Chapter 41

 

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Robert E. Lee | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Chapter 30 | Chapter 31 | Chapter 32 | Chapter 33 | Chapter 34 | Chapter 35 | Chapter 36 | Chapter 37 | Chapter 38 | Chapter 39 | Chapter 40 | Chapter 41 | Chapter 42 | Chapter 43 | Chapter 44 | Chapter 45 | Chapter 46 | Chapter 47 | Chapter 48 | Chapter 49 | Chapter 50 | Chapter 51 | Appendix C | Index

MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR 

BY JACOB DOLSON COX, A.M., LL.D. 

Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps_ 

VOLUME II 

NOVEMBER 1863-JUNE 1865 

 CHAPTER XLI 

THE REST AT ATLANTA--STAFF ORGANIZATION AND CHANGES 

 Position of the Army of the Ohio at Decatur--Refitting for a new campaign--Depression of Hood's army--Sherman's reasons for a temporary halt--Fortifying Atlanta as a new base--Officers detailed for the political campaign--Schofield makes inspection tour of his department--My temporary command of the Army of the Ohio--Furloughs and leaves of absence--Promotions of several colonels--General Hascall resigns--Staff changes--My military family--Anecdote of Lieutenant Tracy--Discipline of the army--Sensitiveness to approval or blame--Illustration--Example of skirmishing advance--Sufferings of non-combatants within our lines--A case in point--Pillaging and its results--Citizens passing through the lines--"The rigors of the climate"--Visit of Messrs. Hill and Foster--McPherson's death--The loss to Sherman and to the army--His personal traits--Appointment of his successor. 

 At the close of the first week in September the Army of the Ohio encamped at Decatur, and prepared for a month's rest. My division took position on the east of the little town, Hascall's on the south, and our division of cavalry under Colonel Israel Garrard was east of us, with outposts and patrols watching the roads in that direction as far as Stone Mountain. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 828.] The Army of the Cumberland was encamped about Atlanta itself, and the Army of the Tennessee was at East Point. As Sherman cheerily announced in general orders, we might expect "to organize, receive pay, replenish clothing, and prepare for a fine winter's campaign." [Footnote: _Id._, p. 801.] 

It was of course probable that Hood would use the interval, which was even more welcome to him than to us, in similar preparation for resuming the struggle, though the resources of the Confederacy were so strained that the Treasury was in debt to the soldiers for ten months' pay. He told the government that "it would be of vast benefit to have this army paid," [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 1027.] but this expressed his desire rather than a hope. Depression reigned in his camps about Lovejoy's Station, of which the name was a mockery. Dissent was rife among his general officers, and with the whole army he had lost prestige by the costly failure of his campaign. A period of rest might relieve the discouragement somewhat, and stringent means were to be used to bring absentees and conscripts to the ranks. Hardee was transferred to Savannah; Mackall, Johnston's devoted friend, was removed from the head of the staff, and other changes of organization were made with a view to give Hood the men of his own choice in important positions. [Footnote: These were mostly in accordance with Hood's recommendations to General Bragg when the latter visited him at the end of July. See Bragg to Davis, _Id._, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 713.] 

