was disregarded, and we slumbered on the very verge of a volcano.
“It was expected,” says General Beauregard
, “we should be able to reach the enemy's lines in time to attack them early on the fifth instant
. In consequence, however, of the bad condition of the roads from late heavy rains, the army did not reach the immediate vicinity of the enemy until late on Saturday afternoon. It was then decided the attack should be made on the next morning at the earliest hour practicable.”
On Saturday morning an order was issued by General Sherman
to cut a road from Owl creek
, in front of the church, to an old cotton-field, three-fourths of a mile east of our camp.
The creek was securely bridged, and the road cut of sufficient width to admit the passage of our army on its anticipated march to Corinth
About two o'clock P. M., Colonel Jesse Hildebrand
, commanding Third Brigade, Sherman
's Division, to which my regiment was attached, invited me to accompany Colonel Buckland
, commanding Fourth Brigade, same division, Colonel Cockerel
, Seventieth Ohio Volunteers, and one or two other officers, on a short reconnoissance.
We had not advanced half a mile from camp when we were met by squads of the fatigue party sent out to cut the road, with the startling intelligence that the rebel cavalry were in considerable force in the wood immediately across the old cotton-field.
Our pickets extended to the line of the field.
We rode to a position commanding the wood referred to, and with a glass saw the enemy in considerable force.
We afterward learned they were Forrest
's cavalry, and their commander, riding a white horse, was plainly visible.
It was manifest their object was not to attack, but watch our movements, and prevent the advance of the reconnoitering parties.
The officers (Hildebrand
) remained some time, then returned to camp to report the situation to General Sherman
, and get their respective commands in readiness, as both anticipated an attack.
Remaining under orders to watch the movements of the enemy, the afternoon wore away.
Before leaving it was deemed expedient to strengthen the picket line with three additional companies, charging them not to advance, not to bring on an engagement, but watch closely all movements of the enemy during the night, and report promptly the approach of attack.
That evening a free interchange of opinion took place at our tent, where General Sherman
called while we were at tea. The full particulars, which have been hurriedly recited, were detailed.
He was incredulous that an attack was meditated-believed they were only present to watch our movements; said news had been received that evening that Buell
would join us in forty-eight hours, and then we would advance on Corinth