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[434] It was not yet an army, but only a heroic mob, who had responded to his eloquent appeal to their patriotism.

Beauregard, on the arrival of Johnston, proposed to surprise the Federal force, under command of General Grant, who had reached the Tennessee river, and defeat him before the coming of Buell, whose junction was shortly expected. General Johnston assented. The plan was to be in the vicinity of the enemy by the evening of the 4th of April, and attack on the morning of the 5th, twenty-four hours before the probable arrival of Buell. But heavy rainfalls during the night of the 4th and the early part of the next day, the narrowness of the roads running through a densely wooded country, the rawness of the troops and the inexperience of their officers, including some of superior rank, were the causes of much delay, and the Confederates had reached a position to attack only on the morning of the 6th instead of the 5th, as originally intended. This was not all. The transportation wagons, containing five days uncooked, reserved rations, for all the troops, were miles away in the rear, not having been able, on account of the heavy roads, to keep up with the march, and the march itself had been conducted with such open imprudence, in violation of the strictest orders given to the contrary, that it was impossible to entertain any longer the hope that the enemy would be surprised. Wherefore General Beauregard, who had planned and organized the offensive movement, proposed that it be converted into a reconnoisance in force, with the purpose of drawing the enemy nearer to our base at Corinth. This shows that General Beauregard, who had always been considered as too fond of a dangerous and aggressive strategy, knew how to control, when necessary, his natural disposition, and restrain his boldness with the curb of prudence.

General Johnston dissented for several reasons, one of which was that a retrogade movement would, under present circumstances, discourage his troops, who were full of confidence and hopeful of success. Our army had been put in motion for battle. It was now on the field chosen for it, and it was thought better to cast the die and risk the venture on the gaming table of Mars. Consequently preparations were made for an attack at dawn the next day, 6th of April, and what has been called the battle of Shiloh, was fought according to the decision of the Commander-in-chief, but not with the endorsement of the next in command.

It was the opinion of General Sherman that the position of the Federals was the strongest that could be found in the world, and that General Beauregard ‘would not be such a fool as to attack, and that his ’

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