Meanwhile, General Beauregard
had been weighing attentively, and no doubt anxiously, the premonitory signs visible during the later hours of the battle.
The strength of the Federal
batteries was apparent, by their extent and sound, and by the effect produced on the Confederate
lines; while the steady and heavy rolls of musketry, proceeding from the same quarter, indicated the presence either of fresh troops, the arrival of which General Beauregard
had feared and predicted the evening before, or of forces reorganized from the stragglers on the field, as had been done with our own stragglers several times that day. As General Beauregard
rode in rear of the disjointed lines, the futility of these fitful, detailed attacks became more and more evident to him. Most of the commands were disorganized and fragmentary, sundered by the deep, wooded ravines, and numbers of stragglers could be seen in all directions.
He felt not only that it was impracticable to gather up all his forces for a general and simultaneous onslaught, which alone might have been effective, but also that the brief space of time now remaining to him before nightfall must be used to collect the troops into position, or the morning, and its threatened possibilities, would find him with but a nominal army.
He knew that Lew. Wallace
's division, of some eight thousand men, was near by, observing the road from Purdy
; that it had not, as yet, been engaged in the conflict, and might, at any moment, fall upon us in flank, left, or rear.
He therefore resolved, without further delay, to withdraw the troops gradually from the front, and reorganize them, as well as possible, to resume the offensive on the 7th, and complete his victory over Grant
Accordingly, at dusk, he sent to the different corps commanders the order, ‘to arrest the conflict, and fall back to the enemy's abandoned camps for the night.’1
had also concluded that the troops were incapable of any further offensive efforts in his quarter of the field, and had already resolved to withdraw.2
He gave orders to that effect, which were anticipated, as to some of the commands, by the orders sent by General Beauregard
had fought, as already