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Chapter 3:

  • Shiloh
  • -- the question of surprise; Unfair treatment of Buell and his Army.

After the extended discussions over the events preceding and attending the battle of Shiloh, in some of which controversies General Sherman himself participated, and all of which have called out extracts from the official records, that, taken together, effectually settle some of the earlier questions in dispute, it must surprise all readers of the Memoirs to find their author ignoring these records, and at this late day presenting many inaccurate statements in regard to the operations about Pittsburgh Landing.

The main questions at issue have always been whether the Union army was surprised at Shiloh; if it was, who was mainly responsible, and how far Buell's army can lay claim to having made the victory possible?

General Sherman labors ingeniously, but inaccurately, as the official records show, to relieve himself from responsibility for it, and even attempts to create the impression that there was no general surprise. Ever since this battle, most who believed that the Union army was unexpectedly attacked on that occasion, have laid the chief load of responsibility upon General Grant, and he through all these years has made no effort to shift the burden. But now it will appear through the records which these Memoirs have called out, that General Sherman was mainly responsible, since he was encamped in advance; his division, as he wrote to the United States Service Magazine in 1865, ‘forming as it were the outlying picket,’ so that he was in charge of the picket front looking toward [26] the roads over which an enemy must approach; and while not technically in command of the entire camp, in the absence of General Grant, whose headquarters were at Savannah, some twelve miles distant, he was constantly treated, trusted, and consulted by General Grant, as if he were the senior officer at the front. General Sherman, holding steadily till the last, and against all evidence, to the belief that no immediate attack was probable, by impressing his convictions upon General Grant, misled the latter as to the real condition of affairs along the front, and thus did the author of the Memoirs become primarily responsible for the surprise.

The records disclose both the blindness which prevailed as to the real situation, and where the responsibility for it mainly rested, and some comparison of these, with the statements of the Memoirs, will set the case in a clear light.

On the 14th of March General C. F. Smith, then in command at Savannah previous to the arrival of General Grant, ‘instructed me’—writes General Sherman—‘to disembark my own division and that of General Hurlbut at Pittsburgh Landing; to take positions well back, and to leave room for his whole army; telling me that he would soon come up in person, and move out in force to make the lodgment on the railroad contemplated by General Halleck's orders.’

On the 16th we disembarked and marched out about ten miles toward Corinth to a place called Monterey or Pea Ridge, where the rebels had a cavalry regiment, which, of course, decamped on our approach, but from the people we learned that trains were bringing large masses of men from every direction into Corinth. —Page 228, Vol. I.

It might be supposed that such knowledge would have made General Sherman very watchful when he afterward encamped at Shiloh. And yet with this important fact ascertained, when he took position there, instead of camping in line of battle, he stationed three of his brigades a mile and a half from Hurlbut's division, and the fourth over two miles from the rest. Other divisions, as they arrived, selected [27] camps to suit themselves. There was no line of battle determined, no rifle pits dug, none of the simplest forms of obstructions provided, and no sufficient picketing, as the result proved. And Sherman was the senior officer on the main front.

‘On the 18th Hurlbut disembarked his division and took post about a mile and a half out, near where the roads branched—one leading to Corinth, the other toward Hamburgh. On the 19th I disembarked my division and took post about three miles back; three of the brigades covering the roads to Purdy and Corinth, and the other brigade, Stuart's, temporarily at a place on the Hamburgh road. * * * Within a few days Prentiss' division arrived and camped on my left, and afterward McClernand's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions were formed in a line to our rear. * * * General C. F. Smith remained back at Savannah in chief command, and I was only responsible for my own division. I kept pickets well out on the roads, and made myself familiar with all the ground inside and outside my lines.’

Of the events immediately preceding the battle, General Sherman writes as follows:

I always acted on the supposition that we were an invading army; that our purpose was to move forward in force, make a lodgment on the Memphis & Charleston Road, and thus repeat the grand tactics of Fort Donelson, by separating the rebels in the interior from those at Memphis and on the Mississippi River. We did not fortify our camps against an attack, because we had no orders to do so, and because such a course would have made our raw men timid. The position was naturally strong, with Snake Creek on our right, a deep, bold stream, with a confluent (Owl Creek) to our right front, and Lick Creek, with a similar confluent on our left, thus narrowing the space over which we could be attacked to about a mile and a half or two miles.

