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Chapter 35:

    I. The night of the 6th

  • the withdrawal.
  • -- estimated losses. -- Polk's position. -- bombardment and tempest. -- Beauregard's headquarters. -- reinforcements. -- the respite improved. -- Federal orders for attack. -- Buell's statements. -- the remnant of Grant's army.

    II. the battle of Monday p. 643.

  • renewal of battle.
  • -- Federal alignment. -- Confederate right. -- the attack on it. -- the battle. -- individual heroism. -- contradictory orders. -- Buell's attack. -- battle at the centre. -- attack by Grant's army. -- Polk's defense at Shiloh Church. -- Bragg resists Lew Wallace. -- the Kentucky brigade. -- Beauregard retreats. -- the rear-guard. -- abortive pursuit. -- arrest repulses Sherman. -- the artillery. -- Rev. Robert Collyer's account. -- losses. -- the fiercest fight of the War. -- the consequences. -- Grant, Sherman, and Buell. -- amenities in War. -- end of the campaign.

    Appendices p. 661.

  • General Beauregard's official report.
  • -- killed, wounded, and missing. -- field return of the Confederate forces that marched from Corinth to the Tennessee River. -- field return of the army of the Mississippi after the battle of Shiloh. -- field return of the army of the Mississippi before and after the battle of Shiloh. -- organization and casualties of the army of the Mississippi, April 6 and 7, 1862. -- organization, strength, and casualties, of Grant's army at the battle of Shiloh. -- United States troops engaged at Shiloh.

I. The night of the 6th.

    I. The night of the 6th

  • the withdrawal.
  • -- estimated losses. -- Polk's position. -- bombardment and tempest. -- Beauregard's headquarters. -- reinforcements. -- the respite improved. -- Federal orders for attack. -- Buell's statements. -- the remnant of Grant's army.

    II. the battle of Monday p. 643.

  • renewal of battle.
  • -- Federal alignment. -- Confederate right. -- the attack on it. -- the battle. -- individual heroism. -- contradictory orders. -- Buell's attack. -- battle at the centre. -- attack by Grant's army. -- Polk's defense at Shiloh Church. -- Bragg resists Lew Wallace. -- the Kentucky brigade. -- Beauregard retreats. -- the rear-guard. -- abortive pursuit. -- arrest repulses Sherman. -- the artillery. -- Rev. Robert Collyer's account. -- losses. -- the fiercest fight of the War. -- the consequences. -- Grant, Sherman, and Buell. -- amenities in War. -- end of the campaign.

    Appendices p. 661.

  • General Beauregard's official report.
  • -- killed, wounded, and missing. -- field return of the Confederate forces that marched from Corinth to the Tennessee River. -- field return of the army of the Mississippi after the battle of Shiloh. -- field return of the army of the Mississippi before and after the battle of Shiloh. -- organization and casualties of the army of the Mississippi, April 6 and 7, 1862. -- organization, strength, and casualties, of Grant's army at the battle of Shiloh. -- United States troops engaged at Shiloh.

Nightfall found the victorious Confederates retiring from the front, and abandoning the vantage-ground on the bluffs, won at such a cost of blood. This gave the Federals room and opportunity to come out from their corner, and to advance and reoccupy the strong positions from which they had been driven, and dispose their troops on much more favorable ground than the crowded landing permitted. Called off from the pursuit by staff officers, who gave no specific instructions, the brigades, according to circumstances, bivouacked on the battle-field, marched to the rear, or made themselves comfortable on the profuse spoils of the enemy's encampments. Some were painfully threading the dark paths of the forest, finding or losing their way, in search of vaguely-designated positions. Others sought the sleep of exhaustion in dread of some sudden sally, not knowing how they lay toward friend or foe.

Jordan estimates the losses of the 6th ( “Life of Forrest,” page 138) at 6,500. There were, of course, many stragglers. He estimates the Confederate infantry, ready for battle on the morning of the 7th, at 20,000 men. Jordan also says that Polk led his troops a mile and a half to the rear of Shiloh. This is a mistake. Clark's division, now under A. P. Stewart, bivouacked on the ground. Cheatham, having become detached with one brigade, thought best to retire to his encampments of the night before; but he held his men well in hand, and had them ready for engagement early next morning. Their withdrawal and position were reported that night by General Polk to General Beauregard, who gave no orders for their return. Polk joined them, in order to be sure of their early presence on the field, and led [640] them back at an early hour; and their conduct was uncommonly spirited on Monday.

At regular intervals of ten minutes the gunboats threw a shell; and the boom and roar of these heavy missiles, bursting among the tired Confederates, broke their repose and added to the demoralization. At midnight, too, another heavy storm broke upon them, drenching those who had not been so fortunate as to secure shelter in the Federal encampments. There was no lack of provisions, however, and the men reveled without stint in the unwonted luxuries of the Federal sutlers' stores.

At headquarters, credence was given to a misleading dispatch from Decatur (or Florence).

Colonel Jordan, in a letter to the Savannah Republican, says of General Beauregard:

Animated by the plain dictates of prudence and foresight, he sought to be ready for the coming storm, which he had anticipated and predicted as early as the afternoon of the 5th.

By this he means the arrival of Buell's reinforcements. And he says in the same letter:

General Beauregard had the current [concurrent?] evidence of prisoners and scouts, that Buell's arrival was confidently expected. ... It was, however, after General Beauregard had given his orders, and made his arrangements as far as practicable to meet any exigency, that I joined him and communicated the substance of a dispatch, addressed to General Johnston, that had been handed me on the battle-field, which encouraged the hope that the main part of Buell's forces had marched in the direction of Decatur.

He says (in his “Life of Forrest,” page 136) that this emanated from a reliable officer, placed near Florence for observation, and adds:

Buell's timely junction with General Grant was accordingly deemed impossible. Therefore the capture of the latter was regarded at Confederate headquarters as inevitable the next day, as soon as all the scattered Confederate reserves could be brought to bear for a concentrated effort.

Colonel Preston telegraphed to the President from Corinth, April 7th.

General Johnston fell yesterday while leading a successful charge, turning the enemy's right, and gaining a brilliant victory. (Here follow some details already given.) Last night Colonel Gilmer informed me he saw the enemy embarking under cover of their gunboats-and no commencement of the conflict was expected by General Beauregard.

In spite of the somewhat imprudent boasts of General Prentiss that Buell's reinforcements would turn the tide of battle in the morning, it [641] was expected, therefore, that the next day's work would be merely to pick up the spoils of victory. During the night, Forrest reported that reinforcements were arriving; but no other steps were taken than the usual precautions against surprise by an army in the face of the enemy.

Lew Wallace's division, 8,000 strong, came marching up from Crump's Landing, a little after nightfall, and, filing over the Snake Creek crossing, was placed soon after midnight on the Federal right, covering the fragments of Sherman's and McClernand's divisions. During the night the entire divisions of Nelson and Crittenden were got across the river, and, by daylight, that of McCook began to arrive. Nelson took position on the left; Crittenden, next to him; and then McCook. The interval between McCook and Wallace was occupied by such commands of Grant's army as the officers had been able to get into shape.

Badeau Life of Grant, page 86) says:

All the camps originally occupied by the national troops were in the hands of the enemy, but the rebel advance had been checked at every point. The division organization was, however, greatly broken up. Sherman had lost thousands by desertion and straggling; Prentiss had been captured, with 2,200 men; while W. H. L. Wallace's command was nearly destroyed, by casualties and the loss of its chief. The line, as constituted on Sunday night, was simply a mass of brave men, determined to hold their own against the enemy, wherever they found a commander.

General Sherman says that as early as 5 P. M., on the 6th, General Grant thought the battle could be retrieved next day, and ordered him to resume offensive operations. The inference from his letters and “Memoirs” is that these offensive movements were determined on irrespective of Buell's reinforcements; but it is impossible to believe General Grant ignorant of Buell's movements, especially after recent conference with him. It is not hard to understand that, if he could escape capture that night, he would expect, with nearly 30,000 fresh troops coming to his reinforcement, to recover his lost ground next day. But it is evident, from the comparative sluggishness and feebleness of their next morning's operations, that Grant's troops were in no condition to attack unaided. His routed and panic-stricken army rapidly regained its courage, however, as division after division came up on its flanks, unshaken by the horrors of the day, and eager to renew the contest. The respite given by the early cessation of the combat was ably improved before night came on; and the narrow space into which the troops had been crowded, for lack of avenues of escape, now aided in their reorganization. The night was spent in this work.

Sherman estimates that 18,000 men remained, Sunday evening, fit for battle. These, with the reinforcements, would give some 46,000 Federals for the fight on Monday. But if only 18,000 remained, what [642] a story it tells of the havoc and rout of Sunday! Two-thirds of the army dead, wounded, or missing! These statements of Grant's strength have been met by the flat contradiction of General Buell and his friends, as being absolutely inconsistent with the situation of affairs. In an interview with Major J. M. Wright, of his staff, authoritatively published in the Louisville Courier-Journal, General Buell speaks in reference to these matters as follows:

My own recollection has always been that General Sherman's explanations on that occasion were briefer than would ordinarily be expected from him, and that if there was much conversation it consisted mainly in my unequivocal statement to him that I should attack the enemy the next morning at daylight, and in my endeavor to get such information from him as might be useful in the execution of that design. I should not have paid much attention to his opinion with reference to what was left of the Army of the Tennessee, for I probably knew more about that than he did. I had seen its disorganized fragments about the landing and along the bank of the river, and walked pretty much the whole extent of its organized front. I have stated, on a previous occasion, that the number of troops that retained their ranks at the close of the first day did not probably exceed 10,000 men. A measurement of the ground which they occupied will show that the number could not have been more than 5,000, exclusive of Lew Wallace's division. That number may have been slightly increased the next morning from stragglers, under the encouraging effect of a large and fresh body of troops, but my belief is it did not exceed that number.

