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Yet how bring order out of such a chaos? How deal justly, writing within twenty-four hours of the closing of the fight, with all the gallant regiments, of the hundred present, that bravely won or as bravely lost, and with all that ignobly fled in panic from the field? How describe, so that one man may leisurely follow, the simultaneous operations of a hundred and fifty thousand antagonists, fighting backward and forward for two long days, in a five miles' line and over four miles' retreat and advance, under eight division commanders on one side, and an unknown number on the other? How, in short, picture on a canvas so necessarily small a panorama so grandly great? The task is impossible.

But what one man, diligently using all his powers of observation through those two days, might see, I saw, and that I can faithfully set down. For the rest, after riding carefully over and over the ground, asking questions innumerable of those who knew, and sifting consistent truth from the multiplicity of replies with whatever skill some experience may have taught, I can only give the concurrent testimony of the actors.

the situation before the battle.

Our great Tennessee Expedition had been up the river some four weeks. We had occupied Pittsburgh Landing for about three; had destroyed one railroad connection, which the rebels had restored in a day or two, and had failed in a similar but more important attempt on another. Beyond this we had engaged in no active operations. The rebels, alarmed by our sudden appearance, began massing their troops under our eyes. Presently they had more in the vicinity than we had. Then we waited for Buell, who was crossing the country from Nashville by easy marches. The rebels had apparently become restive under our slow concentrations, and General Grant had given out that an attack from them seemed probable. Yet we had lain at Pittsburgh Landing, within twenty miles of the rebels, that were likely to attack us in superior numbers, without throwing up a single breastwork or preparing a single protection for a battery, and with the brigades of one division stretched from extreme right to extreme left of our line, while four other divisions had been crowded in between, as they arrived.

On the evening of Friday, April fourth, there was a preliminary skirmish with the enemy's advance. Rumors came into camp that some of our officers had been taken prisoners by a considerable rebel force, near our lines, and that pickets had been firing. A brigade, the Seventieth, Seventy-second, and Forty--eighth Ohio, was sent out to see about it. They came upon a party of rebels, perhaps a thousand strong, and after a sharp little action drove them off, losing Major Crocket, of the Seventy-second Ohio, and a couple of lieutenants from the Seventieth, prisoners, taking in return some sixteen, and driving the rebels back to a battery they were found to have already in position, at no great distance from our lines. Gen. Lew. Wallace's troops at Crump's Landing, were ordered out under arms, and they marched to Adamsville, half-way between the river and Purdy, to take position there and resist any attack in that direction. The night passed in dreary rain, but without further rebel demonstration; and it was generally supposed that the affair had been an ordinary picket-fight, presaging nothing more. Major-Gen Grant had indeed said there was great probability of a rebel attack, but there were no appearances of his making any preparation for such an unlooked for event, and so the matter was dismissed. Yet on Saturday there was more skirmishing along our advanced lines.

the rebel designs.

There can be no doubt the plan of the rebel leaders was to attack and demolish Grant's army before Buell's reinforcements arrived. There were rumors, indeed, that such a movement had been expressly ordered from headquarters at Richmond, as being absolutely necessary, as a last bold stroke, to save the failing fortunes of the Confederacy in the West; though of that, no one, I presume, knows anything.

But the rebel leaders at Corinth were fully aware that they largely outnumbered Grant, and that no measures had been taken to strengthen the position at Pittsburgh Landing; while they knew equally well that when Buell's entire Kentucky army arrived, and was added to Grant's forces, they could not possibly expect to hold their vitally important position at Corinth against us. Their only hope, therefore, lay in attacking Grant before Buell arrived, and so defeating us in detail. Fortunately they timed their movements a day too late.

the warning of danger.

The sun never rose on a more beautiful morning than that of Sunday, April sixth. Lulled by the general security, I had remained in pleasant quarters at Crump's, below Pittsburgh Landing, on the river. By sunrise I was roused by the cry: “They're fighting above.” Volleys of musketry could sure enough be distinguished, and occasionally the sullen boom of artillery came echoing down the stream. Momentarily the volume of sound increased, till it became evident it was no skirmish that was in progress, and that a considerable portion of the army must be already engaged. Hastily springing on the guards of a passing steamboat, I hurried up.

Thee sweet spring sunshine danced over the rippling waters, and softly lit up the green of the banks. A few fleecy clouds alone broke the azure above. A light breeze murmured among the young leaves; the blue-birds were singing their gentle treble to the stern music that still came louder and deeper to us from the bluffs above, and the frogs were croaking their feeble imitation from the marshy islands that studded the channel.

Even thus early the west bank of the river was lined with the usual fugitives from action hurriedly pushing onwards, they knew not where, except down stream and away from the fight.

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