Sherman was fully aware that he would have many advantages in pushing after Hood at once, but besides his army's real need of rest, he was clear in his judgment that he must, at this stage of affairs, prepare for a campaign on a great scale to be continued through the winter till great results should be achieved. If the line of operations was to be extended toward Mobile, as was contemplated by General Grant at the opening of the campaign, or if Hood should retreat toward the east, in either case he must make Atlanta a fortified base. Experience had proven that his long line of communications was liable to interruption, and would be still more so as he penetrated further into Georgia. He must have a well-supplied and well-protected depot in the same relations to the next forward movement that Chattanooga had been to the campaign just finished. He wanted to get his share of the drafted men under the conscription law now in operation, to fill up the places of regiments whose terms had expired, and to be assured that Canby from New Orleans would co-operate in a settled plan. He was already revolving in his mind other problems which Hood might possibly open for solution; but the probability seemed strong that the Confederate army would bar the way to his advance, and must be beaten and driven back again. His first task, therefore, was to prepare Atlanta for his uses. "I want it," he said, "a pure Gibraltar, and will have it so by October 1st." [Footnote: Dispatch to Halleck, September 9th. See also that of September 4th, in which his ideas were fully outlined. Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 794, 839.] This use of the town made it necessary to remove the resident citizens, sending north those who were loyal and ordering south those who adhered to the Confederacy. As a fortified depot must be ready for a siege, trade and free intercourse with the surrounding country could not go on. The inhabitants, therefore, would be dependent on the army for food, their industries must cease, and it was more merciful to them, as well as a military necessity, to send them away. [Footnote: Sherman to Hood, _Id_., p. 822.] 

The temporary interruption of active campaigning was eagerly seized upon as an opportunity for leaves of absence by those whose private and family affairs urgently called for attention. The presidential campaign was on, and in consultation with Governor Morton of Indiana, Secretary Stanton selected half a dozen officers from that State, which was politically a doubtful one, to vary their labors in the field by "stumping the State" for a month. The form of the request indicates the feeling as to the character of the civil contest. "In view," said the Secretary, "of the armed organizations against the Government of the United States that have been made throughout the State of Indiana and are now in active operation in the campaign for Jefferson Davis, this department deems it expedient that the officers named should have leave to go home, provided they can be spared without injury to the service." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 802. Among these appears the name of Colonel Benjamin Harrison, 70th Indiana, afterward President. Sherman's characteristic reply was sent from camp near Jonesboro, on 6th September: "The officers named in your dispatch of the 5th will be ordered to report to the Governor of Indiana for special duty, as soon as I return to Atlanta, which will be in a day or two unless the enemy shows fight, which I am willing to accept on his own terms if he will come outside of his cursed rifle-trenches." _Id_., p. 809. I don't recall any other instance of a regular military detail for a political campaign.] Generals Logan and Blair also went North for similar work in Illinois and Missouri. 

In the middle of September General Schofield left the army for a time, to visit Knoxville and Louisville, within his department, on official business, and extended his absence for a brief reunion with his family north of the Ohio. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 379; pt. iii. p. 10.] This left me in command of the Army of the Ohio, and Hood's later movement upon our communications prevented Schofield's return till the end of our active campaign in October. A liberal issue of furloughs to enlisted men, especially convalescents in hospital, was made, so that we might get them back in robust health and good spirits when the fall campaign should open. General Hascall resigned and left us, and the command of his division passed to General Joseph A. Cooper, who had been promoted from the colonelcy of the Sixth East Tennessee. My own division was temporarily commanded by General James W. Reilly, who had been promoted on my recommendation from the colonelcy of the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio. Hascall had commanded his division with marked ability throughout the campaign, but had become discouraged by the evidences that he need expect no recognition from the Indiana governor, [Footnote: See _ante_, vol. i. pp. 406, 485; vol. ii. p. 253.] whose influence was potent if not omnipotent in the promotion of Indiana officers. The recently announced promotion of Hovey over him seemed to him equivalent to an invitation to resign, and he acted upon it. 

The resting-spell at Decatur was the natural time for such changes in organization as had become necessary. The death of my adjutant-general, Captain Saunders, in June, made it necessary to fill that very important position, and my aide, Lieutenant Theodore Cox, was promoted to it. His regiment (the Eleventh Ohio) was just completing its term of enlistment, and he would be mustered out of service with it, unless a new appointment were given him, fairly won, as it had been, by two years of meritorious service. My request was so cordially backed by Generals Schofield and Sherman that there was no hesitation at Washington, and I secured for the rest of the war an invaluable assistant, whose system, accuracy, and neat methods made the business of my headquarters go on most satisfactorily. 

