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Report from the Baptist Hospital Of Cocke County

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Report from the Baptist Hospital Of Cocke County

Post  FlashmanKBE on Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:47 pm

Sir,

I submit my report to you on the action that took place in the Cumberland Gap this weekend past.

My Corps of four brigades plus battery of artillery recently alighted from our train journey, had begun our march west into the region known to be contested. I took personal command of two brigades, while General Chernov took command of the two others, plus the artillery battery.

While Marching West from Mrs Warner's farm, I had sent Couriers to General Herbert, asking him of his location, and of my intention to move towards him and join with his forces. When his response came it was clear that he was several miles West, but was making good progress towards my position.

Whilst moving my command to the heights West of Mrs Warner's farm, Union cavalry were seen to be approaching from the North. General Chernov already had both his brigades in position on top of this ridge, and as the Cavalry approached, he formed up to repel them. The cavalry fell back. At this point I observed a disastrous state of affairs, in that our artillery captain, having received instructions to move up behind Chernov's division, had chosen not to. He had become exposed, and while I force marched my brigades towards them, the cavalry had the advantage, and I regret to inform you that four guns were lost in this action. As the cavalry approached the guns, an infantry brigade was spotted moving South East from the North. I attempted to move my command back to intercept this infantry brigade and the cavalry, and managed to engage the cavalry briefly, repelling them. But the enemy disengaged, and managed to slip past us, taking the guns in the process.

Receiving reports from General Herbert that he was engaging what appeared to be the main force to the South West of my position, and hearing reports from General Chernov that further enemy units were believed to be NW of our position, and having seen units moving SE of my position, the situation was becoming very confusing. No enemy units were within sight, those that we had seen had avoided combat with us and moved off, and I was receiving conflicting reports about the location of the enemy.

Deciding that General Herbert's information was likely to be the most significant, I decided to move my command South West, to where I believed was most likely the main enemy formation. As we started to sally out a shell burst overhead, and I received a fragment in my head, concussing me, and causing me to fall from my horse. I did not regain conciousness for the rest of the battle. These particulars I have been informed of while I now rest idly in my bed in this hospital.

Sir, I take full responsibility for our losses of men, guns and ground. My duty to relieve General Herbert of his command I cannot endorse - the situation this day was very confusing, and General Herbert maintained force integrity for as long as any man could have. I would commend General Herbert, who faced a considerable foe while losing several of his own officers early on in the battle.

I await your instructions.

Your obedient servant,

General J E Johnston
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Re: Report from the Baptist Hospital Of Cocke County

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:27 pm

Dear General Johnston,

I have received information that differs with your account of events. Along with your baggage train, by the way thank you very much for the contribution, Gen. Neumann captured your servant, Matthew. He told the general that you partook heavily of the bottle the night before battle. He related that in the morning, your staff had to place you on your horse and tie you to the saddle. Still unable to remain upright, they had to fasten a board behind you as your backbone was being of little use to you. Apparently you rode towards the front brandishing your sword and presented a far greater danger to your staff than to my soldiers. As you approached our lines, your horse, in possession of the better sense, turned around and bolted for the rear. You were heard shouting, "Follow me boys! This way to glory!"

That pain in your head is not the result of a shell but undoubtedly from the poor quality of the liquid courage you required. Overindulgence by members of the southern command staff is a pattern I cannot help but notice. I realize that facing the might of the north would give any man pause. You and your ilk must look elsewhere than the bottle for the courage to face us. Sir, such behavior brings dishonor not only to yourself but to all officers of both armies.

I remain respectfully yours,

Gen. M.T. Georgia, Commanding
Army of the Shenandoah

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