Sunday, September 22, 2013


Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood, wounded
severely in the battle but recovered.
(Library of Congress) 

The Richmond Daily Dispatch - Sept. 23, 1863.

The battle in East Tennessee.
           Thus far Gen. Bragg seems to be completely victorious. The results are greater than those of any battle fought by the Duke of Wellington in Spain, so far as the loss of men inflicted upon the enemy is concerned, with the single exception of Salamanca, and, so far as artillery is concerned, with the single exception of Victoria. In no one battle in the Peninsula, except Salamanca, did Wellington ever capture 4,000 prisoners, and in no one battle, save Victoria, did he ever capture as many as 30 pieces of cannon. What the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded amounted to, we have no means of ascertaining; but when we consider that Rosecrans had sixty thousand men, it is not to be supposed that he would have yielded, after two days fighting, and left 4,000 men, 30 pieces of artillery, and all his dead and wounded in our hands unless he had sustained a loss in the latter of at least 15,000 men. His entire loss, therefore, can fall very little short of 20,000 men — killed, wounded, and prisoners, and these are Western men, the very flower of the whole Yankee army. There can be no doubt, therefore, that thus far Gen Bragg's success has been brilliant, and that it goes far to redeem all the errors imputed to him on former occasions.
Nevertheless, there is still a feeling of uncertainly in this community, who but too well remember Murfreesborough, and how the glorious promise of one day was turned to sorrow by the dispatch of the next. They see Chattanooga, in all its strength, directly in front of Bragg, and they wait to see it retaken before they give way to joy. For the relief of such doubters, we are happy to announce that Chattanooga is defensible only against an enemy on the opposite side of the river. Against an enemy on the same side with itself, especially if he come from the cast, as Bragg does, it is altogether indefensible. The mountains terminate just there, and present numerous elevated positions, which command the place. The probability, therefore, is that Rosecrans will not attempt to make a stand there, but will continue his retreat to Nashville. It will all depend, however, on the vigor with which he is pushed by Bragg. That General will shortly receive, or possibly has received, heavy reinforcements, and he has had bitter experience of the evils resulting from delay in this war, in which procrastination has always been the object of the enemy. We trust and believe, therefore, that the enemy will be allowed no time to rest. Every consideration points to continued operations. The enemy evidently does not mean to advance from Tennessee into Alabama and Georgia during the present season. Rosecrans's plans is to get possession of the whole of Tennessee, and render it impregnable in the first place. Thence, having the best possible base, he will advance next summer upon Georgia and Alabama. He had already stolen ten thousand horses, upon which he designed to mount infantry this winter, and scour the whole North of Georgia and Alabama. It is to be hoped that he will be disappointed in these views. Gen. Bragg has at least made a good start in the attempt to disappoint him. Unless, however, he be driven back across the river our late victory will have been of no value.
          It will be seen from a dispatch from our own correspondent, dated at Ringgold yesterday,
Gen. Braxton Bragg, Confederate Cmdr.
at the Battle of Chickamauga.
(Library of Congress)
that there was no battle on Monday and but little skirmishing, and that yesterday an advance of our troops was to be made on the enemy, who is supposed to be in position on Mission Ridge, twelve miles from Chattanooga. From this we infer that Rosecrans fell back during Monday, without being fiercely pressed by our troops. Of the assault on his present position, which was to have been made yesterday, we may get the result to day.
          The Yankees never have beaten and never will beat our armies in the field. In every instance in which they have claimed the victory, their only show of right to do so has been the retreat of our troops at the very moment when they were preparing to retreat themselves.--McClellan had already commenced retreating from Sharpsburg, and Meade was already retreating from Gettysburg, when our General began to fall back, and this was the signal from them to sneak back and claim a victory.  At Murfreesborough, every officer in Rosecrans's army, except Rosecrans himself, was in favor of a retreat. "Wait a little while," said Rosecrans, "and you will see the enemy himself retreating."And so it turned out. In all three of these battles we fairly beat the enemy, and if we had but known it he would have retreated, and we have saved the honor of our arms.
            While exulting in our success we cannot but pause to pay a passing tribute to those brave officers who paid for our success with their lives. Of General Hood, in particular, it grieves us to record the serious nature of his wound, although we hope it is not mortal, as one account represents. He was one of the best officers and noblest spirits in the whole army — brave as the sword he wore, chivalrous as Bayard, humane as a professed philanthropist, beloved by his brother officers, adored by his men. We fervently hope the country may not be called on to deplore the loss of this noble-hearted man. There are others in the list, all of whom were an honor to the country in whose cause they fell.--But we leave their names to be recorded by other pens. Of Hood we have known and heard so much that we could not do less than bestow upon him this feeble tribute.
          P. S.--A dispatch has been received announcing the death of Gen. Hood.

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