My inspector-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Sterling, felt obliged to resign for business reasons connected with events in his father's family, and I had to part with another faithful friend and able officer. As the adjutant-general is the centre of the formal organization, keeping its records, carrying on its correspondence, and formulating the orders of his chief, so the inspector-general is the organ of discipline and of soldierly instruction as well as the superintendent of the outpost and picket duty, which makes him the guardian of the camp and the head of the intelligence service when no special organization of the latter is made. He should be one of the most intelligent officers of the command, and a model of soldierly conduct. It was no easy thing to fill Colonel Sterling's place, but I was fortunate in the selection of Major Dow of the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, a quiet, modest man, a thorough disciplinarian of clear and strong intellect, and of that perfect self-possession which is proof against misjudgment in the most sudden and terrifying occurrences. 

I had brought with me from East Tennessee, as my chief of artillery, Major Wells, who had commanded an Illinois battery, and who directed the artillery service of the division with great success. My medical director was Surgeon-Major Frink, of Indiana, who, though he took the position by virtue of his seniority in the division medical staff, was as acceptable as if I had chosen him with fullest knowledge of his qualifications. The topographer was Lieutenant Scofield of the One Hundred and Third Ohio, educated in civil engineering, and indefatigable in collecting the data by which to correct the wretched maps which were our only help in understanding the theatre of operations. He was a familiar figure at the outposts, on his steadily ambling nag, armed with his prismatic compass, his odometer, and his sketch-book. The division commissary of subsistence was Captain Hentig, a faithful and competent officer who worked in full accord with Captain Day, the energetic quartermaster who had come with me over the mountains the preceding year. 

A general officer's aides-de-camp are usually his most intimate associates in the military family, and were sometimes selected with too much regard to their social qualities. Those of a major-general were appointed on his nomination, but a brigadier-general must detail the two allowed him, from the lieutenants in his command. When commanding a division, custom allowed him to detail a third. They were the only officers technically called the personal staff, the others being officers of the several staff corps, or merely detailed from regiments to do temporary duty. Thus, no inspector-general was allowed to a brigadier, but when commanding a division or other organization larger than a brigade, he was permitted to detail an officer of the line for the very necessary and responsible duty. The aides are authorized to carry oral orders and to explain them, to call for and to bring oral reports, and as the general's confidential and official representatives they should be of the most intelligent and soldierly men of their grade. All the other staff officers may be called upon to act as aides when it is necessary, but these are _ex officio_ the ordinary go-betweens, and, if fit for their work, are as cordially welcomed and almost as much at home with the brigade commanders as with their own chief. 

My senior aide, after my brother's promotion, was Lieutenant Coughlan of the Twenty-fourth Kentucky, a handsome young Irishman of very humble origin, to whom the military service had been the revelation of his own powers and a noble inspiration. He was lithe and well set up, though by no means a dandy; would spring at call for any duty, by night or by day, and delighted the more in his work, the more perilous or arduous it was. He was captured in the last days of our operations about Atlanta; [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 623.] but the exchange of prisoners negotiated by Sherman gave me the opportunity to secure his return after a month's captivity and imprisonment at Charleston. Two months later he died heroically in the battle of Franklin. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 356.] 

Lieutenant Bradley of the Sixty-fifth Illinois was second on the list, an excellent officer who was competent and ready to assist the adjutant-general in his department when work there was pressing. 