At a later period of the war we could have rendered this position impregnable in one night, but at this time we did not do it, and it may be it is well we did not. From about the 1st of April we were conscious that the rebel cavalry in our front were getting bolder and more saucy; and on Friday, the 4th of April, it dashed down and carried off one of our picket guards, composed of an officer and seven men, posted a couple of miles out on the Corinth road. Colonel Buckland sent a company to its relief, then followed himself with a regiment, and, fearing lest he might be worsted, I called out his whole brigade, and followed some four or five miles, when the cavalry in advance encountered artillery. I then, after dark, drew back to our lines and reported the fact by letter to General Grant at Savannah; but thus far (night of the 4th) we had not positively detected the presence of infantry, for cavalry [28] regiments generally had a couple of guns along, and I supposed the guns that opened on us on the evening of Friday, April 4th, belonged to the cavalry that was hovering along our whole front.

Saturday passed in our camps without any unusual event, the weather being wet and mild, and the roads back to the steamboat landing being heavy with mud; but, on Sunday morning, the 6th, early, there was a good deal of picket-firing, and I got breakfast, rode out along my lines, and, about four hundred yards to the front of Appler's regiment, received from some bushes in a ravine to the left front, a volley, which killed my orderly, Holliday. About the same time I saw the rebel lines of battle in front coming down on us as far as the eye could reach. All my troops were in line of battle ready, and the ground was favorable to us. I gave the necessary orders to the battery (Waterhouse's) attached to Hildebrand's brigade, and cautioned the men to reserve their fire till the rebels had crossed the ravine of Owl Creek, and had begun the ascent; also sent staff officers to notify Generals McClernand and Prentiss of the coming blow. Indeed, McClernand had already sent three regiments to the support of my left flank, and they were in position when the onset came.

In a few minutes the battle of Shiloh began with extreme fury and lasted two days.

–Pages 229-230, Vol. I.

In August following the battle of Shiloh, when its events were fresh in his mind, General Sherman was sworn as a witness in the trial of Colonel Thos. Worthington, Forty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, who had severely criticized the management of the former previous to the battle. The following extracts from the official report of that testimony bear upon the questions under consideration; and some of them flatly contradict the statements of the book. This is notably the case upon the very important point whether Sherman had reason to know as early as Friday before the fight, that the enemy was in force in his immediate front.

General W. T. Sherman, sworn and examined:

He (Colonel Worthington) says “a slight abattis might have prevented an attack.” What business was it of his whether his superior officer invited an attack or not? The Army Regulations will show him that no fortification can be made except under order of the commanding general. To have erected fortifications would have been an evidence of weakness, and would have invited an attack. * * * And here I mention, for future history, that our right flank was well guarded by Owl and Snake Creeks, our left by Lick Creek, leaving us simply to guard our front. No stronger [29] position was ever held by an army. Therefore, on Friday, two days before the battle, when Colonel Worthington was so apprehensive, I knew there was no hostile party within six miles, though there was reason to expect an attack. I suppose Colonel McDowell, like myself, had become tired of his constant prognostications, and paid no attention to him, especially when we were positively informed by men like Buckland, Kilby Smith, and Major Ricker, who went to the front to look for enemies, instead of going to the landing; and here I will state that Pittsburgh Landing was not chosen by General Grant, but by Major-General Smith. I received orders from General Smith, and took post accordingly; so did General Hurlbut; so did his own division. The lines of McClernand and Prentiss were selected by Colonel McPherson. I will not insult General Smith's memory by criticizing his selection of a field. It was not looked to so much for defense as for ground on which our army could be organized for offense. We did not occupy too much ground. General Buell's forces had been expected rightfully for two weeks, and a place was left for his forces, although General Grant afterward had determined to send Buell to Hamburgh as a separate command.

But even as we were on the 6th of April, you might search the world over and not find a more advantageous field of battle—flanks well protected, and never threatened, troops in easy support; timber and broken ground giving good points to rally, and the proof is that forty-three thousand men, of whom at least ten thousand ran away, held their ground against sixty thousand chosen troops of the South with their best leaders. On Friday, the 4th, nor officer, nor soldier, not even Colonel Worthington looked for an attack, as I can prove.

