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[316] and Breckinridge, where skirmishing only appeared to be going on.1

The Federal right wing advanced steadily at first, under a light fire from the Confederates, but when it had come within fair range of Bragg's line (consisting of the remnant of Ruggles's division, his own corps, part of Polk's second division—Clark's, now commanded by Stewart—and one brigade of Breckinridge's command), it was greeted with such a terrible fire of musketry and artillery, that—

The Federals reeled and rushed rearward, followed nearly a mile by the Confederates; but here, reinforced by McCook, Sherman attempted to resume the advance. Now the fight waxed obstinate, and the firing, says Sherman, was the severest musketry fire he had ever heard. Rousseau's Federal brigade here was pitted against Trabue's Kentuckians. Both fought with uncommon determination to win, but the Federals were repulsed, and Wallace was so pressed that his situation became extremely critical.2 McCook's other brigade had joined in the action meanwhile; and in that part of the field, including Grant's forces under Sherman and McClernand, there were fully twenty thousand Federals opposed by not half that number of battle-battered Confederates. The impetus of the Confederate attack was, therefore, slackened in the face of such odds. Yet several brilliant charges were made, one of which, to the left of Shiloh, General Beauregard himself led in person, carrying the battle-flag of a Louisiana regiment.3

1 During the fierce struggle in front, General Beauregard noticed, through the woods, some troops apparently uniformed in white. He at first took them to be Federals, but observing that they were fighting on our side, he sent an aid to ascertain where they came from, hoping they might be part of Van Dorn's army. They proved to be the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, temporarily merged into one command. Their coats being blue, they had been fired into, on the day before, by some of our own troops; and, in order to avoid a repetition of the mistake, had turned their coats ‘inside out.’

When General Beauregard had resigned his commission in the United States army, in February, 1861, he had joined, as a private, the Orleans Guard battalion, then just organized in the city of New Orleans. When he was made brigadier-general in the Confederate service and sent to Charleston, his name was preserved on the rolls of that battalion, and, whenever called, the colorsergeant, stepping forward, would answer: ‘Absent on duty.’ This custom was kept up as long as the battalion remained in service, and even on the battle-field of Shiloh. Their flagstaff was made of a piece of the Sumter flagstaff, which General Beauregard had sent to their commander, after the surrender of that celebrated fort, in April, 1861.

2 This is General Wallace's own statement. See ‘Rebellion Record,’ vol. IV. p. 359.

3 ‘Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest,’ p. 142.

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