Indeed, it seems improbable that such orders were issued to Sherman that night, as the other division commanders mention the next morning as the time when they received them. Evidently, all depended on what Buell could do.

General Buell says, speaking of Sherman's sketch-map of the battlefield sent to the writer:

Sherman's sketch is also an interesting one, as showing the positions from which they were driven, and the dwindled front to which they were reduced. It will help to show, in connection with other circumstantial evidence, that, of the army of not less than 50,000 effective men which Grant had on the west bank of the Tennessee River, not more than 5,000 were in ranks and available on the battle-field at nightfall on the 6th, exclusive of Lew Wallace's division, say 8,500 men, that only came up during the night. The rest were either killed, wounded, captured, or scattered in inextricable and hopeless confusion for miles along the banks of the river.


II. the battle of Monday.

Buell says in his report:

Soon after five o'clock, on the morning of the 7th, General Nelson's and General Crittenden's divisions, the only ones yet arrived on the ground, moved promptly forward to meet the enemy. Nelson's division, marching in line of battle, soon came upon his pickets, drove them in, and at about six o'clock received the fire of his artillery.

Buell then pushed forward his artillery, which engaged the Confederates, while Crittenden aligned his division on Nelson's right; and McCook, whose division was beginning to arrive, took position on the right of Crittenden. The line, when formed, had a front of one mile and a half. Buell had with him, also, two fragments of Grant's army that he had picked up, each about 1,000 strong.

The forces on the Confederate right, which encountered Nelson, were extremely fragmentary. Chalmers's brigade, and the remains of Jackson's, which had fallen to pieces in the night, were there. The regiments of Gladden's brigade were represented by small bands of one or two hundred men, under various commanders. Colonel Deas, with 224 men of Gladden's brigade, was aided by the Fourth Kentucky, which had become detached from Trabue's brigade. In a charge he lost half of them. The First Tennessee from Stephens's brigade, the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Tennessee from Johnson's, and the “Crescent” Regiment from Pond's, which had so distinguished itself on the left centre the previous afternoon, were found mingled in the confused and bloody conflict on the right. Chalmers was at one time detached from the command of his own brigade by General Withers, in order to lead one of these conglomerate commands; and Colonel Wheeler had charge of two or three regiments thrown together. General Withers strove, with great gallantry and skill, to bring order out of all this confusion; but in vain. Nelson's division encountered this line about seven o'clock, and after a contest of half an hour was driven back. The elation of yesterday would not yet permit these men to think themselves otherwise than invincible.

The battle, not only here but all along the line, consisted all the morning of a series of charges and counter-charges, in which the assailants were always beaten back with loss. The Federals suffered heavily, and the ragged front of the Southern regiments wasted away. Once or twice, during lulls in the battle, the Confederates retired, taking new and strong positions. General Chalmers tells how, after having repulsed [644] a charge of Nelson's line in force, With a double command of his own and his temporary brigade, the Confederates were driven back some 300 yards. Then, having been rallied, they boldly met and drove back their pursuers in turn, and reoccupied the lost ground. Nelson came on again with still heavier battalions, the fight was renewed, and the Confederates were again driven down the hill. The One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Tennessee and the remnant of Blythe's Mississippi coming up, they were again rallied. Chalmers tried once more to rouse them to a charge; but his appeals were unheeded by the exhausted men, till he seized the colors of the Ninth Mississippi Regiment, and called on them to follow. With a wild shout, the whole brigade rushed in and drove the enemy back, until it reoccupied its first position of the morning. In this charge Wheeler led a regiment on foot, carrying its colors himself. Lieutenant-Colonel Rankin, commanding the Ninth Mississippi, fell mortally wounded; and the major, J. E. Whitfield, who had on Sunday led the skirmishers, was also there wounded. The Second Texas and Twenty-first Alabama, under Colonel Moore, while advancing, having been falsely told that the troops on their front were Breckinridge's, fell into an ambuscade and lost so heavily that they fell back in confusion.

Equally sanguinary struggles occurred on the centre and left. Ruggles's division was very fully engaged, both Gibson's and Anderson's brigades charging repeatedly, and capturing batteries, which they could not, however, bring off. There had been an intermingling of commands on Sunday, but on Monday all order was lost. The positions of regiments nearly resembled a shuffled pack of cards, in which none adjoins its next in suit except by chance. It is not possible so to unravel the tangled skein of narratives as correctly to assign the alignment of the Confederate front. Indeed, in every combat it shifted in agonized contortions, as the heavy blows fell upon it from an army of double its numbers, and largely made up of fresh troops. It no longer fought with the enthusiasm of the day previous, when the stake seemed empire; but it had been sifted of all who were physically or morally incapable of enduring the sternest ordeals. Its charges were made with a desperate fury from which the strongest columns recoiled. A broken band of heroic spirits, united by no tie but their common cause, would gather itself for an assault, which looked impossible of achievement and fruitless of results. As it waited the signal, looking to the right or left for succor that would not come, it might shiver a little at the bloody jaws of death that yawned to receive it, but it did not quail. The word would be given, and some martial spirit-general, colonel, or daring subordinate impatient for glory-would seize the riddled flag, and rush with reckless valor against the foe. The “rebel yell” --that penetrating scream of menace and resolve-went up, and the line would hurl [645] itself headlong, sometimes to success, sometimes to meet a storm of lead and iron, which strewed the field with the wounded and the dead. And this went on all the morning, until noon, until one, two o'clock.

This picture is not a fancy sketch. Patton Anderson says:

When one of General Cheatham's regiments had been appealed to in vain to make a charge on the advancing foe, Lieutenant Sandidge, seizing its colors and holding them high overhead, calling upon the regiment to follow him, spurred his horse to the front, and charged over the brow of the hill amid a shower of leaden hail from the enemy. The effect was electrical. The regiment moved gallantly to the support of its colors, but superior numbers soon pressed it back to its original position. Colonel Stanley, of the Ninth Texas, did the same thing with the same result.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of the Seventeenth Louisiana, says that, just before the retreat, having collected some two hundred stragglers into line, General Ruggles ordered them to advance, and adds:

The general at this instant rode in front of the lines, and, seizing the flag from the hands of the color-bearer, gallantly led them to the charge. In this charge he was assisted by Colonel S. S. Heard.

Colonel Looney, Thirty-eighth Tennessee, says of Captain John C. Carter:

At one time he took the flag, and, urging his men forward, rendered me great assistance in moving forward the entire regiment.

Major Caldwell, of the Twelfth Tennessee, says in his report:

Private Fielder took charge of Companies B and G, which were left without a commissioned officer. He led these two companies all day in the thickest part of the battle.

Colonel Mouton, of the Eighteenth Louisiana, says in his report:

From 8 A. M. until half-past 1 P. M. we were constantly marching and countermarching — the “Orleans Guards,” in the mean time, having been attached to my command. About 2 P. M. we were ordered to move on the enemy — which was done without energy or life by the troops twice in succession, notwithstanding the noble and daring efforts of Generals Beauregard and Bragg to lead them on in the face of the enemy. The fact is, the men were completely exhausted from inanition and physical fatigue, many dropping in the attempt to move forward. Here I was wounded in the face.

These are but a few instances of the many acts, recorded and unrecorded, of individual heroism by which the wearied soldiers were animated and inspired. They were of no avail.

One of the most painful features resulting from the confusion was the waste of time and strength resulting from contradictory orders and [646] purposeless maneuvers. Nearly every report mentions some fact illustrating this. Colonel Pond, whose brigade had encamped on the left, within four hundred yards of the enemy, was left some three-quarters of a mile in advance of the general line. He was attacked early in the morning by Lew Wallace's brigade, and, after a sharp engagement, fell back under cover of the artillery-fire of Captain Ketchum's battery, which was fighting within infantry-range. The artillery was managed in the most skillful and intrepid manner, and finally withdrew, covered by the Texas Rangers. Pond says of Ketchum, “The safety of my command was due to him.” He continues:

Upon reaching the main line, the left of which was at the enemy's first camp on the Savannah road, I was ordered by General Ruggles to form on the extreme left, and rest my left on Owl Creek. While proceeding to execute this order, I was ordered to move by the rear of the main line to support the extreme right of General Hardee's line. I was again ordered by General Beauregard to advance and occupy the crest of a ridge in the edge of an old field. My line was just formed in this position, when General Polk ordered me forward to support his line. While moving to the support of General Polk, an order reached me from General Beauregard to report to him, with my command, at his headquarters. This was on the extreme left; where my brigade became engaged in the fight, which continued until the contest between the armies ceased.