On Friday, April 4th, our pickets were disposed as follows: McDowell's brigade, embracing Worthington's regiment, looked to Owl Creek Bridge, and had nothing to do with any other road. Buckland and Hildebrand covered our line to the main Corinth road. Pickets, one company to a regiment, were thrown forward a mile and a half to the front, videttes a mile further, making a chain of sentinels. About noon of that day, Buckland's adjutant came to my tent and reported that a lieutenant and seven men of his guard had left their posts and were missing—probably picked up by a small cavalry force which had hovered around for some days, and which I had failed to bag. I immediately dispatched Major Ricker with all my cavalry in a tremendous rain to the front. Soon after I heard distant musketry, and finally three cannon shots, which I knew must be the enemy, as we had none there. This was the first positive information any intelligent mind on that field had of any approaching force. Before that, no scout, no officer, no responsible man, had seen an infantry or artillery soldier nearer than Monterey, five miles out. For weeks and months we had heard all sorts of reports, just as we do now. For weeks old women had reported that Beauregard was coming, sometimes with one hundred thousand; sometimes with three hundred thousand; when, in fact, he did not leave Corinth until after even Colonel [30] Worthington had been alarmed for safety. As soon as I heard the cannon, I and my staff were in the saddle and off to the front. We overtook a party of Buckland's and Hildebrand's brigades going forward to the relief of the pickets. On reaching a position in advance of the guard-house, a mile and a half from Shiloh, they deployed into line of battle and I awaited the return of my cavalry and infantry, still to our front.

Colonel Buckland and Major Ricker soon returned and reported encountering infantry, artillery, and cavalry near the fallen timbers six miles in front of our camp. We then knew that we had the elements of an army in our front, but did not know its strength or destination. The guard was strengthened, and, as night came on we returned to camp, and not a man in camp but knew we had an enemy to the front before we slept that night. But even I had to guess its purpose. No general could have detected or reported the approach of an enemy more promptly than was done.’

The positive contradiction between these statements, and those of the book which deny that infantry and artillery had been discovered as early as Friday afternoon, will be observed.

On that very afternoon, however, General Sherman had written to General Grant, giving the result of the cavalry reconnoissance. That this did not agree with the present statement, that up to the night of the 4th, ‘we had not positively detected the presence of infantry,’ the following report by General Grant will show:

headquarters Department West Tennessee, Savannah, April 5, 1862.
General H. W. Halleck, Commanding Department of Missouri, St. Louis, Mo.
General: Just as my letter of yesterday to Captain McLean, Assistant-Adjutant-General, was finished, notices from Generals McClernand's and Sherman's Assistant-Adjutant-Generals were received, stating that our outposts had been attacked by the enemy apparently in strong force. I immediately went up, but found all quiet The enemy took two officers and four or five of our men prisoners, and killed four. We took eight prisoners, and killed several; number of the enemy wounded not known. They had with them three pieces of artillery, and cavalry and infantry. How much can not, of course, be estimated.

I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack being made upon us (general one), but will be prepared should such a thing take place. General Nelson's division has arrived. The other two of General Buell's column will arrive to-morrow or next day. It is my present intention to send them to Hamburg, [31] some four or five miles above Pittsburgh, when they all get here. From that point to Corinth the road is good, and a junction can be formed with the troops from Pittsburgh at almost any point. * * * *

I am, General, very respectfully your obedient servant.

U. S. Grant, Major-General.

Immediately after the battle, General Sherman appears to have been won over to the idea that an abattis might be valuable as a protection to his camp, for in a compilation of his orders, made under his own direction, the very first of them which appears after the engagement, contains the following paragraph:

‘Each brigade commander will examine carefully his immediate front; fell trees to afford his men a barricade, and clear away all underbrush for two hundred yards in front, so as to uncover an approaching enemy; with these precautions, we can hold our camp against any amount of force that can be brought against us.’

There is no indication that General Sherman considered this order either an evidence of weakness, or an invitation to attack, or as calculated to make his ‘raw men timid.’

That General Halleck supposed the officers in charge of the camp had taken means to strengthen their position, is shown by the following telegram:

headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, April 8, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
The enemy attacked our works at Pittsburgh, Tennessee, yesterday, but was repulsed with heavy loss. No details given.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.

General Buckland and Major Ricker have both written an account of the reconnoissance on the 4th. Starting at 2 P. M., General Buckland had come up with the enemy's cavalry about two miles in front of the camp. Of what happened, what was seen, and what reported to General Sherman, General Buckland thus writes:

We pursued about a mile, when the enemy commenced firing artillery [32] at us. We discovered that he had a large force of infantry and artillery. We therefore concluded to march back to camp with as little delay as possible.

