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Chapter 21:

  • Difficulty of collecting and organizing commands during night of the 6th.
  • -- firing resumed early next morning. -- Nelson's brigades cross the Tennessee. -- positions taken by the federals. -- Chalmers's brigade and a mixed command force back Nelson's advance. -- at 8 A. M. The Confederates are driven back with the loss of a battery. -- they regain the position and battery at 9. -- critical situation of Ammen's brigade. -- New position assumed by the Confederates. -- Crittenden's division engaged. -- absence of General Polk from the field. -- his timely arrival at 10.30. -- his charge with Cheatham's brigade. -- organization of Federal army during the night of the 6th. -- inaction of General Sherman on the morning of the 7th. -- General Breckinridge ordered forward. -- enemy driven back on our whole line. -- advance of Federal right wing. -- its repulse. -- at 1 P. M. Enemy on our left reinforced. -- General Bragg calls for assistance. -- General Beauregard in person leads the 18th Louisiana and other troops to his aid. -- Predetermination of General Beauregard to withdraw from the battle-field. -- couriers sent to Corinth to inquire about General Van Dorn. -- preparations for retreat. -- guns and colors captured by Confederates on the 6th. -- slow and orderly withdrawal of Confederate forces. -- inability of the enemy to follow. -- reconnoissance of General Sherman on the morning of the 8th. -- Confederates not disorganized. -- their loss during the battle. -- computation of numbers engaged on both sides. -- Federal loss.

The night of the 6th of April, as has been already stated, was so dark and stormy that it was found impossible properly to collect and organize all the commands. The fighting, moreover, had been protracted even after dusk, on certain parts of the field, before General Beauregard's orders to arrest the conflict could be communicated and carried out.

At about half-past 5 o'clock, on the morning of the 7th, the skirmish-firing on our right, in an easterly direction, towards the Tennessee River, indicated that the enemy was about to assume the offensive. Generals Hardee, Breckinridge, and Bragg repaired at once to their respective commands, and availed themselves of such forces as they had immediately at hand, with which to oppose this onset. General Hardee had, under his orders, on [309] his extreme right, two of General Bragg's brigades, namely— Chalmers's and Jackson's, of Withers's division. General Bragg had, on the left of our line, the remainder of his corps, increased by one division (Clark's) of General Polk's corps, which was subsequently reinforced by Trabue's brigade. On the left of General Hardee came General Breckinridge; and between him and General Bragg was the position which had been assigned to General Polk.

General Jordan, in his ‘Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest,’ page 137, thus correctly gives the positions and forces of the enemy:

By seven o'clock P. M., on the 6th, Nelson's (two) brigades had crossed the Tennessee, and, with the one that so materially helped—with Webster's opportunely posted battery—to save the Federal army from utter overthrow, were at once thrown forward by General Buell, as a shield between General Grant's army and the Confederates. Crittenden's division likewise came up from Savannah by water not long after, and was promptly established in the same manner, on Nelson's right. Moreover, Lew. Wallace, strangely unable to find the road battleward, amid the thunder peals of more than a hundred cannon within six miles of him, as soon as the dusky shadows and the quiet of night had supervened, found a way to the south bank of Snake Creek and to a position then commanding the bridge, and by chance, too, in the neighborhood of Sherman, with the shreds, or odds and ends, of his own and other divisions that had rallied around him. One of McCook's brigades (Rousseau's) also reached the scene about sunrise, and the other two were near at hand.

‘Thus were marshalled there, or near at hand, ready to take the offensive against the victors of the day before, twenty-five thousand fresh Federal troops,1 three battalions of which were Regulars. On the Confederate side, to meet such an onset, there was not a man who had not fought steadfastly for the greater part of Sunday. In addition to the many stragglers incident to all battles, the casualties did not fall short of six thousand five hundred officers and men, so that not more than twenty thousand Confederate infantry (and artillery) could have been found to answer to their names that morning. Scattered widely, the regiments of the brigades of Bragg's and Hardee's corps had slept here and there, among the captured encampments, wheresoever they could find subsistence. Polk's corps had been embodied, to some degree, and led during the night by their general, rearward, at least a mile and a half beyond Shiloh, towards Corinth.’2


The positions occupied by the Federal forces on the morning of the 7th are still more definitely given in Van Horne's ‘History of the Army of the Cumberland,’ vol. i. pp. 109, 111, as follows:

General Buell first formed General Nelson's division next to the river as the left of the battle front, and General Grant assigned Wallace's division to the right flank, near Snake Creek, below the mouth of Owl Creek. Between these extremes the remaining forces were formed—Crittenden's division on the right of Nelson's, with a space for McCook's on his right, when it should arrive, and on the right of the position of this division the troops engaged the day previous, somewhat refreshed, extended the line to Wallace's left.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

