Atlanta. Of the forces turned over to me nearly two months before, and since that day daily engaged in battle and skirmishes with a greatly superior enemy, there were remaining effective, as shown by the return of the 20th of September: Infantry, 27,094; cavalry, 10,543; artillery, 2,766. There had been sent to Mobile one brigade of infantry, 800 strong, and to Macon three battalions of artillery, 800 strong. The militia had increased, as stated, but counting it at the same as originally turned over, we have, against the aggregate turned over, 48,750-present, 40,403; sent off, 3,100, making an aggregate of 43,503, thus giving a total loss of all arms of 5,247 men.*
And now, lest an opportunity should not be again presented, I trust I may be pardoned for noticing in self-defense one two statements in General Johnston's report of the previous operations of this army, which has just been given to the public, in which the action of Lieutenant-General Polk and myself has been impugned. I thoroughly understand that it is not the part of an officer to state what may have occurred from time to time in council, but a charge publicly made ought certainly to be publicly met.
In General Johnston's report he says:
On the morning of the 19th (May), when half of the Federal army was near Kingston, the two corps at Cassville were ordered to advance against the troops that had followed them from Adairsville, Hood's leading on the right. When the corps had advanced some two miles one of his staff officers reported to Lieutenant-General Hood that the enemy was approaching on the Canton road, in rear of the right of our original position. He drew back his troops and formed them across that road. When it was discovered that the officer was mistaken, the opportunity had passed, by the near approach of the Federal army. Expecting to be attacked I drew up my troops in what seemed to me an excellent position-a bold ridge immediately in rear of Cassville, with an open valley before it. The fire of the enemy's artillery commenced soon after the troops were formed, and continued until night. Soon after dark Lieutenant-Generals Polk and Hood together expressed to me decidedly the opinion formed upon the observation of the afternoon, that the Federal artillery would render their positions untenable the next day, and urged me to abandon the ground immediately and cross the Etowah. Lieutenant-General Hardee, whose position I thought weakest, was confident that he could hold it. The other two officers, however, were so earnest and so unwilling to depend upon the ability of their corps to defend the ground that I yielded, and the army crossed the Etowah on the 28th [20th]-a step which I have regretted ever since.
For myself and the good and great man, now deceased, with whom I am associated in this stricture, I offer a statement of the facts in reply: After the army had arrived at Cassville I proposed to General Johnston, in the presence of Generals Hardee and Polk, to move back upon the enemy and attack him at or near Adairsville, urging as a reason that our three corps could move back, each upon a separate road, while the enemy had but one main road upon which he could approach that place. No conclusion was obtained. While Generals Polk and Hardee and myself were riding from General Johnston's headquarters the matter was further discussed; General Polk enthusiastically advocated, and General Hardee also favoring, the proposition. It was then suggested that we should return and still further urge the matter on General Johnston. We, however, concluded to delay till the morning. The next morning while we were assembled at General Johnston's headquarters it was reported that the enemy was driving in the cavalry on the Adairsville road in front of Polk's position. Polk's corps was in line of battle, and my corps was in bivouac on his right.
* For portion of report (here omitted) relating to operations in North Georgia and North Alabama, and the Nashville campaign, see Vols. XXXIX and XLV.