Diary of Orrin Brown—Dec 19, 1864

Wiliam J. Hardee, Lieut. GeneralDiary of Orrin Brown—

Monday–Dec. 19th

We had a nice warm night to stand Picket and it is so warm today that the boys all feel like hunting for a shady place to sit down in. I borrowed a V. B. C. Advocate of a fellow in our Company last night and have improved my leasure hours in reading my old favorite paper. It made me feel while reading it as though I was at home. We were relieved from picket at 4.30 PM went to Camp got our supper ready and while we were eating it the rebs threw shell over our tent only a few feet above our heads but doing no damage. The rebs have been very quiet today untill this evening they have done some heavy Canonadeing on our right but I have not heard the result. I wrote a letter today.

Confederate Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee was a career army officer from Georgia.  He graduated from West Point in 1838, two years before William T. Sherman, and both served against the Seminole in Florida.  In fact, later on Hardee invested with Sherman and other West Pointers in San Francisco, California—a bad investment which Sherman honored.  In the Mexican-American War, Hardee served under future President Zachary Taylor, then under Gen. Winfield Scott.  After that war, he served in the Texas Rangers.  In 1855, Hardee published a book of infantry tactics which became the standard drill manual during the Civil War. The “Hardee hat“, the model dress hat for enlisted men, widely adopted by cavalrymen, is named for the general.

Hardee resigned from the U.S. Army when his home state seceded in 1861.  He served in Alabama and Arkansas, then joined Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston as a corps commander at the Battle of Shiloh, and with Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee.  After a brief stint as a Department Commander, Hardee returned to Bragg’s army before the Battle of Chattanooga, where he failed to stem Federal Maj. Gen. George Thomas’ assault on Missionary Ridge.  Hardee didn’t get along with Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood, when Hood assumed command Hardee transferred to command the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida… which happened to be next in Sherman’s sights.



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