Today the order for the removal of Gen. Johnston and the appointment of Gen. Hood to the command of the Georgia army is read in our room. Grief and indignation fill nearly every breast. Probably no General of any war has been so continually unsuccessful (or, if you please, so devoid of victories) as Gen. Johnston, who at the same time has retained the almost enthusiastic confidence of the troops and generals serving with him. If they are in perpetual retreat they don’t appear to mind it, and if they suffer reverses they do not appear to regard them as such. This same feeling of unbounded confidence and trust filled the brave souls of the veterans of the Peninsula campaign even when hemmed and packed close around Richmond in 1862. It never deserted his noble army in the disastrous campaign of Mississippi, and every batch of prisoners from his army up to the present have told the same story – that the whole army has the most implicit confidence in Johnston as the man who is to bring them safely through all their trial, dangers, and conflicts…
Feb. 15th Receive a letter from Father. He says everything is bright and cheerful in the South and whatever suffering there may be it is not perceptible, but everyone appears to enjoy himself as though there was no war. (I suppose this is putting a good face over our misfortunes.) Every week a rumor is afloat about our leaving the island by way of an exchange of prisoners between the North and South.
Feb. 22nd In the evening we celebrate the 22nd by a few appropriate speeches from Col. Lewis, Mo., Capt. Houston, Va., and Capt. Fellows (Tenn. or Ark.). The Yankee officer of the day disperses the crowd, but not until we had paid the usual tribute of respect to Genl. Washington, the Father of Rebels.
Our artillery has now ceased to roar and the enemy have checked their fury, too. The time appointed for our charge has come.
I tell you, there is no romance in making one of these charges. You might think so from reading “Charlie O’Mallery,” that prodigy of valour, or in reading of any other gallant knight who would as little think of riding over gunners and sich like as they would of eating a dozen oysters. But when you rise to your feet as we did today, I tell you the enthusiasm of ardent breasts in many cases ain’t there, and instead of burning to avenge the insults of our country, families and altars and firesides, the thought is most frequently, Oh, if I could just come out of this charge safely how thankful would I be!Continue reading →