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The battle of Shiloh, April 6, 1862. [from the New Orleans, La., Picayune, Dec. 27, 1903, and Jan. 24, 1904.]

By Captain James Dinkins.
After the surrender of the Southern forces at Fort Donelson, in February, 1862, the Confederates abandoned Kentucky and mobilized at Corinth, Miss. The troops under General Bragg were also drawn from Pensacola, and such, also, as were at New Orleans.

This combined force, at the suggestion of General Beauregard, was reorganized into three army corps. The First, commanded by Major-General Polk, 10,000 strong, was made up of two divisions, under Major B. F. Cheatham and Brigadier-General Clarke, respectively, of two brigades each.

The Second, under Major-General Bragg, was arranged in two divisions also, commanded by Brigadier-General Withers and Ruggles, with three brigades each, and numbered about fifteen thousand men.

The Third Corps, commanded by Major-General Hardee, was formed of three brigades not in division, and three brigades under Brigadier-General Breckinridge, and numbered about thirteen thousand men.

There was also a cavalry force, about four thousand strong, which had not been armed. The entire Confederate army was under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston, with General Beauregard second in command. General Beauregard was specially charged with the duty of getting the organization perfected and in preparing the troops for an early campaign.

While the Confederates were thus occupied, the Federals were actively engaged also in preparations for the impending campaign.

General Grant, with the three divisions which had been engaged at Fort Donelson, was now at Pittsburg Landing, on the Tennessee river. Soon after his arrival he was followed by three other divisions, commanded by Sherman, Hurlbut, and Prentiss.

The Federal force at this time consisted of six large divisions, suitably armed and equipped, and eight regiments of cavalry; besides, a splendid corps of artillery, made up of the best batteries in use. [299]

On April 2, 1862, these hostile armies camped within eighteen miles of each other without any barrier between them—that is, no river or impassable object.

It will be remembered that the Federal army was greatly elated over the success it achieved at Fort Donelson, while the Confederates, painfully reminded of that disaster, were anxious and impatient to efface it from the minds of our people.

It was on this day, the afternoon of April 2, that General Johnston decided to attack Grant before Buell, who was moving with all dispatch with five strong divisions, could effect a junction with him. General Johnston determined, if possible to take Grant by surprise and defeat him before Buell could arrive. General Beauregard coincided with General Johnston, and urged that the operation be attempted at once.

General Johnston must have felt the great responsibility which rested upon him, because it has been said that he deliberated over his plans until late in the night, weighing with great fairness the reasons in favor of the adventure, as well as considering the objections that were opposed. About midnight he decided to put the army in motion the following day, and trust its fortunes to the uncertainty of battle.

Orders were sent to the corps commanders soon after his decision to hold their troops in readiness to move at a moment's notice, with three days cooked rations and forty rounds of ammunition in the cartridge boxes.

Breckinridge, with his three brigades, was at a little place called Burnsville. He was ordered to move at once to join the main army at Monterey, a cross-roads store.

Forrest, with his regiment of cavalry, was to precede Breckinridge. The following morning the place of battle, the march and all the details were discussed and arranged between Generals Johnston and Beauregard.

The country intervening between the opposing forces was thickly wooded, and there were only three narrow roads upon which our army could move. It was a most difficult enterprise, fraught with unavoidable delays and extremely hazardous in any event. The greatest difficulty was in moving the artillery, and the success of the movement also depended upon keeping the enemy in ignorance. It was impossible to keep the men quiet; they were yelling and laughing night and day, and hourly firing off their guns. It must be understood [300] that this was early in the war; the men were not soldiers, and therefore subject to little or no discipline.

General Johnston explained in person to Generals Polk, Bragg and Hardee his plans, and they were directed to put their forces in motion. Nothing could have been more inspiring than the spirit and enthusiasm with which the entire army entered upon the movement.

At noon of April 3 the whole army was ready to begin the march. From some cause, however, the First Corps, though ready and anxious, did not move at the hour appointed, and therefore did not bivouac that night as far in advance as General Johnston expected they would do.

During the night of April 3 it rained very heavily, and this greatly retarded the movements. Bragg did not advance the second day beyond Monterey, whereas it was expected that by the evening of the 4th the whole army would be near enough the enemy to attack on the morning of tha 5th. It has never been satisfactorily explained why Polk's and Bragg's Corps were so long making the march over the short distance from Corinth to Monterey. A cavalry force was sent in advance to obtain information of the country. General Johnston had not been able to acquire the topographical iuformation needed, and he therefore sought to learn all he could through this means.

The cavalry officers were charged to be very careful in their work lest the enemy learn of the movement, but the spirit of the officers and men was such they could not be restrained, and they injudicially ran into the enemy's camps.

This circumstance ought to have warned the Federal general of what was to follow, but, strange to relate, he remained indifferent to the evidences of the coming tempest.