When we reached the picket lines, General Sherman was there with several regiments in line of battle. As I rode up to General Sherman at the head of my column, with about fifteen prisoners close behind me, the General asked me what I had been doing. His manner indicated that he was not pleased. I replied that I had accidentally got into a little fight, and there were some of the fruits of it, pointing to the prisoners. He answered that I might have drawn the whole army into a fight before they were ready, and ordered me to take my men to camp. Soon after reaching camp, one of General Sherman's aids came and said the General desired me to send him a written statement of what I had done and seen that day, which I did the same evening. General Sherman afterward informed me that he sent the statement to General Grant the same night.

‘The next day, Saturday April 5th, I visited the picket line several times, and found that the woods were swarming with rebel cavalry along the entire front of my line, and the pickets claimed to have discovered infantry and artillery. Several times during the day I reported these facts to General Sherman. Colonel Hilderbrand, of the Third Brigade, and other officers, visited the picket line with me during the day. It was well understood all that day and night throughout Sherman's division, that there was a large rebel force immediately in our front. I consulted with Colonels Cockrell and Sullivan as to the proper measures to prevent a surprise. The pickets were strengthened, and Colonel Cockrell sent two companies of the Seventieth Ohio to take a position where they could best support the pickets in case of an attack. I also established a line of sentinels from my camp to the reserve of the pickets. Every officer in my brigade was fully aware of the danger, and such precautions were taken that a surprise was impossible.’ * * *

Concerning the same reconnoissance, Major Ricker wrote as follows:

* * * ‘When we got back to the picket lines we found General Sherman there with infantry and artillery in line of battle, caused by the heavy firing of the enemy on us. General Sherman asked me what was up. I told him I had met and fought the advance of Beauregard's army, that he was advancing on us. General Sherman said it could not be possible, Beauregard was not such a fool as to leave his base of operations and attack us in ours—mere reconnoissance in force.’

General Bragg's official report shows that this reconnoitering party was really pushed up to the immediate vicinity of three [33] corps of the Confederate army. Of the movement from Monterey to the battle-field, Bragg says:

‘Moving from there, the command bivouacked for the night near the Meckey House, immediately in rear of Major-General Hardee's corps, Major-General Polk's being just in our rear * * * A reconnoissance in some force from the enemy made its appearance during the evening in front of General Hardee's corps, and was promptly driven back.’

The following extracts from various official reports of the battle, bear pointedly upon the question of a surprise. General John McArthur, commanding Second Division, says:

‘We had been in line but a few moments when the enemy made their appearance and attacked my left wing.’

Colonel R. P. Buckland, Fourth Brigade, Sherman's division, says:

‘Between six and seven o'clock on Sunday morning, I was informed that our pickets were fired upon. I immediately gave orders for forming the brigade on the color line, which was promptly done. About this time I was informed that the pickets were being driven in. I ordered the Forty-eighth Regiment; Colonel Sullivan, to advance in support of the pickets, which he did, but discovered that the enemy had advanced in force to the creek, about eighty to one hundred rods in front. I immediately ordered the brigade to advance in line of battle. We had marched about thirty to forty rods, when we discovered the enemy and opened fire upon him along the whole line, which checked his advance and caused him to fall back.’

Colonel J. R. Cockerell, commanding Seventieth Ohio, says:

‘On Sunday morning, April 6, 1862, an alarm was made in the front of this brigade, and I called my regiment from breakfast and formed it in line of battle on the color line. I then heard heavy firing on the left and in front of our line, and advanced my regiment about two hundred paces in the woods, and formed line of battle in pursuance of your order. I ordered my regiment to open fire, with the left thrown back, and did great execution among the enemy, who retired into the hollow.’

Colonel Hilderbrand, commanding Third Brigade, Sherman's division, says:

‘Early on the morning of Sunday, 6th inst., our pickets were fired on, and [34] shortly after seven o'clock the enemy appeared in force, presenting himself in columns of regiments at least four deep. He opened upon our camp a heavy fire from infantry, which was immediately followed by bell. Having formed my brigade in line of battle, I ordered an advance. The Seventy-seventh and, Fifty-seventh Regiments were thrown forward to occupy a certain position, but encountered the enemy in force within three hundred yards of our camp.’