At the time that the recession of Nelson's line was arrested, McCook's foremost brigade, Rousseau's, moved into position on the right of Crittenden. This brigade extended the line, but Rousseau's flank was for a time as much exposed as Crittenden's had been, as there was still a wide space between the two armies. Before, however, the enemy could take advantage of this exposure Kirk's brigade reached the field, and was placed in reserve on the right flank. Each brigade of Buell's army was now required to furnish its reserves, while Boyle's brigade of Crittenden's division was designated as a general reserve, and was so placed as to be facile of movement whenever there should be need of support. General Buell also availed himself of the fragmentary forces of the Army of the Tennessee, found in his rear.

The Army of the Ohio (Cumberland) now offered a battle front one mile and a half long, about half the distance between Nelson's left and Wallace's right. The left flank was covered with skirmishers, and was in some degree protected by the roughness of the ground near the river. The right had no assured connection with the Army of the Tennessee, but rested in a wood. To strengthen the right, thus exposed to an enfilading or reverse fire, Gibson's brigade of McCook's division, on coming to the field, was placed in reserve in proximity. In front of Nelson was an open field, partially screened by woods, which extended beyond the enemy's line. Crittenden's left brigade and McCook's right were covered by a dense undergrowth, while in front of their right and left brigades, respectively, the ground was open. The ground, mainly level in front of Nelson, formed a hollow before Crittenden, which fell into a small creek, passing in front of McCook. The Hamburg road penetrated the line near Nelson's left.3 The enemy was in heavy force beyond the open ground in Buell's front, in a line slightly oblique to his line, having one battery so posted as to command Nelson's left, another to sweep his front and the woods before Crittenden's left, a third bearing upon the junction of Crittenden's right and McCook's left, and a fourth in the immediate [311] front of the latter. Beauregard had massed his forces on his right the evening previous, under General Bragg, to grasp the Landing, and in consequence this flank was strong for defense in the morning.

The Confederate pickets and skirmishers encountered by the advanced line of Nelson's division were those of Forrest's cavalry regiment. They gradually fell back in the direction of Hardee's line, then being formed near and beyond McClernand's old encampments, to the rear of which they retired soon afterwards, to take position on Hardee's right flank. Nelson's advancing line soon encountered Chalmers's brigade and Moore's regiment, added to which was an extemporized command, consisting of the 19th Alabama, of Jackson's brigade; the 21st Alabama, of Gladden's brigade; and, says General Chalmers, in his report,4 the Crescent (Louisiana) regiment; also a Tennessee regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Venable; and another Alabama regiment (the 26th), under Lieutenant-Colonel Chadwick, supported by batteries. They not only checked Nelson's force, but compelled it to fall back some distance, when, being supported by the advance of Crittenden's division, it again resumed the offensive, at about eight o'clock A. M.; and Hazen's brigade, on Nelson's right, being now pushed forward with great gallantry, forced the Confederates back, with the temporary loss of a battery. They soon rallied, and, aided by their batteries and other small reinforcements which General Beauregard very opportunely sent them, resumed the offensive at nine o'clock A. M., recovering their former position and their lost battery, inflicting a severe loss on Hazen's brigade, and compelling that officer to call earnestly for aid. Meanwhile, Nelson's left brigade, under Ammen, was sorely pressed, and was in serious danger of being turned on its left.

This brigade [says Van Horne] fought gallantly to maintain a position second to none on the field, but at length began to give ground, and a decided advantage to the enemy seemed inevitable, as Nelson had neither artillery nor infantry to direct to his support, Hazen's brigade having been shattered, and Buell's being needed in its own position. But the impending disaster was averted by Terrell's regular battery of McCook's division, which, having just arrived from Savannah, dashed into position, and, by its rapid and accurate firing, silenced the enemy's first battery, which was aiding the infantry force pressing Ammen. Subsequently, the enemy repeated the attack, and endangered [312] both the brigade and Terrell's battery, the latter having lost very many gunners, and being without adequate support. . . . Then, by a flank attack by Nelson, and a direct one by Crittenden, aided by a concentric fire from the batteries of Mendenhall, Terrell, and Bartlett, he was driven beyond the position of his second and third batteries.5

The Confederates soon assumed a new position. It was maintained, despite all the efforts of the Federals, until General Beauregard determined to retire his troops, at about 2.30 P. M., when some guns had to be abandoned for want of horses to carry them off the field.

