The battle kindled soon after daylight, and raged furiously from right to left for more than five hours. And, notwithstanding the odds of fresh troops brought up against them, despite their long-continued engagement, the Confederates had not receded from the ground upon which they had been concentrated, as soon as it was apparent that the battle was in their hands. But they were being fearfully depleted meanwhile. Beginning the combat with not more than twenty thousand men, exclusive of cavalry, less than fifteen thousand were now in the Confederate ranks. General Beauregard, seeing the unprofitable nature of the struggle, determined not to prolong it. Directing his Adjutant-General to select a position, and post such troops as were available to cover the retreat, he despatched other staff officers to the corps commanders, with the order to retire simultaneously from their several positions, ready, however, to turn and fight should it become necessary. And accordingly, about two o'clock (2.30), the retrograde movement of the Confederates was inaugurated and carried out with a steadiness never exceeded by veterans of a hundred fields. During the various stages of the conflict General Beauregard had tried to use his cavalry, but so dense and broad-spread were the woods that they proved altogether fruitless of results. . . . The retreat had now commenced in earnest, but so stunned and crippled was the enemy that no effort or pretence to pursue was made. The line established to cover the movement commanded the ground of Shiloh church, and some open fields in the neighborhood; thence keeping up a vigorous play of artillery on the woods beyond; there was no reply, nor did any enemy become visible. That line was then withdrawn about three fourths of a mile, to another favorable position. Meanwhile, the retreat had been effected in admirable order, all stragglers falling in the ranks, and that line was abandoned with no enemy in sight. . . . Of trophies the Confederates carried from the field some twenty-six stands of flags and colors, and about thirty of the guns captured on the 6th. The guns which figure in Federal subordinate reports as captured from the Confederates, with few exceptions, were those lost on Sunday by the Federals, which, for want of horses to draw them from the field, had been left by the Confederates where they had been taken.General Grant says, in his report:
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