Captain Samuel E. Barrett, commanding First Regiment Illinois Artillery, says:

‘We were stationed near the outposts, and on the alarm being given, at about half past 7 o'clock on Sunday morning, the battery was promptly got in readiness, and in ten minutes thereafter commenced firing on the right of the log church, some one hundred yards in front of General Sherman's headquarters, where the attack was made by the enemy in great force.’

Lieutenant-Colonel Parlin, commanding Forty-eighth Ohio Infantry, says:

‘On the morning of the 6th our regiment met the enemy about two hundred yards in front of our color line; they came upon us so suddenly that for a short time our men wavered, but soon rallied again, when we kept him back for two hours and until General Sherman ordered us to fall back to the Purdy road.’

As to the distances of the picket from his front, and the limits reached by his reconnoissance, it is notable that General Sherman fixes them much further from camp than all the other officers who have given testimony or made statements upon these points.

An officer of General Beauregard's staff, who was helping direct the rebel advance, wrote thus of the matter:

‘The total absence of cavalry pickets from General Grant's army was a matter of perfect amazement. There were absolutely none on Grant's left, where Breckinridge's division was meeting him, so that we were able to come up within hearing of their drums entirely unperceived. The Southern generals always kept cavalry pickets out for miles, even when no enemy was supposed to be within a day's march of them The infantry pickets of Grant's forces were not above three-fourths of a mile from his advance camps, and they were too few to make any resistance.’

The officers of General Thomas' army, who had charge of [35] the pickets a few days after the battle, rode over the line from which the rebels moved to the attack. Every where were signs of the deliberation with which the enemy formed his forces. The routes by which each corps and division of the first line was to march to its position in the woods, were blazed upon the trees, and the entire force of the enemy went into line for the attack wholly undisturbed, and with as much order and precision, as if forming upon markers for a grand review. And the time that the enemy was thus forming his lines, scarcely out of rifled cannon range, ‘passed in our camps,’ says General Sherman, ‘without any unusual event.’

Enough has been presented to show upon how slight a foundation that position of the book is built, by which General Sherman seeks to controvert the idea that ‘our army was taken, completely by surprise’ at Shiloh.

Two brief extracts from his own official report of the battle, dated on the field, April 10th, will show on what day and at what hour he, the trusted officer on the field, became satisfied that the rebels intended to attack:

On Saturday the enemy's cavalry was again very bold, coming well down to our front, yet I did not believe they designed anything but a strong demonstration. * * * *

‘About 8 A. M. (Sunday) I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of infantry to our left front in the woods beyond the small stream alluded to, and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy designed a determined attack on our whole camp.’

It is unnecessary to do more than call attention to some most absurd points made by General Sherman.

No rifle pits were dug or abattis laid down, because the army regulations stood in the way.

The line did not occupy too much ground, although space enough had been left for Buell's forces.

Although all the elements of an army were known to be in the front on Friday, yet no one knew its destination, and even General Sherman had to guess its purpose.

And for all this bungling, blundering, and criminal [36] carelessness, General Sherman some years later had this excuse, in a letter to the United States service Magazine:

‘It was necessary that a combat, fierce and bitter, to test the manhood of the two armies, should come off, and that was as good a place as any. It was not then a question of miltary skill and strategy, but of courage and pluck, and I am convinced that every life lost that day to us was necessary, for otherwise, at Corinth, at Memphis, at Vicksburg, we would have found harder resistance, had we not shown our enemies, that rude and untutored as we then were, we could fight as well as they.’

A well ordered line of battle, some rifle pits, and a vigilant watch for an approaching enemy, followed by such fighting as these precautions would have insured, might have made even a better impression upon the rebels with a great saving of life.

At Shiloh, for the first time since-General Buell had obtained an ‘honorable position’ for General Sherman in Louisiana, these two officers met on the battle-field. This time General Buell came when sorely needed, to aid Sherman and his associates in securing honorable victory. All would suppose that when the author of the Memoirs sat down to write his version of Shiloh he would at least have done bare justice to General Buell and his army, but the reader will look for it in vain. Whatever his impressions at the time may have been, the public discussions which have since taken place, and the whole official history of the movements, which was at his disposal, afforded every means of correcting previous errors. Although, toward the close of that first disastrous day, Grant's whole army was praying for ‘night or Buell,’ and Grant about noon was urging Buell on as follows:—‘If you will get upon the field, leaving all your baggage over the river, it will be a move to our advantage, and possibly save the day to us,’—General Sherman finds little to recognize or praise in the gallantry and efficient aid rendered in time of need by his former friend, and has cold words of disparagement instead.