Crittenden's division had also been hotly engaged, shortly after Nelson's, with the rest of Hardee's and part of Breckinridge's commands, and, after a severe contest of several hours, in which it had to be supported on the right, at about ten o'clock A. M., by several thousands of General Grant's troops, under McClernand and Hurlbut, it was held at bay until two brigades, Gibson's and Kirk's, of McCook's division, joined in the struggle. His other brigade, Rousseau's, containing three battalions of Regulars, had reached the field early in the morning and taken a position near General Sherman's left. Van Horne says:

Thus, McCook followed Crittenden in attacking the enemy. This division met the same stubborn resistance, and made frequent charges. Rousseau's brigade, having taken an advanced position early in the day, repulsed a charge as its introduction to battle. It then gave a counter-blow, drove the opposing force some distance, and captured a battery. The direction of Rousseau's advance left an opening between McCook and Crittenden, which the enemy perceived, and began to mass troops to occupy. To prevent this, General McCook ordered Colonel Willich, commanding the 32d Indiana, to drive back the enemy, and, by the bayonet and bullet, this was gallantly accomplished. The remainder of Gibson's brigade followed Willich, and soon both brigades, Rousseau's and Gibson's, were in hottest conflict. Willich's regiment at one time became wedged between other forces, and, receiving their fire, was compelled to withdraw. This led to confusion, but order was soon restored. Kirk's brigade reached the field just as Rousseau had exhausted his ammunition, and took his position, that he might replenish. While Rousseau was absent Gibson was severely pressed, as the enemy continued his movements to separate Crittenden and McCook. His left regiment, the 49th Ohio, was involved in imminent danger, and was compelled to change front twice under fire to prevent the turning of the position. Upon the return of Rousseau, his brigade, and two regiments of Hurlbut's division hitherto in reserve, went [313] into line, when General McCook's whole division, thus supported, advanced and drove the enemy beyond General Sherman's camps.6

This was not done, however, until General Beauregard had determined to withdraw from the field, in order not to prolong a then useless contest.

Just about the time (10.30 A. M.) when General McCook was assuming the offensive with his whole division, and was near pushing through the gap between General Breckinridge's left and General Bragg's right, caused by the absence of General Polk with one of his divisions, the latter arrived on the field. It was relief, indeed, to General Beauregard, whose anxiety concerning Polk had been intense. Unable, since morning, to hear anything of General Polk's whereabouts, the thought had even crossed his mind that the commander of his First Corps had been captured. But, at half-past 9 o'clock, he at last ascertained that, through a misunderstanding of the orders given the previous evening, General Polk had retired, with Cheatham's division, to his bivouac of the 5th, for the purpose of recruiting and re-supplying that command with provision and ammunition. A message—and rather an imperative one—was instantly sent him, to hurry back to the front—and hurry back he did. Dashing forward, with drawn sword, at the head of Cheatham's fine division, he soon formed his line of battle at the point where his presence was so much needed, and, with unsurpassed vigor, moved on, against a force at least double his own, making one of the most brilliant charges of infantry made on either day of the battle. He drove back the opposing column in confusion, and thus compensated for the tardiness of his appearance on the field. Shortly before this, General Beauregard had placed a battery in position, on a slight elevation some distance in advance of the Shiloh meeting-house, thereby holding the enemy in check through the gap referred to, and materially assisting the gallant charge of Cheatham's division.

During the night of the 6th and early morning of the 7th, General Grant's shattered forces, of a mixed character, had been partially collected and formed into three divisions, under Generals Sherman, McClernand, and Hurlbut, in advance of the bivouacs of the first two commands, not far from the bridge across Snake Creek. General Lew. Wallace's fresh division, with two batteries [314] of six pieces each, from near Crump's landing, was formed on Sherman's right, and constituted the extreme right of General Grant's extensive line.

General Sherman, in his report of the battle, says of the operations on this part of the field:

At daylight, on Monday, I received General Grant's orders to advance and recapture our original camps. I despatched several members of my staff to bring up all the men they could find, especially the brigade of Colonel Stuart, which had been separated from the division all the day before; and at the appointed time the division, or, rather, what remained of it, with the 13th Missouri and other fragments, moved forward and reoccupied the ground on the extreme right of General McClernand's camp, where we attracted the fire of a battery located near Colonel McDowell's former headquarters. Here I remained, patiently waiting for the sound of General Buell's advance upon the main Corinth road. About ten o'clock A. M., the heavy firing in that direction, and its steady approach, satisfied me; and General Wallace being on our right flank, with his well-conducted division, I led the head of my column to General McClernand's right, formed line of battle facing south, with Buckland's brigade directly across the ridge, and Stuart's brigade on its right in the woods; and thus advanced, steadily and slowly, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery.

