dangerous gap. Not the semblance of a fortification could be seen.
The entire front was in the most exposed condition.
One or two sections of batteries at remote points, no scouts, no cavalry pickets, a very light infantry picket within one mile of camp, were all that stood between us and the dark forest then filling with the very flower of the Southern
To my inexperienced judgment, all this appeared very strange, and I communicated these views to our brigade commander, who expressed himself in the same spirit, but remarked that he was powerless.
One day's work in felling trees would have placed the camp in a tolerable state of defense.
The men were actually sick from inaction and over-eating.
A few hours' active exercise with the axe and shovel would have benefited their health, and might have saved their camp from destruction, with thousands of valuable lives.
This would have produced a much better morale
effect than the neglect which had been urged as the reason why the camp was not protected!
It was surprising to see how speedily the same men cut down trees and erected works of defense on the approach to Corinth
A little of the vigilance then used would have saved life, property and reputation at Shiloh
That a grave military error was committed in disposing the army and neglecting the proper defenses at Shiloh
, there can be no question.
If General Smith
erred in selecting the ground or disposing the troops, who was responsible when that officer lay prostrate on his death-bed?
had, in general orders, directed the camp to be fortified, and supposed this had been done, for, in his first dispatch from St. Louis
, announcing the battle, he says: “The enemy attacked our works
at Pittsburg, Tennessee
, yesterday, and were repulsed with heavy loss.”
We do not appear, however, as the censor, simply the historian, whose province, although not always pleasant, should be guided by the line of duty, truth, and justice.
It shall be our endeavor to avoid partisan issues and confine this statement to plain, historical facts.
Thursday, the 3d, being quite unwell, remained in my tent.
On Friday, made and received few visits, and in afternoon witnessed the first “speck of war.”
A small detachment of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, with a portion of the Seventieth Ohio Infantry, made a short reconnoissance and fell in with the advance of the Confederate army.
We lost a few men; killed and captured half a dozen of the enemy.
Of the wounded was an intelligent non-commissioned officer, who died during the night.
This officer communicated information that the entire Confederate army had advanced from Corinth
, and were to attack us on the following (Saturday) morning.
This information, of such vital importance to our army,