Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999 Page: 111
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Reminiscences of the Old Brigade
dates, and he says "immunity from attack made
them (evidently meaning the men,) careless."
And yet Gen. Taylor knew every fact detailed
above for he had been told. It was the general
talk, and I told him myself, and I know others
told him. He knew there was no surprise. He
knew that Major H. H. Boone, of that battal-
ion, was watchful argus-eyed and ever on the
alert; that no army, regiment, or battalion, ever
had a more watchful, prudent, energetic, or
braver, and more efficient officer, and yet to
carry out his theory-that all the goods of this
world must come from discipline-he tries to
lay the blame on the junior officers, and poor
privates, instead of putting it where it of right
belonged, upon the shoulders of Edwin Waller,
I mean to do Lt-Col. Waller no injustice;
he is dead, and is one of our dead. He was a
brave and a gallant officer, but there is as much
in knowing when and how to fight as there is in
being willing to fight. A very wise king in the
olden times said, "there was a time for all
things," and that being true in the natural course
of things, there is a time to run; but that time
Col. Waller had not learned. He learned it pretty
soon, however, that day at Barnet Carre.
While Gen. Taylor's attaches, so much im-
portance to discipline, and seems to think that
every "good and perfect gift" must come from
it; yet his whole book is devoted to the mis-
takes of Reily Smith, our commanding officer,
and in trying to prove that all our misfortunes
flowed from obedience to that power. In this
he is seemingly at least inconsistent. I, too,
believe in discipline, in implicit obedience to
the commands of the higher power; but at the
same time I know and must say that when that
higher power, or superior officer, happens to
be incompetent, sub-opinionated, or untrue, as
was very frequently the case in the southern
army, disaster and defeat are certain to follow
in the footsteps of obedience.
Now, while it is true, that nearly all, if not
all, the higher officers in the southern army
were true to the south, and did what in their
honest judgement they thought best, yet there
were mistakes so flagrant outrageous and inex-
cusable, that it smacks more of willful errors,
from the heart, than mistakes from the head.
While the government and the people of
the north are building monuments to their illus-
trious dead generals, there are some southern
generals they ought not to forget there are south-
ern generals, true they are "few and far be-
tween," who in their own single persons by the
mistakes they made; by using their power to
reward the sycophant and paltrons; by their
influence in favor of those, who were making
use of the war for private speculation and indi-
vidual gain; by using their position to degrade
and debase the southern woman, while her pro-
tector was struggling in the front, did more for
the success of the north and the downfall of the
south than any general or any ten thousand men
on the northern side, for they crushed the south-
ern soldiers heart.
For when the southern soldier met and
fought the northern army and struggled and
fought as men never fought before and routed
and defeated that army, and then, by the mis-
takes of the victory made not only robbed of
the fruits of the victory, but that very victory
made the means of destroying him; when he
saw the commanding general of his department,
smiling upon a lot of fanwing sycophants, and
organizing cotton bureaus, in order to give safe
places to a lot of "shirks," who were afraid to
put their valuable persons in the way of bullets
and shells; when he saw that same department
commander not only fail to use the munitions
of war that he captured in behalf of the south,
but turn them over to the private speculator, to
be used for privaic gain and individual greed;
and then when a letter from home informed
him, that the department commander, or his
minions were using their power and position,
to degrade and debase his wife, sister, sweet-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999, periodical, May 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151406/m1/63/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.