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Chapter 4:

While, as we have seen, Mississippi soldiers were fully maintaining the honor of the State on the Gulf coast and the Potomac river, the State itself reposed in confident security. The enlistment of more troops was not thought necessary after the victory at Manassas, and though it soon became apparent that more soldiers were needed, the immense possibilities of the war were far from being realized. Gen. Mansfield Lovell, in command of the coast as well as New Orleans, felt supreme confidence in his ability to defeat any attempt to ascend the river, and the people placed great reliance in the strength of the plans made for resisting any invasion through Kentucky and Tennessee.

But, toward the close of 1861, the government at Washington had arranged for an expedition against New Orleans, and with its land forces had occupied most of Kentucky; while Grant, with an army of 20,000 men was at Cairo and Paducah, separated from the northern line of Mississippi by not much more than the width of Tennessee. Vicksburg, the key to the Mississippi valley, was already the objective point of vast naval and land movements at the beginning of 1862. President Davis and the Confederate government undoubtedly realized the importance of protecting the great river and the magnitude of the attack which must be met in Kentucky and Tennessee; but it was not so fully comprehended by [32] all the governors of the States, and the Confederate forces which were expected to hold the line of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers were sadly inadequate.

Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, of Kentucky, coming from California in the spring of 1861, after refusing the highest command in the United States army, was the first to receive at the hands of the Confederate States the lofty rank of general, and, with full confidence in his splendid military talent, was assigned on September 10th to the command of the vast field of operations west of the Alleghany mountains. In spite of the weakness of his resources in men and munitions he at once resolved upon a bold policy, and established a line of defense, with his left at Columbus, Ky., his right at Cumberland Gap, and his center at Bowling Green.

On November 20, 1861, Governor Pettus, in a special message to the legislature, transmitted to that body telegrams received from Governor Harris of Tennessee and Generals Pillow and Polk at Columbus, Ky., informing him of the threatened attack on Columbus by a large force of the enemy, and asking for such assistance as Mississippi might be able to send. The governor was immediately authorized to call out 10,000 men for sixty days service; to provide themselves with double-barreled shot guns or hunting rifles, clothing, blankets and cooking utensils. For the equipment, support and payment of these troops the legislature appropriated such money as might be in the treasury not otherwise appropriated. The military board of Mississippi, then sitting, ordered the troops to rendezvous at Grenada and Corinth. Those rendezvousing at Corinth were placed by the governor under the command of Gen. Reuben Davis, and those at Grenada under the command of General Alcorn. General Alcorn and his men were stationed subsequently at Hopkinsville, Ky., where they suffered greatly from the wintry weather and the measles, but were afforded no opportunity to do active service before their disbandment. [33] Maj.-Gen. Reuben Davis, with 2,000 men, reinforced Johnston at Bowling Green, on December 16th, and four days later was assigned to the command of the fortifications in and about Bowling Green, in which his men were posted. Here they remained until their term of enlistment expired.

During the fall of 1861, the forces under General Polk, at Columbus and thence down to Island No.10, included the batteries of Hudson and Melancthon Smith; the First Mississippi cavalry battalion, Lieut.-Col. John H. Miller, including the companies of Captains Hudson, Cole and Klein, besides Miller's original battalion: Col. A. K. Blythe's Mississippi regiment of infantry; the Thirteenth and Twenty-second regiments, and the Twenty-fifth infantry, Col. J. D. Martin, subsequently known as the Second Confederate States infantry. Part of these commands had a creditable part in the defeat of General Grant at Belmont, on the Missouri shore, November 7, 1861.

