James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
have been driven constantly and steadily southward from position to position, by a general who did not possess a high order of ability. The more one studies this inch-by-inch struggle, the better will one realize that in the direction and supply of each of the opposing forces, there was a master mind, with the best of professional training, with the added advantage of three years of practical experience in warfare. The strife between the two was of the most honorable character even as it has been between all noble spirits who have fought to the end since Homers time. Either would have regarded the killing of the other as a happy fortune of war, though indeed he might have apostrophized his dead body as Mark Antony did Brutuss; yet twenty-seven years later, when the victor in this campaign had succumbed to death, the magnanimous Johnston, though aged and feeble, travelled from Washington to New York to act as a pall-bearer and to grieve as a sincere mourner at his funeral.1
By systematic flanking and fighting, Sherman drove Johnston to Cassville, where the Confederate at first decided to accept battle; but learning that two of his corps commanders did not approve his plan, he did not deem it wise to risk a battle with a force so much his superior while lacking the unanimous and sympathetic support of his lieutenants; he therefore retreated south of the Etowah river. Yet he was right in wishing to try the fortune of war at this time and in this comparatively open country, for in his retreat he had been picking up detachments and receiving reenforcements, while Sherman, although also reënforced, had less than his original army with him owing to the necessity of protecting the railroad in his rear, which was his only line of supply; in fact the two armies were now more nearly
Note 1. Sherman died Feb. 14, 1891; Johnston five weeks later of heart failure aggravated by a cold taken at Shermans funeral. [back]