidney Johnston
To the editors of the Dispatch:
Republics, it is said, are often ungrateful.--There has been no exemplification of this fact than the lately raised against a gallant officer for unavoidable disasters.
I refer to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston
Calm reflection, however, is now proving
the gross injustice of the popular clamor, which blamed him for the capture of Fort Donelson
by an overwhelming force of the enemy Do your readers know what force Gen. Johnston
Besides the 14, 000 at Fort Donelson
, he had not more than 10,000 men on his retreat from Bowling Green
.--He could not be ubiquitous, and could not, with so small a force.
against a column of 80,000 troops.
Did he not use every exertion to rouse up Tennessee
, and urge the people to make such preparations as would render Nashville
The writer knows that he did as far back as October last.
The people of that State are a gallant race, the citizens of Nashville
are as true and loyal to our Government as any in the South
I have not a word or a reflection to make against them; but they did not dream of the enemy attacking Tennessee
, and all of Gen. Johnston
's efforts and appeals were rendered fruitless by the unfortunate and mistaken confidence which the people had in the ability of our small army to repel a host of invaders.
I wish to call the attention of your readers to the testimony of Gov. Harris
, in his late message to the Legislature at Memphis
"Immediately upon hearing of the fall of Fort Donelson
, I called upon Gen. Johnston
to tender to him all the resources of the State
which could be made available, with my full co-operation in any and all measures of defence of our State and capital.
informed me that under the circumstances which surrounded him, with the small force then under his command, he regarded it as his duty to the army he commanded and the Government
he represented, to fall back with his army south of Nashville
, making no defence of the city, and that he would do so immediately upon the arrival of the army from Bowling Green
The necessity for this retrograde movement, I am certain, was deeply regretted by Gen. Johnston
None could have deplored it more seriously than myself.
"Many weeks before this crisis in our affairs, Gen. Johnston
sent a highly accomplished and able engineer, Major Gilmer
to construct first cations for the defence of the city.
Laborers were needed for their construction.
I joined Major Gilmer
in an earnest and urgent appeal to the people to send in their laborers for this purpose, offering and fair compensation.
This appeal was so responded to that I advised Gen. Johnston
to impress the necessary labor, but owing to the difficulty in obtaining the laborers, the works were not completed; indeed, some of them little more the a commenced, when Fort Donelson
I make the prediction now, that General Johnston
will yet prove himself to be a General of surpassing ability and sagacity.
He is long-headed and clear headed, and strengthened as he is, the day is not distant when his gentle will add fresh laurels to his own brow and lasting fame to the Confederacy
He has not had the opportunity to display his talents.
When a fair field is presented to him, the nation, with one acclaim, will hall him as among the noblest and trust of her sons.