It will be remembered that on the morning of the 7th Grant landed about 3,500 men on the Missouri shore to attack Polk's camp of observation, held by a small force under Colonel Tappan, while his gunboats opened upon the Columbus works. Polk sent across reinforcements to Tappan, making his force about equal to Grant's. In the resistance to Grant's advance the cavalry companies of Montgomery and Bowles, of Miller's battalion, took an active part. But Tappan was compelled to fall back and abandon his camp to the enemy. When this disaster was apparent, General Cheatham was sent across the river with his brigade, which included Blythe's Mississippi regiment, and Captain Smith's battery was sent to the river, whence he shelled the Federal troops and effectively aided in their discomfiture. A new line was formed on the Missouri side, and a gallant advance was made, which resulted in the defeat of the Federals, who were driven to their boat and compelled to embark in [34] such haste that one regiment was left behind to escape by a rapid march northward. In his report General Cheatham says of the close of the battle: ‘The left wing of the One hundred and fifty-fourth Tennessee, with Blythe's Mississippi regiment, charged down on the retreating boats and opened a fire upon them, and Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, of the First battalion Mississippi cavalry, with a part of his command joined us here, and having dismounted his men, rendered important service in the attack on the gunboats.’ In coming up to the field, after getting across the river, Miller had an adventure with a body of Federal cavalry, largely outnumbering him, and almost surrounding his command; but he bravely ordered ‘Charge’ at the top of his voice, and had the satisfaction of seeing the enemy retreat.

According to the organization of Johnston's army at Bowling Green in January, 1862, the following Mississippi commands were included:

In Hardee's division: Sixth regiment, Cleburne's brigade; Third battalion, Wood's brigade; and First cavalry.

In Buckner's division: Fourteenth and Twenty-sixth infantry, Col. W. E. Baldwin's brigade.

In Floyd's division: Twentieth infantry, Floyd's brigade; Twenty-second and Twenty-fifth infantry, and the Pettus Flying artillery, Bowen's brigade; First and Third (afterward 23d) infantry, Gen. Charles Clark's brigade. The Warren light artillery, Captain Swett, was attached to Hindman's brigade, posted on the railroad east of Bowling Green. First Lieutenant Orlin, with one gun, was distinguished in combat at Brownsville, November 21st, and the whole battery at Rowlett's Station, December 19th, two actions which promised success for the Confederate arms in Kentucky. But, unfortunately, a month later disaster overtook the command of General Zollicoffer, which had advanced from Eastern Tennessee toward Mill Springs, on the Cumberland river.

In the battle of Fishing Creek, January 19th, the Fifteenth [35] Mississippi, Col. W. S. Statham, began its famous fighting career under the leadership of Lieut.-Col. Edward C. Walthall. The Fifteenth marched in advance of Zollicoffer's brigade against the Federals under George H. Thomas, and its skirmishers first encountered and drove the enemy back. The Nineteenth Tennessee coming up next joined in the fight, but were presently ordered to cease fighting by Zollicoffer, who was under the impression that the fire was directed against another Confederate regiment. Persisting in his error he rode forward as if to give an order to the Federal line, and was shot and instantly killed.

Confusion instantly followed, and in a few moments the Fifteenth Mississippi and the Twentieth Tennessee alone were confronting the enemy. For an hour they held the right and center of the Confederate line. When the left retired they were compelled to leave their position, and then the day was lost. The battle, such as it was, may indeed be said to have been fought by the two regiments, mainly supported by a few Tennessee regiments, against Thomas' division. In his report, Gen. G. B. Crittenden wrote that the Fifteenth ‘was most gallantly led by Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall. The reputation of the Mississippians for heroism was fully sustained by this regiment. Its loss in killed and wounded, which was far greater than that of any other regiment, tells sufficiently the story of discipline and courage. The already extended limits of this report will not permit me to enumerate the individual acts of courage with which this regiment abounded. Suffice it to say that it is entitled to all praise.’ The loss of the Fifteenth was 44 killed, 153 wounded, and 29 missing, out of a total of about 500.

Despite the courage of the gallant regiments named, the Confederate army here suffered heavily, and to this misfortune was added the defeat of the Confederates under Humphrey Marshall. [36]

Johnston's right being thus rendered hors de combat, Grant prepared to sunder his center and left by moving down the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers against Forts Henry and Donelson. This compelled him to concentrate the major part of his central army at the threatened strongholds.

The Fourth Mississippi infantry, which had been detached from Van Dorn's division of the army of Northern Virginia, was one of the two regiments at Fort Henry which were at all experienced in war, and the men conducted themselves as veterans. Col. Joseph Drake sent two companies of Mississippians to meet the first advance of the enemy on February 4th, who held the rifle-pits alone until reinforced. During the bombardment of the 6th, which resulted in the surrender of Fort Henry, Colonel Drake commanded a brigade at the rifle-pits, and he subsequently marched his men in good order to Donelson and commanded a brigade during the defense of that post. In the Confederate lines before Donelson, under fire during February 13th and 14th, and in the assault which was made on the 15th for the purpose of opening a line of retreat, the Mississippians were among the most conspicuous for gallantry and steadiness under fire.

