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[338]

V.

General Beauregard is of opinion that General Sherman committed a grave error by protracting, as he did, the defence of the position he held at the Shiloh meeting-house. When, at 8 A. M., he ‘became satisfied, for the first time, that the enemy designed a determined attack on his whole camp’—knowing his unprepared condition to offer a long resistance—he should have ‘made a virtue of necessity,’ and, instead of calling on McClernand, in his rear, to come to his assistance, he should have ordered or requested him, Wallace, and Hurlbut, to select at once a strong defensive position near the former's camps (and there were many such), on which Prentiss and himself could retire at the proper moment. And when, at about 9 A. M., he ‘judged that Prentiss was falling back,’ which exposed the left flank of his own two remaining brigades to the concentrated attack of the Confederates, he should have retired, fighting, on the right of the defensive position occupied by the three divisions of McClernand, Wallace, and Hurlbut, behind which his and Prentiss's shattered troops could have rallied as a reserve, increased by his fourth brigade—Stewart's— which, on his first arrival at the Landing, he had imprudently detached, over two miles to his left rear, to guard a bridge across Lick Creek. That bridge might very well have been protected by a small force of cavalry and a section of artillery. The Federals would thus have presented a united front, in a strong position, as an effective barrier to the headlong and disjointed attacks of the Confederates, who would necessarily have been in some confusion from their march through the woods and across the ravines, and their assault on the first line of Federal encampments. As it was, in their pursuit of Sherman's and Prentiss's commands, they caught, ‘on the wing’ and in succession, the divisions of McClernand, Wallace, and Hurlbut, who offered a gallant but ineffectual resistance to the persistent and determined attacks of the elated Confederates.

This error of General Sherman is, however, one that is often committed in an active campaign. Two memorable examples occurred in the late Franco-Prussian war, which cost France, besides her high military renown, the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, and one billion of dollars.

On the 4th of August, 1870, three Prussian divisions, of the

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