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[687] reach the battle-ground before ten o'clock. He doubted for a time that it was an attack, but the continuous and heavy firing convinced him otherwise, and steam was ordered on his flag-vessel, the Tigress. Up to the hour named we were without a general commander. The fighting was irregular and miscellaneous. Each division commander had quite as much as he could do to attend to his own defenses or aid those in advance. The subordinate commanders felt that much depended on themselves, and the men realized the vital importance of doing their whole duty. As a distinguished clergyman said in his sermon on the Sabbath following the battle, the “fighting was done by march, not brain!” The army really did not know when it was whipped. A prominent Confederate officer afterward said: “You were thoroughly beaten on Sunday, but did not know it.” This was literally true.

The battle went on hour by hour. The Union army was steadily beaten back at all points. The great leader of the Confederates had fallen, for Albert Sidney Johnston was as great a military genius as the country has produced. His death was caused by a Minnie ball severing the femoral artery at about half-past 2 o'clock. This was a most critical point. Breckenridge's reserves had been ordered up. Johnston said: “I will lead these Kentuckians and Tennesseeans into the fight,” and, waving his sword, pressed forward to take a certain position, which they did gain-but their brave leader was gone! The death of Johnston caused a brief pause. Thirty minutes were probably consumed in Beauregard taking command, and these were precious moments for the Union army. It enabled our shattered ranks to close up and prepare for the next assault. It came. Beauregard, concentrating all his energies in the moment, exclaimed, as the brigades filed by him: “Forward, boys, and drive them into the Tennessee!” His purpose was to gain the river, capture our transports, and destroy our army. One or more deep ravines, with marshy approaches, intervened. These must be crossed. In the meantime some heavy siege guns, which lay on the hill at the landing, had been wheeled into position; a battery of Parrotts had also been prepared for action. A few trees were felled, some bales of hay and a few barrels filled with earth, afforded slight protection to the gunners. But there was a determined feeling in the army not to be driven into the river. An officer, now no more, who did valiant service on that bloody field, well expressed this feeling. When asked what he intended doing if pressed to the water, replied: “Give them these twelve shots and take the consequences.” In addition to the siege guns and Parrotts, the two wooden gunboats, “Tyler” and

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Albert Sidney Johnston (3)
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