word of command, shoulder to shoulder in one of the great combats of the war.
In coming to Corinth
had decided that the valley of the Mississippi
was, in March, 1862, of far greater importance to the Confederacy
than the occupation of Middle Tennessee
With his headquarters also at Corinth, Miss.
, General Beauregard
was declared on March 29th by general orders, ‘second in command to the commander of the forces.’
knew well that General Grant
's army, massed at Pittsburg Landing
about 22 miles from Corinth
, was daily expecting Don Carlos Buell He fully understood the value that lay in striking a sudden blow before Buell
could join Grant
He himself had hoped to move his army on April 1st, so as to make sure of attacking Grant
on Saturday, April 5th, before the junction could take place.
The army began its march on April 3d, two days after the date originally fixed.
The next day rains, not heavy but persistent, flooded creeks, scattered bridges, bogged roads and stalled batteries.
Every nerve was strained in rank and file to make progress on Thursday.
The sun refused to shine out until Friday afternoon, at which hour the Confederates
were a day's journey from the enemy's advance.
The army bivouacked in his front Saturday about 5 p. m. The day was too far gone to open the attack that afternoon.
A small fact; but small as it was, it changed the fate of the second day's fight.
By this rain, the coming battle was thrown forward into daylight on Sunday (April 6). This was a day after the time originally selected by General Johnston
's admirable plan of battle for opening the assault, a delay which, robbing us of time, gave it to the enemy.
At 5 a. m. the Confederates
began their forward movement.
From that hour until evening their advance continued a victorious progress, full of dramatic surprises, and always marked by stubborn fighting on both sides.
One fact may bear investigation here.