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[55] neither. What material consequences would have flowed from the supposed event—how the Mexican people would have been inspired by the retreat of our army, how far it would have brought out all their resources for war, and to what extent results might have been thereby affected— are speculative inquiries on a subject from which time and circumstance have taken the interest it once possessed.

The extracts which have been given sufficiently prove that, when General Johnston fell, the Confederate army was so fully victorious that, had the attack been vigorously pressed, General Grant and his army would before the setting of the sun have been fugitives or prisoners.

As our troops drew near to the river, the gunboats of the enemy became ineffective, because to fire over the bank required such elevation of the guns that the shot and shell passed high over the heads of our men, falling far away in the rear.

General Polk described the troops in advance for that reason as quite safe from the fire of the gunboats, though it might seem terrible to those far in the rear, and expressed the surprise and regret he felt at the order to retire.

Grant's army being beaten, the next step of General Johnston's program should have followed—the defeat of Buell's and Mitchell's forces as they successively came up, and a return by our victorious army through Tennessee to Kentucky. The great embarrassment had been the want of good military weapons; these would have been largely supplied by the conquest hoped for, and, in the light of what had occurred, not unreasonably anticipated.

What great consequences would have ensued must be a matter of conjecture, but that the people of Kentucky and Missouri generously sympathized with the South was then commonly admitted. Our known want of preparation for war and numerical inferiority may well have caused many to doubt the wisdom of our effort for independence, and to these a signal success would have been the makeweight deciding their course.

I believe that again in the history of war the fate of an army depended on one man; more, that the fortunes of a country hung by the single thread of the life that was yielded on the field of Shiloh. So great was my confidence in his capacity for organization and administration that I felt, when he was assigned to the Department of the West, that the undeveloped power of that region would be made sufficient not only for its own safety, but to contribute support if need be to the more seriously threatened East.

There have been various suppositions as to the neglect of the wound

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Albert Sidney Johnston (2)
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