General Hardee and the Military Operations Around Atlanta. 381
advanced to a position facing a wooded ridge occupied by the <enemy. The order for the assault awaited the readiness of that division. As soon as it was formed, Cleburne in person rode up to Oeneral Hardee, who, with a member of his staff, was near, and Immediately in rear of the line, and reported ready. General Hardee's reply was an order to advance; and Cleburne turned and Tode off at once to put his troops in motion. The interview occupied but a few seconds ; and the only allusion to breastworks was as involved in this order to assault the works .from which other troops had just before been repulsed. And it was a moment later that the order was received from General Hood, in obedience to which that division was recalled and dispatched to Atlanta.
The relations long existing and which continued to exist be- tween Hardee and Cleburne, would of themselves suffice to show that Cleburne never made any imputation against Hardee of the character and with the intendments attributed to him. They dated from an early period of the war in Arkansas, when Cleburne was colonel of a regiment (Fifteenth Arkansas) in Hardee's original brigade. General Hardee was the first to recognize his merits, and was mainly instrumental in securing % his promotion successively to the brigades and division which Hardee had himself commanded. With brief exceptions, Cleburne served under Hardee continuously up to and after that time. Their personal relations were close and intimate, and Cleburne's attachment to Hardee and his admira- tion for him as a soldier were well known to every one acquainted with him.
And when, on the night of the 28th of September, 1864, at Pal- metto, the news of Hardee's assignment to another command spread through the ranks, and officers and men thronged into his camp a scene which no one who witnessed it can ever forget Cleburne was most of all grieved and distressed ; and among other things said, in substance, that but for his division, which was now the only tie that bound him to that army, he would apply for ser- vice in Hardee's new command, even if he had to resign his com- mission as Major-General and accept a position on Hardee's staff.
If Cleburne had made the imputation against Hardee as alleged, or if any occasion for it had existed, in speaking and acting as he now did, he would have been the falsest of friends and greatest of hypocrites, instead of the true man and loyal friend that he was.
It is, perhaps, needless to add that I have written to the living -and accessible officers of Hardee's and Cleburne's staffs, and to