but it was already dark before the rear of its column filed out of Corinth
Had it not been for this deplorable loss of the afternoon of the 3d, the Confederate army must have made the march to the immediate vicinity of the enemy by the evening of the 4th.
The attack would then have been made on the morning of the 5th, as had been planned, or twenty-four hours earlier than it actually occurred, in which event Buell
must have reached the theatre of action entirely too late to retrieve the disaster inflicted upon Grant
, and must himself have been forced to retire from middle Tennessee
The delay which had marked the outset was followed by unwarrantable tardiness in the general conduct of the march, so much so that, by the evening of the 4th, the forces bivouacked at and slightly in advance of Monterey
, only ten miles from Corinth
; and it was not until two o'clock P. M., on the 5th, that they approached the Federal
position, near the Shiloh meeting-house.
The whole distance traversed was not more than about seventeen and a half miles. True, there were heavy rain-falls during the night of the 4th, and the early part of the next day, which made the roads somewhat difficult, not to speak of their narrowness and of the fact of their crossing a densely wooded country.
But these causes account only in part for the slowness of the march, which was mainly attributable to the rawness of the troops and the inexperience of the officers, including some of superior rank.
During the advance of the 4th of April a reconnaissance in force was injudiciously made by a part of the cavalry of the Second Corps, with such audacity—capturing an officer and thirteen men of the enemy—that it ought to have warned the Federal
commander of our meditated attack.
Our forces could not get into position for battle until late on the afternoon of the 5th—too late to commence the action on that day. Soon after General Hardee
's line of battle (the front one) had been formed, he sent a messenger with an urgent request that General Beauregard
should ride along in front of his troops.
This General Beauregard
, through motives of prudence, at first refused, and only agreed to do at the instance of General Johnston
himself, but he prohibited any cheering whatever, lest it should attract the attention of the opposing forces, which were known to be not more than two miles from us.1