General Johnston depended on being ready to attack on Saturday, and he did so with every show of reason, but Polk's Corps did not reach the point designated until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon of April 5. Bragg's Corps was likewise slow in getting up, although Generals Johnston and Beauregard kept their staff officers busy the entire time urging the troops forward.

General Johnston was greatly annoyed that he had been balked in his plans and expectations, but it was too late for a decisive battle that day.

Thus situated, General Johnston called his corps commanders together and discussed with them, within less than two miles of Shiloh [301] Church, where Sherman had his headquarters, what his plans were for the following day.

The night of the 5th many of the men were without food; they had either consumed the three days rations in two days or had thrown them away. This situation was critical, but General Bragg agreed to issue a fresh supply of rations during the night. General Beauregard thought it would be best to abandon the enterprise, and earnestly advised General Johnston to return to Corinth. He was satisfied that it was scarcely possible to surprise the Yankees after all the noise and demonstrations made. He thought the enemy would be found in trenches and awaiting the attack.

General Johnston had depended on the belief of being able to assail them unawares. He knew his success rested on that, because the Yankees were superior in numbers and equipments; furthermore, a large part of them had been under fire at Donelson and were veterans. On the other hand, the Confederates were raw recruits mostly; they had never been under fire, and few of them had any knowledge of discipline or of how to take care of themselves in camp. These things, and the opinions of his officers that it would not be possible to surprise the enemy, caused General Johnston serious thought. He gave attention to the views and opinions advanced, but said he still hoped the Yankees were not looking for offensive operations and that he would be able to surprise them.

He stated that, having put the army in motion, he would not retire. As soon as his decision was announced the officers in conference returned to their commands with hopeful spirits, although they had little expectation of accomplishing a surprise.

Before leaving Corinth General Johnston prepared an address, which was read to the troops, and, believing that all old soldiers will be glad to see a copy, we give it herewith.

headquarters army of the Mississippi, Corinth, April 4, 1862.
Soldiers of the Army of the Mississippi, —I have put you in motion to offer battle to the invaders of your country. With the resolution and discipline and valor becoming men fighting, as you are, for all worth living or dying for, you can but march to a decisive victory over the agrarian mercenaries sent to subjugate and despoil you of your liberties, your property, your honor.

Remember the precious stake involved.

Remember the dependence of your mothers, your wives, your [302] sisters and your children on the result. Remember the fair, broad, abounding land, the happy homes that will be desolated by your defeat. The eyes and hopes of eight millions of people rest upon you. You are expected to show yourselves worthy of your lineage, worthy of the women of the South, whose noble devotion in this war has never been exceeded in any time.

With such incentives to brave deeds, and with the trust that God is with us, your generals will lead you confidently to the combat, assured of success.

A. S. Johnston, General Commanding.

As has been stated, Colonel Forrest led the advance of Breckinridge's command to Monterey. There he was detached for picket duty along what is known as Lick creek. During Saturday he had several unimportant skirmishes and when night arrived, leaving his regiment under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, he rode to the headquarters of General Johnston to ascertain what was on foot for the next day and what he was expected to do.

Forrest was a great favorite with General Johnston. He appreciated his work at Fort Donelson and the service he performed at Nashville, in removing the army stores after the retreat from that place.

Greeting Forrest very cordially, General Johnston expressed his strong confidence in him and his regiment, after which he explained what was expected. They there parted, and never met again.

The two armies were in close proximity and, despite the precautions urged during the day, to avoid all noise calculated to divulge their presence, there was no effort or desire on the part of the men to be circumspect. Fully half of the Confederate army was composed of wholly raw and undisciplined men; they could not be called soldiers, although they were as gallant a band as ever faced an enemy.

Fires were built, drums beaten, guns discharged and in some regiments the greatest tumult was kept up nearly all night. Why the Federal commander did not understand the situation is surely a mystery.

Long before day Sunday morning everything was astir and after a hearty breakfast the lines were formed.

Hardee's Corps, composed of Hindman's, Cleburne's and Wood's Brigades, numbering 6,789 men, infantry and artillery, augmented by Gladden's Brigade, 2,200 strong—about 8,500 bayonets—formed [303] the first line. The line was formed on the ground where the men had bivouacked. The second line was some five hundred yards rearward, and was made up of Bragg's Corps, consisting of Anderson's, Gibson's and Pond's Brigades of Ruggle's Division, and Chalmer's and J. K. Jackson's Brigades of Wither's Division—some 10,000 bayonets. The First Corps, under General Polk, not over 8,500 bayonets, was formed in column of brigades, about a half mile to the rear of Bragg, and was composed of A. P. Stewart's, Cheatham's, B. R. Johnson's, Stevens' and Russell's Brigades. Breckinridge, with Trabue's, Bowen's and Stratham's Brigades—6,000 bayonets-constituted the reserve. The above figures are correct. They are taken from the reports made just before the movement began, and are authentic.

