Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 10, 1864

January 10, 1864

---Sam Watkins, a private who served in the 1st Tennessee Infantry Reg., writes in his memoirs of the contrast between Bragg, the ex-commander of the Army of Tennessee, and Joseph E. Johnston, who has just taken Bragg’s place:


General Joseph E. Johnston now took command of the army. General Bragg was relieved, and had become Jeff Davis' war adviser at Richmond, Virginia. We had followed General Bragg all through this long war. We had got sorter used to his ways, but he was never popular with his troops. I felt sorry for him. Bragg's troops would have loved him, if he had allowed them to do so, for many a word was spoken in his behalf, after he had been relieved of the command. As a general I have spoken of him in these memoirs, not personally. I try to state facts, so that you may see, reader, why our cause was lost. I have no doubt that Bragg ever did what he thought was best. He was but a man, under the authority of another.

But now, allow me to introduce you to old Joe. Fancy, if you please, a man about fifty years old, rather small of stature, but firmly and compactly built, an open and honest countenance, and a keen but restless black eye, that seemed to read your very inmost thoughts. In his dress he was a perfect dandy. He ever wore the very finest clothes that could be obtained, carrying out in every point the dress and paraphernalia of the soldier, as adopted by the war department at Richmond, never omitting anything, even to the trappings of his horse, bridle and saddle. His hat was decorated with a star and feather, his coat with every star and embellishment, and he wore a bright new sash, big gauntlets, and silver spurs. He was the very picture of a general.

But he found the army depleted by battles; and worse, yea, much worse, by desertion. The men were deserting by tens and hundreds, and I might say by thousands. The morale of the army was gone. The spirit of the soldiers was crushed, their hope gone. The future was dark and gloomy. They would not answer at roll call. Discipline had gone. A feeling of mistrust pervaded the whole army.

No comments:

Post a Comment