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[537] Breckinridge's line, where a very hard fight was going on. Exposed to a galling fire, our line held its position steadily, but at very considerable cost, until finally General Johnston decided to order and lead a charge from that position upon the line of the enemy that confronted us. He rode to the front, talked to the troops a moment or two, ordered and led the charge. The enemy's line gave away before us, and we advanced, I should think, three quarters of a mile, and established our line on a ridge parallel to the one we had left, meeting a galling fire from the enemy while thus re-establishing our line.

Just as our line had been established and dressed, General Johnston called my attention to the fact that the sole of one of his boots had been cut by a ball. I asked him, somewhat eagerly, ‘Are yon wounded; did the ball touch your foot?’ He said, ‘No;’ and was proceeding to make an additional remark, when a battery of the enemy opened fire from a position to our left, which enfiladed our line in its then position, when he said to me, ‘Order Colonel Statham to wheel his regiment to the left, charge, and take that battery.’ I galloped immediately to Colonel Statham, about two hundred yards distant, and gave the order, and galloped immediately back to General Johnston, who was sitting upon his horse where I had left him, a few feet in rear of our line of battle. Riding up to his right side, I said, ‘General, your order is delivered, and Colonel Statham is in motion.’ As I was saying this, he leaned from me in a manner that impressed me with the idea that he was falling from his horse. I instantly extended my left arm around his neck, grasping his coatcollar, and pulling him towards me until I righted him up in the saddle; and, stooping forward so that I could look him in the face, I asked him, ‘General, are you wounded?’ He said, ‘Yes, and I fear seriously.’ At this moment his rein dropped from his hand. Holding him with my left hand, I caught up his rein with my right, in which I held my own, and guided both horses to a depression about one hundred yards in rear of the line, where I took him off his horse, having asked Captain Wickham, just as I was leaving the line, to bring me a surgeon at the earliest moment possible. I am satisfied that General Johnston did not live exceeding thirty minutes after he was taken from his horse. I did not look at my watch at the time, but my best impression is that it was 2 1/2 or 3 o'clock P. M. when he died.

* * * * * *

Just as he was breathing his last, and when he was unconscious, General Wm. Preston joined me, and General Preston and I agreed that General Preston should remain with the remains and attend them back to headquarters, and that I should go immediately to you and report the fact of his death. My own horse having run off when I dismounted, I took one of General Johnston's horses from his orderly, who was near by, and galloped to you near North Shiloh church, and reported to you the fact of his death. Having reported to you the fact, I rode off, but returned in a few moments and said to you, ‘I came here as a volunteer aid to General Johnston; as he has fallen, I no longer have any duties to perform. I intend to remain until the battle is over, and would like to be useful, if there are duties that you can assign me to.’ You answered, ‘I shall be pleased to have you with me,’ and from that time I reported to you.

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Albert Sidney Johnston (6)
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John C. Breckinridge (1)
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