About sunrise Generals Johnston and Beauregard, with their staff officers, met near where General Johnston had camped and watched Hardee's line move forward.

Very soon afterward about 34,000 Confederate infantry and fifty cannon were moving, and with a bearing and confidence never surpassed.

They expected to find the enemy, but had no certain knowledge of his strength or his position. They knew, however, he was near at hand, in the fog and dense woods, with superior numbers and equipments, because they heard their numerous drums the evening before.

A heavy fog hung low in the woods, and as Hardee's men moved forward they expected to find the enemy at every step. Forward plunged those gallant fellows into the mist, not knowing nor caring what they found to resist their onset. To find the enemy as quickly as possible and overwhelm him was the purpose sought.

To better serve the reader, it may be well to explain that two small streams which rise near each other west of Monterey, one, Lick creek, empties eastward, while Owl creek flows westward; between them is an undulating ridge and numerous ravines. The recent heavy rains had filled all the creeks and branches, and made the ground very boggy, therefore the artillery was moved with difficulty. The few roads were narrow and the woods were cumbered with undergrowth. There were few fields, and they were of small area. Near the mouth of Lick creek is what was known as Pittsburg Landing, about which place and along the ridge described was camped the Federal Army.

Sherman had three brigades, supported by eighteen guns and a [304] regiment of cavalry, camped along the Pittsburg road, while his headquarters were in the Shiloh Church.

Immediately in his front was a deep ravine and creek. Sherman's force numbered 9,200 bayonets and eighteen guns. To the left of Sherman was Prentiss—6,000 bayonets and twelve guns. To the rear of, and in supporting distance of Sherman, was McClernand's Division, the heroes of Fort Donelson—7,300 bayonets and eighteen guns. Still further in the rear was Hurlbut's Division—7,500 bayonets and eighteen guns—and W. H. L. Wallace—7,000 bayonets and eighteen guns; total infantry, 37,000, and eighty-four guns.

In a letter written to the Cincinnati Gazette by its war correspondent at the time, which we have before us, it is stated that Grant had twenty-six batteries and 40,000 infantry engaged. While the Confederates were moving the Yankee soldiers lay sleeping in their cozy tents. There was no line of pickets around their camp outside of the ordinary camp sentinels. They were confident, or seemed to be, that no harm threatened and no disaster could befall them. A few of the enemy were up cooking breakfast, while yet a few were eating around their well-stocked mess chests. Their guns and accoutrements were scattered around in disorder, while the Confederates moved swiftly through the woods in search of them. The Confederates were inspired by hopes of victory, and surged onward until the white tents could be seen through the mist and trees.

Hilderbrand's Brigade of Sherman's Division was the first to receive the attack. His sentinels, taken by surprise, fired off their guns as they ran, closely pursued by the Confederates. There has never been a more complete surprise of an army in history. Officers and men were killed or wounded in their beds, while large numbers ran without taking time to pick up guns or anything else.

Hilderbrand's Brigade (Ohioans) were swept from the earth, almost, and so badly scattered that they were not formed during the battle. Those escaping had no heart to return.

Next Prentiss' Division was assailed and driven in great confusion. In the mentime three brigades of Sherman's Division, on the left, aroused by the din and uproar, had time to form, but were attacked by Ruggle's Division of Bragg's Corps. Sherman, as has been stated, occupied a formidable position, but he could not stand the impetuous movement of the Confederates, and fell back, leaving six guns on the field. Very soon McClernand came up, but both he and Sherman were swept from the field until they reached a road leading from Purdy to Hamburg. Along this road they formed, [305] and posted every battery they could find in a thick wood with a ravine in front. On dashed Ruggles and a part of Polk's Corps, with a fury and vim which could not be withstood, and the Yankees broke again, leaving twelve pieces of artillery on the field.

Hurlbut, who was camped in the rear, apprised of the trouble by the incessant roar of musketry and artillery, sent a brigade to support Sherman, and went with his two other brigades to help Prentiss. Prentiss' Division, however, had broken into fragments, which passed through Hurlbut's line in disorder. The victorious Confederates, led by General James R. Chalmers, with his brigade of Mississippians and Jackson's Brigade, speedily assailed Hurlbut with such vehemence that he was swept back like leaves before the wind. By this time the whole front of the Federal encampment was in possession of the Confederates. Everywhere, on every hand, could be seen supplies, baggage, and equipage. No Oriental army was ever encumbered by a more luxurious and abundant supply.

In the meantime, Cheatham's and Clark's Divisions of Polk's Corps were strenuously engaged on the left, where Sherman had gone to try and redeem his losses in the morning. He was driven from every position and sent toward the river, until, reaching a lot of ravines with timber-covered banks, he poured a desolating fire into the noble ranks of the Confederates. But, resuming the onset with great spirit, the Confederates drove their enemy nearer the river.

