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[71] and the killed and wounded in Prentiss's, McClernand's, and Lew. Wallace's divisions — the latter known to be very light — and our actual losses in these two days desperate conflict can hardly have been less than 15,000 men; and it is probable that Beauregard's, including the skulkers who here saw enough of fighting and never rejoined their regiments, was barely, if any thing, less than this.1

The victory was clearly ours; for we had the field and the dead; but the losses were fairly equalized, while the Rebels had the spoil of our camps — though they could carry off but little of it — and the prisoners.

Maj. Gen. Halleck, commanding the Department of the Mississippi, left St. Louis directly after receiving news of the Shiloh battles,2 and reached Pittsburg Landing by steamboat two or three days thereafter. Meantime, and for weeks following, no attempt was made against the Rebel army at Corinth; and, though Gen. Pope arrived from Missouri on the 22d, with a reenforcement of 25,000 men, even Monterey was not occupied by us till the 1st of May, when Gen. Halleck's army had been increased by accessions from various quarters to a little over 100,000 men. All this time, and afterward, Gen. Beauregard industriously strengthened his works, covering Corinth with an irregular semicircle of intrenchments, 15 miles long, and well-mounted with artillery; destroying the roads and bridges beyond, and blocking the approaches with abatis. Gen. Halleck saw fit not to flank these formidable defenses, but to overcome them by regular and necessarily slow approaches, involving constant and mutual artillery practice and picket fighting, with very little loss; three weeks of which brought our nearest batteries within three miles of Corinth.3 A reconnoissance under Gen. Paine to Farmington,4 five miles N. W. of Corinth, had brought on a skirmish, in which he took 200 prisoners, striking the Charleston and Memphis Railroad at Glendale, three miles farther, and partially destroying it; while the Ohio road was in like manner broken at Purdy.

Col. Elliott, with two regiments of cavalry, was dispatched on the night of the 27th to flank Corinth and cut the railroad south of it, so as to intercept the enemy's supplies. He

1 “An impressed New-Yorker,” writing of the retreat from this Rebel victory, says:

I made a detour from the road on which the army was retreating, that I might travel faster and get ahead of the main body. In this ride of twelve miles alongside of the routed army, I saw more of human agony and woe than I trust I will ever again be called to witness. The retreating host wound along a narrow and almost impassable road, extending some seven or eight miles in length. Here was a long line of wagons loaded with wounded, piled in like bags of grain, groaning and cursing; while the mules plunged on in mud and water belly-deep, time water sometimes coming into the wagons. Next came a straggling regiment of infantry, pressing on past the train of wagons; then a stretcher borne upon the shoulders of four men, carrying a wounded officer; then soldiers staggering along, with an arm broken and hanging down, or other fearful wounds, which were enough to destroy life. And, to add to the horrors of the scene, the elements of heaven marshaled their forces — a fitting accompaniment of the tempest of human desolation and passion which was raging. A cold, drizzling rain commenced about nightfall, and soon came harder and faster, then turned to pitiless, blinding hail. This storm raged with unrelenting violence for three hours. I passed long wagon-trains filled with wounded and dying soldiers, without even a blanket to shield them from the driving sleet and hail, which fell in stones as large as partridge-eggs, until it lay on the ground two inches deep.

Some 300 men died during that awful retreat, and their bodies were thrown out to make room for others who, although wounded, had struggled on through the storm, hoping to find shelter, rest, and medical care.

2 April 19, 1862.

3 May 21.

4 May 21.

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Henry Wager Halleck (3)
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