previous next


The orders of the 3d of April were that “every effort should be made to turn the left flank of the enemy, so as to cut off his line of retreat to the Tennessee River, and throw him. back on Owl Creek,. where he will be obliged to surrender.” It is seen that from the first they were carried out in letter and spirit, and as long as General Johnston lived the success of this movement was complete.

The Comte de Paris, following American writers, both Northern and Southern, and their incorrect topographical descriptions, adopts the view that General Johnston should have massed his army on the Federal right, turned that flank, and driven it up the river into the angle between Lick Creek and the Tennessee. Though somewhat deficient in positive topographical knowledge as to the field, since he had no surveys, yet he had good descriptions from Major B. B. Waddell and others; and he formed his plan of battle either on such information, which he deemed sufficient, or guided by those correct military intuitions which are the surest proofs of a genius for war. Yet that General Johnston was able to modify his strongly-preconceived ideas, if necessary, is seen in the discretion accorded to Beauregard as to the reserves under Breckinridge. Nevertheless, the battle was fought precisely as it was planned. The instructions delivered to his subordinates on the previous day were found sufficient for their conduct on the battle-field. General Chalmers says he received only one order on Sunday, and that was from General Johnston, and that he acted solely on his previous orders. General Johnston in person put Stewart's, Jackson's, Bowen's, and Statham's brigades into the fight, leading them to the right. The Federal left afforded the best grounds for attack. The lay of the land favored both the celerity and the success of the movement by the Confederate right. It pressed its advantage, and turned the Federal left flank with comparative ease, while it is by no means certain that the right next Owl Creek could have been carried at all by direct attack. Sherman's camp was a stronghold, yet in no sense was it the key to the Federal position. But it was easily turned on its left, as was proved. The point of least resistance proved, as anticipated, to be on the Federal left; General Johnston pressed it, broke in on that flank, and piled his reserves there, till it gave way everywhere. It was this ability to see the vital point instantly, and at the exact moment to strike it a mortal blow, that so impressed his officers at Shiloh.


When the battle first began, Hurlbut and W. H. L. Wallace had been apprised, and had sent forward reinforcements, as mentioned. They advanced about eight o'clock, so that Prentiss, when he was driven

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: