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life right there. I ought to have sent to the quartermaster and ordered up a select, well-groomed, fat mule, and had it butchered and issued as rations to the General commanding and his staff. I ought to have made a great mule feast, and fed myself thereon, and then issue a general order to all the army: 'Your General has fed on mules and grown fat. Swing out with your cartridge boxes full and your arms full; push into the enemy's country as long as your provisions last, and when your provisions give out begin on the mule teams, and take mule by mule, and feed and fatten and fight, and win the victory."" [Laughter.]
The General said he would have taken Atlanta sixty days sooner than he did if he had only issued that order. He would have accomplished three things if he had issued that order. The first thing is, he would have accomplished the great, benevolent task of telling the world what to do with the mules, now that the war is over. You know down at Nashville, an old darky, looking at the singular progress that was being made by an electric car without any visible means of propellor, or pro-puller, broke out into an exclamation of astonishment: What queer fellows dem dar Yankees are, after all. «Dey come down here years ago and freed the darky, and now they have come here and freed de mule!”
I want to know what is going to become of the mule. It is a living question what is to become of the darky, and I think we pulled up the buckles on our belts three or four holes last night when the Old Chief told us to stand to our guns. [Applause.] I think that the Army of the Ohio, the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Tennessee, fused in the fires of Resaca, were fused last night in the fires of patriotic love for their chief and for their country. [Applause.]
And now, just think what the General would have accomplished in the second place, besides taking Atlanta sixty days sooner than he did. Why, to-night, on this magnificent bill of fare, and for the first time in my life, I was to know a man that dared to disobey General Sherman. When General Sherman tried to cut out one or two courses of this magnificent feast, mine host, the landlord, swelled up with righteous indignation: “I am doing this; bring on the cutlets." [Laughter.] Though, General Sherman, that wasn't desirable to you, it was respect to this historic hall, that has planned and fought with his brains the way
from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to the [Applause.]
Now to-night, on this bill of fare, if General Sherman had only carried out that which he was wise enough to undertake-I suppose his teeth were rather poor - [laughter] there would have been on this bill of fare: “ Prairie Chicken, Roman Punch and French Peas, Fricassed Mule.” [Laughter.] And the third thing the General would have accomplished, ladies and gentlemen, if the fricassed mule had been on this bill of fare: He would have ended this feast sixty minutes sooner than it was ended.
Sixth TOAST._" Atlanta."
** Still onward we pressed till our banners
Response by General G. M. DODGE.
MR. PRESIDENT AND COMRADES OF THE ARMY OF THE TEN
In looking over a bundle of old papers not long since, a member of my family came across and brought to my attention a letter written by me on the morning of July 20th, 1864, in which I ventured an expression of opinion as follows:
“Johnston was relieved yesterday, and Hood put in command. You people up North know but little of what this army
is accomplishing, and of the bull-dog tenacity with which we are clinging to Johnston's army. Sherman is certainly a great soldier, and has so far shown himself to be Johnston's master. Johnston's leaving is a great help; he was an able General. Hood is no such officer as Johnston.
“ You always ask about my coming North. It is impossible for me to guess. If Hood would come out and let us whip him, we would all get settled down, etc."
Had General Hood been advised of the yearning indicated by these expressions, he could not have exhibited a more accommodating disposition than he did. The ink was hardly dry from the paper before he was in a seeming death-grapple with Thomas, took his whipping with a most exhilarating promptitude, and within a week thereafter came out no less than three different times at as many different points for a repetition of the entertainment.
A month later I was peremptorily excused from further efforts to enter the city of Atlanta, and I continued for a quarter of a century to abstain from all attempts to do so.
Last February, twenty-five years after the inauguration of the Atlanta campaign, I entered the city of Atlanta for the first time, hunted up the very spot which marked my nearest approach to it in 1864, and (to adopt an expression which for many years I have had a sort of habit of using) “joined the tracks.” On this occasion, as on the previous one, I was accompanied by General Fuller and Major Chamberlain, both of whom I am happy to see present here to-night. We drove out and explored with absorbing interest the battle ground of July 22nd, 1864. Leaving our carriages near the monument which marks the spot where the gallant McPherson fell, we walked with some friends across the fields, (now fenced and cultivated) to the elevation which during the battle of Atlanta was crowned by and aflame with the fire of the batteries of the 16th Corps. From this eminence we had a fine view of the whole field fought over by a portion of the 16th Corps, and could easily identify the positions of its different organizations, notwithstanding the large portions of the field now covered by a vigorous growth of young pine, and the changes caused by the erection of buildings, the construction of fences and the cutting away of some of the timber which served on that day to mask the enemy's advance upon us, and to cover their retreat after the whipping received at our hands. In their front the battle was an open ground without any intrenchments, and the commander of the 16th Corps could see his entire front and the entire front of the enemy who attacked him.