The attack of the Federal army was well conducted, systematic, and spirited. Ammen's brigade was opposed to Chalmers, next the river; and Hazen's brigade, on Nelson's right, charged with great dash and success, until it was cut up by cross-fires from Breckinridge's command. Hazen and Ammen were driven back, but were rallied on Terrell's artillery, and on Crittenden's left brigade under Smith, and their own reserve under Bruce. The regiments in reserve of the Army of the Tennessee were also brought up. Nelson must have displayed conspicuous gallantry in this conflict. He is said to have been recognized animating his men by Kentuckians on the Confederate side.

Crittenden's division moved simultaneously with Nelson's, and with well-delivered blows; but, as has been seen, they were unavailing to break down the wall of living men opposed to it, in the main under the direction of Hardee. General Crittenden said to the writer that this was the hardest fighting he saw in the war, and was over a very narrow space.

Between eight and nine o'clock, McCook's leading brigade, under Rousseau, went in on the centre, soon followed by Gibson's, and eventually by Kirk's brigade.

General Hardee's report contains this account of Monday's battle:

On Monday, about six o'clock, portions of my command were formed upon an alignment with other troops on the left to resist the enemy, who soon opened a [647] hot fire on our advanced lines. The battle reanimated our men, and the strong columns of the enemy were repulsed, again and again, by our tired and disordered but brave and steadfast troops. The enemy brought up fresh reenforcements, pouring them continually upon us. At times our lines recoiled, as it were, before the overwhelming physical weight of the enemy's forces; but the men rallied readily, and fought with unconquerable spirit. Many of our best regiments, signalized in the battle of Sunday by their steady valor, reeled under the sanguinary struggle on the succeeding day.

McCook's line of advance was along the road from Pittsburg to Shiloh, and through the adjacent country to the southeast. Here Breckinridge's two brigades, under Bowen and Statham, and what was left of Hindman's and Cleburne's commands, under Hardee's own eye, formed the nucleus of the defense. Cleburne, who had gone in on Sunday 2,750 strong, had but 800 men left. Half the remainder were dead or wounded; half were scattered or had fled. He advanced on Breckinridge's left, under fires and cross-fires, gallantly supported by the Washington Artillery. In a charge of the whole line, his men were mowed down and the brigade repulsed. Lieutenant-Colonel Neil, of the Twenty-third Tennessee, was shot through the body, and Acting-Major Cowley, of the Fifteenth Arkansas, killed. But, when the enemy attempted to advance, Cleburne led fifty-eight men of the Fifteenth Arkansas in a counter-charge, and repulsed them. Here fell Lieutenant- Colonel Patton, its sole surviving field officer. Hindman's troops fought near by, with almost identical results.

The Southern troops held the Federal army at bay with obstinate courage, giving back blow for blow, till the assailant reeled and called to the front all his reserves. The account already given sufficiently describes the character of the contest: stubborn combats in the woods, charges, repulses, counter-charges, surges of slaughter and fury, with lulls and pauses in the heat and motion of the fray. The Federal officers rivaled their adversaries in the display of personal bravery. Rousseau behaved with great gallantry. Colonel Kirk, commanding the Fifth Brigade, McCook's division, came upon the Thirty-fourth Illinois as it wavered, appalled, before a burst of battle-flame which had killed its commander, Major Levenway. It was Kirk's own regiment. He seized a flag, rushed forward, and steadied the line again; while doing this he was severely wounded in the shoulder.

McCook's troops deserve the more credit for their persistent attacks, as they had marched twenty-two miles the day before, and a portion of them had stood all night in the streets of Savannah without sleep. McCook says:

At Pittsburg Landing the head of my column had to force its way through thousands of panic-stricken and wounded men, before it could engage the enemy. [648]

Sherman, in his advance toward the close of the battle, saw, from his position on McCook's right, the latter part of his contest in front of Shiloh Church. He says:

Here I saw for the first time the well-ordered and compact Kentucky forces of General Buell, whose soldierly movement gave confidence to our newer and less-disciplined forces. Here I saw Willich's regiment advance upon a point of water-oaks and thicket, behind which I knew the enemy was in great strength, and enter it in beautiful style. Then arose the severest musketry-fire I ever heard, and lasted twenty minutes, when this splendid regiment had to fall back.

Willich's regiment had received its “baptism of fire” from the Texan Rangers at Green River crossing, as narrated in these pages. It now accepted immersion in flame at the hands of troops under Cheatham and Gibson.

General Polk led Cheatham's division, which had probably suffered the least disorganization of any command on the field, to its position, in support of Breckinridge's left, as Cheatham says. This was, as near as can be ascertained, the left centre of the Confederate line-somewhat to the front and left of Shiloh Church. His other division, Clark's, now under A. P. Stewart, had bivouacked near the front, and got early into action. It was probably fully ten o'clock, when Cheatham, having formed his division, with Gibson's brigade, and the Thirty-third Tennessee (of Stewart's brigade), and the Twenty-seventh Tennessee (of Wood's brigade), was called on to resist the onset of Grant's reorganized forces, which were now led to the attack by Sherman. The defense was made with unblenching courage.

Sherman seems to have had a general supervision of Grant's troops. Wallace's, Prentiss's, and Hurlbut's divisions, had almost disappeared from the contest; but as their residuary legatee, and with part of his own and McClernand's men, after seventeen hours of respite, he was able to muster a formidable force. Awe of the terrible foe in front of them strove for mastery with mortification, emulation of Buell's progress, and the generous emotions of soldiers striving to recover their lost prestige. McClernand aided in leading the men, and Hurlbut was active in reorganizing the troops, and bringing them up at critical moments.1

This large force and Lew Wallace's division were led simultaneously against the lines held by Polk, and farther to the left by Bragg, who had here Anderson's, Pond's, and Trabue's brigades, and some remnants of Cleburne's and other commands. The odds were tremendous. [649] It is hard to conceive how they maintained themselves. Eight or ten thousand jaded men had here to cope with twenty to twenty-five thousand of the enemy. General Beauregard was present in person directing the battle. But that gray line stood like a rock-bound coast against which the blue and silver surges beat in vain. Again and again they rushed on; but fell back, scattered in spray, as the breaker that has spent its force. Wave after wave of Northern soldiery came pouring with deadly purpose against the Confederate front and recoiled, shattered and in dismay. It was only when the right was withdrawn, and McCook was thus allowed to press their flank, that this stout line slowly fell back in sullen defiance. Polk says:

They engaged the enemy so soon as they were formed, and fought him for four hours one of the most desperately contested conflicts of the battle. The enemy was driven gradually from his position; and, though reinforced several times during the engagement, he could make no impression on that part of the line.

Major Love, commanding the Twenty-seventh Tennessee, was mortally wounded; and Colonel Preston Smith, commanding Johnson's brigade, was severely wounded, but retained his command.

This force maintained the position it had held for so many hours up to half-past 2 o'clock, the time at which orders were received from the general commanding to withdraw the troops from the field.

Cheatham's command was formed immediately in front of a large force of the enemy, then pressing forward vigorously. He gives the following report of this hard-fought field:

My engagement here commenced almost the instant I had formed, and was for four hours the most hotly contested I have witnessed. My own command fought with great gallantry and desperation, and for two hours I gradually drove the enemy from his position, and he, though constantly reinforced during the conflict, and with heavy odds in his favor at the beginning, failed utterly in accomplishing anything. .. . During the engagement here I was reinforced by Colonel Gibson with a Louisiana brigade, and by Colonel Campbell with his gallant Thirty-third Tennessee, all of whom deserve particular mention. ... At half-past 1 o'clock I occupied about the same position at which I first came in collision with the enemy.

Major A. P. Avegno, commanding the Thirteenth Louisiana, of Gibson's brigade, was mortally wounded here, and many officers and men fell resisting the Federal onsets.

Being now reinforced with artillery, in which he had been deficient, Cheatham continues:

Thus strengthened, I would have had no difficulty in maintaining my position during the remainder of the day; but at half-past 2 o'clock, P. M., by [650] orders from Major-General Polk, I withdrew my command slowly, and in order, in the direction of my camp, the enemy making no advance whatever.

The movement on the Federal right conducted by Lew Wallace, in conjunction with Sherman's division, was comparatively slow, as has been stated already. Wallace began skirmishing at daylight, simultaneously with Nelson. But outlying bands of Southerners promptly took up the battle, where they had left it off the night before. His skirmishers pushed these back, though not vigorously, until the Confederates on that flank, roused to the fact, rushed forward and drove his advance back for nearly a mile, thus securing a strong position “on an eminence in an open field, near Owl Creek, which we held until near the close of the conflict, against every effort the enemy could make.” 2

Wallace, making no headway in front, contented himself with trying to edge cautiously up along Owl Creek so as to turn the Confederate flank. He found this a perilous game, and at ten o'clock had made no real progress. It is evident that he was not able or willing to venture his entire strength against the Confederate left, because he did not feel secure of support from Sherman's and McClernand's beaten troops. It was ten o'clock before the combined attack was made in force. The strength of the Confederates who met it was not commensurate with the task required of them, but they made up in desperate valor for their weakness in numbers. Bragg had the chief direction here, and his force was made up, as already mentioned, of the remnants of Cleburne's brigade and other organizations and Trabue's brigade. Later in the day, part of Ruggles's division came up here and took part in the defense. About noon, this force fell back to the neighborhood of Shiloh, which it held till ordered to retreat.