The closing portion of his chapter on Shiloh, is chiefly [37] devoted to matters connected with General Buell and his forces, and is as follows:

* * * General Grant did not make an official report of the battle of Shiloh, but all its incidents and events were covered by the reports of division commanders and subordinates. Probably no single battle of the war gave rise to such wild and damaging reports. It was publicly asserted at the North that our army was taken completely by surprise; that the rebels caught us in Our tents; bayoneted the men in their beds; that General Grant was drunk; that Buell's opportune arrival saved the Army of the Tennessee from utter annihilation, etc. These reports were in a measure sustained by the published opinions of Generals Buell, Nelson, and others, who had reached the steam-boat landing from the east just before night-fall of the 6th, when there was a large crowd of frightened, stampeded men, who clamored and declared that our army was all destroyed and beaten. Personally I saw General Grant, who with his staff visited me about 10 A. M. of the 6th, when we were desperately engaged. But we had checked the headlong assault of our enemy, and then held our ground. This gave him great satisfaction, and he told me that things did not look as well over on the left. He also told me that on his way up from Savannah that morning, he had stopped at Crump's Landing, and had ordered Lew. Wallace's division to cross over Lick Creek, so as to come up on my right, telling me to look out for him. He again came to me just before dark, and described the last assault made by the rebels at the ravine, near the steamboat landing, which he had repelled by a heavy battery collected under Colonel J. D. Webster and other officers, and he was convinced that the battle was over for that day. He ordered me to be ready to assume the offensive in the morning, saying that, as he had observed at Fort Donelson at the crisis of the battle, both sides seemed defeated and whoever assumed the offensive was sure to win. General Grant also explained to me that General Bell had reached the bank of the Tennessee River opposite Pittsburgh Landing, and was in the act of ferrying his troops across at the time he was speaking to me.

About half an hour afterward General Buell himself rode up to where I was, accompanied by Colonels Fry, Michler, and others of his staff. I was dismounted at the time, and General Buell made of me a good many significant inquiries about matters and things generally. By the aid of a manuscript map made by myself, I pointed out to him our positions as they had been in the morning, and our then positions; I also explained to him that my right then covered the bridge over Lick Creek, by which we had all day been expecting Lew. Wallace; that McClernand was on my left, Hurlbut on his left, and so on. But Buell said he had come up from the landing, and had not seen our men—of whose existence, in fact, he seemed to doubt. I insisted that I had five thousand good men still left in line, and thought that McClernand had as many more, and that with what was left of Hurlbut's, W. H. L. Wallace's, and Prentiss' divisions, we ought to have eighteen [38] thousand men fit for battle. I reckoned that ten thousand of our men were dead, wounded, or prisoners, and that the enemy's loss could not be much less. Buell said that Nelson's, McCook's, and Crittenden's divisions of his army, containing eighteen thousand men, had arrived, and could cross over in the night and be ready for the next day's battle. I argued that, with these reenforcements, we could sweep the field. Buell seemed to mistrust us, and repeatedly said that he did not like the looks of things, especially about the boat landing, and I really feared he would not cross over his army that night, lest he should become involved in our general disaster. He did not, of course, understand the shape of the ground, and asked me for the use of my map, which I lent him on the promise that he would return it. He handed it to Major Michler to have it copied, and the original returned to me, which Michler did two or three days after the battle. Buell did cross over that night, and the next day we assumed the offensive and swept the field, thus gaining the battle decisively. Nevertheless, the controversy was started and kept up, mostly to the personal prejudice of General Grant, who, as usual, maintained an imperturbable silence.

