in rapid succession, the whole Federal front, a circumstance which gave Sherman
time hastily to form his division to oppose us; and on this fact he bases his denial of having been surprised by the Confederates
Our narrative of the movement from Corinth
has clearly established the surprise of the Federals
on that occasion.
When an army of nearly forty thousand men advances to within a mile and a half of an enemy's encampments; establishes lines of battle in the woods in his front, during a whole afternoon; bivouacs all night in that position without being disturbed, and the next morning advances at leisure, in line of battle, to within sight of those encampments, without meeting any serious opposition, it is absurd to deny that a surprise is effected; otherwise, there is evidently no attack in war that can be thus designated.
If the attack was not a surprise, how can General Sherman
account for the success achieved against Prentiss
, in about one hour, and against himself in about two hours, by a force not well organized, badly armed, and worse equipped?
He says, in his ‘Memoirs,’ p. 233, of the general position at Pittsburg Landing
The ground itself admits of easy defence by a small command, and yet affords admirable camping ground for a hundred thousand men.
Again, on page 229:
We did not fortify our camps against an attack, because we had no orders to do so, and because such a course would have made our raw men timid.
The position was naturally strong, with Snake Creek on our right, a deep, bold stream, with a confluent (Owl Creek) to our right front; and Lick Creek, with a similar confluent, on our left; thus narrowing the space over which we could be attacked to about a mile and a half or two miles.
In his report of the battle, he says of his own position near the Shiloh meeting-house:
The fire came from the bushes which line a small stream that rises in the field in front of Appler's camp, and flows to the north along my whole front.
This valley afforded the enemy partial cover; but our men were so posted as to have a good fire at them as they crossed the valley and ascended the rising ground on our side.
In his testimony at the trial of Colonel Worthington
, an officer of his command, in August, 1862, he said:
And here I mention, for future history, that our right flank was well