On Sunday night, Trabue's Kentucky Brigade had occupied McDowell's camps between Shiloh and Owl Creek, feasting and making themselves comfortable with the spoils of war. On the other hand, Patton Anderson, for fear of demoralization, had bivouacked with his brigade in the open, resting himself under an apple-tree with a blanket over his head, while the pitiless storm once again beat upon himself and his men. Yet it would be hard to say that either brigade excelled the other in valor or in the fortitude with which it endured ten hours more of slaughter and reverse. It would seem from this-and other instances might be adduced — that the effect of the “spoils” upon the demoralization of the army has been greatly overrated, though of course they were not without their influence on the more ignorant and rapacious. The Kentucky Brigade, with Byrne's battery, got a strong position, to the left of the road from Shiloh to Pittsburg. It [651] held this four hours. As the gradual pressure upon the right after a while brought the Federal troops upon its flank, Bragg ordered a charge by the Fourth Kentucky Regiment and the Fourth Alabama Battalion. After a contest of twenty minutes they drove back the enemy on their reserves; but were in turn driven back four or five hundred yards. Patton Anderson's brigade coming to their aid, “they again drove back the enemy; and thus, forward and backward, was the ground crossed and recrossed four times.” It was a terrific combat. Lieutenant-Colonel Hines, commanding the Fourth Kentucky, was wounded; the heroic Major Thomas B. Monroe, was mortally wounded; Captain Nuckols, acting major, was badly wounded; Captains Ben Monroe, Thompson, and Fitzhenry, and four lieutenants, were wounded. Monroe died on the battle-field, bequeathing his sword to his infant son, and requesting that he might be told that “his father died in defense of his honor and of the rights of his country.”

Governor George W. Johnson had gone into the battle on horseback, acting as a volunteer aide to the commander of the Kentucky Brigade. His horse was killed under him on Sunday, when he took a musket, and fought on foot in the ranks of the Fourth Kentucky. In the last repulse of that regiment he was shot through the body, and was left upon the field. He was not found until the next day, when he was taken into the Federal camp still alive, but soon died. He was a brave and patriotic citizen, who sealed his convictions with his blood.

The Sixth and Ninth Kentucky held their ground farther to the left until the close of the fight. Lieutenant-Colonel Cofer and Lieutenant Colonel R. A. Johnson and Major John W. Caldwell were wounded, and many brave men fell. In the Ninth Kentucky, four color-corporals were killed, and three color-corporals and the color-sergeant were wounded. The career of victory had, on Sunday afternoon, reunited Breckinridge's divided command with his old brigade in front of Pittsburg Landing, at the close of the battle. Separated again on Monday, they fought in opposite wings, until these were bent back, when they met again in front of Shiloh Church.

By one o'clock, it was apparent to General Beauregard that the contest was hopeless. The movement of the Federal army was that of the tide as it crawls up the beach. Each living ripple was rolled back at the musket's mouth; and yet, after seven hours of struggle, the Confederates had lost ground, and were evidently maintaining a hopeless conflict. There was no object in remaining there without a chance of victory.

Beauregard at last determined to retreat, and made his dispositions judiciously to that end. In the lull of a temporary success, he retired his right wing first, in good order, but in readiness to renew the conflict if assailed, and with such deliberation that the skirmishers were able to [652] contest and check the Federal advance. The retreat was by alternate lines, and was skillfully conducted by General Beauregard. The pressure on that wing, moreover, was relieved by the direction given to Nelson's column, which was moved toward Hamburg. General Beauregard says:

About 2 P. M. the lines in advance, which had repulsed the enemy in their last fierce assault on our left and centre, received the orders to retire. This was done with uncommon steadiness, and the enemy made no attempt to follow.

Before they fell back, the Kentucky Brigade, with Marmaduke's Arkansas Regiment, and Tappan's Arkansas Regiment, had a final combat with the enemy, in which Colonel Hunt led the Ninth Kentucky in a gallant but unavailing charge. Trabue, in his report, puts the fact very well when he says:

The fragmentary forces of both armies had concentrated at this time around Shiloh Church, and, worn out as were our troops, the field was here successfully contested for two hours (i. e., from one until three o'clock); when, as if by mutual consent, both sides desisted from the struggle.

Just as the fighting ceased, the Federals were reinforced by two fresh brigades of Wood's division which came up.

In the mean time, under Beauregard's direction, Breckinridge had formed Statham's brigade at the junction of the roads to Monterey from Hamburg and from Pittsburg, about a mile and a half in the rear of Shiloh Church, and this brigade, with the Kentucky Brigade and the cavalry, formed the rear-guard of the retiring army. The movement backward had been slow and well guarded. Some of the Federal accounts describe desperate charges, routing the Southerners, about this time; but they are the vainglorious boasts of those who had done the least real hard fighting that day. The Confederate army retired like a lion, wounded but dauntless, that turns and checks pursuit by the grim defiance in his face. The Federal army was well content to recover its lost ground, and win back that field from which it had shrunk cowering and beaten the day before.

General Beauregard says:

Our artillery played upon the woods beyond for a while, but upon no visible enemy, and without a reply. Soon satisfied that no serious pursuit was, or would be, attempted, this last line was withdrawn, and never did troops leave battle-field in better order.

About an hour after the Confederate troops retired, the Federal army reoccupied its front line of April 5th. In this day's contest the troops of McCook's division had especially signalized themselves. They had entered the field, last of all, at a reentrant angle, and closed the [653] day as the salient — the point of a wedge at Shiloh, struggling with the heaviest masses of the Southern troops, Another rain-storm swept over the exhausted armies, the plentiful tears of Heaven shed upon a field of remorseless carnage. It brought solace to the fevered wounds of many left unheeded upon the ground by friends too eager or too hard pressed to indulge in pity. But it added to the hardships and sufferings of the Confederates as they fell back over roads thus rendered intolerably bad. The rear-guard bivouacked in the mud and rain, and next morning moved back slowly to Mickey's, about three miles, carrying off the wounded and many spoils. It remained at Mickey's, where there was a large hospital, three days, burying the dead, removing the wounded, and sending back to Corinth its captures. On Friday, Breckinridge marched the rear-guard into Corinth.

The only attempt to follow up the victory was on Tuesday. The rear-guard was covered by about 350 cavalry. Colonel Forrest was the senior officer. He had 150 men of his own; a company of Wirt Adams's regiment, under Captain Isaac F. Harrison; a-squadron of Wharton's Texas Rangers; and John Morgan, with some of his men.

Sherman advanced with two brigades and the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, and, receiving the support of a column from General Wood, proceeded cautiously on a reconnaissance. Marching with Hildebrand's unfortunate Third Brigade in front, he came upon Forrest's cavalry command. He at once threw out the Seventy-seventh Ohio Regiment, supported by the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, when Forrest, perceiving the Federal infantry somewhat disordered in crossing a stream, with his quick and bold intuition took the initiative, and led a charge upon them. The ground was not favorable to him, as it was miry and covered with fallen timber; but, so sudden and fierce was the onslaught, that a panic seized the Federal infantry, and it broke and fled. The Confederate horsemen rode through it, shooting down the flying men; and, without drawing rein, rushed headlong upon the cavalry. Neither did this stand to meet the shock. As it broke in disorder, Forrest and his men burst upon the startled troopers, driving them in tumultuous rout and slaying them, until they came upon the main line of Sherman's and Wood's brigades. Forrest, carried away by the ardor of the combat, outstripped his own men and many of the enemy, and came within fifty yards of the Federal line. A volley greeted him, inflicting a severe wound in his side, and mortally wounding his horse. Nevertheless, in spite of special efforts to kill him, he got back to his men, and away. Sherman reports fifteen of Hildebrand's men killed and twenty-five wounded, which does not seem to include the cavalry, and he makes no mention of seventy-five prisoners, said by Colonel Jordan to have been captured and carried off. No steps were taken in pursuit. [654]

There is one branch of the service to which the writer feels that his description of the battle has done scant justice — the artillery. In both armies it played a conspicuous part, and challenged the admiration of leaders and soldiers alike by its skill and the splendid gallantry with which it plunged into the foremost of the fight. The men died at their guns, and whole batteries were supplied by volunteers from the infantry, who, ignorant but ardent, made shift to hurl destruction upon their foes in this unaccustomed way. Ketchum's invaluable services have already been alluded to. Byrne's battery rendered not less useful service on Sunday, and again on Monday, to the Kentucky Brigade. When Byrne called on the Sixth Kentucky Regiment for a detail, “No detail,” cried John Spurrier, springing from the ranks, “but all the volunteers you want!” and thus he was supplied.

Captain Polk lost a leg, fighting his guns well; Hodgson and Slocomb, with the Washington Artillery, are highly commended; and Bankhead's, Gage's, and Girardey's batteries; and, indeed, the record of gallant and effective service, commemorated in the battle reports, covers the entire list of batteries, so that almost any distinction seems invidious. The brigadiers and infantry commanders appear anxious to testify with generous gratitude to the obligations they were under to the artillery. A gallant soldier, Major Caldwell of the Ninth Kentucky, who afterward commanded a brigade, informed the writer that he never saw the artillery fight so audaciously on any other field as at Shiloh.