After the battle, a constant stream of civilian surgeons, and sanitary commission agents, men and women, came up the Tennessee to bring relief to the thousands of maimed and wounded soldiers for whom we had imperfect means of shelter and care. These people caught up the camp stories, which, on their return home, they retailed through their local papers, usually elevating their own neighbors into heroes, but decrying all others. Among them was Lieutenant-Governor Stanton, of Ohio, who published in Bellefontaine, Ohio, a most abusive article about General Grant and his subordinate generals. As General Grant did not, and would not, take up the cudgels, I did so. My letter in reply to Stanton, dated June 10, 1862, was published in the Cincinnati Commercial soon after its date. To this Lieutenant-Governor Stanton replied, and I further rejoined in a letter dated July 12, 1862. These letters are too personal to be revived. By this time the good people of the North had begun to have their eyes opened, and to give us in the field more faith and support. Stanton was never again elected to any public office, and was commonly spoken of as “the late Mr. Stanton.” He is now dead, and I doubt not in life he often regretted his mistake in attempting to gain popular fame by abusing the army leaders, then, as now, an easy and favorite mode of gaining notoriety, if not popularity. Of course, subsequent events gave General Grant and most of the other actors in that battle their appropriate place in history, but the danger of sudden popular clamor is well illustrated by this case.

The battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburgh Landing, was one of the most fiercely contested of the war. On the morning of April 6, 1862, the five divisions of McClernand, Prentiss, Hurlbut, W. H. L. Wallace, and Sherman aggregated about thirty-two thousand men. We had no intrenchments of any sort, on the theory that, as soon as Buell arrived, we would march to Corinth to attack the enemy. The rebel army, commanded by General Albert Sidney [39] Johnston, was, according to their own reports and admissions, forty-five thousand strong, had the momentum of attack, and beyond all question fought skillfully from early morning till about 2 P. M., when their commander-in-chief was killed by a Minie — ball in the calf of his leg, which penetrated the boot and severed the main artery. There was then a perceptible lull for a couple of hours, when the attack was renewed, but with much less vehemence, and continued up to dark. Early at night the division of Lew. Wallace arrived from the other side of Snake Creek, not having fired a shot. A very small part of General Buell's army was on our side of the Tennessee River that evening, and their loss was trivial.

During that night the three divisions of McCook, Nelson, and Crittenden were ferried across the Tennessee, and fought with us the next day (7th.) During that night, also, the two wooden gun-boats, Tyler, commanded by Lieutenant Gwin, and Lexington, Lieutenant Shirk, both of the regular navy, caused shells to be thrown toward that part of the field of battle known to be occupied by the enemy. Beauregard afterward reported his entire loss as ten thousand six hundred and ninety-nine. Our aggregate loss, made up from official statements, shows seventeen hundred killed, seven thousand four hundred and ninety-five wounded, and three thousand and twenty-two prisoners; aggregate, twelve thousand two hundred and seventeen, of which twenty-one hundred and sixty-seven were in Buell's army, leaving for that of Grant ten thousand and fifty. This result is a fair measure of the amount of fighting done by each army.

And this of an army that occupied three-fourths of the line of battle on the second day, and carried it steadily forward till victory was attained! Instead of this last unworthy sentence, General Sherman might have had the fairness to say that, as Grant's force for the first day's fight consisted of five divisions, aggregating about thirty-two thousand men, and as Lew. Wallace's division, about six thousand strong, came up for the second day's fight—while Buell had only one brigade in action after 5 o'clock the first day, and only three divisions of eighteen thousand men the second day—the losses of each army were about in proportion to their respective numbers, and the time each was engaged. But it has never heretofore answered General Sherman's purpose to state the facts about Buell's army at Shiloh, and now he is attempting to perpetuate exploded errors.

The statement that General Grant made no official report of the battle of Shiloh is a good illustration of the careless [40] manner in which General Sherman has prepared his book Not only did Grant make such a report, but it was written before the reports of any of the division commanders had been handed in, as is shown by their respective dates, so that it is valuable as containing General Grant's own understanding of the events of the battle. It has long been in the regular files, with the reports of one hundred and sixteen other officers, upon the part taken by their commands in this battle. It was printed in the Rebellion Record for 1862.

And, as General Sherman, since the publication of his Memoirs, still maintains that General Grant made no official report of Shiloh, it is proper to present its formal official marks. It opens and closes as follows:

headquarters district of West Tennessee, Pittsburgh, April 9th, 1862.
Captain N. H. McLEAN, A. A. Gen. Dept. of the Mississippi, St. Louis, Mo
Captain: It becomes my duty again to report another battle fought between two great armies—one contending for the maintenance of the best government ever devised, the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the success of the army contending for the former principle.

(Then follows the body of the report.)

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant, Major-General commanding.

The document was forwarded to the War Department from General Halleck's headquarters at St. Louis, thus officially certified:

headquarters Department of the Mississippi, St. Louis, April 14th, 1862.
Official copy.

