It was an imposing scene! A rebel regiment, their bayonets glistening in the slanting rays of the setting sun, were having a dress-parade on the summit of the Kenesaw Mountain. Below were their rifle-pits, and their camarades d’armes occupying them.
A courier dashed up; he hands the adjutant a document. It is an order from Johnston, announcing to the troops that Sherman had brought his army so far south that his line of supplies was longer than he could hold; that he was too far from his base–just where their commanding general wished to get him; that a part of their army would hold the railroad, thirty miles north of the Etoway, and that the great railroad bridge at Alatoona, had been completely destroyed; that because he could bring no more trains through by the railroad. They were urged to maintain a bold front, and in a few days the Yankees would be forced to retreat. Breathless silence evinces the attention which every word of the order receives, as the adjutant reads. Cheers are about to be given, when hark! loud whistles from Sherman’s cars, at Big Shanty, interrupt them. The number of whistles increase. Alatoona, Ackworth, and Big Shanty depots resound with them. Supplies have arrived. The effect can easily be imagined. The illustration was so apt–the commentary so appropriate–that it was appreciated at the instant. “Bully for the base of supplies!” “Bully for the long line!” “Three cheers for the big bridge!” “Here’s your Yankee cars!” “There’s Sherman’s rations!” Bedlam was loose along their line for a short time.
There is a tree in front of General Harrow’s Fourth Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, Sherman’s army, which is called the fatal tree. Eight men were shot, one after another, as soon as they advanced to the ill-fated tree to take a secure position behind its huge trunk. Seven men were shot, when a board was placed there with the word “dangerous” chalked upon it. The rebels shot the guide-post into fragments, and a sergeant took his place behind the unsuspecting tree. In less than two minutes two Minie balls pierced the sergeant’s body, and he fell, the eighth martyr beneath the shadow of the tree of death.
Originally posted 2009-02-21 17:47:09.