The left wing included the First, Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, and Twenty-third, Lieutenant-Colonel Wells, in Davidson's brigade; the Fourth, Major Adair, in Colonel Drake's brigade; the Twentieth, Maj. W. N. Brown, in McCausland's brigade; the Twenty-sixth, Colonel Reynolds, in Baldwin's brigade. Baldwin's own regiment, the Fourteenth, fought under Maj. W. S. Doss in Buckner's command on the right.

Colonel Baldwin's brigade was ready to march, loaded with knapsacks, blankets and three days rations, at four o'clock Saturday morning, the 15th, and at six o'clock was ordered forward to the attack. Skirmishers of the Twenty-sixth were soon under fire and driven back, and the regiment deployed into line on the right under heavy [37] fire, taking the pivotal position for the ensuing battle. Other regiments were then brought up, and McCausland formed on the right of the Twenty-sixth. ‘The Twentieth,’ says Colonel Baldwin in his report, ‘was sent into action by direct order of General Pillow, and caused to take a position in the field on the left, where they were openly exposed to a destructive fire which they were not able to return with effect. The regiment was soon recalled, but not before its left wing had suffered heavy loss. Our line advanced some fifty yards up the slope and remained stationary for more than an hour, the position of the enemy being so well chosen and covered that it seemed impossible to gain an inch of ground. At this juncture the Twentieth Mississippi again came up across the field, and took position, slightly covered by an irregularity of the ground.’

Colonel Baldwin then threw one regiment against the right flank of the enemy, and

this movement being supported by the whole line, we succeeded in executing a change of front to the right, turning the right of the enemy and driving him at once from his position. Up to this time our position was one of extreme peril, and nothing but the native gallantry of troops brought forth for the first time under heavy fire and the extraordinary exertions of many of the field and company officers saved us from being thrown back in confusion into our trenches. From this time the enemy were slowly driven from each position which the ground favorable for defense enabled them to take. Two sections of artillery were taken, the first by the Twenty-sixth Tennessee and the second by the Twenty-sixth Mississippi.

Advancing in a direction nearly parallel to our line of defense, when nearly opposite the center, our course was for some time impeded by the desperate stand made by the enemy, who was probably being reinforced and occupied ground most favorable for sheltering his troops. Our ammunition had been so rapidly expended as to entirely [38] exhaust the supply of some regiments. Numbers had provided themselves from the cartridge boxes of the dead and wounded enemy.

Presently, aided by artillery fire from the trenches, directed by Colonel Baldwin, he was able to again advance and occupy the camp of the enemy, and a flank attack by the Second Kentucky completed the rout of the Federals.

Here, after six hours, fighting in the woods, Baldwin paused to get his bearings, and at this time Gen. B. R. Johnson, commanding the left wing, came up and moved off all the troops except the Twenty-sixth Mississippi and Twenty-sixth Tennessee. Finally, receiving no orders, Baldwin followed the example of other troops and returned to the trenches. He mentioned with approval the bravery of Lieut.-Col. F. M. Boone and Maj. T. F. Parker, Twenty-sixth; Maj. W. N. Brown, Twentieth; Lieut. S. D. Harris, Fourteenth, acting assistant adjutant-general; and Thomas A. Burke and T. F. Carrington, privates of the Fourteenth, who acted as aides, the latter receiving a serious wound.

The action of the brigade of General Clark, commanded by Colonel Davidson previous to the battle and in the battle by Col. John M. Simonton, First regiment, is well described in the latter's report. After Baldwin was in action his brigade advanced to the front, and was soon hotly engaged with the left of McClernand's division of the Federal army, which they gallantly drove from position, advancing a mile and a half in their victorious career. Lieut. R. B. Ryan, who escaped capture and made the first report of the brigade's service, estimated that the First Mississippi seemed to have lost half of its numbers, while the Third (23d) escaped with less casualties.