J. C. Kelton, Assistant Adjutant-General.

On account of some delay, it was not transmitted to the Senate when that body called for all the reports of the battle. Those forwarded in obedience to the call, were not described by Mr. Stanton in his letter accompanying them, as all the reports, but as ‘all the reports (one hundred and sixteen in number) which have yet been received by this Department.’ [41] It now occupies its proper place in the files with the other reports of that battle.

A paragraph from this report sets forth the part taken by General Buell's forces in repelling the assault near the steam-boat landing, about the close of the first day's action, which is wholly ignored in General Sherman's account of Shiloh. Says General Grant:

‘At a late hour in the afternoon a desperate effort was made by the enemy to turn our left and get possession of the landing, transports, etc. This point was guarded by the gun-boats Tyler and Lexington, Captains Gwinn and Shirk, U. S. N., commanding, four 20-pounder Parrott guns and a battery of rifled guns. As there is a deep and impassable ravine for artillery or cavalry, and very difficult for infantry at this point, no troops were stationed here except the necessary artillerists and a small infantry force for their support. Just at this moment the advance of Major-General Buell's column (a part of the division under General Nelson) arrived, the two Generals named both being present. An advance was immediately made upon the point of attack, and the enemy soon driven back.’

It is, to say the least, quite improbable that when General Grant was detailing to Sherman the desperate attack at the ravine spoken of in his report, and had seen Buell's troops, with Buell and Nelson both present, advance and push back the enemy with the assistance of the gun-boats and the heavy artillery, he not only forgot to mention to Sherman the fact that Buell and part of his troops were across and had been engaged at the ravine, but should tell him that Buell was actually on the other side of the river.

General Buell's official report agrees exactly with that of General Grant, in regard to the attack at the landing. In speaking of his arrival, which was at 1 o'clock in the afternoon of the 6th, General Buell says:

‘Finding General Grant at the landing, I requested him to send steamers to Savannah to bring up General Crittenden's division, which had arrived during the morning, and then went ashore with him. * * * In the meantime the enemy had made such progress against our troops that his artillery and musketry began to play into the vital spot of the position, and some persons were killed on the bank at the very landing. General Nelson [42] arrived with Colonel Ammen's brigade at this opportune moment. It was immediately posted to meet the attack at that point, and with a battery of artillery, which happened to be on the ground, and was brought into action, opened fire on the enemy and repulsed him. The action of the gun-boats also contributed very much to that result. The attack at that point was not renewed, night having come on, and the firing ceased on both sides.’

Concerning the actors in the battle, General Grant says:

Of the part taken by each separate command I can not take special notice in this report, but will do so more fully when reports of division commanders are handed in.

General Buell coming on the field with a distinct army long under his command, and which did such efficient service, commanded by himself in person on the field, will be much better able to notice those of his command, who particularly distinguished themselves, than I possibly can.’

In this report General Grant says nothing of himself, and all that he could of good about others. There was no attempt here, nor has he ever attempted since to evade his full responsibility for Shiloh, but has trusted to time for a proper distribution of both honor and blame.

General Halleck's congratulatory order issued a week after the battle thus recognized the presence and the action of Buell's troops on the first day:

‘1. The Major-General commanding this department thanks Major-General Grant and Major-General Buell, and the officers and men of their respective commands, for the bravery and endurance with which they sustained the general attacks of the enemy on the 6th, and for the heroic manner in which on the 7th instant they defeated and routed the entire rebel army. The soldiere of the Great West have added new laurels to those which they had already won on numerous fields.’

The report made to General Halleck by General Grant on the evening of the 5th, that one of Buell's divisions had then arrived, and two others would arrive the next day, renders unnecessary the other discussion of a question indirectly presented by General Sherman. In previous controversies, it has been strenuously maintained by him, that General Grant ordered an advance for the second day without regard to the [43] arrival of Buell's troops. The report to Halleck shows that this was impossible.

The connection sought to be established between the letters of Lieutenant-Governor Stanton upon the battle of Shiloh, and his non-election to public office after writing them, is certainly a curious conceit to indulge over the grave of such a man.

This treatment of the battle of Shiloh is a fair sample of the entire work. The two volumes, as will be shown by the records, teem with inaccuracies and instances of great injustice done to associate generals and cooperating armies.

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