Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/164

This page needs to be proofread.

156 Southern Historical Society Papers.

retreat of the army. This it did successfully. If the right, instead of the left of the army, had been carried, it would have given the enemy possession of the only line of retreat, and no organized body of the Confederate army could have escaped. In the gloom of nightfall Cleburne's Division, the last to retire, sadly withdrew from the ground it had held gallantly, and brought up the rear of the retreating army.

The enemy next day organized a vigorous pursuit, and on the morning of the second day its advance, Hooker's Corps, came up with Cleburne at Ringgold Gap. The enemy moved to attack, what they supposed was a demoralized force, with great confidence. Cleburne had made skillful disposition to receive the attack, and repulsed it with such serious loss that pursuit was abandoned, and the pursuing force returned to its lines. Here Cleburne again re- ceived the thanks of Congress for meritorious conduct.

The Southern army now went into winter quarters at Dalton, in north Georgia. Cleburne's division occupied the outpost at Tunnel Hill. He devoted the winter months to the discipline and instruc- tion of his troops, and revived a previously adopted system of daily recitations in tactics and the art of war. He himself heard the re- citations of his brigade commanders a quartette of lieutenants worthy their captain the stately Granberry, as great of heart as of frame, a noble type of the Texan soldier; Govan, true and brave as he was courteous and gentle; Pope, young, handsome, dashing and fearless, and Lowry, the parson, soldier, who preached to his men in camp and fought with them in the field with equal earnestness and effect. These brigadiers heard the recitations of the regimental officers. The thorough instruction thus secured, first applied on the drill ground and then tested in the field, gave the troops great efficiency in action.

About this time the terms of enlistment of the three years' men began to expire. It was of critical importance to the Southern cause that these men should re-enlist. The greater part of Cle- burne's Division consisted of Arkansans and Texans, who were sep- arated from their homes by the Mississippi river. This river, patrolled by Federal gunboats, was an insuperable barrier to communication. Many of these men had not heard from their homes and wives and little ones for three years. To add to this, the occasional reports received from the Transmississippi were but repeated narratives of 'the waste and ravages of their homes by the Federal soldiery. No husband could know that his wife was not homeless, no father that