Colonel Drake's brigade fought on the right of Johnson's line and was accompanied by that general, who reported that, ‘under its very gallant, steady and efficient commander it moved in admirable order, almost constantly [39] under fire, driving the enemy slowly from hill to hill.’ The Fourth, under Major Adair, shared in this gallant service, and finally, after repulsing a strong attack of the enemy, was ordered back when ammunition was exhausted.

In his report of the service of the Twentieth, Major Brown gives special mention to Lieut. R. W. Paine, who was killed; Capt. D. T. Patterson, wounded; Lieut. O. R. Eastlake, who fell badly wounded, but refused to be carried from the field, crying, ‘Never mind me, boys, fight on;’ Lieut. J. H. Barber, wounded; Capt. W. A. Rorer; Lieut. W. R. Nelson, commanding Company G; Lieuts. T. B. Sykes, Conway, Murff, Roberts, W. S. Champlin commanding Company E, and Lieutenant Harrison.

The Fourteenth, fighting in the early part of the day on the Wynn's Ferry road, was especially distinguished in the afternoon when, upon the fatal order from Pillow to fall back, it took part in the long and desperate struggle against the Federal assault, which finally closed in the enemy's repulse.

Following this creditable battle, in which the enemy were for the time really defeated and a way opened for the withdrawal of the army, the generals in command, Floyd, Pillow and Buckner, decided to surrender, and the two first named departed, leaving Buckner to bear the humiliation.

At 1 o'clock Sunday morning, Major Brown, sent for to report to General Floyd, was told by that officer that it had been determined to surrender, but he would not do so and would ‘cut his way out.’ This Floyd accomplished by posting the Twentieth Mississippi to guard the landing while he embarked the Virginians of his command. ‘The news of the surrender spreading through the camp,’ reported Major Brown, ‘caused many to flock to the river, almost panic-stricken and frantic to make good their escape by getting aboard. In all this [40] confusion, I am proud to state that the Twentieth Mississippi stood like a stone wall to protect General Floyd and his Virginia regiment while embarking; and when the last hope had vanished of getting aboard according to the orders and promises of General Floyd, and we realized the sad fate that we had been surrendered, the regiment stacked arms, without the least intimidation, but full of regret. While this excitement was going on, General Buckner sent for me and informed me that unless the steamboat left the landing immediately he would have a bomb-shell thrown into it — that his honor as an officer and the honor and good faith of the Confederacy required that at daylight he should turn over everything under his command agreeably to the terms of capitulation with General Grant. I returned to the boat to make every effort to get aboard, but it had shoved off and was making up the river, with very few persons aboard.’

It has been estimated that there were 3,364 Mississippians at Fort Donelson, of whom 115 were killed and 434 wounded, the survivors mainly being surrendered by their superior officers as stated. These casualties were about half of the total for the army of 13,000 or 14,000 men.

The surrender of Fort Donelson was an event which marks an epoch in the war history of the State. Soon afterward, the Confederate forces were gathered within her own boundaries to meet the Federal advance through Tennessee. After the fall of Fort Henry, which opened the Tennessee river to the Federal gunboats, the Ninth and Tenth regiments were ordered on duty to guard the river in Alabama.

General Beauregard was assigned to command in West Tennessee and of the army of the Mississippi, after Johnston's line had been cut in two on the Tennessee river. Under his orders Columbus was evacuated March 2d, and the Confederate defense of the upper Mississippi was to be made at Island No.10 and New Madrid. General Daniel Ruggles was called to Corinth, and General Bragg [41] was put in command in Northern Mississippi. Depots of supplies were established at Columbus and Grenada, where martial law was put in force March 30th, and subsistence was ordered to be collected at Jackson, Corinth and Iuka, and Grand Junction, Tenn.

General Johnston reorganized at Murfreesboro what was left of the force lately at Bowling Green, with the remnants of Zollicoffer's command and those who had escaped from Fort Donelson, and assumed personal command. On February 23d, this reorganized central army included the Sixth infantry, Colonel Thornton; the Fifteenth, Major Brantley; the Twenty-second, Lieutenant-Colonel Schaller; the Second Confederate (25th Mississippi), Colonel Martin, and Hardcastle's battalion. Johnston moved the military stores saved from Nashville to Stevenson, and marched his men over the mud roads to Corinth.