It is the same on the Federal side; and both Grant and Buell mention the good service done them by the artillery. The guns under Colonel Webster that arrested Chalmers's last charge on Sunday evening made a crisis in the day. Major Taylor is commended by Sherman, and Lieutenant Brotzman by Hurlbut; and Buell speaks in high terms of the services of Mendenhall's, Terrell's, and Bartlett's batteries.

The Rev. Robert Collyer, who went up to Pittsburg Landing with one of the first boats sent with comforts for those wounded in the battle, contributed to the Chicago Tribune some interesting details of what he saw and learned there. With regard to the bringing on of the first day's battle, he said:

Among these 285 (wounded) men, many of them officers of intelligence, I gathered the only clear ideas and conclusions I was able to come to, concerning the battle. I will give them as I got them. They were so evidently the true convictions of the men that I listened to them with the deepest interest, not so much because they must be true (though I think that is of great value), but, above all, because that is the way the fighters think, not individually, but in masses. 1. All who said anything about it said that the fatal surprise of Sunday morning was the result of unpardonable negligence on the part of the commanders. [655] The men themselves knew that the woods all about them were swarming with the enemy (I quote the exact phrases); but there was no effort made to get a clear knowledge of the real condition of things, and not even a picket-guard sent out until perhaps Saturday; and that this knowledge that a certain danger was near them, for which their officers made no provision, made the men feel unsteady and unstrung. If they could have known exactly what was hidden among the trees and ravines, they would have had better courage to grapple with it when it sprung upon them. So when the enemy came, storming down with a fierce, determined onslaught, almost without parallel in battles, they were taken at a double disadvantage. They were outnumbered and dispirited at the same time. 2. The battle on Sunday was badly managed. The men said to me: “We would have fought; we meant to fight; we wanted to fight; we will fight; but we were outflanked every time. Just as sure as we made a stand, we had to fight superior numbers, put where they could do as they liked, and we could only do as we could. We did run away, we don't deny it; we got under the bank, and staid there; we could not come out. Why? Because it was no use. If a man gives his life, he wants to get the worth of it.” 3. The Tennessee River, the gunboats, and Colonel Webster, saved Grant's division on Sunday afternoon from a second Bull Run, or annihilation. The river held the troops in, and the gunboats, with the batteries skillfully placed by Colonel Webster, protected them until Buell came up. Not a man or a steamboat, probably, would have been left but for these cannon. 4. These same men who had run on Sunday went in with Buell's men on Monday. Fragments of regiments, patched together in the haste of the morning, gathered new spirit when they knew what they had to do; and the universal testimony is that they fought well-never men fought better than those that went back to fight again. 5. The battle on Monday was a battle on the part of the enemy, in which he apparently did his utmost before he began to retreat. He did not mean to retreat, but he had to do so because we beat him back. Still, while on the Sunday we were routed, on the Monday he retreated and was not routed. His retreat was well done. Such is the universal testimony.

The cavalry made very little impression on him in the retreat, for three reasons: First, his forces were well ordered; second, the roads were bad for cavalry; and, third, they could not tell what sort of a trap might be set for them in the woods. I inquired diligently after the idea of the men as to the final result, and it was that we are about where we were a week before the battle, with a loss of 8,000 in killed, wounded, and missing; yet that, with every desire to see fair, the prestige of the battle remains finally with our forces. As soon as we fought at all on equal terms, our men beat them without the shadow of a doubt. The men everywhere, wounded and well, are in good heart, I saw no sign of depression anywhere beyond what comes out of pain and loss of blood. The men look serious, as if they had grown older; but I did not speak to a man who did not say we can beat the enemy every time, if we get fair play.

Two battles had been fought; and each army occupied the ground which it had held before they began. A woful list of more than 20,000 killed and wounded, and 3,000 or 4,000 prisoners-many valiant dead [656] many great souls blotted from the roll of the living-this was all there was left to tell of those two days of havoc.

It is true a stunning blow had been delivered to the Federal army, which arrested its progress, shattered its morale, and changed its tactics. But all this was as nothing, for it secured delay only. General Johnston did not mean to delay it-he meant to destroy it. This only could have secured the independence of the South.

General Beauregard reports the loss of the Confederate army:


After a close examination of all accessible sources of information, covering about two thirds of the army, the writer finds a possible variation of 218 more casualties, principally in missing, that might be added to General Beauregard's report, based upon the returns first sent in. The Confederate casualties may therefore be safely estimated at between 10,700 and 11,000, in killed, wounded, and missing. The missing men were the wounded left on and near the field in Monday's battle. Jordan speaks of the loss on the first day at about 6,500, which would leave over 4,000 for Monday's battle. His data are not known to the writer.

The loss of the Federal army was, according to official reports, as follows:

Grant's army1,4375,6792,98410,050
Buell's army2681,816882,167

A reference to the Appendix will show that General Grant's aggregate loss was 11,220 instead of 10,050, giving a total loss, including Buell's, of 13,387. Buell's loss has not been verified, and was also probably larger than the official report. Swinton, in his “Decisive battles,” and Prof. Coppee, in his “Life of Grant” (page 96), put the Federal loss at 15,000.

It is probable that Grant's army did not lose much more than a thousand men on Monday. If this be so, it is apparent that his losses on Sunday were some 10,000, besides thousands of fugitives, at a cost of about 6,500 Confederates. On Monday the Federal loss was only some 3,000 or 4,000, with an equal or greater loss inflicted on the Southern army. In both cases, the assailant suffered less than the [657] defensive lines. General Wallace was killed. General Grant is said to have been wounded, and Sherman was wounded in the hand, besides having three horses killed. A good many Federal officers were also killed and wounded. But among the Confederates the proportion of officers killed and wounded was much greater. Besides the commander in-chief, and Brigadier-General Gladden, there was a great number of regimental officers killed. Bragg had two horses shot under him; Hardee was slightly wounded, his coat cut and his horse disabled by a shell; Breckinridge was twice slightly struck; Cheatham was also slightly wounded, and had three horses shot under him. Brigadier-Generals Clark, Bowen, and Johnson, were severely wounded, and Hindman was injured by a shell exploding under his horse and killing it. Colonel Smith, who succeeded Bushrod Johnson in command of his brigade, was wounded; and Colonel Dan Adams, and Colonel Deas, who in turn succeeded Gladden, were also wounded. The long list of field and company officers, and of brave soldiers, would swell too much the bulk of this volume.

The Comte de Paris says (volume i., page 542) that Sherman told him that Sunday's battle was “the most terrible that he had witnessed during his whole career.” Badeau remarks (volume i., page 78) in regard to the assault on Sherman Sunday morning, that it was successful, “after several hours of as desperate fighting as was ever seen on the American Continent.” He says (page 89), “With the exception of one or two severe struggles, the fighting of April 7th was light when compared with that of Sunday.” Again (page 93): “It was the fiercest fight of the war west of the Alleghanies, and, in proportion to the numbers engaged, equaled any contest during the rebellion. I have heard Sherman say that he never saw such terrible fighting afterward, and Grant compared Shiloh only with the Wilderness.” He adds truly: “In the battle, each party was forced to respect the fighting qualities of the other; the Northerners recognized the impetuous vigor and splendid enthusiasm of the rebels, and the latter found all the tenacity and determination of the North in those who opposed them.”

The Federal writers have claimed that, the battles having ended in the retreat of the assailant, the moral advantages remained with them. It is true they held the field of battle, but it must be remembered that it had been for them a canvas city where, in the security of overpowering strength, they had discussed great schemes of invasion and conquest. Suddenly the bolt of war had burst over their own heads. They had seen their city taken by storm, wrapped in flames and sacked, and had been snatched from the brink of destruction only by the premature arrival of a second army and the mysterious arrest of the impending and final blow. They looked around them, and everywhere [658] were the lamentable signs and ravages of horrid war, breathing fire and slaughter; the desolated camps, broken artillery and scattered arms; the trodden, blood-stained mire; the dead and dying; and pale, trembling fugitives creeping back to their places in the ranks. There was neither glory nor gain of any sort apparent to their eyes. There was no room for exultation anywhere. Indeed, the last combat of the field, Forrest's charge with 350 men, routing a regiment of infantry and a regiment of cavalry in the face of three brigades, which turned back from that road as if it were beset by some occult danger, is a sufficient comment on the text of the bulletins. At the close of the apologue comes the moral. The epic is ended with an epigram in cold steel, leaving no doubt as to the meaning of what had gone before.

The best proof of what conclusions were drawn from the conduct and issue of the battle is found in the entire change of Federal tactics from that day. The bayonet was exchanged for the spade; and the grand march was turned into a siege of the South. Halleck took chief command on the 9th, and Grant, though left nominally second in command, was, as his biographer, Badeau, admits, under a cloud, unconsulted, unemployed, and in disgrace. If he had not possessed excellent qualities for war, not to be disregarded in perilous times, he would have been irretrievably ruined. Sherman's family influence, with his personal conduct on the field, condoned any mistakes he had made, and he was recommended for promotion. Buell, unfortunately for himself, had done not enough to dictate his own terms, and too much to be forgiven; so that his rescue of Grant's army was treated almost as a failure then, and altogether as a crime afterward. He certainly had eventually to pay the penalty of it; and it is difficult to decide from the tone of the court-annalists, while Grant and Sherman were wielding the sword and purse of the country, whether Buell's delay was the cause of all the trouble, or his arrival an impertinent intrusion.