W. H. L. Wallace, with his Donelson soldiers, now came into action, and his men fought with desperation. The enemy by this time had been driven to within a mile of Pittsburg Landing, where they massed what remained of their artillery and infantry.

In the meantime, owing to the nature of the country, the ravines and creeks, interlaced with underbrush, and the broad scope of country, the Confederates had become greatly scattered and disordered. Brigades had become separated. Regiments had been dislocated, and troops from all three corps were mingling together. Notwithstanding the great victory, there was a lack of order and harmony, and, although confident of the final issue, there was no effort to push on. Numerous colonels and brigade commanders, who had led with distinguished courage, who had stimulated their men by their example, were separated from their divisions, uncertain what was best to do.

General Johnston, however, was actively at work getting the line in order, and, beaming with pride over the marvelous success of his 20 [306] plans, determined to stimulate the charge by his personal presence where the battle was raging fiercest. He led two brigades which had faltered and wrested the position fought for.

It has been said that General Grant did not reach the field until after midday. He had gone to Savannah Saturday, where he slept that night, but the sound of the guns told him of the battle, and when he reached Pittsburg Landing he found the river bank alive with his men, fleeing from the danger which had swept them from their beds in the early morning.

His forces were routed and thousands of fugitives were crouching under the banks and in the ravines. They could not be rallied or incited to return to their commands. When he arrived, however, there were at least 60,000 muskets in the dreadful work. The continuous roll and roar and blaze of small arms, the shriek and crash of rifle shells through the trees, the explosion of shells and the reverberating of more than a hundred cannon, besides the yells of the Confederates, formed one of the bloodiest scenes of modern times.

Early in the morning General Gladden fell, mortally wounded. He was leading his brigade with great enthusiasm. General Gladden was a citizen of New Orleans, full of the instincts which have won renown for Southern soldiers, and was among the first to take up arms. His death was a great loss and a great misfortune. He had already distinguished himself, but had he lived no one can say to what eminence he would have risen. It has been said that when Gladden fell, half of his men ran toward him, and finally, under a desolating fire, began to falter.

Then Colonel Daniel W. Adams assumed command, and seizing a flag, dashed forward upon the Yankee lines. The men, animated by his gallant act, rushed to his standard, and drove the enemy pell mell and captured seven stand of colors from Prentiss' Division.

On another part of the field Brigadier-General Thomas Hindman, while pressing his brigade forward with undaunted nerve, constantly in front, drew down on him a concentrated fire of the enemy, under which he was severely wounded.

After noon the men were worn out, and notwithstanding the enemy was crowded back to the river, that is to say, scarcely a mile distant, there was no concentration which could give an effective last blow. As a consequence the enemy was strengthening its lines.

General Johnston, meanwhile, threw himself in the charge of a brigade and received a wound in the leg. A mortal wound it proved. [307] He died from loss of blood in the arms of his devoted brotherin-law, Colonel William Preston, of Kentucky. The scene of this unfortunate occurrence was in a hollow, which obscured him from the army, and the loss of the commander was not known until that night. General Johnston was among the great generals of the day. When war was declared he was in California, and General Fitz-John Porter, his former adjutant, was sent by the Washington government to offer him the command of the Federal armies. There is no question that had he signified the wish he would have been Commander-in-Chief of the United States forces.

About the time of General Johnston's death, General Bragg applied through his aide, Colonel Urquhart, for a diversion against some batteries, which were holding his line at bay, and Breckinridge, with the reserve, was thrown into action. His line was formed on the lower part of a sloping ledge, from which he gave the order to advance.

Breckinridge,” said an old soldier, a few days ago, speaking of this circumstance, ‘as he sat upon his horse, surrounded by his staff, looked more like an equestrian statue than a living man, except the fiery gleam in his eyes, when he received the order.’

In front was a deserted camp, to all appearances, and as the noble Kentuckians moved forward everything was silent. Through the camp Breckinridge passed, and still there was silence, but not long; for a few steps beyond a stream of flame burst at their breasts, mowing them down fearfully, and heaping the ground with dead and wounded.

There was a momentary check, and they gave back to the woods, while the bullets rattled through the trees and reached far behind, killing a number of artillerists a mile distant. The Kentuckians receded, but only for a few moments, then closing their depleted ranks, they advanced again, animated by the gallant conduct of their officers, and forced the Yankees back. It was a desperate fight, and the ground was strewn with dead Federals and Confederates.

By this time Withers' Division of Bragg's Corps, with a portion of Hardee's Corps, which had become detached from his main force, massed on Breckinridge, whose position was the extreme right of the Confederate line. General Bragg then assumed command of the whole, and dashed at the Federal lines with a resistless weight, which forced them back beyond the camps of Wallace and Hurlbut. In this magnificent charge the Confederates captured two battalions and [308] nearly four thousand prisoners, most of them belonging to Prentiss' Division.

