The skirmishing in Sherman's front.
Robert W. Medkirk, of Co. E, 72d Ohio Vols.Robert W. Medkirk, of Co. E, 72d Ohio Vols., wrote, March 22d, 1886, from Indianapolis, Ind.:
On Friday afternoon, April 4th, two days before the battle of Shiloh, while our regiment of Buckland's brigade was drilling on the west side of Rea Creek [see map, page 502], about a mile from our camp, rapid firing was heard from the direction. of our brigade. pickets, from the 70th Ohio, Colonel Cockerill. Our commander, Major Crockett, was conversing with Colonel Buckland, who soon rode rapidly in the direction of the firing. Major Crockett ordered the regiment to double-quick toward the outposts. When we arrived at the picket post, we found that it had been captured. Major Crockett, with part of our regiment, started in pursuit of the enemy. In a little while a soldier came back, out of breath, and asked that the rest of the regiment be sent to the major's aid. Then we heard the roar of artillery, and felt that the enemy was there in force. Colonel Cockerill sent an orderly back to camp, with orders for the 70th Ohio to hurry out to the front. The remainder of our regiment pushed on to the assistance of Major Crockett. After wandering in the woods for a time, night came on, and we returned to the outpost. There we found the 70th Ohio, and General Sherman with them. The general was enraged at what he designated indiscreet conduct, and ordered us all back to camp. That portion of the 72d Ohio which had been with Major Crockett came straggling in. Then it was that we learned of the capture of the major and eight men. The next day, Saturday, my company, “ E,” and Company “C” constituted the brigade picket. We were stationed on the east side of the Howell farm [see page 502]. All day the enemy kept in our front.. We fired on them frequently, but they did not return the fire until toward evening, when they had a brush with a squadron of the 5th Ohio Cavalry. Late Saturday afternoon, a Confederate officer with his staff rode up on a knoll on the west side of the Howell farm, and with his glass began to take observations; in a few minutes we opened fire on them and they rode rapidly away. To show that no serious attack was expected, a detail from Colonel Buckland's brigade worked all day Saturday, April 5th, building two bridges in front of Buckland's brigade, one over the east branch of Oak Creek and one over the west branch of Rea Creek, which bridges were used by the enemy to cross their artillery on Sunday, after our brigade fell back from its first line.General Sherman's report of the affair of April 4th to Grant's headquarters, written on the 5th, says: “I infer that the enemy is in some considerable force at Pea Ridge,” or Monterey, about eight miles from Shiloh Church.-editors.