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the most disastrous defeats he experienced while in command of the rebels. He left a great many dead and wounded on the field, besides about 400 prisoners. In the terrible but ineffectual battle of Kenesaw Mountain his army occupied the left; on the 3rd and 4th of July he was again fighting on the right, harrassing the retreating foe while crossing the Chattahoochie. Changing again to the extreme left, he crossed the river and occupied Decatur. Hood, who had relieved Johnston on the 19th, resisted every advance of McPherson, and on the 21st contested, with a heavy force, the occupation of the chosen position. He was repulsed with heavy slaughter, and that night our lines were completed as intended, but the situation was not agreeable to McPherson. He had but two corps, the 15th and 17th, in line. He had been directed to employ Dodge in destroying the railroad bridge, and to send the division of cavalry thirty-six miles away to destroy the bridge at Covington, and hence "his army was in air.” The result proved that his fears for the safety of his army were well founded. Hood was his classmate. He knew his headlong, obstinate character, and believed he would precipitate a battle at any time, without counting the cost. At daylight on the morning of the 22nd he received information from the commanding General that the enemy had abandoned their works in front of Atlanta, with direction for him to push his columns forward at once.
DEATH OF GENERAL M'PHERSON.
After giving the necessary orders he rode over to my headquarters, and we rode out together toward the front, during which he became satisfied that the information was incorrect, and that the order to move had been made under an erroneous impression. Convinced that he must be prepared for Hood at any moment, he countermanded the orders for the forward movement, and directed Dodge to take position on the extreme left to repulse any attack. He then proceeded to General Sherman's headquarters to explain to him the real situation. While doing so firing was heard to the left and in the direction of Decatur. The enemy had turned our Aank. Hastening at once to the left, sending his staff in every direction to bring up all the available forces to strengthen his lines, he, with a single orderly, rode into a blind path leading to General Giles A. Smith's Division. Here he was met by a stray detachment of Pat. Claiborne's command, who halted him, and then
delivered a volley, killing him. Then and there fell the noble and loved form now personified before us. This was a little after 12 o'clock. A staff officer immediately notified General Sherman of his death, and I was placed in command. At once General McPherson's staff reported to me, and aided me with the ability, promptness and courage which made them so valuable in their services to him.
Right and left, left and right, like a weaver's shuttle, went the Army of the Tennessee athwart the serried warp, amid heat and dust, shot and shell, blood and tears, weaving the crimson network of revenge till the field was in the bloody toils and fairly won. But the brightest spot of crimson on the deeply stained warp and woof of that memorable day, and which all the storms of time and tears of comrades will never efface, is the life-blood of the gallant McPherson.
Thus fell McPherson, the first and only commander of a Union army killed on the field of battle during the war of the rebellion.
The news of his death spread like lightning speed along the lines, sending a pang of keenest sorrow to every heart as it reached the ear. But especially terrible was the effect upon the Army of the Tennessee. It seemed as though a burning, fiery dart had pierced every breast, tearing asunder the foodgates of grief, but at the same time heaving to their very depths the fountains of revenge. The clenched hands seemed to sink into the weapons they held, and from the eyes gleamed forth flashes terrible as lightning. The cry, “McPherson! McPherson!” rose above the din of battle, and as it ran along the lines swelled in power, until the roll of musketry and booming of cannon seemed drowned by its echoes.
McPherson again seemed to lead his troops, and where he leads victory is sure; each officer and soldier, from the succeeding commander to the lowest private, beheld, as it were, the form of their bleeding chieftain leading them on to battle. “McPherson," and “onward to victory” were the only thoughts; bitter, terrible revenge their only aim. There was no such thought that day of stopping short of victory or death. The firm, spontaneous resolve was to win the day or perish with their slain leader on the bloody field.
Fearfully was his death avenged that day. His army, maddened by his death, and utterly reckless of life, rushed with savage delight into the fiercest onslaughts, and fearlessly plunged into the very jaws of death. As wave after wave of Hood's daring troops dashed with terrible fury upon our lines, they were hurled back with a fearful shock, breaking their columns into fragments, as the granite headland breaks into foam the ocean billows. Across the narrow line of works raged the fierce storm of battle, the hissing shot and bursting shell raining death on every hand. Over dead and dying friends and foes rush the swaying hosts, the shout of rebels, confident of victory, only drowned by the battlecry, “McPherson!” which went up from the Army of the Tennessee.
Many thousand rebels bit the dust ere the night closed in, and the defeated and baffled enemy, after failing in their repeated and desperate assaults upon our lines, were compelled to give up the hopeless contest. Though compelled to fight in front and rear victory crowned our arms.
