Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/357
General Hardee and the Military Operations Around Atlanta. 345
Jonesboro, but from General Hood's misconception of his adver- sary's plans. After the 30th of August, General Hood's whole plan of operation was based upon the hypothesis that Sherman was moving only a detachment to Jonesboro, whereas, in reality, he was moving his army.
He divided his forces to attack a concentrated enemy. He in effect sent a detachment of his army to attack an enemy who was superior to his whole army.
Had it been possible with two corps to have dislodged three corps of the enemy from a chosen position on the 31st, I should still have had to meet three fresh corps on the following morning with my own corps alone ; for it must be remembered that Lee's corps was withdrawn by General Hood before he knew the result of the fight on the 31st. The fate of Atlanta was sealed from the moment when General Hood allowed an enemy superior in numbers to pass unmolested around his flank and plant himself firmly upon his only line of railroad. If, after the enemy reached Jonesboro', General Hood had attacked him with his whole army instead of with a part of it, he could not reasonably have expected to drive from that position an army before which his own had been, for four months, retiring in the open field. I have the honor to be, General,
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. J. HARDEE, Lieutenant- General. He at the same time wrote as follows to the Secretary of War :
HEADQUARTERS CAMP NEAR SMITHFIELD, 1ST. C. r April 5th, 1865.
Hon. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Secretary of War, Richmond^ Va.:
General I have just concluded, and will to-day forward to General Cooper, a report of the operations of my corps about Atlanta, and intended merely as an answer to the misrepresenta- tions contained in General Hood's report respecting myself. You will oblige me by authorizing its publication, which I consider due alike to the truth of history and to my own reputation.
With high respect, your obedient servant,
W. J. HARDEE, Lieutenant- General.
The events which ensued upon the fall of Richmond no doubt prevented further action in this matter.
By reference to General Hood's report (see appendix) it will be observed that the gravamen of these charges was as follows:
(1.) That on the 20th July there was delay occasioned by Har- dee's shifting too far to the right, and that " Hardee failed to push he attack as ordered." (321.)