But, though the Federal plans were disarranged, their generals shocked, and their troops demoralized by the battles of Shiloh, the only satisfaction it brought to the camps of the South was pride in the prowess of her soldiers, and in the proofs she had given of power to strike a great and terrible blow. Her generals said to one another that the best, and, as it proved, the only chance to convert the wasting war of defense into one of aggression, had escaped them. This was whispered in the camps, and is yet a tradition among her people, in spite of all the glosses that factitious history has put into print. President Davis said, not once, but many times : “When Sidney Johnston fell, it was the turning-point of our fate; for we had no other hand to take up his work in the West.” [659]

The armies of the West had found in every encounter foemen worthy of their steel. But the magnitude of the contest at Shiloh, and the tremendous issues at stake, the impetuous valor and stubborn resolution of the combatants, inspired a mutual respect — a respect which it is to be hoped may do much to remove ancient prejudices and form the basis of an equal and permanent friendship.

One pleasing feature, which casts a mellow light over the dreadful carnage of the field of Shiloh, is the humanity and mutual courtesy that marked the conduct of the antagonists. It is true that General Grant refused General Beauregard's request, on April 9th, to bury the dead under a flag of truce; but he stated that he had already performed that duty. There were no complaints of “outrages” --killing of captives, mutilation of the dead, cruelty to the wounded — which made so large a part of the war news of certain correspondents. The conflict had been too serious and too grand to require or admit any merely sensational stuff in its recital.

“A participant,” writing to the Cincinnati Commercial,3 says:

While preparing our meal, a flag of truce, consisting of a yellow handkerchief tied to a sapling-pole, emerged from the woods beyond us. It was carried by a tall Alabamian, who brought with it the wounded lieutenant-colonel of the Fiftieth Illinois, borne on a litter. The bearers all had tied on their arms a piece of white rag, which, by questioning the wearers, I learned designated a detail for hospital duty. I am glad to be able to say something good of an army of traitors; “we will give the devil his due.” No instance came to my knowledge in which our dead were treated in so diabolical a manner as they were reported to be at Manassas and Pea Ridge. They were invariably, wherever practicable, kindly cared for. A. Hickenlooper tells me that one of his corporals, who was wounded, received many attentions from them. An officer handed him a rubber blanket, saying that he himself needed it bad enough, but the wounded man needed it worse. Others brought him food and water, and wrapped him up in woolen blankets. Such instances were common; and, among the hundreds of dead and wounded I have looked upon, not one showed signs of the barbarities which the rebels are commonly supposed to practise on the patriots.

General Buell, in a letter to the present writer, says:

A circumstance occurred after the battle, which excited a good deal of interest for the moment, particularly among those who had known your father. We had heard of his death, but not the particulars of it, from prisoners taken in the course of the battle of the 7th; and, in collecting and burying the dead on the morning of the 8th, a body was found which several persons supposed to be that of your father. It was carried to the headquarters of General Nelson and laid out in a tent, where a number of persons came to see it. Several of them, acquaintances of your father, were quite confident of the identity. I [660] was not one of those who entertained that opinion, though the expression of the face was so changed by the wound which it had received as to make it difficult to be very confident about the identity. There was the same manly form, certainly; but that was all that I could see alike. However, the question was determined early in the day by the information which we received from the Confederate army, that your father was killed on the 6th, and that his body was removed from the field at the time of his death.

It was ascertained, as the writer has been informed, that the body was that of Colonel Thomas Preston, of Memphis, a connection by marriage of General Johnston. The writer does not know the origin of the mistake. It is needless to say that all the respect due to his supposed rank and personality was paid by those who had the body in charge. It is curious to note the contrast in the conduct of these honorable warriors, still hot from the fray, with that of Sheridan, Heintzelman, and Griffin, which will be related in the next chapter.

But little remains to be said of what occurred after General Johnston's death. It is not the purpose of the writer to give a history of the war, but only to tell the story of General Johnston's life, what he did, and the great events in which he played a part. All this ended absolutely on Sunday afternoon, April 6, 1862. Not often is there an Elisha to catch up the mantle of the translated Elijah. When a man dies, others take up his work to mend or mar it, and he is soon forgotten. A puff of wind, or a little pewter extinguisher, puts out the light that shines over many a league of land and sea. No man has any tenure of the things of this world in the grave. His power, his authority, most of his influence, die with him. There come others in his place, and all his plans, his methods, and his informing spirit, are changed. It was so in this case.

General Beauregard retired to Corinth, where Van Dorn reinforced him almost immediately with 17,000 men, the strong fighters of Wilson's Creek and Elkhorn. These troops, added to the effective total reported by Jordan after the battle of Shiloh, 32,212, give an army of nearly 50,000 men fit for duty. Reinforcements were poured in from every quarter. But, with an aggregate on the rolls of 112,092, the effective total could not be gotten above a reported effective force of 52,706 men. The sick and absent numbered more than one-half the army. No sudden epidemic had smitten the camp; the sickness was the effect of causes evident from the hour of retreat. Halleck had taken position at Farmington, and was advancing spade in hand; and Beauregard intrenched to resist him. Digging in the trenches among those marshes, with consequent malaria; bad food; neglect of police duty; impure and insufficient water, the drainage of swamps and heavily charged with magnesia and rotten limestone; these causes, acting in conjunction with certain moral influences, the depression of retreat and [661] inaction, produced obstinate types of diarrhea and typhoid fever. The attempt to bore artesian wells failed. No sound men were left.

Beauregard twice offered Halleck battle. But he preferred regular approaches, in the mean time seizing the railroad east of Corinth, and cutting off communication with the seaboard. There was nothing to be done except to retreat, which Beauregard did, May 30th, falling back to Tupelo, on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. The retreat was made in good order, and with no very considerable loss in men or material of war. But the abandonment of Corinth, which was a point of the first strategic importance, involved the surrender of Memphis and the Mississippi Valley, and the loss of the campaign. General Beauregard, whose health continued bad, devolved the command of the army on General Bragg, and retired to Mobile for rest and recuperation. The President made Bragg's temporary command a permanent one.


General Beauregard's official report.

Headquarters, Army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Mississippi, April 11, 1862.
General: On the 2d ultimo, having ascertained conclusively from the movements of the enemy on the Tennessee River, and from reliable sources of information, that his aim would be to cut off my communication-in West Tennessee with the Eastern and Southern States, by operating from the Tennessee River between Crump's Landing and Eastport as a base — I determined to foil his designs by concentrating all my available forces at and around Corinth.

Meanwhile, having called on the Governors of the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, to furnish additional troops, some of them (chiefly regiments from Louisiana) soon reached this vicinity, and, with two divisions of General Polk's command from Columbus, and a fine corps of troops from Mobile and Pensacola, under Major-General Bragg, constituted the Army of the Mississippi. At the same time General Johnston, being at Murfreesboro, on the march to form a junction of his forces with mine, was called on to send at least a brigade by railroad, so that we might fall on and crush the enemy should he attempt to advance from under his gunboats. The call on General Johnston was promptly complied with. His entire force was also hastened in this direction; and by the first of April our united forces were concentrated along the Mobile & Ohio Railroad from Bethel to Corinth, and on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad from Corinth to Iuka.

It was then determined to assume the offensive, and strike a sudden blow at the enemy in position, under General Grant, on the west bank of the Tennessee, at Pittsburg, and in the direction of Savannah, before he was reinforced by the army under General Buell, then known to be advancing for that purpose by rapid marches from Nashville and Columbia. About the same time General Johnston was advised that such an operation conformed to the expectations of the President. [662]

By a rapid and vigorous attack on General Grant, it was expected he would be beaten back into his transports and the river, or captured, in time to enable us to profit by the victory and remove to the rear all the stores and munitions that would fall into our hands, in such an event, before the arrival of General Buell's army on the scene. It was never contemplated, however, to retain the position thus gained and abandon Corinth, the strategic point of the campaign.

Want of general officers needful for the proper organization of divisions and brigades of an army brought thus suddenly together, and other difficulties in the way of an effective organization, delayed the movement until the night of the 2d instant, when it was heard from a reliable quarter that the junction of the enemy's armies was near at hand. It was then, at a late hour, determined that the attack should be attempted at once, incomplete and imperfect as were our preparations for such a grave and momentous adventure. Accordingly, that night, at 1 A. M., the preliminary orders to the commanders of corps were issued for the movement.

On the following morning the detailed orders of movement, a copy of which is herewith, marked “A,” were issued, and the movement, after some delay, commenced, the troops being in admirable spirits. It was expected we should be able to reach the enemy's lines in time to attack him early on the 5th instant. The men, however, for the most part, were unused to marching; the roads, narrow and traversing a densely-wooded country, became almost impassable after a severe rain-storm on the night of the 4th, which drenched the troops in bivouac; hence our forces did not reach the intersection of the roads from Pittsburg and Hamburg, in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, until late Saturday afternoon.

