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Who's "X," Who's "Q" and Who's the Division Commander?
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Author:  Joe Meyer [ Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:18 am ]
Post subject:  Who's "X," Who's "Q" and Who's the Division Commander?

In 1884 Alexander F. Stevenson published his Battle of Stone's River book, in which he describes a peculiar incident following the battle's first main day. That was the day that Confederate General Braxton Bragg launched one of the most jarring flank attacks against a Union Army, Dec. 31st, 1862. Stevenson, a Union Army officer who participated in the battle includes an interesting account in his book which is purported to have taken place the night of January 1st.

The cold and bad weather, the scarcity of food, and the want of sleep, had a demoralizing effect on many men. The great majority were hopeful that a victory might still be gained; others grew faint-hearted, and were inclined to retreat to Nashville. A conspicuous example of the latter feeling was shown by a general commanding a division, although no one would suspect it by reading his report of the battle. In the evening of the first day of January he came to one of his brigade commanders, who may be called Colonel X., a very brave man, and said to him, "This army is whipped; the rebels are between us and Nashville, and the only thing to do now is to cut our way through. Some one has to take the lead, and I want you to do it tomorrow; otherwise we shall all be captured."

Colonel X. answered, "General, this army is not beaten, by a good deal; it is in a better position than ever before, and we will whip them yet." Then, thinking a moment, he added, "Have you consulted General Rosecrans about you proposed action?"

"No," replied the division commander; "but be ready tomorrow to cut your way through to Nashville."

After the latter had left, Colonel X., considering the matter for a few minutes, went to another brigade commander in the same division, who may be called Colonel Q., to ascertain whether anything of a similar import had been said to him.

"Has our division commander told you that he wants us to cut our way through to Nashville tomorrow?" asked Colonel X. of Colonel Q.

"Yes," answered the latter. "What are you going to do about it?"

"My God!" responded Colonel X., full of indignation and anger, "if he orders me to desert the balance of this army, and run away to Nashville, I'll arrest him as a traitor, and march him under guard to General Rosecrans's head-quarters."

It is very probable that this reply was communicated to the division commander, for the order for retreat to Nashville never came.


I've always wondered, if this account was true, who that division commander may have been. There were eight of them there: the three Right Wing DC's - Jeff C. Davis, Richard W. Johnson and Philip H. Sheridan; the Center DC's - Lovell H. Rousseau and James S. Negley; and the Left Wing DC's - Thomas J. Wood, John M. Palmer and Horatio P. Van Cleve. If you include the cavalry, you must add John Kennett. As far as I know, no serious historian has ever refuted Stevenson's account.

Author:  David Danner [ Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Who's "X," Who's "Q" and Who's the Division Commander?

Of course I don't know, but McCook's Division took the strong Confederate attack and was pushed back. Sheridan helped stabilized the line on Negley's right, so I would make a guess of either Davis or Johnson, who was on the extreme flank. This is an interesting military exchange and one which corroborated, that would be a great inclusion to a new book if someone was writing one Joe!

Author:  nelmsm [ Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Who's "X," Who's "Q" and Who's the Division Commander?

Jeff Davis sounds like someone who would want the Union army to retreat! LOL

Author:  John Sheffield [ Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who's "X," Who's "Q" and Who's the Division Commander?

nelmsm wrote:
Jeff Davis sounds like someone who would want the Union army to retreat! LOL


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :wink:

Author:  C. Hecht [ Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Who's "X," Who's "Q" and Who's the Division Commander?

Now fun aside, Davis looks like a candidate for a breakthrough to Nashville.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 1_1600.png

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