On March 29th he assumed command and immediate direction of the armies of Kentucky and of the Mississippi, now united and to be known as the army of the Mississippi. General Beauregard was appointed second in command; General Bragg was made chief of staff, and the army was divided into three army corps: The First, including the garrisons on the river up to Island No.10, under General Polk; the Second, under General Bragg; and the Third, General Hardee; the infantry reserve under General Breckinridge. Under these commanders was organized at Corinth, during March and the early days of April, the first great Confederate army outside of Virginia. It defended a line which was practically the north line of the State of Mississippi, extending from the Mississippi to the Tennessee rivers. The greater river was still held by the garrisons extending up to the north line of Tennessee, and the Tennessee river itself was the army's outer line of defense.

The Federal army of invasion had occupied Nashville February 25th, and on March 16th General Sherman [42] made a reconnoissance down the Tennessee as far as the batteries at Chickasaw, and landed his division at Pittsburg. He was soon joined by Hurlbut's division, and frequent skirmishes began on the roads leading toward the Memphis & Charleston railroad. By April 3d Grant had five divisions at Pittsburg Landing, about 33,000 men, and Wallace's division at Crump's Landing, about 5,000 more. At this date skirmishing became more active and constant. Grant wrote to headquarters, ‘There will be no difficulty in going any place with the army now concentrated here, but a battle will necessarily ensue at any point on the railroads touched.’ On April 5th, reporting a considerable skirmish at the front, he wrote from Savannah, ‘I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack (general one) being made upon us, but will be prepared should such a thing take place.’ Meanwhile, Johnston was carrying out his plan of campaign to concentrate at Corinth and strike Grant before he could be reinforced by Buell's army of 25,000 men. The delay of reorganization almost consumed the available time, and did result fatally.

The organization on April 6th-7th gave the following places to Mississippi troops:

First corps: The first division was commanded by Brig.-Gen. Charles Clark, but contained no Mississippi command except Capt. Thomas J. Stanford's battery. The second division, General Cheatham, contained Col. A. K. Blythe's Mississippi regiment in Bushrod Johnson's brigade, and Capt. Melancthon Smith's battery in Stephens' (Maney's) brigade. The First Mississippi cavalry, Col. A. J. Lindsay, was attached to this corps; also the Mississippi and Alabama battalion, Lieut.-Col. R. H. Brewer.

Second corps: The Mississippi troops were under the brigade command of Gen. J. R. Chalmers, of Gen. Jones M. Withers' division, including the Fifth regiment, Col. Albert E. Fant; Seventh, Lieut.-Col. Hamilton [43] Mayson; Ninth, Lieut.-Col. William A. Rankin; Tenth, Col. Robert A. Smith.

Third corps: Sixth infantry, Col. John A. Thornton, in Cleburne's brigade; Hardcastle's battalion in S. A. M. Wood's brigade; Capt. Wm. L. Harper's battery in Wood's brigade; Capt. Charles Swett's battery in Hindman's brigade.

Breckinridge's corps: Fifteenth and Twenty-second regiments in Col. W. S. Statham's brigade; Second Confederate, Col. John D. Martin, and Capt. Alfred Hudson's battery in Gen. J. S. Bowen's brigade.

Corinth and Pittsburg Landing, about eighteen miles apart as the crow flies, are connected by a good ridge road. Another road from Corinth follows a line south of the other, runs through Monterey and into the ridge road between Owl and Lick creeks, where the Federal line was posted. From Monterey a road ran north to Purdy, intersecting the ridge road, and another ran northward toward Savannah, also intersecting the ridge road at Mickey's house. Beyond Mickey's, toward Pittsburg, the ridge road merges in the bark road. On April 3d the order of march and battle was issued by General Johnston, according to which Hardee was to advance on the ridge road and form line of battle in front of the enemy, to be reinforced by a brigade or division from the Second corps; Bragg's corps was to assemble at Monterey, advance up the two intersecting roads and then follow Hardee, forming a second line of battle. The First corps, except the division detached at Bethel, would follow the Third corps. The Reserve corps and the forces at Bethel and Purdy would concentrate on Monterey and go into action as practicable.

