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ever known. It has been my good fortune to know many of our public men in civil and military life during the last forty years. Thirty-one years ago in this city, with my friend General Barnum and others, I helped to nominate Abraham Lincoln for President of the United States. Since then I have known many of our great men, but I have never known a man who was so thoroughly and entirely honest, in the highest and best sense of the word, in every thought, action, emotion, and in every impulse as General Sherman. There was no guile in the man. You heard last night of his life in Louisiana, and of his anticipation of a great war. I remember that he told me that the night he left Louisiana, he talk. ed until about two o'clock in the morning with General Bragg, afterwards so prominent, and he came back with the conviction that we were upon the eve of a great war. He impressed that upon his brother John, and perhaps upon his brother, our friend Hoyt Sherman, who is here. John Sherman took him to President Lincoln. President Lincoln heard him, and either from motives of policy, or possibly a mistaken view, perhaps with a wise forecast, he seemed to treat the matter lightly. General Sherman came out of the White House with his brother John, and after the door was closed behind them, and in view of the seeming carelessness of the President of the great crisis that to his mind was so clear, he said in his impetuous and fierce way, “John, you are sleeping on a volcano, and are all going to hell together. I am going back to my street railroad in St. Louis."
I was with General Sherman on Kenesaw mountain when he signaled to Altoona fourteen miles away. We saw the smoke of French's guns; we could see a puff here, and a puff there and a puff yonder, indicating the position of every battery and every gun. General Sherman had a signal officer with him. He want. ed to find out whether Corse was there. He had wired Corse, who was at Rome, to take his division and go to Altoona as quickly as possible. He got no answer, for Hood had cut the wires. He told the signal officer to inquire of Altoona if Corse was there. The air was a little misty and the officer could not read the signals. He read some of them, and said, “General, I have lost some of the signals. I can't make out anything, but here is what I have,” and he had the letters as I remember, C. S. E. H. E. Sherman looked a moment and said, “I understand that, Corse is here, all right.” He then said to me, “ Warner, go down and tell Cox to move on French's rear with his division, and let French understand that he can't stay there long, with Corse in front and Cox in the rear. Tell him to burn every house and barn that he comes to, so that I can see just where he is all the tiine." I think that I may be allowed to add this in justice to General Cox. I gave him the order. When I got back, General Sherman had come down from the top of the mountain, and was in his tent fly. He came out to meet me with that famous dispatch of Corse's which has been repeated here, and I remarked to him that General Cox's head of column was on the road fifteen minutes after I gave him the order. The General snapped out quickly, “Cox is going to make a soldier.”
At the beginning of the Atlanta campaign, and after General Sherman had been placed in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, with General Thomas in command of the Army of the Cumberland, and of course subordinate to Sherman, I asked General Sherman if there was any truth in the rumor that General Thomas was dissatisfied. He replied, “No, not a bit. It don't make much difference which of us commands the army, I would obey Tom's order to-morrow as readily and cheerfully as he does mine to-day, but I think I can give the army a little more impetus than Tom can."
General Sherman told me of the interview between him and General Grant after Shiloh, and after Grant had been relieved of the command of the army. He said that Grant had told him with tears, that he was disgraced and ruined, and that he intended to resign from the army. Sherman said to him, “Nonsense, you will do no such thing. Do your duty where you are placed; this will all blow over, and you will come out all right.” General Grant followed Sherman's advice, and never ceased to be grateful for it, and we all know how he did come out “all right.”
General Sherman had a way of saying things in what is considered an extreme way, which is illustrated by a remark he made on the Atlanta campaign. I asked him one night at the camp-fire, what he thought of the Ohio law allowing soldiers to vote in the field. He said, “If I had my way, there shouldn't any body but soldiers vote.”
Here in this city, as many of you know, General Sherman virtually refused the Presidency of the United States. A considerable movement had been organized in his favor. All we needed was
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 me. 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 the 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.” 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 came 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.