confident it will be more than two hours before is ready." General Polk said to me he was going out to inspect his lines, and ordered me to keep his escort there and establish his headquarters just on the right of where they had been the day before. Some fifteen minutes after General Polk left, General Bragg came up and asked me where he was. I replied that he had gone along the line to make an inspection and find out the cause of the delay in making the attack. I remarked that General Polk would return there, but that he (General Bragg) would no doubt find him sooner by going along the line; and I then said, "General, in case you should not find General Polk I will tell you what has been done this morning: General Polk sent orders to General Hill in time for the attack to have been made by daylight if General Hill could have been found; but this was impossible, and when General Polk learned this he sent orders by me to Generals Breckinridge and Cleburne to make an immediate attack. Major-General Cheatham was informed of this and ordered to conform to the movements; that I found Generals Breckinridge and Cleburne and Hill together, and delivered the orders to Generals B[reckinridge] and c[leburne] in presence of General Hill." I then told General Bragg the contents of General Hill's note to General Polk, and said I did not believe General HIll would be ready to move to the attack in two hours, but that he should have done so at daylight. General Bragg asked me how I expected General Hill to make the attack before he received orders to do so. I said, "General, you will remember when General Polk sent me to you yesterday evening you instructed me to say that you would send a staff officer for him and the other generals, as you wished to have a conference with them." My last remark was made under the impression that General Hill was, of course, present at that conference and understood that he was to make the attack at daylight, and that General Polk had renewed the orders himself, so that there could not possibly be any mistake. I then said, "General, General Cleburne reported to General Hill this morning while I was there that the enemy were felling trees on his front all night." General Bragg said, "Well, sir, is this not another important reason why the attack should be made at once? I said, "Yes, sir; it does certainly seem so to me; but it did not seem to impress General Hill in that way."
J. FRANK WHELESS,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
Missionary Ridge, September 30, 1863.
Lieutenant General D. H. HILL:
GENERAL: You will remember in a conversation held with you some days ago I handed you an order from army headquarters, directing me to furnish an explanation of my failure to attack the enemy at daylight on the morning of the 20th. You will remember, also,k that in that conversation I discussed with you the reasons which had caused that failure. Those reasons, as I understood them, I embodied in an answer to the above order and transmitted them as my reply to the commanding general. A copy of that communication I think it proper to furnish you. You will find it herewith inclosed.* So far as I remember there was but one point of difference between us as to
*See p. 47