Thus General Sherman remained several hours ‘patiently waiting for the sound of General Buell's advance upon the main Corinth road.’ But the attack of General Nelson had fairly commenced at eight o'clock A. M., and that of Crittenden and McCook about an hour later. This inaction, on the part of General Sherman, enabled General Beauregard to reinforce his centre from his left. Had General Sherman boldly advanced, before Cheatham's division so gallantly took its position in line, he would have been able to penetrate our line between General Bragg's right and General Breckinridge's left, as we have already intimated, and would have cut the Confederate line in two, for General Beauregard had then no reserves, and could not have opposed General Sherman's advance.

When General Breckinridge, in the centre, was ordered to take the offensive and relieve the right of our line, his left flank was still unprotected, and the fear of its being turned prevented him from executing the movement; seeing this, General Beauregard sent back to him one of his brigades—Trabue's—then on General Bragg's left; and, shortly afterwards, also gave orders that Russell's brigade, of Clark's (now Stewart's) division, of General [315] Polk's corps—which, for the time being, was on General Bragg's right—should be at once extended towards General Breckinridge's left, so as to afford some protection to his threatened flank, and enable him to engage the enemy in his front. This he did with no less vigor than success, having Hodgson's (Slocomb's) Louisiana battery, and two sections of other batteries, to support him. But, at about eleven o'clock A. M., McCook's fresh division, with a part of Crittenden's and some of General Grant's reorganized forces, pressed him so hard that he was driven back some distance and compelled to abandon one of his batteries. Then there was sent to his assistance a small brigade, under Colonel Reichart, of New Orleans—a most efficient Bavarian officer, commanding the 20th Louisiana regiment. This brigade was temporarily composed of Colonel Reichart's own regiment, Colonel Hill's Tennessee regiment, and a battalion of stragglers, which General Beauregard had very opportunely placed under command of Captain Lockett, of the C. S. Engineers.7 These troops, who had just been brought to General Beauregard from the woods on our right rear, marched forward with great alacrity and spirit, and by twelve o'clock General Breckinridge had retaken both his position and his battery, and the enemy was being driven back on our whole front.

This renewal of hostilities, first originating on our extreme left, then gradually extending towards General Bragg's right, brought out, most conspicuously, that soldierly valor and surprising spirit of endurance which signalized the Confederate troops on many a battle-field, but never more so than upon these two days of unparalleled hard fighting. The battle now raged fiercely on our whole front, except over the interval between Generals Bragg [316] and Breckinridge, where skirmishing only appeared to be going on.8

The Federal right wing advanced steadily at first, under a light fire from the Confederates, but when it had come within fair range of Bragg's line (consisting of the remnant of Ruggles's division, his own corps, part of Polk's second division—Clark's, now commanded by Stewart—and one brigade of Breckinridge's command), it was greeted with such a terrible fire of musketry and artillery, that—

The Federals reeled and rushed rearward, followed nearly a mile by the Confederates; but here, reinforced by McCook, Sherman attempted to resume the advance. Now the fight waxed obstinate, and the firing, says Sherman, was the severest musketry fire he had ever heard. Rousseau's Federal brigade here was pitted against Trabue's Kentuckians. Both fought with uncommon determination to win, but the Federals were repulsed, and Wallace was so pressed that his situation became extremely critical.9 McCook's other brigade had joined in the action meanwhile; and in that part of the field, including Grant's forces under Sherman and McClernand, there were fully twenty thousand Federals opposed by not half that number of battle-battered Confederates. The impetus of the Confederate attack was, therefore, slackened in the face of such odds. Yet several brilliant charges were made, one of which, to the left of Shiloh, General Beauregard himself led in person, carrying the battle-flag of a Louisiana regiment.10


