Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
ANTIETAM

Restoration of McClellan to command of the Federals -- My command at General Lee's centre -- Remarkable series of bayonet charges by the Union troops -- How the centre was held -- Bravery of the Union eommander -- A long struggle for life.

THE war had now assumed proportions altogether vaster than had been anticipated by either the North or the South. No man at the North, perhaps no man on either side, had at its beginning a clearer pereeption of the probable magnitude of the struggle than General W. T. Sherman. Although he was regarded even then by his people as an officer of unusual promise, and a typical representative of the courage and constancy of the stalwart sons of the great West, yet he called upon himself and his prophecy the criticism of those whose views did not accord with his predictions. However uncomfortable these criticisms may have been to his friends, they did not seem to disturb his equanimity or force him to modify his opinion that it would require a vastly larger army than was generally supposed necessary to penetrate the heart of the South. He seemed to have, at that early period, a well-defined idea of the desperate resistance to be made by the Southern people. Possibly this ability to look into the future may have been in some measure due to a superior knowledge of the eharacteristies of the Southern people acquired during his former residence among them; but whatever the

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