About the same time, General Polk, with his command, and Ruggles' Division of Bragg's Corps, made a strenuous effort to end the battle, and for some time it looked as if the enemy would all be killed or captured. They ran in great confusion, leaving behind everything which would impede their flight. The Federal officers made every effort to rally the fugitives, and succeeded in halting and forming a large number along the ridge which overhung Pittsburg Landing. A great many, however, could not be halted, and they tumbled over the bluff, where they joined those who ran from the field in the morning, forming a mass, or a dense mob, of frightened and panic-stricken people, whose conduct and condition were pitiable and contemptible.

These cowardly whelps, who had marched forth to plunder and destroy, now shivered in fear for their safety. This situation was the most auspicious one during the war to destroy the enemy.

The Confederates, however, did not take advantage of the opportunity to push on until too late.

General Grant has been given great credit for the final result at Shiloh, but the credit for saving his army from utter annihilation belongs to his chief of staff, Colonel Webster, who, observing the great peril of his people, began to plant upon the ridge every gun he could find—guns which had been saved from the stampede, and guns which had not been engaged. Federal writers state that there were sixty guns in position, including four 32-pounders, two batteries of 20-pounder parrots and a number of field batteries, before the Confederates essayed to move forward.

The position was naturally a strong one, besides being protected by timber and heavy undergrowth, which gave shelter to the enemy and impeded the advance of the Confederates. There was also a deep ravine separating the ridge from the approach in front.

The air was filled with shouts and cheers from the Confederates, who had won a great victory. They knew it, and impatiently waited for orders to make it complete and final.

General Beauregard, who was now in command, grasped the situation and sent his staff officers in all directions urging a forward movement of the whole force upon the shattered fragments of the enemy. General Beauregard has been severely and ignorantly criticised for this delay, but the facts are he did everything in his power to forward the line, so as to keep close on the heels of the fugitives [309] before they could rally. It will soon be forty-two years since that eventful day, and yet the mass of people believe that General Beauregard was at fault for not pushing on. The writer has also shared in that belief, but from a careful examination of every circumstance which I have been able to review, and from conversations with some of those who participated in the battle, I am thoroughly satisfied that the fault was with the company, regimental and brigade officers, who allowed the men to halt in the Federal camps and regale themselves with the tempting food and other spoil.

After the staff officers had succeeded in recalling the line officers to their duty, they immediately began to collect their men for an advance.

Howbeit, those tired and exhausted men had lost the inspiration of an hour before, and moved with less enthusiasm. The officers realized, however, that only an hour of daylight remained, and began to make amends for their inactivity while in the enemy's camp.

This came too late though, because Buell's Corps was arriving, which gave strength and force to the line which Colonel Webster had formed. The situation was desperate. The enemy had made a last stand, like a dog at bay in a corner of a fence, from which there was no escape but to fight with desperation. Finally the Confederate line moved forward in the terrible work, which failed, because of the impossibility of reaching the Federal line through the storm of shell and grape shot and bullets which filled the air and plowed up the ground. An example of the fruitless effort may give a better idea of the cause which made it impossible.

The 18th Louisiana Regiment, led by that gallant soldier, Colonel Mouton, moved forward to capture a battery some six hundred yards distant. The regiment advanced without support, and soon became exposed to a cross-fire from three batteries. Nevertheless, these superb Louisianians pressed on to within sixty yards of the Federal guns, but were then beaten back, leaving over two hundred of their members dead or wounded on the ground.

Another characteristic charge was made on the extreme Confederate right by General Chalmers, with his own and a part of J. K. Jackson's Brigade. General Bragg, who dubbed General Chalmers ‘The Little Game Cock,’ sent him an order to go into the enemy's lines. The order was received just before night, and his men, like all the others in that magnificent army, had been engaged for ten hours without respite; but when General Chalmers received the word, he placed himself in front of his troops and called on them to follow. [310] Forward rushed the Mississippians with an impetuosity rarely equaled; they passed over the ravine and up the slope, yelling at the top of their voices. The ridge bristled with cannon and bayonets, and the shot and shell from thirty cannon and ten thousand rifles tore and crashed through the noble ranks, leaving the field covered with their dead and wounded.

Onward they pressed, despite the impediments, until the line was within fifty yards of the Federal batteries. The scene was desperate. Nothing could have been superior to the conduct of the Mississipians; but men could not stand the storm which rained iron and lead from front and both flanks, and they fell back into the ravine.

These are only two of the stories of the closing scenes of Sunday. There were a series of disjointed attacks upon the battery of sixty-five guns and 30,000 infantry by fragments of brigades already worn out from fatigue and hunger.

