Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/166

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158 Southern Historical Society Papers.

countrymen. I assure you I feel the same ardent longing to recover the magnificent forests and green valleys of middle Tennessee that you do, and I live in the hope that God will restore them to our arms. I cannot predict when the time will be, but I feel that it is certainly in the future. We may have to make still greater sacrifices to use all the means that God has given us; but when once our people, or the great body of them, sincerely value independence above every other earthly consideration, then I will regard our suc- cess as an accomplished fact. Your friend,

"P. R. CLEBURNE."

In a brief absence from Dalton, with one exception his only ab- sence during his service, Cleburne formed an attachment as earnest and true as his own noble nature. The attachment was returned with the fervor and devotion of the daughters of the South. Much might be said of this episode of its romantic beginning and its tragic end; but the story of loved and lost is too sacred to be un- veiled to the public eye.

General Bragg had been relieved of the command of the Western army at his own request, after the battle of Missionary Ridge; sub- sequently General Joseph E. Johnston was assigned to the command. To the Federal General, Sherman, was given the command of the armies assembled at Chattanooga for the invasion of Georgia. The history of its military operations, under the conduct of General Johnston, is the record of a struggle against largely superior forces, protracted through a period of seventy days and extending over a hundred miles of territory. The campaign was characterized by brilliant partial engagments and continuous skirmishing, the aggre- gate results of which summed up into heavy battles. When the army reached Atlanta, notwithstanding the discouragements of con- stant fighting, frequent retreats and loss of territory, it was with unimpaired organization and morale.

In this campaign, Cleburne's Division had two opportunities of winning special distinction. At New Hope Church, on the 27th of May, it formed the right of the army in two lines, the first intrenched. In the afternoon of that day the Fourth Corps of the Federal army advanced, as if to pass to the right. Cleburne promptly brought his two brigades of the second line into the first, extending it to face the Federal advance. This line received the enemy's attack, made in seven lines, on open ground, with no advantage on our side, ex- cept a well-chosen position, and, after an obstinate fight of an hour