Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/102

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!4 Southern Historical ,SV* /<///

in it, since the copy which was sent to him recently seems to have been the first that he ever saw. His friends have known that he has felt that the great moment for the Confederacy, its supreme hour, when its destiny was decided, was that moment when General Bragg abandoned his plan of attempting to cut off the retreat of Rosen- cranz. It may be that Longstreet knew that Bragg came to that determination because of information which he had received from For- rest. At all events, thirty-three years after this battle, General Longstreet, the survivor of all the able generals of the Confederate army, expresses the deliberate opinion that, ' this dispatch fixed the fate of the Confederacy.' In that opinion he does not agree with some of the other military leaders. Whether the military historians will agree with him or not, the fact remains that the discovery of this dispatch and Longstreet's opinion, that it contained the destiny of the Confederate States will be accepted as a most valuable con- tribution to the military history of the Civil War.

GENERAL BOYNTON's COMMENTS.

A Star reporter brought the views attributed to General Long- street, concerning the Forrest dispatch, to the attention of General H. V. Boynton, who, as a soldier, took conspicuous part in the Chattanooga campaign, and who is recognized as, perhaps, the best living authority on matters relating to the Army of the Cumberland.

General Boynton said:

" The dispatch of General Forrest, to which you call my attention, which has recently been produced by his biographers as one that fixed the fate of the Confederacy, through General Bragg' s disre- garding it, and which is, therefore, declared to be ; the crucial dis- patch of the war,' is of no significance whatever, beyond showing the misapprehensions which existed in the Confederate army during the forenoon of September 2ist, which was the day after the close of the battle of Chickamauga, concerning the position and movements of the Union army. This dispatch is as follows:

" On the Road, September 21, 1863.

"'General: We are in a mile of Rossville have been on the point of Missionary Ridge. Can see Chattanooga and everything around. The enemy's trains are leaving, going around the point of Lookout Mountain. The prisoners captured, report two pontoons thrown across for the purpose of retreating. I think they are evac-