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[387] An officer on board hailed numbers of them and demanded their reason for being there, but they all gave the same response: “We're clean cut to pieces, and every man must save himselff”

At the Landing appearances became still more ominous. Our two Cincinnati wooden gunboats, Tyler and Lexington, were edging uneasily up and down the banks, eager to put in their broadsides of heavy guns, but unable to find where they could do it. The roar of battle was startlingly close, and showed that the rebels were in earnest attempt to carry out their threat of driving us into the river. The landing and bluff above were covered with cowards who had fled from their ranks to the rear for safety, and who were telling the most fearful stories of the rebel onset and the sufferings of their own particular regiments. Momentarily fresh fugitives came back, often guns in hand, and all giving the same accounts of thickening disasters in front.

Hurrying out toward the scene of action, I was soon convinced that there was too much foundation for the tales of the runaways. Sherman's and Prentiss' entire divisions were falling back in disorder, sharply pressed by the rebels in overwhelming numbers, at all points. McClernand's had already lost part of its camps, and it, too, was falling back. There was one consolation — only one--I could see just then: history, so the divines say, is positive on the point that no attack ever made on the Sabbath was eventually a success to the attacking party. Nevertheless, the signs were sadly against the theologians.

Let me return — premising that I have thus brought the reader into the scene near the close of the first act in our Sunday's tragedy — to the preliminaries of the opening of the assault.

position of the National troops.

And first, of our positions. Let the reader understand that the Pittsburgh Landing is simply a narrow ravine, down which a road passes to the river-bank, between high bluffs on either side. There is no town at all--two log-huts comprise all the improvements visible. Back from the river is a rolling country, cut: up with numerous ravines, partially under cultivation, but perhaps the greater part thickly wooded with some underbrush. The soil is clayey, and roads on Sunday morning were good. From the Landing a road leads direct to Corinth, twenty miles distant. A mile or two out this road forks: one branch is the lower Corinth road, the other the ridge Corinth road. A short distance out, another road takes off to the left, crosses Lick Creek, and leads back to the river at Hamburgh, some miles further up. On the right, two separate roads lead off to Purdy, and another, a new one, across Snake Creek to Crump's Landing on the river below. Besides these, the whole country inside our lines is cut up with roads leading to our different camps; and beyond the lines is the most inextricable maze of cross-roads, intersecting everything and leading everywhere, in which it was ever my ill-fortune to become entangled.

On and between these roads, at distances of from two to four or five miles from Pittsburgh Landing, lay five divisions of Major-Gen. Grant's army that Sunday morning. The advance line was formed by three divisions--Brig.-Gen. Sherman's, Brig.-Gen. Prentiss's, and Major-Gen. McClernand's. Between these and the Landing lay the two others--Brig.-Gen. Hurlbut's and Major Gen. Smith's, commanded, in the absence (from sickness) of that admirable officer, by Brig.-Gen. W. H. L. Wallace.

Our advance line, beginning at the extreme left, was thus formed. On the Hamburgh road, just this side the crossing of Lick Creek and under bluffs on the opposite bank that commanded the position, lay Col. D. Stuart's brigade of Gen. Sherman's division. Some three or four miles distant from this brigade, on the lower Corinth road and between that and the one to Purdy, lay the remaining brigades of Sherman's division, McDowell's forming the extreme right of our whole advance line, Buckland's coming next to it, and Hildebrand's next. To the left of Hildebrand's brigade, though rather behind a portion of Sherman's line, lay Major-Gen. McClernand's division, and between it and Stuart's brigade, already mentioned as forming our extreme left, lay Brig.-Gen. Prentiss's division, completing the front.

Back of this line, within a mile of the Landing, lay Hurlburt's division, stretching across the Corinth road, and W. H. L. Wallace's to his right.

Such was the position of our troops at Pitts burgh Landing, at daybreak Sunday morning Major-General Lew. Wallace's division lay a Crump's Landing, some miles below, and was not ordered up till about half-past 7 o'clock that day.

It is idle to criticise arrangements now — it is so easy to be wise after a matter is over — but the reader will hardly fail to observe the essential defects of such disposition of troops for a great battle. Nearly four miles intervened between the different parts of Sherman's division. Of course to command the one, he must neglect the other. McClernand's lay partially behind Sherman, and therefore, not stretching far enough to the left, there was a gap between him and Prentiss, which the rebels did not fail speedily to find. Our extreme left was commanded by unguarded heights, easily approachable from Corinth. And the whole arrangement was confused and ill-adjusted.

Confusion was not the only glaring fault. Gen. Sherman's camps, to the right of the little log-cabin called Shiloh church, fronted on a descending slope of a quarter to a half mile in breadth, mostly covered with woods, and bounded by a ravine. A day's work of his troops would have covered that slope with an impenetrable abattis, thrown a line of breastworks to the front of the camps, and enabled Gen. Sherman to sweep all approaches with artillery and musketry, and hold his position against any force that was brought against it. But for, three weeks he had lain there, declaring the position dangerous, and predicting attack; yet absolutely without


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