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[380]

The thread of our narrative would be too disconnected and its interest impaired were we to follow too closely, in their order, the various events that occurred during the first two weeks after the retreat of the Confederate forces to Corinth. But the Appendix to this chapter will impart all such additional information as cannot be appropriately inserted within the limits of the text. Reference is here made particularly to General Beauregard's instructions to Generals Breckinridge and Chalmers, at Mickey's house and Monterey; to the list of officers forwarded to the President for promotion; to his further correspondence with General Grant relative to the exchange of prisoners, and the distinction to be made between colonels commanding brigades and brigadiergenerals duly commissioned as such; also, to the difference to be established between medical officers and other officers of the Confederate and Federal armies.

Perhaps the most difficult feat to accomplish in war is to compel an adversary to abandon the movement upon which he is engaged and adopt another by which his plans may be eventually frustrated. Such a diversion, even with a well-trained army, possessing every requisite for rapid motion, requires more than ordinary skill on the part of the general devising it. Greater still is the hazard of the undertaking, when that army is, as compared to the one confronting it, weaker in numbers, reduced by disease, and wanting in the necessary means of transportation.

An effort of this kind, however, was determined upon by General Beauregard, as soon as it became evident to him that his inferior forces were no match for the too powerful and daily increasing army under General Halleck. With a view to this, Generals Van Dorn and Price were invited to a conference at Corinth, ahead of their troops, then hourly arriving in Memphis.

A promising cavalry officer, Captain John H. Morgan, commanding two Kentucky companies belonging to General A. S. Johnston's army, with which he had arrived from Bowling Green, had highly distinguished himself, during the retreat to Corinth, by his great energy and efficiency. He had kept the commanding general thoroughly advised of the movements of the enemy, and had performed many acts indicating high military ability. Having thus had occasion to judge of his capacity and resources, General Beauregard resolved to send him, with four companies of

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