Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/474
462 Southern Historical Society Papers.
the road, and 4 P. M. by the time the head of Patton Anderson's brigade, of the rear division, could reach the point at which the line of its corps crossed the road.* This caused it to be half-past 4, or even later, before General Bragg's line to the left of the road was com- pleted. As General Polk had to follow the movements of General Bragg's troops and form his line parallel to that portion of them placed to the left of the road, and as he actually got into position between 4 and 5, it is evident that neither at this nor at any other time during the entire march was the delay in question attributable to his move- ments. While Clark's division was being placed in line Cheatham's arrived from Purdy, having marched the entire distance since that morning. He was thus in position quite as soon as he would have been had he joined the command earlier.
In conclusion, permit me to offer an extract from General Folk's official report. After stating the measures taken to place his corps in position he goes on to say :
" By this time it was near 4 o'clock P. M., and on arriving I was in- formed that General Beauregard desired to see me immediately. I rode forward at once to his head-quarters, where I found General Bragg and himself in conversation. He said, with some feeling, ' I am very much disappointed at the delay which has occurred in getting the troops into position.' I replied, so am I, sir, but so far as I am con- cerned my orders are to form on another line General Bragg's left wing, and that line must first be established before I can form upon it.f I continued : I reached Mickey's at nightfall yesterday (the 4th), whence I could not move, because of the troops which were before me, until 2 P. M. to-day. I then promptly followed the column in front of me, and have been in position to form upon it so soon as its line was established. He said he regretted the delay exceedingly, as it would make it necessary to forego the attack altogether ; that our success de- pended upon our surprising the enemy ; that this was now impossible, and we must fall back on Corinth. Here General Johnston came up and asked what was the matter. General Beauregard repeated what he had said to me. General Johnston remarked that this would never do, and proceeded to assign reasons for that opinion. He then asked what I thought of it. I replied that my troops were in as good condi- tion as they had ever been ; that they were eager for battle ; that to retire now would operate injuriously upon them, and that I thought we ought to attack." J
- Patton Anderson's Report, p. 276 1st volume Official Reports Battles C. S. A.
fBragg's formation had not then been completed.
JThis conversation is the substance of the " council of war " about which so much has been written by Swinton and others. We believe it is the only official record of it left by a participant. W. M. P.