Hour by hour opposed to an enemy constantly reenforced, our ranks were perceptibly thinned under the increasing, withering fire of the enemy; and, by 12 M. [of the second day], 18 hours of hard fighting had sensibly exhausted a large number; my last reserves had necessarily been disposed of; and the enemy was evidently receiving fresh reeforcements after each repulse; accordingly, about 1 P. M., I determined to withdraw from so unequal a conflict; securing such of the results of the victory of the day before as were practicable.This is pretty fair, but not strictly accordant with the dispatch which
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1 “An impressed New-Yorker” says:
No heroism of officers or men could avail to stay the advance of the Federal troops. At 3 P. M., the Confederates decided on a retreat to Corinth ; and Gen. Breckinridge, strengthened by three regiments of cavalry — Forrest's, Adams's, and the Texas Rangers, raising his effective force to 12,000 men — received orders to protect the rear. By 4 P. M., the Confederates were in full retreat. The main body of the army passed silently and swiftly along the road toward Corinth; our division bringing up the rear, determined to make a desperate stand if pursued. At this time, the Union forces might have closed in upon our retreating columns and cut off Breekinridge's division, and perhaps captured it. A Federal battery threw some shells, as a feeler, across the road on which we were retreating, between our division and the main body; but no reply was made to them, as this would have betrayed our position. We passed on with little opposition or loss, and by 5 o'clock had reached a point one and a half miles nearer Corinth than the point of attack Sabbath morning. Up to this time, the pursuit seemed feeble, and the Confederates were surprised that the victorious Federals made no more of their advantage. Nor is it yet understood why the pursuit was not pressed. A rapid and persistent pursuit would have created a complete rout of the now broken, weary, and dispirited Rebels. Two hours more of such fighting as Buell's fresh men could have made would have demoralized and destroyed Beauregard's army. For some reason, this was not done; and night closed the battle.
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