« EelmineJätka »
his consent to set the prairies on fire. That consent we did not get. I tried him several times; once in the White House. I wanted to see President Arthur; and got the General to go with
We had to wait twenty minutes in the Blue Room. He looked around and saw a picture of Harrison, and said, · Warner, you don't remember Harrison.” “Yes, I remember him very well, but I remember the campaign better," and then he went on with some reminiscences about General Harrison. I said to him, “General, do you know that if you allow yourself to be nominated for President, we will have 1840 over again with the same result? ” “Oh,” said he, “ I would not have the Presidency. It killed Harrison, and Taylor, and Lincoln, and Garfield, and it will kill Arthur. I won't have anything to do with politics." But said I, “General, suppose you are nominated, and elected, you cannot refuse. I want to remind you of what you told me once when I was on your staff, and was promoted, and had to leave. I said I didn't want to go, and you said to me very plainly, “a soldier cannot refuse promotion. Now, this is promotion, you ought to take it, it will crown your career. I think the people are ripe for such an administration of honesty and straight-forward, blunt, soldierly ways as you would give them.” “No, I would not have it, wouldn't take it if I were elected,” he said.
In the campaign of Atlanta, the president sent General Sherman a commission in the regular army, as Major-General, something that you know he prized very highly. He sent it back with the suggestion that it be held up as a prize of the coming campaigns of Atlanta and the Wilderness. Afterwards, when he captured Atlanta, and sent that dispatch, “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won,” the commission was sent back to him. I happened to be by when he opened it. He said, “Here is this commission back again, as Major-General of the regular army. I guess I will keep it now.”
He was ever thus, the same untiring, loyal, conscientious, kind, generous man. General Dodge will remember vividly the scenes of the 22nd of July at Atlanta. I was then on General Sherman's staff. About two o'clock in the morning he called me and said, * Warner, I want you to go over to McPherson, I have just gotten a note from Scofield.” Scofield, you remember, was in the center, the Army of the Tennessee on the left, with General Blair on the extreme left, the Army of the Cumberland on the right, and General Dodge in rear of our left, near Decatur, with his corps. Sherman said, “ I have a note from Scofield, and he says
enemy have gone and he thinks they have left Atlanta. I want you to go to McPherson and tell him to send out a reconnoissance and find out." Then he told me what roads to put McPherson on, in case Hood had gone, and to stay with him during the day and report at night On that memorable morning I woke General McPherson out of bed, and he ordered a reconnoissance and found the enemy had only withdrawn to a new line. I rode out with him on Blair's left. I said to him, “ General, I am going back to General Sherman.” He said, “ Wait a little, I want to see the General, I will go with you.” All was quiet then along the line. Blair asked us to go by his headquarters. As we rode down on the little road that McPherson was afterwards killed on, we met General Dodge, and he asked General McPherson where he should put his troops. General McPherson asked him " where are they now?" General Dodge replied, “ They are in the rear a mile and a half, or so, halted.” General McPherson said to him, “ We will send forward and prepare a new line, and then towards evening move your troops on towards Blair's left." We went then to Blair's headquarters. While there I remember some officers reported to General Blair that Confederate cavalry were seen near his hospital.
Captain Gile:-It was Colonel Alexander.
General Warner:-General Blair gave some directions about having it moved further in. Somebody else reported that Confederate cavalry had been seen near McPherson's headquarters, and General McPherson inquired about it, and asked who was there, and the officer said, “Colonel Clark."
Colonel Clark." McPherson said, " It is all right if Clark is there." It was three or four miles to Sherman's headquarters. This shows how unconscious we all were of any enemy on our left and rear. We went to General Sherman's headquarters, and while there, the rattle of firing began on our left, with General Dodge, and on the left of Blair. We listened a moment, and Sherman and McPherson both said, as it began to rattle louder, and quicker, " This means fight.” McPherson mounted his horse and rode off. I think Major Steele was with him. Within an hour Steele came back, saying that McPherson was killed, and that there was a heavy attack on the left. General Sherman said to me, “You have been over that ground, go over there and let me know the situation." Crossing a little
creek, I met McPherson's dead body in an ambulance.
I rode on and came to General Dodge. It was that accident, I think I may say, of General Dodge's two divisions being left there in that way on the rear of our left, that changed, perhaps, the whole tide of the day's fight. Hardee, with fifteen thousand men had made a detour entirely around our left, and taken us in flank and in rear, and it was General Dodge, with his two divisions so unexpectedly there, meeting him with such a firm front, that checked him, and changed the 22nd of July from a possible disaster into a great victory. Am I right in the general facts, General Dodge?
General Dodge:-Yes sir.
General Warner:-I rode up to General Dodge. He had repuised Hardee's attack on him. Hardee was surprised to find Dodge's troops there. And they stood there and kept their ground and drove Hardee back into the woods. When I General Dodge had just repulsed him. I asked him, “ General, how is it?" He said, “We have been attacked by a heavy force, but we have repulsed them and we can hold them.” I said, “ You will have reinforcements quickly."