On the 4th Hardee marched to Mickey's, and it was the skirmish on his front which led Grant to say that he had ‘scarcely the faintest idea of a general attack.’ That night it rained in torrents. But as soon as possible Hardee advanced, and at 10 o'clock was in line of battle, [44] though it was not until 4 o'clock in the afternoon that the remainder of the army, delayed by the mud, was able to get in position. Consequently the battle had to be delayed until Sunday, the 6th, which fortunately was a clear and bracing day. At daylight the order was given to advance. An attack upon the skirmishers in front, commanded by Major Hardcastle had been ‘handsomely resisted by that promising young officer,’ and in half an hour the battle was fierce.

The Sixth Mississippi, under Colonel Thornton, charged with Cleburne in the face of a storm of fire and drove Prentiss from his tents, but rushing on through the camp met with a bloody repulse. Then, rallying again and again, the undaunted Mississippians threw themselves upon the enemy's line, and ‘it was only when the regiment had lost 300 officers and men killed and wounded, out of an aggregate of 425, that it yielded and retreated over its own dead and dying.’ Colonel Thornton and Major Lowry, the field officers, were both wounded. ‘It would be useless,’ said General Cleburne, from whom these words are quoted, ‘to enlarge on the courage and devotion of the Sixth Mississippi. The facts as recorded speak louder than any words of mine.’ About 60 of the survivors of the regiment returned to the fight.

In Wood's brigade, which distinguished itself in the capture of a battery, Hardcastle's battalion won honor; and its brave commander, at one time separated from his men, seized a musket and joined the Sixteenth Alabama in a charge. ‘Major Hardcastle's battalion fired the first shot in our army on the enemy,’ said General Wood, and we only left the field at the close of Monday's fight.

Chalmers', mainly a Mississippi brigade, at the opening of the battle was in the second line on the extreme right, extending to Lick creek. As Johnston's plan was to turn the Federal left and drive the enemy into the point between Owl creek and the Tennessee, it is evident that [45] Chalmers' men had an important part to perform. Right well did they meet all expectations. They were soon in the front line, the Mississippians ranging from the right as follows: Tenth, Col. R. A. Smith; Seventh, Lieut.-Col. H. Mayson; Ninth, Lieut.-Col. W. A. Rankin; Fifth, Col. A. E. Fant. Meeting the enemy, there was heavy firing, after which the order to charge bayonets was given (Chalmers reported) and the Tenth Mississippi, about 360 strong, led by its gallant colonel, dashed up the hill and put to flight the Eighteenth Wisconsin, numbering nearly a thousand men. It was quickly followed by the Ninth and Seventh Mississippi, when the whole line of the enemy broke and fled, pursued by these three regiments through their camps and across a ravine about half a mile to the opposite hill, where they were halted by order of General Johnston. Later, Chalmers renewed the attack; his right resting on Lick creek bottom, and skirmishers were thrown out under Major Whitfield of the Ninth. With irresistible gallantry Chalmers drove the enemy by hard fighting from two strong positions on the Hamburg road, until he had nearly reached Pittsburg Landing and encountered the fire of the enemy's gunboats. Then, turning toward the center of the line of battle, he struck the flank of Prentiss' gallant division, which now, about four o'clock in the evening, raised the white flag. Says Chalmers: ‘A number of the enemy surrendered to the Ninth Mississippi, which was then some distance in advance of any other Confederate troops. The colonel of the Fourteenth Iowa surrendered to Maj. F. E. Whitfield, and the colonel of the Eighteenth Missouri to Lieut. Donald Mc-Kenzie, Company K.’

General Bragg then gave the order to drive the enemy into the river, and Chalmers' brigade engaged in its sixth fight of the day, and made a gallant effort, but the enemy were strongly posted, and aided by the fire from the [46] gunboats successfully defended their position until darkness closed the battle of that day.

