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[320] At last, however, the drain made upon his feeble resources had exhausted them. Stragglers and stray commands could no longer be found. And just then his couriers arrived from Corinth. They reported that Van Dorn was not there, and that his whereabouts was unknown. The time had evidently come when it was imperative to put the plan of retreat into execution.1 General Beauregard's hope of Van Dorn's junction on that day had been but a fleeting one; he had regarded it as a thing possible, but hardly probable. He ordered Colonel Chisolm, one of his aids, to go immediately to the rear with a company of cavalry, and clear and repair the roads for any emergency. About an hour later, he instructed Colonel Jordan, the Adjutant-General of the army, to select at once a position across the ravine in the rear, for such troops and batteries as were available to protect the retreat. He then ordered the corps commanders to be prepared to retire slowly and leisurely, but, before doing so, to take the offensive again with vigor, and drive back the enemy as far as possible, while he established batteries and posted troops to protect his retiring forces. After placing a battery in front of the Shiloh meetinghouse, and another on the Ridge road, towards the right, he went in person across the ravine, to examine the location of the troops intrusted to Colonel Jordan, and he there posted two additional batteries, the better to cover the retrograde movement, which had then fairly begun, and was being executed in a very orderly manner. General Breckinridge, occupying the centre of the line of battle, retired first (the adjacent divisions closing up the void space) and took up his position in rear of the troops and batteries

1 A remarkable instance of bravery was shown by a mere boy, about this time, when matters were looking gloomy, and the stoutest hearts were beginning to fail. The meeting-house of Shiloh had been turned into a hospital, and many of our wounded were collected there to be operated on. General Beauregard sent one of his aids to have them transferred to the rear, preparatory to a retrograde movement. Upon his return the aid reported that while there, a private (a boy scarcely over fourteen years of age), had come to have a wound in his hand attended to. While the surgeon was dressing it—the fighting still going on near by — the boy said: ‘Make haste, please, doctor, I want to go back and take another shot at the Yankees.’ General Beauregard told his aid to return immediately and ascertain the name of the young hero, so as to have it published in general orders. It was too late. He had, no doubt, gone back ‘to take another shot at the Yankees.’

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Shiloh, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)

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G. T. Beauregard (3)
Thomas Jordan (2)
E. Dorn (1)
A. R. Chisolm (1)
John C. Breckinridge (1)
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