Personal recollections and experiences concerning the Battle of Stone River

Biography & Autobiography/
#Biography & Autobiography #Personal Memoirs & Diaries
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Excerpt Personal Recollections and Experiences Concerning the Battle of Stone River. As will be perceived by the above caption to this paper, it is proposed to relate what happened to me, and what I observed during the battle alluded to, and might not inappropriately be styled "What I know about the battle of Stone River." In doing so I shall not undertake to give a general account of the battle, but shall confine myself to that portion which came under my own observation, and to necessary inferences as to what happened elsewhere. In setting out it will be well to give a brief account of the history of the Army of the Cumberland, and its commanders, so far as I know, up to the time of the memorable battle which is the subject of this paper. My having been a cadet at West Point from June, 1848, to June, 1852, when I graduated in the same class with Sheridan, Stanly, Slocum, Crook, Bonaparte and others, whose names have since become so distinguished, and my service in the regular army subsequently till the fall of 1853, threw me in contact with, and was the means of my knowing personally, or by reputation, most, if not all the prominent characters on both sides, that were brought to the knowledge of the public by the War of the Rebellion. This knowledge of the men in the army of those times served me well all through the war, as it was seldom I came in contact with an officer on the other side, but what I knew all his peculiar characteristics, and idiosyncrasies. For illustration of this idea, as we were approaching Atlanta, my division had the advance of the Army of the Ohio the morning we came in sight of the city. My advance guard captured a rebel picket post, and one of the men captured, had a morning paper from Atlanta, in which was Johnston's farewell order to his troops, and Hood's order assuming command. I had been three years at West Point with Hood, he having graduated in 1853, in Schofield's class. I knew Hood to be a great, large hearted, large sized man, noted a great deal more for his fine social and fighting qualities, than for any particular scholastic acquirements, and inferred, (correctly as the result showed) that Johnston had been removed because Davis, and his admirers, had had enough of the Fabian policy, and wanted a man that would take the offensive. I immediately sent word to Gen. Sherman, who, with his staff, was not far off, and when he came to the front, informed him of the news I had, and the construction I put upon it, and in consequence, an immediate concentration to resist an attack was made in the vicinity, where we were. It was none too soon, as Hood, upon taking command immediately moved out to Decatur with nearly his entire army, fell upon McPherson's corps, with the besom of destruction, killing the gallant McPherson early in the engagement, and with his vastly superior force, beating back the Army of the Tennessee so fast, that there is no telling what might have happened, had we not made the concentration we did, and been prepared to give them a tremendous enfilading fire as soon as they came opposite the flanks of the Army of the Ohio....
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