Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/28

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16 Southern Historical Society Papers.

exercise sutlicient to dry our clothes ! The Federals let us alone after that! We stood in line on Taylor's Ridge (where we fought) four hours, offering battle. Then fell back a half mile or so to another ridge until lo or ii o'clock that night, but they came not. Then, in utmost leisure, after wagon trains and army were perfectly secure, we retired to Tunnell Hill, Ga., where we spent the winter, the army itself being six miles be- hind us at Dalton, Ga. Such is the plain, unvarnished account of "Missionary Ridge." The truth as to that shameful disaster is that General Bragg, and not his army, was to blame. It was a case of glaring outgeneralship as to our commander, not of cowardice as to our men. Bragg was a good officer in some respects, but had not "military genius" nor capacity for handling great bodies of men. He was brave and a Christian gentle- man, but a "routine man," not equal to emergencies.

Only a few months after, in May, 1864, General Joseph E. Johnston took the same army, terribly demoralized by sickness, hardship, shame and humiliation over defeat, and with it fought the superb, unsurpassed Dalton-Atlanta campaign against an enemy two and one-half times his size, inflicting losses on him equal to the strength of his whole army, as testified to by their own newspapers, and never losing a gun or a wagon in any of the constant and bloody engagements that occurred. Such was the story I told the two young Virginia girls. In order to stir to thought others of our young people whose eyes may fall upon this sketch, I beg to add my closing words to thera : "You are of the few young people who now take any interest in the war between the North and South. In the name of every old Confederate veteran and of the State that bore you, whose sod was soaked with their sacrificial blood, so freely shed for you, I take off my hat to you ! I thank you !"

CONCLUSION.

In closing, indulge me, won't you please, while I present to you the following considerations :