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[64]

Hurlbut held the direct road to Corinth, with woods at his back and open fields commanded by his batteries in his front; and here he stood, fighting a more numerous, equally gallant, and victory-flushed enemy, for more than five hours. Here he was thrice charged in full force, and thrice he repulsed the foe with terrible slaughter. The close ranks which rushed upon him were first plowed through and through with grape, then, as they came nearer, with more deadly musketry; until the shouted orders, entreaties, menaces, of frantic officers no longer availed, and the long lines sank back defeated to the shelter in their rear. Here fell, at 2 1/2 o'clock, Albert Sidney Johnston, the Rebel commander-in-chief, struck in the thigh by a fragment of shell, but sitting silently on his horse for some minutes, and only taken off to die. Beauregard at once assumed command; but the death of Johnston was concealed, so far as possible, until his army had returned to Corinth. An hour later, Hurlbut's division, worn out by incessant fighting against fresh regiments, fell back nearly half a mile, to a position about that distance from the Landing.

W. H. L. Wallace's division was in like manner exposed to and attacked by the exultant Rebels about 10 A. M.; and for six hours was hotly engaged, with scarcely an intermission. Four times was it charged along its whole line; and every charge was repulsed with heavy slaughter. Once or twice, our men pursued their retreating foes; but the disparity of numbers was too great, and they were soon pushed back to their lines. They were still fighting as eagerly and confidently as ever, when Hurlbut's retreat compelled them to fall back also, or be flanked and surrounded as Prentiss had been. Just now, their leader fell, mortally wounded; closing in death a day's work which had won for him the admiration of all beholders and the lasting gratitude of his country. The division fell back into line with Hurlbut's new position; losing of its batteries but a single gun, whereof the carriage had been disabled.

Lew. Wallace was at Crump's Landing, with his force extended on the road to Purdy, when he received, at 11 1/2 A. M., Grant's order to bring his division into the fight. He had been anxiously awaiting that order, listening to the sound of the mutual cannonade since morning; and his column was instantly put in motion. Snake creek, with steep banks and swampy bottom, was in his way; but his men were eager for the fray, and were soon making good time in the direction indicated. But he was met, near the creek, by messengers from Grant with tidings that our advanced divisions had been overpowered and beaten back; so that the road on which he was hastening would now lead him directly into the midst of the enemy, who could easily envelop him with thrice his numbers. He thereupon turned abruptly to the left, moving down the west bank of Snake creek to the river road, which follows the windings of the Tennessee bottom, and crosses the creek at its mouth, close by Pittsburg Landing. This countermarch delayed his junction with our sorelypressed combatants until after nightfall; and thus 11 regiments of our infantry, 2 batteries, and 2 battalions of cavalry, remained useless throughout that day's bloody struggle.

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