Maj.-Gen. Buell's long-expected “Army of the Ohio ” had been delayed on its march from Nashville, repairing roads and rebuilding the bridge over Duck river at Columbia; which place Gen. B. himself left with his rear division on the 2d of April; reaching Savannah with is advance division, Gen. Nelson's, on the evening of the 5th: tie remaining divisions were strung along the road from Columbia at intervals of six miles. A halt to rest on reaching the Tennessee was generally expected; but, on the morning of the 6th, ominous and persistent reports of musketry as well as cannon in the direction of Pittsburg Landing dispelled this illusion. Buell hastened to Gen. Grant's headquarters, only to learn that he had just started on a steamboat for the Landing; having left orders for Gen. Nelson, with Buell's advance, to push/un> on up the right bank of the river, leaving his cannon, because of the badness of the roads, to be taken by steamboats. Though it was still believed at Savannah that there was nothing going on above more serious than all affair of outposts, Gen. Buell sent orders to his rear divisions to hurry forward, and, taking a steamboat, proceeded to the Landing; where the multiplicity and constant increase of stragglers soon convinced him that the matter in hand was urgent and important.1 Finding Gen. Grant at the Landing, he requested the dispatch
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1 His official report says:
As we proceeded up the river, groups of soldiers were seen on the west bank; and it soon became evident that they were stragglers from the engaged army. The groups increased in size and frequency, until, as we approached the Landing, they numbered whole companies, and almost regiments; and at the Landing the banks swarmed with a confused mass of men of various regiments. There could not have been less than 4,000 or 5,000. Late in the day, it became much greater. Finding Gen. Grant at the Landing. I requested him to send steamers to Savannah to bring up Gen. Crittenden's division which had arrived during the morning, and then went ashore with him. The throng of disorganized and demoralized troops increased continually by fresh fugitives from the battle, which steadily drew nearer the Landing; and with these were intermingled great numbers of teams, all striving to get as near as possible to the river. With few exceptions, all efforts to form the troops and move them forward to the fight utterly failed. In the mean time, the enemy had made such progress against our troops, that his artillery and musketry began to play into the vital spot of the position, and some persons were killed on the bank, at the very Landing.
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