It was then decided that the attack should be made on the next morning, at the earliest hour practicable, in accordance with the orders of movement; that is, in three lines of battle, the first and second extending from Owl Creek on the left to Lick Creek on the right, a distance of about three miles, supported by the third and the reserve. The first line, under Major-General Hardee, was constituted of his corps, augmented on his right by Gladden's brigade, of Major-General Bragg's corps, deployed in line of battle, with their respective artillery following immediately by the main road to Pittsburg, and the cavalry in rear of the wings. The second line, composed of the other troops of Bragg's corps, followed the first at a distance of five hundred yards in the same order as the first. The army corps, under General Polk, followed the second line, at the distance of about eight hundred yards, in lines of brigades, deployed with their batteries in rear of each brigade, moving by the Pittsburg road, the left wing supported by cavalry. The reserve, under Brigadier-General Breckinridge, followed closely the third line, in the same order, its right wing supported by cavalry.

These two corps constituted the reserve, and were to support the front lines of battle, by being deployed when required on the right and left of the Pittsburg road, or otherwise act according to the exigencies of the battle.

At 5 A. M., on the 6th instant, a reconnoitring party of the enemy, having become engaged with our advanced pickets, the commander of the forces gave orders to begin the movement and attack as determined upon, except that Trabue's brigade of Breckinridge's division was detached and advanced to support the left of Bragg's corps and line of battle when menaced by the enemy, and the other two brigades were directed to advance by the road to Hamburg, [663] to support Bragg's right; and, at the same time, Maney's regiment, of Polk's corps, was advanced by the same road to reinforce the regiment of cavalry and battery of four pieces already thrown forward to watch and guard Grier's, Tanner's, and Borland's Fords of Lick Creek.

Thirty minutes after 5 A. M., our lines and columns were in motion, all animated, evidently, by a promising spirit. The front line was engaged at once, but advanced steadily, followed in due order, with equal resolution and steadiness, by the other lines, which were brought successively into action with rare skill, judgment, and gallantry, by the several corps commanders, as the enemy made a stand, with his masses rallied for the struggle for his encampments. Like an Alpine avalanche our troops moved forward, despite the determined resistance of the enemy, until after 6 p. M., when we were in possession of all his encampments between Owl and Lick Creeks but one. Nearly all of his field artillery, about thirty (30) flags, colors, and standards, over 3,000 prisoners, including a division commander (General Prentiss) and several brigade commanders, thousands of small-arms, an immense supply of subsistence, forage, and munitions of war, and a large amount of means of transportation-all the substantial fruits of a complete victory, such, indeed, as rarely have followed the most successful battles, for never was an army so well provided as that of our enemy.

The remnant of his army had been driven in utter disorder to the immediate vicinity of Pittsburg, under the shelter of the heavy guns of his iron-clad gunboats, and we remained undisputed masters of his well-selected, admirably-provided cantonments, after over twelve hours of obstinate conflict with his forces, who had been beaten from them and the contiguous covert, but only by a sustained onset of all the men we could bring into action.

Our loss was heavy, as will appear from the accompanying return marked “B.” Our commander-in-chief, General A. S. Johnston, fell mortally wounded, and died on the field at 2.30 P. M., after having shown the highest qualities of the commander, and a personal intrepidity that inspired all around him, and gave resistless impulsion to his columns at critical moments.

The chief command then devolved upon me, though at the time I was greatly prostrated, and suffering from the prolonged sickness with which I had been afflicted since early in February. The responsibility was one which, in my physical condition, I would have gladly avoided, though cast upon me when our forces were successfully pushing the enemy back upon the Tennessee River, and, though supported on the immediate field by such corps commanders as Major-Generals Polk, Bragg, and Hardee, and Brigadier-General Breckinridge, commanding the reserve.

It was after 6 p. M., as before said, when the enemy's last position was carried, and his forces finally broke and sought refuge behind a commanding eminence, covering the Pittsburg Landing, not more than half a mile distant, and under the guns of the gunboats, which opened on our eager columns a fierce and annoying fire with shot and shell of the heaviest description. Darkness was close at hand. Officers and men were exhausted by a combat of over twelve hours without food, and jaded by the march of the preceding day through mud and water. It was, therefore, impossible to collect the rich and opportune spoils of war scattered broadcast on the field left in our possession, and impracticable to make any effective dispositions for their removal to the rear.

I accordingly established my headquarters at the church of Shiloh, in the [664] enemy's encampment, with Major-General Bragg, and directed our troops to sleep on their arms in such positions in advance and rear as corps commanders should determine, hoping, from news received by a special dispatch, that delays had been encountered by General Buell in his march from Columbia, and that his main force, therefore, could not reach the field of battle in time to save General Grant's shattered fugitive forces from capture or destruction on the following day.

During the night the rain fell in torrents, adding to the discomfort and harassed condition of the men; the enemy, moreover, had broken their rest by a discharge, at measured intervals, of heavy shells thrown from the gunboats; therefore, on the following morning, the troops under my command were not in a condition to cope with an equal force of fresh troops, armed and equipped like our adversary, in the immediate possession of his depots, and sheltered by such an auxiliary as the enemy's gunboats.

About six o'clock on the morning of the 7th of April, however, a hot fire of musketry and artillery, opened from the enemy's quarter on our advanced line, assured me of the junction of his forces; and soon the battle raged with a fury which satisfied me I was attacked by a largely superior force. But, from the outset, our troops, notwithstanding their fatigue and losses from the battle of the day before, exhibited the most cheering, veteran-like steadiness. On the right and centre the enemy was repulsed in every attempt he made with his heavy columns in that quarter of the field; on the left, however, and nearest to the point of arrival of his reinforcements, he drove forward line after line of his fresh troops, which were met with a resolution and courage of which our country may be proudly hopeful. Again and again our troops were brought to the charge, invariably to win the position at issue, invariably to drive back their foe. But hour by hour, thus opposed to an enemy constantly reinforced, our ranks were perceptibly thinned under the unceasing, withering fire of the enemy, and by 12 M. eighteen hours of hard fighting had sensibly exhausted a large number. My last reserves had necessarily been disposed of, and the enemy was evidently receiving fresh reinforcements after each repulse. Accordingly, about 1 P. M., I determined to withdraw from so unequal a conflict, securing such of the results of the victory of the day before as were then practicable.

Officers of my staff were immediately dispatched with the necessary orders to make the best dispositions for a deliberate, orderly withdrawal from the field, and to collect and post a reserve to meet the enemy should he attempt to push after us. In this connection I will mention particularly my adjutant-general, Colonel Jordan, who was of much assistance to me on this occasion, as he had already been on the field of battle on that and the preceding day.

About 2 r. M., the lines in advance, which had repulsed the enemy in their last fierce assault on our left and centre, received the orders to retire. This was done with uncommon steadiness, and the enemy made no attempt to follow.

The line of troops established to cover this movement had been disposed on a favorable ridge, commanding the ground of Shiloh Church. From this position our artillery played upon the woods beyond for a while, but upon no visible enemy, and without reply. Soon, satisfied that no serious pursuit would be attempted, this last line was withdrawn, and never did troops leave a battle-field in better order; even the stragglers fell into the ranks, and marched off with those who had stood more steadily by their colors. A second strong position was taken up about a mile in rear, where the approach of the enemy was awaited [665] for nearly an hour, but no effort to follow was made, and only a small detachment of horsemen could be seen at a distance from this last position, warily observing our movements.

Arranging, through my staff officers, for the completion of the movements thus begun, Brigadier-General Breckinridge was left with his command as a rear-guard to hold the ground we had occupied the night preceding the first battle, just in front of the intersection of the Pittsburg and Hamburg roads, about four miles from the former place, while the rest of the army passed to the rear in excellent order.

On the following day General Breckinridge fell back about three miles to Mickey's, which position we continued to hold, with our cavalry thrown considerably forward in immediate proximity to the battle-field.

Unfortunately, toward night of the 7th instant, it began to rain heavily; this continued throughout the night; the roads became almost impassable in many places, and much hardship and suffering now ensued before all the regiments reached their encampments; but, despite the heavy casualties of the two eventful days of the 6th and 7th of April, this army is more confident of ultimate success than before its encounter with the enemy.

To Major-Generals Polk, Bragg, and Hardee, commanding corps, and to Brigadier-General Breckinridge, commanding the reserve, the country is greatly indebted for the zeal, intelligence, and energy, with which all orders were executed; for the foresight and military ability they displayed in the absence of instructions in the many exigencies of the battle on a field so densely wooded and broken, and for their fearless deportment as they repeatedly led their commands personally to the onset upon their powerful adversary. It was under these circumstances that General Bragg had two horses shot under him; that Major-General Hardee was slightly wounded, his coat rent by balls, and his horse disabled; and that Brigadier-General Breckinridge was twice struck by spent balls.

For the services of their gallant subordinate commanders and of other officers, as well as for the details of the battle-field, I must refer to the reports of corps, division, and brigade commanders, which shall be forwarded as soon as received.