The third was Lieutenant Tracy of the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio, a man of original character. Tall and angular, there was a little stoop in his shoulders and a little carelessness in his dress. His gait was a long stride, and he was not a graceful horseman. His exterior had a good deal of the typical Yankee, and our Connecticut Reserve in Ohio, from which he came, has as pure a strain of Yankee blood as any in New England. But whoever looked into his sallow and bony face was struck with the effect of his large, serious eye, luminous with intelligence and will. Devotion to duty and perfect trustworthiness, with zeal in acquiring military knowledge, were the qualities which led to his selection for staff duty. When we were preparing for the great swing of the army to the south of Atlanta, my division had been advanced close to the enemy's position near East Point, where, from a strong salient in their works, their line curved back toward the east. Our position was to be the pivot of the movement, and we intrenched the top of a forest-covered knoll separated from the Confederate lines by a little hollow in which ran a small affluent of Camp Creek. Our pickets were directed to advance as close to the enemy as practicable, so that any attempt to make a sally would be detected promptly. Tracy had been directed to accompany the officer of the day and see that the outposts were in proper position. Early next morning General Schofield visited me, and desired to see in person the point most advanced. I called Tracy for our guide, and from the trenches we went down the slope, through the woods, on foot. A spur of the hill went forward, and as we neared the edge of the forest Tracy signalled to go quietly. Stooping carefully in the undergrowth, we noiselessly advanced to a fence corner where a sentinel stood behind a tree. Halting a few paces away, Tracy motioned to us to avoid moving the bushes, but to approach the fence and look between the rails. Doing so, we found the fence at the border of a little strip of hollow pasture in which the brooklet ran, and across it on the other slope, frowning upon us, was a formidable earthwork, an embrasure and the muzzle of a great Columbiad looking directly at us. The enemy's sentinels had been driven in, so that, where we looked, one was pacing his beat at the counterscarp of the ditch. As we drew back to a distance at which conversation was prudent, Tracy asked with a grim little smile whether the picket line was sufficiently advanced. The whole was characteristic of his thoroughness in the performance of duty and his silent way of letting it speak for itself. He was struck in the breast and knocked down by a spent ball in the assault by Reilly's brigade at Utoy Creek on August 6th, but in a week was on duty again, though he never wholly recovered from the injury to his lungs. [Footnote: Being in delicate health after the war, he was made Governor of the National Home for disabled soldiers at Dayton, Ohio, and died in 1868 from an abscess of the lung caused by the old injury.] 

Officers were detailed from the line for other staff duty, such as ordnance officer, commissary of musters, etc., and there was no lack of good material. The general officer who sought for sober, zealous, and bright young soldiers for his staff could always find them. They were his eyes and his hands in the responsible work of a campaign, yet their service was necessarily hidden a good deal from view, and their opportunities for personal distinction and rapid promotion were few compared with those of their comrades in actual command of troops. 

It was interesting to observe the rapid progress in all the essentials of good discipline made in commands which were permanent enough to give time for development of order and system. We were fortunate in Sherman's army in having in himself and in the three commanders next in rank examples of courteous treatment of subordinates coupled with steady insistence upon the prompt and right performance of duty. Under such a _regime_ intelligent men grow sensitive to the slightest indication of dissatisfaction, and a superior officer has to weigh his words lest he give more pain than he intended. An amusing instance of this occurred during the campaign just ended. Late one evening my division was directed to make a movement at sunrise next day, and the camp was quiet in sleep before my orders were sent out to the brigade commanders. He who was assigned to lead the column was an excellent officer, but irascible, and a little apt to make his staff officers feel the edge of any annoyance he himself felt. Some strain of relations among his assistants at his headquarters happened to be existing when my order came. He had turned in for the night and was asleep when his adjutant-general came to his tent to report the order. Not fully aroused, he made a rough and bluff reply to the call, really meaning that the staff officer should issue the proper orders to the brigade, but in form it was a petulant refusal to be bothered with the business. The adjutant took him literally at his word and left him. Next morning I was in the saddle at the time set, and with my staff rode to the brigade to accompany the head of the column, when, lo, his command was not yet astir, though in the rest of the camp breakfast was over, the tents struck, and officers and men were awaiting the signal to fall in. I rapped with my sword-hilt on the tent-pole, and when the dishevelled head of the colonel appeared, his speechless astonishment told the story of some great blunder. I did not stop for particulars, but only said, "Your brigade, colonel, was to have had the place of honor in an important day's work; as it is, you will fall in at the rear of the column. Good-morning, sir." He stood, without a word, till we rode off, and then turning to an aide who had come to him, exclaimed, "I wish to God he had cursed me!" 

