106 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
He professes to be a strong Union man, but thinks the war, on the part of the North, is for Abolition purposes, which he sustained by certain Democratic papers in the North. When I told him the light in which these papers were viewed, the motives which animated them, and how they were regarded by the people, he confessed to have formed altogether wrong conceptions of the spirit and power of the North. He is most agreeably disappointed in regard to the character of our army; never having been in the North, and never acquainted with the Northern people, he is happy to find that they are not the unprincipled vandals and ruffians that he supposed; and that we infinitely stand above the Southern soldier, in every manly trait. The great mistake that the mass of the people here, and in all the South, make, is, they have not regarded the war on their part as a war of rebellion, but one of defense. It is remarkable what strange, inconsistent opinions they have formed and been taught in reference to the war; and when we meet a good, honest-hearted man, who is content to live and do just as his ancestors did, who thinks little for himself, and does not believe that the world moves, or that society is progressive, or that the earth revolves on its axis, and its revolution around the sun as a common center of a system of worlds, is an Abolition lie, or a Yankee infidelity. When we converse with such, with what astonishment they seem to regard and receive our views of the war. It reminded me much of talking to Sabbath School children – telling them interesting anecdotes.
We learned last evening that rebel cavalry had taken possession of Holly Springs, capturing two regiments stationed there, and burning all our stores of provisions; also destroying much of the railroad. We may feel this loss and misfortune severely, for the want of provisions and rations, unless the road is again repaired in a few days. The idea of leaving two regiments to protect a place like Holly Springs, and the immense amount of stores accumulated there, as a general depot for our army, is preposterous, and shows a great want of generalship somewhere; and some one – I need not say who – should be held responsible for such a military mistake and blunder.
It is a great mistake, and our people should by this time have learned it, that these important posts should not be protected by new regiments. These places need the best troops in the service, and the oldest regiments should be put there. The whole thing is done to gratify ambitious men, to open the avenue as wide as possible to aspirants, who are in the service solely for selfish purposes; consequently new regiments in this department are regarded and spoken of as of little account. Everything is done to make as little use of them as possible. The officers of an old regiment will scarcely condescend to treat the officers of a new regimiment with common military courtesy.
Halt! Here comes an order, which reads: "Move immediately with all camp and garrison equipage, wagons and ammunition in front." Of course this means a backward movement. What is up is known only to headquarters. We soon shall ascertain.
DECEMBER 23. – We left Sabbath evening about dark, and arrived at Oxford Monday noon. A distance of twenty miles was marched in that short space of time,
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