Later in the day we found the point which marked Blair's extreme left at the time of the battle, and followed along the vestiges of his line and those of the 15th Corps to the extreme right beyond the railroad, where the Army of the Tennessee connected with the left of the Army of the Ohio.
It was about mid-day when our conveyances, coming by a cir. cuitous route from the McPherson monument, rejoined us at “ Battery Hill,” the elevation before mentioned, and luncheon was spread for the entire party. Could there have been anything. better calculated than that lunch with Fuller and Chamberlain, with those surroundings and upon that spot, to bring to memory the events of twenty years before? On the day of the battle, we sprang from
Fuller's hospitable board at just mid-day, with our luncheon only half disposed of, to take a hand in the whipping Hood was just coming out for, under a noon-day sun just as bright and immeasurably hotter than the one we were then under.
On that day the head of my column had come to a halt, the rear being still in motion, when the fight opened, but it closed up rapidly, and the formation of our line was completed in the very face of the charging columns of the enemy, my right resting a quarter of a mile in the rear of the center of the 17th Corps. General Blair afterwards remarked: “The Lord placed Dodge (meaning the 16th Corps) in the right place that day," and certainly my command was not in that position from any anterior design on my part or that of any of my superiors.
I quickly saw that both flanks were overlapped by the enemy, and, as I knew that McPherson was hy this time not far from General Sherman's headquarters over two miles away, I sent a staff officer to General Giles A. Smith, requesting him to refuse his left and protect the gap between the 17th Corps and my right, which he sent word he would do. Later, as the battle progressed, and I saw no movement on the part of General Smith, I sent another aide to inform him that the enemy were passing my right flank which was nearly opposite his centre, and requested him to refuse his left immediately, or he would be cut off. This officer (who, by the way, belonged to the Signal Corps, and acted as my aide only for the time being) found on reaching Smith that he was just becoming engaged, that he had received orders to hold his line, with a promise that other troops would be thrown into the gap. My second messenger returned over the road
which McPherson was a few minutes later shot dead, met the General on the road with a very few attendants, turned to warn him of his dangerous position, assuring him that the enemy held the woods and were advancing. The General paying no heed to his warning and moving on, my aide turned and followed him. They had proceeded but a short distance into the woods, when a sharp command “ Halt” was heard from the skirmish line of the rebels. Without heeding the command, General McPherson and his party wheeled their horses, and at that moment a heavy volley was poured in, killing McPherson and so frightening the horses that they became unmanageable, and plunged into the underbrush in different directions. My aide became separated from the General and the rest of the party, was knocked from his horse by coming in contact with a tree, and lay for some time in an unconscious condition on the ground. As soon as he was sufficiently recovered he returned on foot to me, having lost his horse and equipments. Of General McPherson he saw nothing after his fall. His watch, crushed by contact with the tree, was stopped at two minutes past two o'clock.
General McPherson, it seems, had just witnessed the decisive grapple of the 16th Corps with the charging columns of the enemy, and, as probably conveying his own reflections at that moment, I quote the language of General Strong, the only staff officer present with him at that critical moment:
“ The General and myself,” says Strong, “ accompanied only by our orderlies, rode on and took positions on the right of Dodge's line, and witnessed the desperate assaults of Hood's army,
“ The divisions of General Fuller and Sweeney were formed in single line of battle in the open fields, without cover of any
kind (Fuller's division on the right), and were warmly engaged. The enemy, massed in columns three or four lines deep, moved out of the dense timber several hundred yards from General Dodge's position, and, after gaining fairly the open fields, halted and opened a rapid fire upon the 16th Corps. They, however, seemed surprised to find our infantry in line of battle, prepared for attack, and after facing for a few minutes the destructive fire from the divisions of Generals Fuller and Sweeney, fell back in disorder to the cover of the woods. Here, however, their lines were quickly re-formed, and they again advanced, evidently determined to carry the position.
** The scene at this time was grand and impressive. It seemed to us that every mounted officer of the attacking column was riding at the front of or on the right or left of the first line of battle. The regimental colors waved and fluttered in advance of the lines, and not a shot was fired by the rebel infantry, although the movement was covered by a heavy and well-directed fire from artillery which was posted in the woods and on higher ground, and which enabled the guns to bear upon our troops with solid shot and shell, firing over the attacking column.
" It seemed impossible, however, for the enemy to face the sweeping, deadly fire from Fuller's and Sweeney's divisions, and