In the movement upon Atlanta, after crossing the Chattahoochee, we were not met in force till we came to Peachtree Creek and the extension of that line southward. The country was similar in character to that near Marietta, with openings of farming lands along the principal roads, but probably three fourths of the country was covered with forest. In answer to questions from home as to what our continuous skirmishing in such advances was like, I took as a sample the 20th of July, when we were pushing in to connect with General Thomas's right, and he was making his way to and across Peachtree Creek, where the battle was to rage in the latter part of the day. 

"My camp last night," I said, "was formed of three brigades in two lines across the principal road, another brigade in reserve, and the artillery in the intervals, all in position of battle. A strong line of pickets and skirmishers covered the front and flanks some three hundred yards in advance. In the morning we drew in the flanks of the skirmish line, reducing it to about the length of one brigade across the road, and it was ordered to advance. The men go forward, keeping the line at right angles to the road, stopping for neither creek nor thicket; down ravines, over the hills, the skirmishers trotting from a big tree to a larger stone, taking advantage of everything which will cover them, and keeping the general form of the line and their distance from each other tolerably correct. The main body of the troops file into the road marching four abreast, with a battery near the leading brigade. Presently a shot is heard, off on the right, then two or three more in quick succession, and a bullet or two comes singing over the head of the column. 'They've started the Johnnies,' say the boys in the ranks, and we move on, the skirmish line still pushing right along. It proves to be only a rebel picket which has fired and run to apprise their comrades that the 'Yanks' are coming. Forward a few hundred yards, when, bang, bang, and a rattle of rifles too fast to count. The column is halted, and we ride to the skirmish line to see what is up. A pretty strong body of 'rebs' is about some old log houses with a good skirmish line on either side where our men must approach over two or three hundred yards of open fields. A regiment is moved up to the nearest cover on each side of the road, a section of artillery rattles up to the front, the guns are smartly unlimbered and pointed and a couple of shells go screaming into the improvised fort, exploding and scattering logs and shingles right and left. Out run the rebs in confusion, and forward with a rush and a hurrah go our men over the open, getting a volley from the other side. Into the woods they go. The rebs run; two or three are caught, perhaps, as prisoners, two or three of ours are carried to the rear on stretchers, and on we go again for a little way. This is light skirmishing. Sometimes we find extemporized breastworks of rails or fallen trees, requiring more force to dislodge the enemy, and then, finally, we push up to well-constructed lines of defence where we halt for slower and heavier operations." 

The inhabitants within our lines about Atlanta had a hard time of it, in spite of all efforts to mitigate their suffering. Their unwillingness to abandon their homes was very great, and it was very natural, for all they had was there, and to leave it was to be beggared. They sometimes, when within range of the artillery, built bomb-proofs near their houses, and took refuge in them, much as the people of the Western plains seek similar protection from tornadoes. In closing in on the west side of the town, near the head of Utoy Creek, we took in a humble homestead where the family tried to stay, and I find that I preserved, in another of my home letters, a description of the place and their life there. 

"Just within my lines" (this was written on August 11th), "and not ten paces from the breastworks, stands a log house owned by an old man named Wilson. A little before the army advanced to its present position, several relatives of his, with their families, came to him from homes regarded as in more imminent danger, and they united their forces to build, or dig, rather, a place of safety. They excavated a sort of cellar just in rear of the house, on the hillside, digging it deep enough to make a room some fifteen feet square by six feet high. This they covered over with a roof of timbers, and over that they piled earth several feet thick, covering the whole with pine boughs, to keep the earth from washing. In this bomb-proof four families are now living, and I never felt more pity than when, day before yesterday, I looked down into the pit, and saw there, in the gloom made visible by a candle burning while it was broad day above, women sitting on the floor of loose boards, resting against each other, haggard and wan, trying to sleep away the days of terror, while innocent-looking children, four or five years old, clustered around the air-hole, looking up with pale faces and great staring eyes as they heard the singing of the bullets that were flying thick above their sheltering place. One of the women had been bed-ridden for several years before she was carried down there. One of the men was a cripple, the others old and gray. The men ventured up and took a little fresh air behind the breast-works; but for the women there is no change unless they come out at night. Still, they cling to home because they have nowhere else to go, and they hope we may soon pass on and leave them in comparative peace again." 