Night coming on, General Beauregard directed that the troops be brought out of the battle and collected and restored to their commands. The encampments which the enemy had been driven from were occupied by the Confederates, who feasted on the numerous stores left behind.

General Beauregard has been unjustly blamed for withdrawing the troops on Sunday night. Some of his general officers took occasion to say:

They were in the act of ending the day's victory by an impetuous rush into the Federal lines which would have driven him into the river.

This story has been told ever since the battle, and people have accepted the statement as true, and told to others as the gospel truth. I have heard these stories told by numerous men who participated in the battle. They believe them. Some said General So-and-so asserted it, therefore it was true. If anyone who desires to know the facts, and will read the reports of the different division, brigade, and regimental commanders, he will find that nearly every command had withdrawn from the fight before the order from General Beauregard reached them.

The true reason why this battle of Sunday, April 6, fell short of a complete victory is perfectly plain to anyone who will give the subject careful investigation. Certainly the facts should be stated and the responsibility placed where it belongs. The writer has, during all the intervening years, believed that General Beauregard displayed [311] bad judgment in withdrawing the troops. He has been under the impression that he did so in the midst of rushing columns and victorious yells; but this is not true.

To begin with, the Confederates opened the battle on empty stomachs. They were hotly engaged for ten hours, and were tired, hungry and battle-jaded, when they had driven the enemy from Hurlbut's encampment. Finding large quantities of commissary and quartermaster stores, feeling they had earned a rest, as well as dinner, they began a raid on the camp chests and officers' tents for spoils. The officers were just as hungry as the men, and nearly an hour was lost at a time when the fate of a nation depended upon prompt movements and vigorous actions.

But the men were exhausted from fatigue and hunger. During this inaction of the Confederates, Colonel Webster, of the Federal staff, was massing the Yankee artillery and infantry along the ridge in front of Lick creek. In the meantime, General Beauregard sent his staff officers along the line with orders to ‘forward’ without delay. There was great difficulty in getting the men back in line, and when they had formed, much of the enthusiasm and excitement which characterized them before had given place to lassitude.

Again they moved with indomitable force, but night was coming on, and the enemy massed along a strong position, met the assault with concentrated batteries and massed infantry. Incidentally, the shot and shell trimmed the ranks of the noble Confederates, until the impetus of the attack slackened in the face of such odds and such destruction. During these last charges General Beauregard led in person, carrying the battle flag of the Crescent Regiment. Even such a noble example could not restore the lost forces of officers and men, and by common consent the battle ended.

From a careful study of the battle, the writer finds no hesitation in asserting that General Beauregard did everything in the power of a commander to push the battle to a final conclusion, and I seek this opportunity to record my humble opinion to that end. Had General Johnston lived, the result would have been the same, because the men were limp and distressed.

Meanwhile, night came on and shrouded the field in darkness, and thus ended the first day's battle. A deep silence settled upon the scene of such bloody carnage; but that was soon broken by the firing of the heavy guns from the Federal gunboats, whose shells exploded over the Confederate camps and scattered in shrieking fragments in every direction. [312]

The Confederates, however, were too much fatigued to allow their est disturbed. Thousands of dead and wounded, both Federal and Confederate, lay spread upon the battle-field. Their low wails and moans sent a thrill of deep sorrow to every heart, but there was no power to relieve them all.

During the night the prisoners were collected together at Shiloh Church, near General Beauregard's headquarters. Among them was the Federal General, Prentiss, who, together with his division, had been captured during one of the mighty rushes of the day. A member of the Crescent Regiment informed the writer that Prentiss was captured by that regiment, and he offered his sword to Colonel Marshall J. Smith, who magnanimously stated he would send for an officer of similar rank to Prentiss to receive it, which he did.

During the night it rained heavily, but the Confederates, under cover of the Yankee tents, slept, hopefully dreaming of a great victory to-morrow.

While they thus reposed, Buell, with four strong divisions, was landing at Pittsburg, and formed for the morrow. He had 25,000 fresh troops to aid the Federals, while on the Confederate side there was not a man who had not fought for the greater part of Sunday.

The Confederates had lost in killed and wounded 6,500 officers and men, to which must be added many stragglers incident to all battles, so that not over 20,000 Confederates could have been found for duty on Monday morning. Furthermore, they were scattered widely, here and there, among the Yankee encampments. Regiments of Bragg's Corps were mingled with those of Hardee's or Polk's and so on. They camped where they found subsistence and tents.

General Grant, it seems, directed that the offensive be assumed at dawn. He was anxious to efface the disaster of Sunday, and now that Buell was at hand, and realizing that the Confederates were worn out and could bring no fresh troops to their aid, he wisely took advantage of the opportunity.

Buell was an old army officer, an accomplished soldier, martial by nature, and acquainted with the theory of big operations. Grant knew this, and felt conscious of his advantage.