Cheatham's division, on going into action on the right of the line, was confronted by a strong Federal line, against which Captain Smith directed his artillery for an hour, with a result highly creditable to the Mississippi gunners. Breckinridge now came up on the right of Cheatham. The enemy being pressed back, Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, First battalion of cavalry, charged upon the retreating column and captured a number of prisoners and a Michigan battery of six guns. Of Blythe's regiment, Cheatham reported: ‘Blythe's Mississippi advanced to the left and attacked the enemy, and wheeling to the right drove one of the enemy's batteries, with its support, from position; but as it advanced upon the enemy, Colonel Blythe was shot dead from his horse while gallantly leading his regiment forward to the charge. Within a few minutes of his fall, Lieut.-Col. D. S. Herron and Capt. R. H. Humphreys, of the same regiment, both officers of merit, were mortally wounded, and the command devolved on Maj. James Moore, under whose direction the regiment was actively engaged during the remainder of the day and through the subsequent action of the 7th. This regiment at all times eminently manifested the high spirit which has always characterized the soldiers of Mississippi, and no braver soldier than its heroic leader was lost to our cause.’

Statham's brigade was at the front with Breckinridge throughout the day. The Mississippi artillery also did their share in achieving the victory of Sunday. General Ruggles, who claimed that the surrender of Prentiss was brought about by massing artillery so as to prevent his reinforcement, named Swett's, Burns' and Stanford's batteries among those to whom the credit was due.

The second day's battle at Shiloh was waged under different circumstances. Albert Sidney Johnston had [47] been killed, and his soldiers had been worn out by the hard work of the previous day, while the Federals were reinforced by Buell's fresh army and Wallace's division. Now it was the enemy who advanced, and the Confederates who fought to maintain their ground and withdraw with as little loss as possible from a position which they had not sought for any other purpose than to strike Grant alone and crush him before Buell could arrive.

General Chalmers, with his Mississippians, was attacked early in the morning as he was moving to the left. Falling back to the first camp he had captured, he found ammunition and was reinforced by several regiments, when he assigned Col. R. A. Smith, of the Tenth, to his brigade command. They were driven from their position, rallied and retook it, and were again driven back, when Col. Preston Smith, with two regiments, one of them the survivors of Blythe's volunteers, joined them. ‘Believing that one bold charge might change the fortunes of the day,’ wrote Chalmers, ‘I called upon my brigade to make one more effort, but they seemed too much exhausted to make the attempt, and no appeal seemed to rouse them. As a last resort I seized the battleflag from the color-bearer of the Ninth Mississippi and called them to follow. With a wild shout the whole brigade rallied to the charge, and we drove the enemy back and re-occupied our first position of the morning, which we held until the order of retreat was received, when we fell back in good order, the enemy not daring to pursue. In this last charge, so gallantly made, the Ninth Mississippi sustained a heavy loss in the fall of its brave commander, Lieut.-Col. William A. Rankin, who fell mortally wounded after having led his men fearlessly throughout the whole of the first and second day. Most of my command behaved well. Col. R. A. Smith, of the Tenth, was particularly distinguished for his bold daring, and his clarion voice could be heard above the din of battle cheering on his men. Maj. T. E. Whitfield, of the Ninth, [48] led the skirmishers during Sunday and deserves great credit for his courage and coolness. He was wounded in the hip early on Monday morning and taken from the field. Colonel Fant and Major Stennis, of the Fifth, and Lieutenant-Colonel Mayson, commanding the Seventh, were all conspicuous in the thickest of the fight. All the Mississippians, both officers and men, with a few exceptions, behaved well.’ Among the others mentioned by Chalmers were Serg.-Maj. William A. Rains and Private Fleming Thompson, of the Ninth, two brave Mississippi boys of but seventeen years of age, who accompanied him on horseback, and in the absence of staff officers bore orders under the heaviest of the fire. The brigade went into action with 1,740 men, captured 1,600 prisoners, and lost 82 killed and 343 wounded.

General Bragg in his official report of the battle, wrote: ‘Brig.-Gen. James Chalmers, at the head of his gallant Mississippians, filled—he could not have exceeded — the measure of my expectations. Never were troops and commander more worthy of each other and of their State.’

The Mississippi cavalry were distinguished on this field. Col. A. J. Lindsay, commanding the First cavalry—in which Miller's battalion was incorporated, with that officer as lieutenant-colonel—went into battle with Cheatham. After the withdrawal of the Confederate army, the Mississippi cavalry defended the rear and was the last of the army to leave the field. Brewer's battalion of Mississippi and Alabama cavalry was also actively engaged, and when the army fell back acted as rear-guard to Polk's corps.

