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[180]

Chapter 2:

Memphis.

WE have seen how the valor of Farragut and his sailors had secured to the Federals the possession of the mouth of the Mississippi, with a new base of operations in the valley of the great river. The Unionists had thus taken an important step toward the conquest of this large artery, which cut in two the slave territories. The next stage in their career lay along the upper course of the river. In fact, until the freedom of the Mississippi was definitively secured to the Union, its opening was to be the principal object of all the land and naval campaigns which followed successively in the West, with varied results, during the next fifteen months.

We left both Federals and Confederates the day after the battle of Shiloh. Beauregard had taken his troops back to Corinth, leaving Grant on the field of battle near Pittsburg Landing. On both sides it was necessary to repair their losses, and both were hastening to concentrate all the available forces upon these two points, around which were to be decided the possession of the Mississippi, and perhaps the entire fate of the war.

Immediately on his return to Corinth, from the 10th to the 12th of April, Beauregard had received the considerable reinforcements for which Johnston would not wait when he fought the battle in which he lost his life. Sterling Price and Van Dorn, leaving the Arkansas and crossing the Mississippi at Helena, brought him the army that had fought at Pea Ridge. Then, his opponents having given him a long respite, all the administrative resources of the Confederate government were brought into action to strengthen his army with new recruits. The States of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana having been invaded, their militia were ordered to take the field, and were despatched to Corinth: it is

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