At about one o'clock P. M., the enemy, on our left, being reinforced, had resumed the offensive. General Bragg—whose forces had been weakened by the withdrawal of three brigades (Anderson's, Trabue's, and Russell's), which, in the course of the morning, had been sent to strengthen our centre and right—was gradually driven back, towards the Shiloh meeting-house. He then sent to General Beauregard for assistance. Fortunately, in the small ravine passing immediately south of the meeting-house were the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, together with two Tennessee regiments, which had been collected there in obedience to orders. General Beauregard rode down to them, addressed a few words of encouragement to the first two, and ordered them to move promptly to the support of General Bragg. As they passed by, with a tired, heavy gait, they endeavored to cheer their own favorite commander, but were so hoarse from fatigue and over-exertion that they could only utter a husky sound, which grated painfully on General Beauregard's ear. They had not proceeded far, when another staff officer came to him, in great haste, and informed him, on the part of General Bragg, that unless the latter was reinforced at once, he would certainly be overpowered. Looking in his direction, General Beauregard saw the commander of the Second Corps gallantly rallying his troops under a heavy fire from a much superior force of the enemy. He rode, with his staff, to the leading regiment of Pond's brigade, the 18th Louisiana (Lieutenant-Colonel Roman commanding, Colonel Mouton having been wounded), and, seizing its colors, ordered ‘his Louisianians’ to follow him. They started with an elasticity of step surprising in troops that, a moment before, appeared so jaded and broken down. They were soon at the side of General Bragg.11 Leaving them in his charge, General Beauregard returned to one of the rear regiments of Tennesseeans, which he led in a similar manner, but being too weak, from illness, to carry its flag, a large and heavy one, he transferred it to one of his volunteer aids, Colonel H. E. Peyton, of Virginia, who carried it until the regiment [318] got into position. General Bragg resumed the offensive, and, despite the broken and disjointed condition of the forces under him, drove the enemy back, out of sight from the Shiloh meetinghouse, and kept him at that distance until about 2.30 P. M., when General Beauregard gave him orders to retire slowly and join the retreat.

At an early hour in the morning General Beauregard had established his headquarters on a small knoll, to the right (eastward) of the Shiloh meeting-house, which appeared to be the most eligible and central point, and one from which he could, with greatest facility, communicate with his corps commanders and they with him.

Long before the charge we have just described, the enemy's boldness, his active and steady movements, and the heavy roll of musketry on our right, and, shortly afterwards, in our front, had confirmed General Beauregard in his belief that General Buell had, at last, formed a junction of the remainder of his forces with those of General Grant. He knew that his depleted and exhausted forces were now facing at least twenty thousand fresh troops, in addition to Lew. Wallace's command, in addition also to Ammen's brigade of Nelson's division, whose timely crossing, the day before, had saved the Federals from annihilation. To indulge a hope of success with these fearful odds against him would have been to show a lack of judgment impossible to such a soldier as Beauregard. The die, however, was cast. There was no means of avoiding the issue. The only plan left, General Beauregard thought, was, in appearance, to fight à outrance, so as to deceive the enemy as to his real intentions, and, so deceiving him, to effect, at the proper time, an orderly, safe, and honorable retreat. The victorious army of the day before could leave the battle-field in no other way. He carefully kept his own counsel, and, from about noon, issued all his orders accordingly. To show a bold front all along his line; to offer as strong a resistance as the nature of the ground and the condition of his forces would permit; and, if possible, to cross to the south side of the ravines, in front of the Shiloh meeting-house, which had so effectually protected Sherman's and Prentiss's commands, on the preceding morning—such were the objects he now strained every nerve to secure. And the task before him was difficult, because the least symptom of weakness or hesitancy on his part would necessarily increase the boldness [319] of his opponent, and correspondingly depress his new, hardly organized, and worn-out forces.

Meanwhile, with feelings of anxiety easily understood, he despatched couriers to Corinth, to hurry forward General Van Dorn's army of about twenty thousand men, daily expected there from Van Buren, Arkansas, from which point he had promised to form a junction with General Beauregard, at the earliest practicable moment. But the high waters, and want of means of transportation, had greatly delayed Van Dorn's movement. Had he arrived in time on the field, General Beauregard's intention was to have kept about five or six thousand men of that command with himself, as a reserve, and to have sent Van Dorn with the rest to attack Lew. Wallace's extreme right and rear, while he, Beauregard, would have attacked both Lew. Wallace and Sherman in front, with his own left. The fight there could not have lasted long. He would then have attacked successively, in flank, rear, and front, McClernand's and McCook's divisions; and afterwards, the other divisions towards their left. Had it been possible to execute that programme, there can be little doubt that the victory, on this second day of the battle, would have been more complete than on the first; and that it would have been ended before Wood's division, of Buell's army, could have come to the enemy's relief; for it was nearly dark when that division arrived.