General Beauregard had not been able to use his cavalry to advantage, owing to the character of the country, but Forrest (who was a colonel), with his wonted impatience of the least delay, dismounted his men and led them in several desperate charges. [313]

After nightfall, Forrest went into camp on the slope of a ravine, where he found forage and subsistence for his men.

Finding no superior officers at hand, he threw out a picket as near as possible to the enemy, and sent a trusted lieutenant into their lines to ascertain what they were doing. The lieutenant returned within three hours and reported he had seen heavy re-enforcements arrive by water, and gave it as his opinion that in the great disorder among them, that if an attack were made in force at once, the enemy might be pushed into the river.

Forrest mounted his horse to convey the intelligence to the corps commander. Reaching Generals Hardee and Breckinridge, he advised them what his scout had reported.

Forrest supplemented the information by his opinion that the Confederates should immediately resume the battle, or quit the field and avoid a conflict with overwhelming odds. Hardee directed him to see General Beauregard at once and communicate his information to him. After two hours search through the woods, in the darkness, he was unable to find General Beauregard, and again sought General Hardee, whom he urged to make the attack, but was advised to return to his regiment and keep up a vigilant watch.

Could Forrest have carried out his idea, I verily believe the enemy would have plunged into the river.

About half past 5 o'clock Monday morning a swarm of skirmishers were sent forward by Buell, and soon the sound of so much musketry announced the opening of another day's battle, and the Confederates, though greatly fatigued, sprung into line to struggle for the fruits of yesterday's triumph. Notwithstanding they were tired, the reaction was immediate, and with the greatest alacrity the Confederates went to work, determined to hold what they had won.

Nelson's Division led the Federal line, and Chalmers, with his Brigade of Mississippians and a part of J. K. Jackson's, under Colonel Joe Wheeler, were the first Confederates to become engaged.

Nelson pushed forward with vigor, while the Confederates were ordered to retire slowly and concentrate their strength. About 8 o'clock General Hardee had massed his own corps and Withers' Division of Bragg's Corps, and the fighting began in good earnest.

Nelson's advance was checked, but he quickly pushed forward Hazen's Brigade of regulars, and the Confederates were driven from their position. General Hardee, however, concentrated his force and sent Hazen back, and then hurled Nelson headlong from the [314] field. It was 9 o'clock, and Nelson sent every available staff officer calling for aid.

In this brilliant affair the Confederate officers led their men most nobly.

Said General Hardee,

General Chalmers, seizing the colors of a regiment, as his brigade wavered, rode forward, waiving the flag above his head; the men rallied, and, resuming the offensive, carried the contested point.

At the same time, Colonel Wheeler did the like with the flag of the 19th Alabama, and Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Rankin, of Mississippi, lost his life giving a conspicuous example of determined courage to his regiment.

Nelson was re-enforced by Crittenden's Division, and a desperate struggle for the mastery raged on that part of the field until about 1 o'clock. Neither side gained any material advantage. In the meantime, McClernand and McCook on the right, and Sherman and Lew Wallace were opposing Polk. The battle raged with fury, while fresh troops were sent to re-enforce the Federal lines.

The Yankees reeled and rushed rearward, then, caught by supporting columns, they returned to the fray. Sherman had been driven back a mile, where he was re-enforced and made a desperate struggle to hold his position.

Here Rousseau's Federal Brigade was pitted against Trabue's Kentuckians. Both fought with much determination to win, but the Yankees were repulsed, and then Wallace was so pressed it looked as if he must surrender.

McCook's two brigades rushed to his assistance, and Federal writers state there were 20,000 troops opposed to the Confederates at that point.

The impetuosity of the Confederate attacks had worn them out, and in the face of such odds there was no alternative but to withdraw. In every instance on the field of Shiloh the Confederate troops were animated by the greatest intrepidity on the part of their officers.

The battle had opened at daylight; had raged furiously from right to left for more than five hours; and, notwithstanding the odds and the fresh troops sent against them, despite their two days engagement, the Confederates had not receded an inch from the ground upon which they had formed.

General Beauregard, seeing the unprofitable nature of the struggle, [315] decided not to prolong it, and gave orders to retire, but to turn and fight when it became necessary.

About 2 o'clock, accordingly, the movement began and was carried out with a steadiness never exceeded by veterans anywhere.

The enemy was so stunned and crippled they made no effort to pursue. General Beauregard planted his artillery on a favorable ridge which commanded the road and opened on the Federal position, but there was no response.

There was absolutely no desire on the part of the Federals to pursue. General Breckinridge, who was assigned to the duty of covering the retreat, camped at a point not over four miles from Pittsburg Landing.

Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles in history. General Beauregard officially stated his loss at 1,720 killed, 8,012 wounded and 959 missing, an aggregate of 10,699.

