Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/233

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Chickamauga — A Reply to Major Sykes. 223

noticed a crowd of men collected, some of whom were on horseback. Among them we could plainly distinguish the tall form of John C. Breckinridge and our bull-dog leader, General James Longstreet, Lee's famous war-horse. Tom Wallingford, one of my company, called me, and we walked to where they (Longstreet and Breckin- ridge) were. I think General Buckner was also there, on horseback. General Bragg was on foot. Longstreet and Bragg were in earnest conversation — the latter calm and quiet, while the former spoke in an excited manner— his voice clear and distinct, yet very angry. We could not hear what Bragg was saying; he spoke slowly, and in low tones. Longstreet said : ' ' General, this army should have been in motion at daw/i 0/ day." General Bragg made some reply, to which Longstreet said : ." Yes, sir ; but all ^rea/ captains follow up a victory. ' ' Another remark from Bragg was followed by these words from Longstreet: "Yes, sir, you ra?ik me, but you cannot cashier me."

" It was an evident fact that General Bragg did not intend to push the enemy, but to fall back, or at least to take position without ad- vancing. * * * * We lay upon or near the battlefield until Wednesday, the 23d, when we took up our line of march. Late in the evening we reached Chattanooga. Along the route from the battlefield we met citizens who told us that the Yankee army was demoralized to the extent that they had thrown away their arms and fled in every direction. All day Monday, 21st, you could hear the query among the soldiers [the privates], " Why doji' i we follow our victory ?"

In view of the foregoing facts it is hard to understand Major Sykes when he says: "On the morning of the 21st Septem- ber, the enemy having the night previous commenced his retreat to Chattanooga, Bragg moved rapidly forward, preceded by Gen- eral Forrest and his troopers, who were sorely pressing and har- rassing the retreating foe ; that night reached Missionary Ridge and commenced fortifying." As I have said, the above is hard to un- derstand, taken in connection with the movements on the 21st, 22d and 23d of so important a portion of Bragg' s command as Long- street's corps.

In reference to the disobedience of orders by General Polk in not advancing on the morning of the 20th, I have said nothing, because I am wholly ignorant in regard thereto, and prefer saying nothing that cannot be substantiated by direct and positive proof It is a difficult matter for any one to believe, great as the victory won by General Bragg on the 20th really was, that if General Polk had