In this opinion no other seemed fully to concur; and when it was suggested that ‘the enemy's supplies were much nearer, and could be had for the taking,’ General Johnston quietly remarked, ‘Gentlemen, we shall attack at daylight to-morrow.’
The meeting then dispersed upon an invitation of the commanding general to meet at his tent that evening.
At that meeting a further discussion elicited the same views, and the same firm decided determination.
The next morning, about dawn of day, the 6th, as the troops were being put in motion, several generals again met at the camp-fire of the general-in-chief.
The discussion was renewed, General Beauregard again expressing his dissent; when, rapid firing in the front indicating that the attack had commenced, General Johnston closed the discussion by remarking: ‘The battle has opened, gentlemen; it is too late to change our dispositions.’
He prepared to move to the front, and his subordinates promptly joined their respective commands, inspired by his coolness, confidence and determination.
Few men have equaled him in the possession and display, at the proper time, of these great qualities of the soldier.
The results of the first day of the famous battle thus begun are very summarily presented in the following brief report of General Beauregard
At 5:00 A. M., on the 6th instant, a reconnoitering party of the enemy having become engaged with our advanced pickets, the commander of the forces gave orders to begin the movement and attack as determined upon, except that Trabue's brigade of Breckinridge's division was detached and advanced to support the left of Bragg's corps and line of battle then menaced by the enemy; and the other two brigades were directed to advance by the road to Hamburg to support Bragg's right; and at the same time Maney's regiment of Polk's corps was advanced by the same road to reenforce the regiment, of cavalry and battery of four pieces, already thrown forward to watch and guard Grier's, Tanner's, and Borland's Fords of Lick Creek.
Thirty minutes after 5 A. M., our lines and columns were in motion, all animated evidently by a promising spirit.
The front line was engaged at once, but advanced steadily, followed in due order, with equal resolution and steadiness, by the other lines, which were brought successively into action with rare skill, judgment, and gallantry by the several corps commanders, as the enemy made a stand with his masses rallied for the struggle for his encampments.
Like an Alpine avalanche our troops moved forward, despite the determined resistance of the enemy, until after 6 P. M., when we were in possession of all his encampments between Owl and Lick Creeks but one; nearly all of his field-artillery, about thirty flags, colors, and standards, over three thousand prisoners, including a division commander (General Prentiss), and several brigade commanders, thousands of small-arms, an immense supply of subsistence, forage, and munitions of war, and a large amount of means of transportation, all the substantial fruits of a complete victory—such, indeed, as rarely have followed the most successful battles, for never was an army so well provided as that of our enemy.
The remnant of his army had been driven in utter disorder to the immediate vicinity of Pittsburg, under the shelter of the heavy guns of his iron-clad gunboats, and we remained undisputed masters of his well-selected, admirably