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[47] On April 5th I sent a telegram as follows:

General A. S. Johnston: Your dispatch of yesterday received. I hope you will be able to close with the enemy before his two columns unite.


Though much inquiry has been made, I have not been able to recover that dispatch ‘of yesterday’ the 4th. It was anxiously sought because, in cipher (private between us), he explained distinctly his plan of battle, as the previous one had his proposed order of march. It was in every respect important to attack at the earliest moment after the advance of Buell's command became known. Every delay diminished the chances of surprising the enemy, and increased the probability of his being reenforced. Had the attack been made a day sooner, not only would Buell's army have been absent, but there would have been no prospect of their timely arrival; who can measure the moral effect this would have produced? It would be useless to review the controversies as to who was responsible for the confusion and consequent detentions on the march, the evil of which might have been greater if the vigilance of the enemy had been equal to his self-sufficiency.

War has been called a fickle goddess, and its results attributed to chance. The great soldier of our century said, ‘Fortune favors the heavy battalions.’ But is it not rather exact calculation than chance which controls the events of war, and the just determination of the relation of time, space, and motion in the application of force, which decides the effective weight of battalions? Had the battle of Shiloh opened a day sooner, it would have been better; had it been postponed a day, to attack would have been impracticable. Had the several columns moved on different roads, converging toward the field of battle, the movements of some could not have been obstructed by others, so that the troops would have been in position and the battle have been commenced on Saturday morning. The program and purpose of General Johnston appear from his dispatch of the 3d, and from the disappointment evinced by him at the failure of a portion of the command to be present on the field on the morning of the 5th (Saturday), as he expected.

General Bragg, in a monograph on the battle of Shiloh, says:

During the afternoon of the 5th, as the last of our troops were taking position, a casual and partly accidental meeting of general officers occurred just in rear of our second line, near the bivouac of General Bragg. The Commander-in-Chief, General Beauregard, General Polk, General Bragg, and General Breckinridge, are remembered as present. In a discussion of the causes of the delay and its incidents, it was mentioned that some of the troops, now in their third day only, were entirely out of food, though having marched with five days rations. General Beauregard, confident our movement had been discovered by the enemy, urged its abandonment, a return to our camps for supplies, and a general change

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