In an earlier chapter I have spoken of the easy descent from careful respect for the rights of property to reckless appropriation of what belongs to another, to robbery and pillage. [Footnote: _Ante_, pp. 233-235.] I find an instance of it given in one of the letters I have been quoting, which is the contemporary record of the thing itself which we had to deal with. It occurred on July 5th, when the whole army was in motion, hurrying past our position southeast of Marietta and following up Johnston's retreating army. "Some soldiers went to a house occupied only by a woman and her children, and after robbing it of everything which they wanted, they drove away the only milch cow the woman had. She pleaded that she had an infant which she was obliged to bring up on the bottle, and that it could not live unless it could have the milk. They had no ears for the appeal and the cow was driven off. In two days the child died, of starvation chiefly, though the end was hastened by disease induced by the mother's trying to keep it alive on food it could not digest. I heard of the case when the child was dead and two or three of the neighbors were getting together stealthily to dig its grave." One of them came to me to beg permission to assist, and to explain that the little gathering meant nothing hostile to us. I got the facts only by cross-questioning, for the old man was abject in his solicitude not to seem to be complaining, and did not give the worst of the story till my hot indignation at what I heard assured him of sympathy and of a desire to punish the crime. 

"A woman came to me the same morning, and said the cavalry had taken the last mouthful from her, telling her they were marching and hadn't time to draw their rations, but that she would be fed by applying to us of the infantry column. The robbers well knew that we were forbidden to issue rations to citizens. They sacked the house of an old man with seven daughters by a second wife, all young things. He came to me in utter distress--not a mouthful in that house for twenty-four hours, their kitchen garden and farm utterly ruined, the country behind in the same condition, and he without means of travelling or carrying anything if he tried to move away." I added, "Of course in such extreme cases I try to find some way of keeping people from death, and usually send them to the rear in our empty wagon trains going back for supplies, but their helpless condition is very little bettered by going." 

Such things were done chiefly by the professional stragglers and skulkers, and the stringent orders which were issued in both Sherman's and Hood's armies did not easily reach men who would not report for duty if they could help it. The country people could not tell who had done them the mischief, and the rascals would be gone before the case came before any superior officer who would interest himself in it. I must not, however, suppress the comment I made in the letter quoted. "The evil is the legitimate outgrowth of the hue and cry raised by our Christian people of the North against protecting rebel property, etc. Officers were deterred from enforcing discipline in this respect by public opinion at home, and now the evil is past remedy. The war has been prolonged, the army disintegrated and weakened, and the cause itself jeoparded, because discipline was construed as friendliness to rebels." Straggling and its accompanying evils may be said to be the gauge of discipline in an army. There were brigades and divisions in which it hardly occurred; there were others in which the stragglers were a considerable fraction of the whole. 

During the evacuation of Atlanta by the citizens, there was a good deal of migration beyond our lines among those who were not compelled to go. In Decatur applications were made to me daily, and we kept a record of the passes we issued, trying to know the purpose and motives of those going away, for, of course, a good deal of it was with the intent to carry intelligence to the enemy. The reasons given were often amusing. Two ladies applied, one day, for leave to go to Florida, which they claimed as their home. They said they had been visiting kinsmen in Decatur when the advance of our army brought them within our lines before they were aware of it. When asked why not stay with their friends till the armies should move away, they answered that they were sure they could not endure the rigors of the climate! The phrase became a byword at our headquarters, where we were longing for the invigorating breezes of the North. 

