On December 2, 1863, Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee issued a message to the soldiers of the Army of Tennessee announcing that he had assumed command.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Dalton, Ga., December 2, 1863.
To the Soldiers of the Army of Tennessee:
General Bragg haying been relieved from duty with this army, the command has devolved upon me.
The steady purpose, the unflinching courage, and the unsullied patriotism of the distinguished leader who has shared your fortunes for more than a year, will be long remembered by this army and by the country he has served so well.
I desire to say, in assuming command, that there is no cause for discouragement. The overwhelming numbers of the enemy forced us back from Missionary Ridge, but the army is still intact and in good heart. Our losses were small and will be rapidly replaced. The country is looking to you with painful interest. I feel that it can rely upon you. Only the weak and the timid need to be cheered by constant success. The veterans of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesborough, and Chickamauga require no such stimulus to sustain their courage and resolution. Let the past take care of itself; we can and must secure the future.