I think these facts have never gone fully into the history of this battle. It was due to the accidental presence of these two divisions, and to the skill and bravery with which General Dodge met the attack of fifteen thousand men, that the 22nd of July was saved to us.
It illustrates the accidents of battle. I then saw General Blair. His extreme left, the 4th division, had been repeatedly attacked in front, flank and rear, and his troops had changed from one side of their works to the other, five times, to repel assaults, but had held their line with the loss of only one regiment, the 16th Iowa, and one battery, on the extreme left. Better fighting was never done than this of the 4th division of Blair's corps. He had ridden down in the meantime. to see how General Dodge was getting on. I rode over to the left, and saw General Leggett. He was holding his hill. Such a sight of dead bodies as lay around that hill I never saw before or after. I remember General Leggett saying to me, We have our line firmly established, and we can and will hold it.” And he did hold it. I went back to General Sherman. I told him the situation. Said I, “General Leggett tells me to say to you that he can hold his hill against all comers.” You all recall the next day when Generai Sherman rode the line, starting out, I may say, on my suggestion.
I told him the boys would like to see him after that bloody fight. and know they were in the right place. He started along the line, and the cheering began. Logan heard it, and he came and the cheering redoubled; and my friend Leggett will remember the wonderful scene from that hill that day as General Sherman looked out over those old fields. I have been there many times since the war. My recollection is, a thousand dead bodies were in sight.
I want to say a word of General Sherman's tenderness of heart. When I got back, McPherson's dead body had been brought and laid upon the orch of the Howard House, as we called it. I think it has gone into history as the Hurt House. McPherson's body was lying there upon some chairs. General Sherman was pacing the floor, back and forth, staff officers riding up and giving information, and Sherman issuing orders here and there, to the right, left and center, and between them he was pacing the floor back and forth, looking at McPherson's body with the tears rolling down his cheeks, It was as tender and affecting a sight as I
All the enthusiasm and responsibility of battle, all the great issues at stake, all the intense work of his mind did not take away froin him, nor dampen or smother his love of McPherson. While riding home that night from the battle field, he talked about McPherson, Woods and others. Said he, “I expected something to happen to Grant and to me, either the rebels or the newspapers would kill us both, and I looked to McPherson as the man to fol. low us and finish the war. McPherson was a fine soldier, and he had not an enemy in the world.”
General Sherman's conduct with McPherson showed his ten. der interest. McPherson, you may remember, when he began the Atlanta campaign, was betrothed to a Baltimore girl, and he wanted to go and be married. It was a Miss Hoffman. General Sherman said to him, “We are going to move on Atlanta and I must move with Grant, I must hold Johnston while Grant fights Lee. Mac, it wrings my heart, but you cannot go now.” General Sherman wrote a kindly letter, such as General Sherman could write, to the lady, explaining the situation, and saying that McPherson had no option but to stay or soldierly dishonor, and that, he was incapable of. After McPherson was killed, General Sherman talked about it with tears in his eyes, and he seemed to regret that he had not let McPherson go. He never said so in words, but that was the tone and tenor of his talk about it. If he had known what was going to happen, he would have let Mac go, be the consequences what they might.
When McPherson was killed, General Barry asked me how he had better communicate the news to Miss Hoffman. I asked him how she was situated. He said she was living with her mother. Said I, “You had better communicate with the mother, and let her break it to the daughter." He told me afterwards, that when the telegram came, mother and daughter were sitting together, and the dispatch was handed to the mother, and not anticipating its import, she said, “Mary, I haven't my glasses, won't you read this?" Mary opened to the death of McPherson and swooned. General Barry told me that her raven hair turned to white.
Now with these few words, interesting to me, and I hope not uninteresting to you, of the Great Commander, a man who was great on all lines, a man of infinite resources and variety, the best talker perhaps in the world, I certainly never met as good a one, a man of infinite humor, of great acquirements, a statesman, and one of the great soldiers of the world, I will close. He has gone,
but he has left a name behind him that will live while the fame of honest men and great soldiers shall survive, and I know that while a single comrade of the Army of the Tennessee remains on earth, he will be beloved and honored.
The resolution was unanimously adopted by a rising vote.
The President:—We will now listen to the report of the committee to which was referred the resolution as to a testimonial to General Sherman.
The report of the committee was read as follows:
Resolved, By the Society of the Army of the Tennessee in annual meeting assembled at Chicago, October 8th, 1891.
That there should be some suitable and permanent expression of the respect, admiration and gratitude felt by the American people for the noble character, lofty patriotism, and invaluable services of General William T. Sherman.
That in our opinion there should be erected at the National Capital a statue to this great man, and we believe that it is only necessary to have this subject properly brought to the attention of the country to secure the hearty approval and co-operation of the people.
To this end be it further