While his couriers were hurrying on their way to Corinth, in search of news from Van Dorn's army, General Beauregard, still biding his time, and unwilling, yet, to hasten the moment of his predetermined retreat, went on supplying reinforcements to his front, with stragglers and stray commands collected from the woods and ravines in his rear. History, we think, furnishes no other example of a great battle, against such odds, being prolonged over four hours, with reserves thus brought together and organized.12 [320] At last, however, the drain made upon his feeble resources had exhausted them. Stragglers and stray commands could no longer be found. And just then his couriers arrived from Corinth. They reported that Van Dorn was not there, and that his whereabouts was unknown. The time had evidently come when it was imperative to put the plan of retreat into execution.13 General Beauregard's hope of Van Dorn's junction on that day had been but a fleeting one; he had regarded it as a thing possible, but hardly probable. He ordered Colonel Chisolm, one of his aids, to go immediately to the rear with a company of cavalry, and clear and repair the roads for any emergency. About an hour later, he instructed Colonel Jordan, the Adjutant-General of the army, to select at once a position across the ravine in the rear, for such troops and batteries as were available to protect the retreat. He then ordered the corps commanders to be prepared to retire slowly and leisurely, but, before doing so, to take the offensive again with vigor, and drive back the enemy as far as possible, while he established batteries and posted troops to protect his retiring forces. After placing a battery in front of the Shiloh meetinghouse, and another on the Ridge road, towards the right, he went in person across the ravine, to examine the location of the troops intrusted to Colonel Jordan, and he there posted two additional batteries, the better to cover the retrograde movement, which had then fairly begun, and was being executed in a very orderly manner. General Breckinridge, occupying the centre of the line of battle, retired first (the adjacent divisions closing up the void space) and took up his position in rear of the troops and batteries [321] established across the Shiloh meeting-house ravine, so as to form the rear guard. Then came the commands of Generals Polk, Hardee, and Bragg, which gradually withdrew from the field, behind General Breckinridge's position, and continued their retreat in the direction of Corinth, to the points designated to be occupied by them that night.

General Jordan thus correctly speaks of that retreat in the ‘Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest,’ pages 143 and 144:

The battle kindled soon after daylight, and raged furiously from right to left for more than five hours. And, notwithstanding the odds of fresh troops brought up against them, despite their long-continued engagement, the Confederates had not receded from the ground upon which they had been concentrated, as soon as it was apparent that the battle was in their hands. But they were being fearfully depleted meanwhile. Beginning the combat with not more than twenty thousand men, exclusive of cavalry, less than fifteen thousand were now in the Confederate ranks. General Beauregard, seeing the unprofitable nature of the struggle, determined not to prolong it. Directing his Adjutant-General to select a position, and post such troops as were available to cover the retreat, he despatched other staff officers to the corps commanders, with the order to retire simultaneously from their several positions, ready, however, to turn and fight should it become necessary. And accordingly, about two o'clock (2.30), the retrograde movement of the Confederates was inaugurated and carried out with a steadiness never exceeded by veterans of a hundred fields.

During the various stages of the conflict General Beauregard had tried to use his cavalry, but so dense and broad-spread were the woods that they proved altogether fruitless of results. . . .

The retreat had now commenced in earnest, but so stunned and crippled was the enemy that no effort or pretence to pursue was made. The line established to cover the movement commanded the ground of Shiloh church, and some open fields in the neighborhood; thence keeping up a vigorous play of artillery on the woods beyond; there was no reply, nor did any enemy become visible. That line was then withdrawn about three fourths of a mile, to another favorable position. Meanwhile, the retreat had been effected in admirable order, all stragglers falling in the ranks, and that line was abandoned with no enemy in sight. . . .

Of trophies the Confederates carried from the field some twenty-six stands of flags and colors, and about thirty of the guns captured on the 6th. The guns which figure in Federal subordinate reports as captured from the Confederates, with few exceptions, were those lost on Sunday by the Federals, which, for want of horses to draw them from the field, had been left by the Confederates where they had been taken.

General Grant says, in his report: [322]

Before the close of the action the advance of General T. J. Wood's division (two brigades of Buell's corps) arrived in time to take part in the action.

My force was too much fatigued from two days hard fighting and exposure in the open air to a drenching rain during the intervening night, to pursue immediately. Night closed in cloudy and with a heavy rain, making the roads impracticable for artillery by the next morning.

General Sherman, however, followed the enemy, finding that the main part of the army had retreated in good order.

But General Sherman, in his report, uses the following language:

At the time of recovering our camps (about four o'clock P. M.) our men were so fatigued that we could not follow the retreating masses of the enemy.

And General Buell says, in his report:

Two brigades of General Wood's division arrived just at the close of the battle; but only one, that of Colonel Wagner, in time to participate actively in the pursuit, which it continued for about a mile, and until halted by my order.

If any pursuit beyond the Shiloh meeting-house was made by the Federals on the afternoon of the 7th, it must have been made very cautiously, for the Confederates were not at all disturbed in their slow and quiet retreat. General Breckinridge, commanding the reserve, bivouacked for the night near the former headquarters of Generals Johnston and Beauregard, on the night of the 5th, at about one and a half miles from the battle-field. The next morning (on the 8th) he fell back to a position only three miles farther to the rear, where he remained undisturbed for several days, with the cavalry thrown out well to the front, in close proximity to the Federal lines.

