Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/351

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General Hardee and the Military Operations Around Atlanta.

dent to be relieved from duty with that army. The President replied that it was my duty to remain where I was. I accepted the decision, and gave to the Commanding-General an honest and cordial support. That in the operations about Atlanta I failed to accomplish all that General Hood thinks might have been accomplished is a matter of regret; that I committed errors is very possible; but that I failed, in any instance, to carry out in good faith his orders, I utterly deny. Nor during our official connection did General Hood ever evince a belief that I had, in any respect, failed in the execution of such parts of his military plans as were entrusted to me. On the contrary, by frequent and exclusive consultation of my opinions, by the selection of my corps for important operations, and by assigning me, on several occasions, to the command of two-thirds of his army, he gave every proof of implicit confidence in me. The publication of his official report, with its astonishing statements and insinuations, was the first intimation of his dissatisfaction with my official conduct.

Referring to the attack of the 20th July at Peach-tree creek, he says:

"Owing to the demonstrations of the enemy on the right, it became necessary to extend Cheatham a division front to the right. To do this Hardee and Stewart were each ordered to extend a half division front to close the interval. Foreseeing that some confusion and delay might result, I was careful to call General Hardee's attention to the importance of having a staff officer on his left, to see that his left did not take more than half a division front. This unfortunately was not attended to, and the line closed to the right, causing Stewart to move two or three times the proper distance. In consequence of this, the attack was delayed until nearly four P. M. At this hour the attack began as ordered, Stewart's corps carrying the temporary works in its front. Hardee failed to push the attack as ordered, and thus the enemy, remaining in possession of his works on Stewart's right, compelled Stewart, by an enfilade fire, to abandon the position he had carried. I have every reason to believe that our attack would have been successful had my orders been executed."

I was ordered, as above stated, to move half a division length to the right; but was directed, at the same time, to connect with the left of Cheatham's corps. The delay referred to by General Hood was not caused by my failure to post a staff officer to prevent my command from moving more than half a division length to the right, for Major Black, of my staff, was sent to the proper point for that purpose; but it arose from the fact that Cheatham's corps, with which I was to connect, was nearly two miles to my right, instead of a division length. Had General Hood been on the field, the alternative of delaying the attack, or leaving an interval between Cheatham's command and my own, could have been sub-