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[333]

On Saturday (5th) the enemy's cavalry was again very bold, coming well down to our front, yet I did not believe they designed anything but a strong demonstration.

And further on he adds:

About 8 A. M. (Sunday) I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of infantry, to our left front, in the woods beyond the small stream alluded to, and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy designed a determined attack on our whole camp.

Major Ricker says that, after reporting to General Sherman a reconnoissance he had made on the day preceding the battle:

I told him I had met and fought the advance of Beauregard's army, and that he was advancing on us. General Sherman remarked, “It could not be possible; Beauregard was not such a fool as to leave his base of operations to attack us in ours—mere reconnoissance in force.” 1

But Generals Sherman and Prentiss were not the only commanding officers surprised by Beauregard's ‘foolish’ attack. Generals Halleck, Grant, and Buell seem to have been equally unprepared for his sudden onslaught. General Buell, with five divisions of his army, well organized and fully equipped, numbering at least thirty-seven thousand men of all arms, had left Nashville from the 15th to the 20th of March, to form a junction at his leisure with Grant at Savannah, via Columbia, Mount Pleasant, and Waynesboro. He was delayed several days at Columbia by high water in Duck River, the bridge having been destroyed by the Confederates. While there he first heard, on or about the 29th of March, that Grant's army had moved to Pittsburg Landing, on the left bank of the Tennessee River. General Buell resumed his march on the 31st, intending—having obtained the approval of General Halleck—‘to stop for cleaning up and rest at Waynesboro;’ he had not yet received any intimation that General Grant was in danger, or that he (Buell) should hurry up with his forces.

But in order that we may not be suspected of a disposition to be unfair towards the distinguished generals referred to, we quote from Van Horne's ‘History of the Army of the Cumberland,’ vol. i. pp. 102 et seq., as follows:

1 See Boynton's ‘Sherman's Historical Raid,’ pp. 33, 84, for further extracts from official records.

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