On the morning of the 8th, General Sherman, with two brigades and some cavalry, advanced to reconnoitre, on the lower Corinth road, while General Wood, with two brigades, reconnoitred on the upper road. On arriving at General Breckinridge's bivouac of the preceding night they found our cavalry pickets in position, and pursued them for about half a mile with a regiment of cavalry and one of infantry. At that point Colonel Forrest appeared, and charged the enemy with a part of his forces, a company of Wirt Adams's regiment, a squadron of the 8th Texas, and some Kentuckians, under Captain John Morgan, amounting in all to about three hundred and fifty troopers. The Federals were thrown into great confusion, and routed; ‘althoughh,’ says General Sherman, [323] in his report, ‘the ground was admirably adapted for a defence of infantry against cavalry, being miry, and covered with fallen timber.’ Their loss amounted to fifteen killed, about twenty-five wounded, and some seventy prisoners. The Confederates pursuing too vigorously, and coming suddenly on the brigades of Federal infantry, were repulsed, after the brave and dashing Forrest had been severely wounded in the side. His command then retired, followed a short distance by some of the enemy's cavalry, towards General Breckinridge's encampment, at Mickey's farm, only about two and a half miles from the point of collision.

General Sherman concludes his report, dated on the day of this encounter, as follows: ‘The check sustained by us at the fallen timber delayed our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were provided for and the dead buried; and our troops being fagged out14 by two days hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I ordered them back to their camps, where they now are.’

We discover here two oversights on General Sherman's part. The short conflict referred to occurred early in the morning, and there was certainly ample time in which to bury fifteen dead and remove twenty-five wounded. And the two brigades of Woods division, of Buell's army, which accompanied his command, had taken but little part in the battle of the preceding day, having arrived on the field about the time the battle terminated.

The remainder of the Confederate forces, sorely disappointed, but not without heart, returned from Shiloh to their former positions at and about Corinth, to recruit and reorganize, and to await a favorable opportunity of striking another blow at their antagonists.

The loss on the Confederate side was unusually heavy, but this was due to the fact that it had been the assailant all day on the 6th, and very often on the 7th. The army under Generals Johnston and Beauregard had gone into the battle with thirty-nine thousand six hundred and thirty men of all arms and condition, and it received no reinforcements during the two days fight, except Colonel Hill's Tennessee regiment, which reached the front unarmed on the morning of the 6th, and was furnished with arms and equipments picked up on the field. This regiment swelled [324] the Confederate numbers to about forty thousand men. Our loss was 1728 killed, 8012 wounded, and 959 missing; presenting an aggregate of 10,699, or, in killed and wounded, twenty-four and one third per cent. of those present on the field. This is a very remarkable proportion, in view of the rawness of most of the troops, and the nature of the ground upon which the battle was fought. It is about the greatest average ever attained in any single contest between veteran armies,15 and in most instances the defeated army is either completely routed or unfit for another campaign until largely reinforced.

The Federals commenced the battle, on the 6th, with over forty thousand men of all arms, and were reinforced that day by the timely arrival of Ammen's brigade, of General Buell's army. During the night of the 6th and the next morning they were reinforced again, by Lew. Wallace's division of General Grant's army; by three divisions (Crittenden's, McCook's, and Nelson's two other brigades) of General Buell's army; and, towards the end of the second day's battle, by two brigades of Wood's division of the same army,16 which brought up the number of fresh Federal troops, on the 7th, to over thirty-two thousand men of all arms. Our computation is based on the fact that these divisions contained no less than seven thousand men each, as is established by General Van Horne, in his ‘History of the Army of the Cumberland,’ vol. i. p. 99, where the following passage is found:

The 1st, 2d, 4th, 5th, and 6th divisions, commanded respectively by Brigadier-Generals Thomas, McCook, Nelson, Crittenden, and Wood, with a contingent force of cavalry, in all thirty-seven thousand effective men, constituted the main army, which, under the personal command of General Buell, was to join General Halleck in the projected movement against the enemy at Corinth, Mississippi.

The total force of the Federals on both days amounted, therefore, to about seventy-two thousand men of all arms, and their losses were, according to official reports—in General Grant's army, [325] 1437 killed, 5679 wounded, and 2934 prisoners; in General Buell's army, 236 killed, 1816 wounded, and 88 prisoners; making 1673 killed, 7495 wounded, and 3022 prisoners, or a grand total of 12,190. Thus the proportion of killed and wounded, on the Federal side, as compared to the number of troops present on the field, was nearly thirteen per cent., which is about the ordinary proportion in modern warfare.

