Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/776

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

is one of those matters in military history that is an enigma," and proceeds, "Situated as he was, Walthall and his Mississippians made one of the bravest defenses that occurred anywhere at any time during the war. It was sublimely heroic under fearfully exasperating circumstances." Then transferred to Missionary ridge, with his 600 remaining men, Walthall’s heroic qualities shone out in the midst of fatal disaster. Throwing his brigade across the ridge, he checked the headlong rush of the enemy, and after nightfall withdrew in good order. Though wounded in the foot he kept in the saddle until the fight was over, and his men went into camp on the other side of Chickamauga creek. He shared the honors of his division and corps commanders, Cheatham and Hardee, and was mentioned by Bragg as "distinguished for coolness, gallantry and successful conduct throughout the engagements and in the rear guard on the retreat." Going into the Atlanta campaign with his brigade in Hood's corps, he held for two days with great steadiness under the concentrated fire of the enemy, an important position on the field of Resaca, and was promoted major-general and given command of Cantey’s division of Polk’s corps. He was an important factor throughout the whole of the campaign, at the front in the repulse of the Federal attack at Kenesaw mountain, charging with gallantry and gaining a foothold in the enemy’s works at Peachtree creek, and making a desperate fight at Ezra Church. The disastrous Tennessee campaign followed. At Franklin his men charged with wonderful heroism upon the Federal intrenchments. He was in the heat of the fight and had two horses shot under him. After the first day’s fight before Nashville, French’s division was added to his command, and on the retreat, with eight picked brigades, Walthall was depended upon to defend the rear of the broken army, in conjunction with Forrest’s cavalry. After a terrible experience amid the discomforts of a rigorous winter he finally reached the vicinity of Tupelo with a