Major Hardcastle and what was left of the Third battalion, after guarding prisoners all night in the rain, marched back to the battlefield Monday morning, meeting soldiers falling back who told him, ‘You are too late.’ With not a hundred men remaining, he posted himself behind logs and trees on the edge of the field. ‘The enemy was seen on the opposite side with his battery. [49] A terrible fire opened upon us of canister and musketry. My men silenced their battery and drove back their infantry. Unmolested, we moved across the field and took the battery. Posted behind the trees and logs we saw the enemy formed within forty yards of us in close order. I held my fire, believing them friends. At the command, “Don't shoot,” the enemy discovered themselves and unfurled their flag. We poured into them a deadly fire. They replied fiercely and retired. Our loss was Capt. R. H. McNair, of Company E, who stood gallantly exposed, cheering his men to stand bravely and fire coolly, and two privates severely, and one sergeant and three privates slightly wounded. Afterward I heard no firing on my right or left. I knew the enemy was present near both flanks. I saw the Confederates scattered and retiring and I moved back in good order, passing around the field. When I had retired a few hundred yards I came upon Colonel Allen, who had formed some five or six hundred stragglers into a body. I formed on his left and we took post further to the rear, behind the battery, to support it. We remained there an hour, until the colonel got orders to retire. We took up the line of march in order and quit the field. In repulsing the enemy from their battery we gave an opportune check to his advance upon our retiring skirmishers. Throughout this action, on both days, the officers and soldiers of my battalion behaved bravely. No instance of distrust or dismay met my observation.’ Seldom has a story of bravery been more modestly or graphically told than in this report of Hardcastle's. Capt. T. J. Stanford, of the artillery, on the second day sacrificed his battery, losing nearly all his horses and 20 men in a desperate bombardment of the enemy who was pressing Breckinridge. The Jefferson artillery, under Capt. W. L. Harper, served with Swett's battery first, and later had a famous duel with a Federal battery facing Cheatham. Harper being wounded, Lieut. Put Darden was in command on the [50] second day, when the battery fought bravely and in an exhausted and depleted condition until the infantry support retired.

Col. John D. Martin, Second Confederate (old 25th Mississippi), was, with his regiment, prominent in the work of Breckinridge's division. Striking Prentiss' division Sunday afternoon, the regiment made a gallant fight under a heavy fire that would have annihilated them if Prentiss' men had not fired too high. As it was, they lost 100 men, including Captain Davis, mortally wounded, Sergeant-Major White shot dead, Lieutenant-Colonel McGhee severely wounded, and Captain Snodgrass and Lieutenants Murray and Patterson wounded. After two hours fighting the enemy fell back, and, General Bow. en having been wounded, Colonel Martin took command of the brigade and moved toward the river, where they were met by the fire of the gunboats and batteries. After spending the night in the enemy's camps they renewed the fight toward the river, and were led in person in a gallant charge by General Hardee. Major Mangum, with the Second Confederate, gallantly led the advance in this movement, which drove the enemy in confusion. Two more charges were made here, until, being flanked, the brigade fell back to the bark road. Here the brigade, with remarkable coolness, lay down in the ravine and kept perfect order while the fleeing mass of Confederate cavalry, artillery and infantry passed by, and until the pursuing enemy was within 100 yards, when it was, ‘Up guards, and at them!’ The confident Yankees were repulsed in confusion, and two pieces of captured artillery and five of the enemy's taken. After pursuing the enemy some distance, the brigade took position on a hill and, under the eye of General Hardee, twice again repelled the enemy's efforts to seize the bark road.

Thus ended the sanguinary battle of Shiloh, which promised, up to the death of General Johnston, to completely carry out his plan of crushing Grant's army. [51] The operations of the second day were an effort of his successor in command, General Beauregard, to escape from a dangerous position in front of the combined armies of Grant and Buell which it had never been the intention of the Confederate generals to assume. The numbers on each side, during Sunday, were about equal. Many raw troops on each side were easily disorganized, but both the Northern and Southern soldiers mainly fought with splendid steadfastness. That the Confederates so uniformly drove back the opposing lines, and at night held complete victory so near at hand, is a splendid testimonial to their soldiership.

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