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[277] the request of General Bragg, General Beauregard also rode along the front of the Second Corps, where it was difficult to enforce the order prohibiting cheering, so enthusiastic were the troops—especially those from Louisiana—when he appeared before them.

As soon as it had become evident that the day was too far advanced for a decisive engagement, General Johnston called the corps and reserve commanders together in an informal council, in the roadway, near his temporary headquarters, within less than two miles of those of General Sherman, at the Shiloh meetinghouse. He was then informed, by Major-General Polk, that his troops had already exhausted their rations and that he had brought none in reserve. General Bragg thereupon stated that his men had been so provident of their food that he could supply General Polk with what he needed. This promise, however, he never executed, because of the hurry and confusion of events, which engrossed his own attention as well as that of his subordinate officers; and because, though his troops might have been somewhat less improvident than those of General Polk, they were, at best, scantily provided with what was necessary for themselves, and had, certainly, no surplus rations to spare. The transportation wagons, containing the five days uncooked reserved rations for all the corps, were miles away in the rear, not having been able, on account of the heavy roads, to keep up with the march.

The fact that the army was threatened with a total lack of food, and that, by the loss of a whole day, the offensive movement he had so carefully prepared was seriously imperilled, produced great disappointment and distress in General Beauregard's mind. Impressed with the gravity of the situation and the responsibility which rested on him, as having proposed and organized this entire campaign, he stated to General Johnston and to the corps commanders present at the conference, that, in his opinion, our plan of operations had been foiled by the tardiness of our troops in starting from Corinth, followed by such delays and noisy demonstrations on the march, that a surprise, which was the basis of his plan, was now scarcely to be hoped for; that ample notice of our proximity for an aggressive movement must have been given through the conflict of our cavalry, on the preceding day, with the enemy's reconnoitring force, and the prolongation of our presence in front of their positions before the hour for battle, next morning; that the Federal army would, no doubt, be found

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L. Polk (3)
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