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[539] walking with him, after dismounting, to the spot where you were standing, and calling his attention to the fact that he was in your presence. It was quite dark, and he was at first unable to distinguish you. The darkness settles in my mind the time of our return to your headquarters.

* * * * * * * *

The distance from Shiloh chapel to the point where I joined General Bragg (as stated) must have been between one and two miles. I recollect, in carrying the order to him, that I crossed the line of fire of the Federal gunboats, both going and returning. They were shelling the woods at the points where they supposed our people were engaged with their comrades. I should judge that our front must have been quite a half a mile in advance of this line of fire, which seemed to me harmless, and doing no hurt beyond scaring horses and unsteadying a few men unaccustomed to heavy artillery fire.

Ceaseless comment has turned upon the execution and propriety of this momentous order. Were it necessary, it would not be difficult to show that, at that particular juncture, a proper alignment of our own disordered columns was essential, yea, of vital necessity to the existence of that army; and that the strictures and innuendoes which have for years been spread broadcast throughout this land, blaming you for the loss of that battle, are unjust and without any real foundation.

But why speculate upon the probable result? It is in evidence, from the reports of division, brigade, and regimental commanders, that every effort to dislodge the enemy from their last stronghold, defended by forty guns, placed in position by Colonel Webster, of the Regular (Federal) army, and fought under his immediate eye, proved abortive.

* * * * * * *

I remain, my dear General,

Ever sincerely your friend and well-wisher,

Clifton H. Smith, Capt. and A. Adj.-Gen., in the late Confederate Army.


Preliminary Report of the battle of Shiloh.

Headquarters army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Miss., April 11th, 1862.
General,—On the 2d ultimo, having ascertained conclusively, from the movements of the enemy on the Tennessee River, and from reliable sources of information, that his aim would be to cut off my communications in West Tennessee with the Eastern and Southern States, by operating from the Tennessee River between Crump's Landing and Eastport, as a base, I determined to foil his designs by concentrating all my available forces at and around Corinth.

Meanwhile, having called on the governors of the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, to furnish additional troops, some of then, chiefly regiments from Louisiana, soon reached this vicinity; and, with two divisions of General Polk's command from Columbus, and a fine corps of troops from Mobile and Pensacola, under Major-General Bragg, constituted the Army


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