men, from Bowling Green
, to Stevenson
, to change the direction of his retreat to Decatur, Alabama
, that he might more readily form a junction with the forces at Corinth
, at the proper time.
To this request, General Johnston
By the 27th of March, with our defective means of transportation, and restricted supplies of all kinds, General Beauregard
had assembled, at and about Corinth
, an army of over forty thousand men, exclusive of some nine thousand occupying the Mississippi River
defences, at New Madrid, Island No.10
, and Fort Pillow
And General Van Dorn
, at General Beauregard
's request, was moving rapidly from Van Buren, Arkansas
, with an army of nearly twenty thousand men, to unite also with our forces at Corinth
He would have arrived in time to take a part in the battle of Shiloh
, had he not been delayed by high waters, which prevented his marching to Memphis
, when he could not immediately procure sufficient river transportation.
Even with these obstacles to overcome, General Van Dorn
's troops commenced arriving at Memphis
on the 10th of April, only three days after the battle of Shiloh
How different might have been the result, had he arrived in time!
Great difficulties were encountered in organizing and supplying so many troops, hastily gathered up from such remote points.
These difficulties were increased by the want of experienced officers, to take charge of the brigades and divisions as soon as formed.
A delay of one or two days may be attributed to that cause alone.
The War Department had promised General Beauregard
a certain number of officers, below the rank of brigadier-generals, designated by him, from his army of the Potomac, so as to assist in organizing the troops of his new command, if needed; but that promise was only partly complied with, and much too late.
intended to move from Corinth
, on or about the 1st of April, with the hope of beginning their attack against the Federals
on the morning of the 3d, at latest; whereas they were not able to leave until the latter day, and did not get into position before the afternoon of the 5th, at too advanced an hour to open the attack immediately.
With better disciplined troops, the march of less than eighteen miles could have been made in one day; but two of our corps, Generals Polk
's and Bragg
's, which had been recently organized, were mostly composed of commands not yet used to marching.