We had a visit, about the middle of September, from two gentlemen of some prominence in the public affairs of Georgia,--Mr. Hill and Mr. Foster. They came ostensibly to seek to obtain and remove the body of Mr. Hill's son, who had fallen in the campaign, but I suspected that they represented Governor Brown, who was known to be in a state of exasperation at the results to Georgia of a war begun to assert an ultra doctrine of State rights, but which had destroyed every semblance of State independence and created a centralized government at Richmond which ruled with a rod of iron. Mr. Hill was the same who had represented Governor Brown and General Johnston at Richmond in the mission in July, [Footnote: _Ante_, p. 272.] and whilst he did not formally present any subject except that of getting his son's body, our conversation gave me sufficient knowledge of his views on the subjects of controversy to make me deeply interested in the outcome of the visit to General Sherman which I arranged for him. [Footnote: See Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 137.] Nothing of present practical importance came of the interviews, but the voluminous and bitterly controversial correspondence between the Georgia Governor and the War Department of the Confederacy is a curious revelation of the antagonistic influences which had sprung up in the progress of the war. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. lii. pt. ii. pp. 736, 754, 778, 796, 803.] 

The death of General McPherson in the battle of Atlanta had been a great loss to the army, but to Sherman it was the loss of an intimate friend as well as an able subordinate. They had been closely associated under Grant in all the campaigns of the Army of the Tennessee, and their mutual attachment and confidence was as strong as their devoted loyalty to their great chief. My own acquaintance with McPherson had been slight, but yet enough to enable me to understand the warm personal regard he inspired in those who came to know him well. I met him first on the day we passed through Snake Creek Gap into Sugar Valley, before the battle of Resaca. We had to learn from him the positions of the troops already advancing toward the town, and I rode with General Schofield to his tent for this purpose. Schofield and he had been classmates and room-mates at West Point, and McPherson revealed himself to his old friend as he would not be likely to do to others. His affability and cordial good-will struck one at once. His graceful bearing and refined, intelligent face heightened the impression, and one could not be with him many minutes without seeing that he was a lovable person. An evenly balanced mind and character had given him a high grade as a cadet, and at the beginning of the war he was serving as a captain of engineers. Being appointed to General Grant's staff, he won completely the general's confidence, and his promotion was rapid, following closely behind that of Sherman. 

His death was sincerely mourned, and his place as a soldier was not easy to fill. Sherman would have given the command of the Army of the Tennessee to General Logan, who was next in rank in it, but the strong opposition of General Thomas made him conclude that this would be unwise. [Footnote: See Sherman, in The Great Commanders Series, pp. 229, 332.] If he made a selection outside of the Army of the Tennessee, Hooker had first claim by seniority of rank, but both Sherman and Thomas lacked confidence in him. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 272.] When Howard was selected on Thomas's suggestion, Hooker was doubly offended, for Howard had been his subordinate at the beginning of the year, and there had been no love lost between them. Hooker now asked to be relieved from further service in Sherman's army, and he retired from active field service,--Slocum, another of his former subordinates, with whom he had a violent quarrel, being appointed to the command of his corps on Thomas's nomination. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 272, 273.] Halleck, in a letter to Sherman of September 16th, gave pointed testimony to facts which showed why Hooker was personally an unacceptable subordinate. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 857.] Sherman insisted, with good reason, that Hooker had no real grievance, as he was left in command of his corps, and Howard's promotion was in another and independent organization, the Army of the Tennessee. He also declared that no indignity was intended or offered, and that he simply performed his own duty of selection in accordance with what he believed to be sound reasons. As to Logan, he took pains to praise his handling of the Army of the Tennessee after McPherson's death, and to emphasize his own high opinion of him as an officer and the respect in which he was held by the whole army. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 522.] 

 

 

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