War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0152 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

Search Civil War Official Records

[Inclosure.]

FROM THE ARMY CORRESPONDENCE OF THE CHARLESTON COURIER, OCTOBER 26.

Rosecrans came into battle with 60,000 men. We resisted with less than 40,000, of whom 7,000, being all that had then arrived, were from Longstreet's Virginia corps.

The morning of Sunday found the two armies occupying relatively the same positions held at the close of the engagement the evening previous. The orders of General Bragg to General Polk (I may not quote the exact language) were, "Initiate the attack at daylight." But here interposed another disappointment. General D. H. Hill had halted to feed his men. Three hours were thus lost in the most valuable portion of the day-hours which, added to its close, would have imparted a strangely different aspect to the present shape of affairs. Instead of 6 o'clock in the evening, the enemy would probably have been defeated in the middle of the day, and who can tell that before the sun went down on that bloody battle we might

not so closely pressed the Federal general as to have achieved a full surrender of his demoralized command and been prepared to move triumphantly on through Tennessee.

In the failure of D. H. Hill you have the reason why both General Polk and himself were relieved from duty, the former, however, only being held responsible as his commanding officer. How true it is that a really great general best shows greatness not alone in the organization and administration of an army, but when the endeavors, the tactics, and strategy of months of waiting and preparation culminate in the hours of a battle. Then it is that success or defeat hangs upon his judgment and depends upon his individual energy, foresight, and promptitude. The general who under these circumstances shows his inability to encounter the emergency, and fails to comprehend the grand coup d'oeil of the contest before him, is his own best enemy in war where the people are the arbiters, and should expect no more to receive their confidence. I hope that General Hill, for his own sake, may succeed in removing the blame which now attaches to him in connection with the late battle.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,

Richmond, Va., November 25, 1863.

Lieutenant General D. H. HILL,

Charlotte, N. C.:

GENERAL: Upon my arrival here this morning, I found your note of the 17th instant, in reference to obtaining a copy of General Bragg's letter to the President asking for your removal from the Army of Tennessee. The letter in question having recently been sent to the War Department, the President has directed me to refer yours to the Secretary of War, that your request may be complied with.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

G. W. C. LEE,

Colonel, and Aide-de-Camp.