1 General Sherman estimates at eighteen thousand men those that had fought the day before. See his ‘Memoirs,’ p. 245.

2 Only one of his divisions (Cheatham's) had been collected together and taken back, through a misunderstanding of orders, to its bivouac of the night of the 5th, about three and a half miles from the Shiloh meeting-house.

3 When Van Horne states that the Hamburg road passed perpendicularly through the Federal line near Nelson's left, he means the Hamburg and Purdy road, not the Hamburg and Pittsburg road.

4 ‘Confederate Reports of Battles,’ p. 261.

5 ‘History of the Army of the Cumberland,’ vol. i. pp. 112, 113.

6 ‘History of the Army of the Cumberland,’ vol. i. pp. 113, 114.

7 These stragglers, from every arm of the service, were brought to General Beauregard, with no one to take command of them. As he was looking around in search of a temporary leader to march them off to the front, his eye fell on a young officer just then passing near him, whose soldierly bearing at once attracted his attention. The young officer was halted, and found himself in the presence of General Beauregard. ‘Could you command a battalion?’ said the General to him. ‘If ordered to do so, I think I can,’ was the modest and, at the same time, firm reply. General Beauregard, having now ascertained his name, took him to the battalion of stragglers near by, and, introducing him to the men, said, ‘Here is Colonel Lockett, whom I now place in charge of you. He will lead you to victory, if you only follow him.’ In a loud and earnest cheer they each and all promised to do it, and gallantly redeemed their promise half an hour later.

8 During the fierce struggle in front, General Beauregard noticed, through the woods, some troops apparently uniformed in white. He at first took them to be Federals, but observing that they were fighting on our side, he sent an aid to ascertain where they came from, hoping they might be part of Van Dorn's army. They proved to be the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, temporarily merged into one command. Their coats being blue, they had been fired into, on the day before, by some of our own troops; and, in order to avoid a repetition of the mistake, had turned their coats ‘inside out.’

When General Beauregard had resigned his commission in the United States army, in February, 1861, he had joined, as a private, the Orleans Guard battalion, then just organized in the city of New Orleans. When he was made brigadier-general in the Confederate service and sent to Charleston, his name was preserved on the rolls of that battalion, and, whenever called, the colorsergeant, stepping forward, would answer: ‘Absent on duty.’ This custom was kept up as long as the battalion remained in service, and even on the battle-field of Shiloh. Their flagstaff was made of a piece of the Sumter flagstaff, which General Beauregard had sent to their commander, after the surrender of that celebrated fort, in April, 1861.

9 This is General Wallace's own statement. See ‘Rebellion Record,’ vol. IV. p. 359.

10 ‘Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest,’ p. 142.

11 Then it was that General Beauregard, being almost reproved by Colonel Augustin, one of his aids, for thus exposing himself, said: ‘The order must now be “follow,” not “go!” ’ Colonel Augustin had taken the flag, however, and for a few moments led the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, the latter of which he himself had organized, some eight months before, in New Orleans.

12 During the late war, General Beauregard's experience of Southern volunteers convinced him that they furnish the best material for soldiers. Active, intelligent, brave, self-reliant, and persevering, their powers of endurance are simply wonderful. After being three months under arms, they become as trustworthy on the field of battle as veterans; and no more than six months drilling is required to make them as proficient as regulars of two and three years service. But they soon consider themselves capable of passing judgment on their commanders; and, should these forfeit their confidence, they grow dissatisfied and intractable, and lose some of their best soldierly qualities.

13 A remarkable instance of bravery was shown by a mere boy, about this time, when matters were looking gloomy, and the stoutest hearts were beginning to fail. The meeting-house of Shiloh had been turned into a hospital, and many of our wounded were collected there to be operated on. General Beauregard sent one of his aids to have them transferred to the rear, preparatory to a retrograde movement. Upon his return the aid reported that while there, a private (a boy scarcely over fourteen years of age), had come to have a wound in his hand attended to. While the surgeon was dressing it—the fighting still going on near by — the boy said: ‘Make haste, please, doctor, I want to go back and take another shot at the Yankees.’ General Beauregard told his aid to return immediately and ascertain the name of the young hero, so as to have it published in general orders. It was too late. He had, no doubt, gone back ‘to take another shot at the Yankees.’

14 They could not have been more ‘faggedd out’ than their adversaries were.

15 Those losses generally vary from one twentieth, or five per cent., to one fourth, or twenty-five per cent., of the troops engaged. The British, at Waterloo, lost not quite one sixth, or only sixteen per cent. The Austrians, at Magenta, lost only one thirteenth, that is, not quite eight per cent.; and the Prussian loss at Sadowa was remarkably small, being only one twentieth, or five per cent.

16 See Generals Grant's and Buell's Reports.

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