As soon as the dead could be buried and the wounded cared for, the army, with hearts still sore and burning for revenge, which even the terrible holacaust of the 22nd had failed to appease, on the 26th, at midnight, moved to the extreme right, and on the 28th, while going into position, met the last desperate attack of the rebels, hurling them back in five fierce assaults, heaping up the dead in front of its unshaken columns.
The foe, angry and sullen, moved slowly and stubbornly from the well-contested field, where their high hopes of victory had been so sadly disappointed. Following up the advantages gained, many minor contests ensued during our stay in front of Atlanta, the Army of the Tennessee moved on to Jonesboro, where it met the enemy on the 31st of August, and routed him completely, effectually demoralizing his forces. It was then that the roar of our victorious guns, mingled with deafening peals, announced that the rebel General, conquered and dismayed, had blown up his magazines and evacuated Atlanta, and that the last stronghold of the West was ours. The work so thoroughly and so nobly done during these days of fierce conflict and carnage, in which each officer and soldier proved himself a hero, was the signal for national rejoicing.
But in the Army of the Tennessee, although praised and complimented for its part in the great work, the joy and glow of victory was mixed with a deep and pungent sorrow, which even the bright prospects of a speedy and permanent peace could not efface. The bleeding, dying form of their beloved chief was ever before their minds. They could not be reconciled to the thought that his manly form and pleasant smile would no more be seen in our camps and around our nightly bivouacs. As they sat in the cool of evening's twilight, resting from the toils of the day, recounting to each other the various scenes of danger through which they had so lately passed, at each mention of the name of General Mac” a sigh of grief burst from the heaving breast. Every anecdote illustrating his kindness and the gentleness of his character was repeated again and again, each kind look and friendly word, and even every word of reproof and impatient expression was cherished as a most sacred memento. In his loss each, even down to the least private, appeared to feel, not so much that he had lost a commander, as a brother. But this affectionate regard for him was not limited to his own command, it was felt even by his superior officers, as is shown by the following letter of condolence to his aged grandmother:
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, VA., August 10, 1864. “My Dear MADAM:—Your very welcome letter of the 3rd instant has reached me. I am glad to know the relations of the lamented Major-General McPherson are aware of the more than friendship existing between him and myself. A nation grieves at the loss of one so dear to our nation's cause. It is a selfish grief, because the nation had more to expect from him than from almost any one living. I join in this selfish grief, and add the grief of personal love for the departed. He formed, for some time, one of my military family. I knew him well. To know him, was but to love him. It may be some consolation to you, his aged grandmother to know that every officer and every soldier who served under your grandson, felt the highest reverence for his patriotism, his zeal, his great, almost unequaled ability, and all the manly virtues that adorn a commander. Your bereavement is great but can not exceed mine."
U. S. GRANT,
· Lieutenant-General. Nor has McPherson lived in vain. It is not too much for me to say that his memory, with that of his most intimate friend-the grand Rawlins—is the silver cord which binds together, more than any other influence, this Society of the Army of the Tennessee, knitting its members in closer and closer unity, as one by one drops from the ranks and is transferred to the army on the other shore, where at length we shall all meet in the eternal camping. grounds, where the drum beat for the “long roll” will be heard no more forever.
The devotion of his friends and comrades, their tender regard for his memory and high esteem of his character as an officer, comrade and patriot, has resulted in the erection of a monument to his memory, the unveiling of which is the occasion of our assembling here to-day.
As his entire life-work was national, his great heart national to the inmost core, his loss national' and his memory national, it is but meet that his statue should be placed here, in the nation's capital, among the bronze and marble forms of those heroes and statesmen who have made our nation illustrious. It is proper that his noble form should appear among those who have done so much to work out the great problem of a permanent republic with the power in the people. Our statesmen had demonstrated by nearly a century of experience the possibility of properly balancing and adjusting the powers and responsibilities of government; but our ability to maintain national integrity against disorganizing, disintegrating and rebellious elements was yet to be tested. McPherson appeared to comprehend fully the magnitude and importance of this part of the great problem, and that mind so accustomed to deal with the higher mathematics, to handle the integrals and differentials, and solve the problems of the calculus, perceived at once the factors in this national problem most difficult to eliminate and its only method of solution. Feeling that patriotic devotion on the battle-field alone could save the Union, he gave his soul, his life to the work. It is therefore eminently proper that this monument to his memory should be erected here in our national shrine.
In personal appearance McPherson was one of the most striking officers of the army; above six feet in height, well developed and symmetrical in form, as shown by the statue before us, he was justly distinguished for gracefulness of person and manner. His countenance was remarkably pleasing, his bearing manly, his eye large, full, penetrating and expressive; his demeanor graceful, dignified and captivating, and no man possessed in a higher degree the art of conciliating than did General McPherson. His very denials and refusals were tempered with such gentleness and kindness of manner, that even the disappointed applicant could not