To give more in detail the operations of the two battles resulting from the movement on Pittsburg than now attempted must have delayed this report for weeks, and interfered materially with the important duties of my position. But I may be permitted to say that not only did the obstinate conflict for twelve hours on Sunday leave the Confederate army masters of the battle-field and our adversary beaten, but we left that field on the next day only after eight hours incessant battle with a superior army of fresh troops, whom we had repulsed in every attack on our lines-so repulsed and crippled, indeed, as to leave it unable to take the field for the campaign for which it was collected and equipped at such enormous expense, and with such profusion of all the appliances of war. These successful results were not achieved, however, as before said, without severe loss — a loss not to be measured by the number of the slain and wounded, but by the high social and personal worth of so large a number of those who were killed or disabled, including the commander of the forces, whose high qualities will be greatly missed in the momentous campaign impending. [666]

I deeply regret to record also the death of the Hon. George M. Johnson, Provisional Governor of Kentucky, who went into action with the Kentucky troops, and continually inspired them by his words and example. Having his horse shot under him on Sunday, he entered the ranks of a Kentucky regiment on Monday, and fell mortally wounded toward the close of the day. Not his State alone, but the whole Confederacy, has sustained a great loss in the death of this brave, upright, and able man.

Another gallant and able soldier and captain was lost to the service of the country, when Brigadier-General Gladden, commanding First Brigade, Withers's division, Second Army Corps, died from a severe wound received on the 6th instant, after having been conspicuous to his whole corps and the army for courage and capacity.

Major-General Cheatham, commanding First Division, First Corps, was slightly wounded, and had three horses shot under him.

Brigadier-General Clark, commanding Second Division of the First Corps, received a severe wound also on the first day, which will deprive the army of his valuable services for some time.

Brigadier-General Hindman, engaged in the outset of the battle, was conspicuous for a cool courage efficiently employed in leading his men ever into the thickest of the fray, until his horse was shot under him, and he was unfortunately so severely injured by the fall that the army was deprived, on the following day, of his chivalrous example.

Brigadier-Generals B. R. Johnson and Bowen, most meritorious officers, were also severely wounded in the first combat, but it is hoped will soon be able to return to duty with their brigades.

To mention the many field-officers who died or were wounded while gallantly leading their commands into action, and the many brilliant instances of individual courage displayed by officers and men in the twenty hours of battle, is impossible at this time; but their names will be duly made known to their countrymen.

The immediate staff of the lamented commander-in-chief, who accompanied him to the field, rendered efficient service, and, either by his side, or in carrying his orders, shared his exposures to the casualties of a well-contested battle-field. I beg to commend their names to the notice of the War Department, namely: of Captains H. P. Brewster and N. Wickliffe, of the Adjutant and Inspector- General's Department.

Captain Theodore O'Hara, acting inspector-general.

Lieutenants George Baylor and Thomas M. Jack, aides-de-camp.

Volunteer Aides-de-Camp Colonel William Preston, Major D. M. Hayden, E. W. Munford, and Calhoun Benham.

Major Albert J. Smith and Captain Wickham, Quartermaster's Department.

To these gentlemen was assigned the last sad duty of accompanying the remains of their lamented chief from the field, except Captains Brewster and Wickliffe, who remained, and rendered valuable services as staff officers on the 7th of April.

Governor Isham G. Harris, of Tennessee, went upon the field with General Johnston, was by his side when he was shot, aided him from his horse, and received him in his arms when he died. Subsequently the Governor joined my staff, and remained with me throughout the next day, except when carrying orders [667] or engaged in encouraging the troops of his own State, to whom he gave a conspicuous example of coolness, zeal, and intrepidity.

I am also under many obligations to my own general, personal, and volunteer staff, many of whom have been so long associated with me. I append a list of those present on the field on both days, and whose duties carried them constantly under fire, namely: Colonel Thomas Jordan, Captain Clifton H. Smith, and Lieutenant John M. Otey, Adjutant-General's Department.

Major George W. Brent, acting inspector-general; Colonel R. B. Lee, chief of subsistence, whose horse was wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel S. W. Ferguson, and Lieutenant A. R. Chisholm, aides-de-camp.

Volunteer Aides-de-Camp Colonel Jacob Thompson, Major Numa Augustin, Major H. E. Peyton, Captain Albert Ferry, Captain B. B. Waddell.

Captain W. W. Porter, of Major-General Crittenden's staff, also reported for duty, and shared the duties of my volunteer staff on Monday.

Brigadier-General Trudeau, of Louisiana Volunteers, also, for a part of the first day's conflict, was with me as a volunteer aide.

Captain E. H. Cummins, signal-officer, also, was actively employed as a staff officer on both days.

Nor must I fail to mention that Private W. E. Goolsby, Eleventh Regiment Virginia Volunteers, orderly to my headquarters since last June, repeatedly employed to carry my verbal orders to the field, discharged the duty with great zeal and intelligence.

Other members of my staff were necessarily absent from the immediate field of battle, intrusted with responsible duties at these headquarters, namely: Captain F. H. Jordan, assistant adjutant-general, in charge of general headquarters; Major Eugene E. McLean, chief quartermaster; Captain E. Deslonde, Quartermaster's Department.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ferguson, aide-de-camp, early on Monday, was assigned to command and direct the movements of a brigade of the Second Corps.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gilmer, chief-engineer, after having performed the important and various duties of his place with distinction to himself and material benefit to his country, was wounded late on Monday. I trust, however, I shall not long be deprived of his essential services.

Captain Lockett, Engineer Corps, chief assistant to Colonel Gilmer, after having been employed in the duties of his corps on Sunday, was placed by me on Monday in command of a battalion without field-officers. Captain Fremeaux, provisional engineers, and Lieutenants Steel and Helm, also rendered material and ever-dangerous service in the line of their duty.

Major-General (now General) Braxton Bragg, in addition to his duties of chief of staff, as has been before stated, commanded his corps-much the largest in the field — on both days with signal capacity and soldiership.

Surgeon Foard, medical director; Surgeons R. L. Brodie and S. Chopin, medical inspectors; and Surgeon D. W. Yandell, medical director of the Western Department, with General Johnston, were present in the discharge of their arduous and high duties, which they performed with honor to their profession.

Captain Tom Saunders, Messrs. Scales and Metcalf, and Mr. Tully, of New Orleans, were of material aid on both days; ready to give news of the enemy's positions and movements, regardless of exposure.

While thus partially making mention of some of those who rendered brilliant, [668] gallant, or meritorious service in the field, I have aimed merely to notice those whose positions would most probably exclude the record of their services from the reports of corps or subordinate commanders.

From this agreeable duty I turn to one in the highest degree unpleasant-one due, however, to the brave men under me — as a contrast to the behavior of most of the army who fought so heroically. I allude to the fact that some officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, abandoned their colors early on the first day to pillage the captured encampments; others retired shamefully from the field on both days, while the thunder of cannon, and the roar and rattle of musketry, told them that their brothers were being slaughtered by the fresh legions of the enemy. I have ordered the names of the most conspicuous on this roll of laggards and cowards to be published on orders.

It remains to state that our loss in the two days in killed outright was 1,728; wounded, 8,012; missing, 959-making an aggregate of casualties of 10,699.

This sad list tells in simple language of the stout fight made by our countrymen in front of the rude log chapel of Shiloh, especially when it is known that on Monday, from exhaustion and other causes, not 20,000 men on our side could be brought into action.

Of the loss of the enemy I have no exact knowledge. Their newspapers report it as very heavy. Unquestionably it was greater, even in proportion, than our own on both days, for it was apparent to all that their dead left on the field outnumbered ours two to one.

Their casualties, therefore, cannot have fallen many short of 20,000 in killed, wounded, prisoners, and missing.

Through information derived from many sources, including the newspapers of the enemy, we engaged on Sunday the divisions of Generals Prentiss, Sherman, Hurlbut, McClernand, and Smith, of 9,000 men each, or at least 45,000 men. This force was reinforced on Sunday night by the divisions of Generals Nelson, McCook, Crittenden, and Thomas, of Major-General Buell's army, some 25,000 strong, including all arms. Also General L. Wallace's division of General Grant's army, making at least 33,000 fresh troops, which, added to the remnant of General Grant's forces, on Monday morning amounting to over 20,000, made an aggregate force of some 53,000 men, at least, arrayed against us on that day.

In connection with the results of the battle I should state that the most of our men who had inferior arms exchanged them for the improved arms of the enemy. Also, that most of the property, public and personal, in the camp from which the enemy was driven on Sunday, was rendered useless or greatly damaged, except some of the tents.

With this are transmitted certain papers, to wit:

Order of movements, marked “A.”

A list of the killed and wounded, marked “B.”

A list of captured flags, marked “C;” and a map of the field of battle, marked “D.”

All of which is respectfully submitted through my volunteer aide-de-camp, Colonel Jacob Thompson, of Mississippi, who has in charge the flags, standards, and colors, captured from the enemy.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

G. T. Beauregard, General commanding. To General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General Confederate States Army, Richmond, Va.

1 General Hurlbut informs the writer that his division was “complete in organization, every regiment in place in line of battle,” both Sunday evening and Monday morning. The writer feels that it is due to General Hurlbut to give this statement, though his own inference from the Federal reports is different.

2 Bragg's “Report.”

3 Rebellion record, vol. III., p. 416.

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