Swinton places the Federal loss at 15,000, making the combined losses over 25,000.

Tuesday afternoon, Colonel Forrest, with two companies of his regiment, was acting as rear guard, when suddenly a force of the enemy advanced in three lines of battle. About this time Captain Isaac Harrison, with his company from Wirt Adams' Regiment, and two companies of the 8th Texas, and a company of Kentuckians, under Captain John Morgan, opportunely came up, making Forrest's force about 350 strong.

There was a favorable ridge just to the rear, and Forrest determined to hold it if possible until his regiment could be brought up.

He formed in line, and very quickly two regiments of cavalry and a regiment of infantry were thrown forward to attack him.

The infantry advanced at a charge bayonets. The line was well preserved, until it reached a branch, where there was some confusion. Forrest, with his characteristic quickness of sight and wonted hardihood, determined to charge the Federal infantry.

He called to the bugler to sound the charge, and forward dashed the Confederate cavalrymen in superb order, yelling and shouting. They moved so quickly and unexpectedly, they were upon the enemy before they had time to anticipate it. At twenty paces, the boys gave a volley with their shotguns, then rushed on with their pistols.

So sudden was the onset that despite their numbers the Yankee cavalry broke in disorder, and rushing back through the woods, ran over their infantry, creating a scene of confusion unequaled probably, [316] save at Brice's Crossroads, on January 10, 1864, when Forrest annihilated Sturges. Numbers of the Federal infantry were mowed down, while others used their bayonets against the horses, and they, falling, threw their riders, bruised, to the ground.

Before the infantry could recover, Forrest was upon them, and they broke as well as the cavalry.

It is said that men are merciless on some occasions. On this one, the Yankees, fleeing for their lives, were pursued by their eager, excited enemy for some hundred yards, and the loss was heavy in killed and wounded, besides about one hundred prisoners.

There was no further interference from the Federals.

Causes of the Confederate failure.

There were so many causes and incidents connected with the battle of Shiloh which affected the final results that we are self-persuaded to set forth, as far as we are able, the mistakes of the Confederate forces.

Both sides have claimed the advantage. The Confederates do so upon the fact that they captured a large number of prisoners, artillery and colors, which they carried from the field, the complete rout of the Federals on Sunday, and also that they were able to hold the ground upon which the battle had been fought until 2 P. M. Monday, when General Beauregard withdrew from an unprofitable combat. He withdrew in the best order, taking with him all the captured cannon for which there was transportation. Furthermore, the enemy had been so completely battered and stunned, that even the 25,000 veterans which Buell launched the second day, were unable to pursue.

The Federals claim the victory upon the ground that on Monday evening they had recovered their encampments and possession of the field of battle, from which the Confederates had retired, leaving behind their dead and a number of wounded.

Now, then, we must remember that the Confederates uniformly took the offensive and were the assailants. The reports of the Federal officers show that they were ingloriously defeated during Sunday, and worsted on Monday from 9 A. M. to 2 P. M., after which time they were able to hold their own and check their antagonists. (See the reports of Generals Wallace, Nelson, Crittenden and others, Rebellion Records, Vol. 4.)

After 2 P. M. Monday, when General Beauregard withdrew, there [317] was a complete lull in the battle until about 4 P. M., at which time the Federals began to advance.

In order to present the causes and follow the events, let us begin with the time when the Confederate army was at Corinth.

Generals Johnston and Beauregard met at 1 o'clock on the night of April 2, and deliberated over the coming movement. At halfpast 1 o'clock on the morning of the 3d the corps commanders were notified to be in readiness to move at a moment's notice. By noon of that day the whole Confederate army was under arms and ready to begin the march. Each corps commander received orders to move at a certain hour, and over specified roads. From some unexplained cause the First Corps did not cover the distance expected, and therefore did not meet General Johnston's expectations.

Moreover, it rained very heavily during the night of the 3d, and Bragg's Corps could not advance beyond Monterey on the second day, which was the 4th of April, whereas Generals Johnston and Beauregard confidently expected that by the night of the 4th the whole army would bivouac near enough to the enemy to be able to attack on the morning of the 5th.

General Polk's Corps did not reach the vicinity of the designated point until 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, April 5. Bragg's Corps was likewise inexplicably slow in arriving. It was known by the corps commanders that General Johnston desired to attack Saturday, the 5th. Instead of being able to attack Saturday, however, General Johnston was confronted with the loss of the greatest opportunity of the war. He well knew that Buell could not reach Pittsburg Landing before Monday evening, and to have attacked Grant, as he expected, on Saturday morning, meant the destruction of the Federal army.

General Johnston was supremly chagrined that he had been balked in his rightful expectations, and he was forced to see pass the opportunity which his plan made possible. His success had depended on the power to assail Grant unexpectedly. Grant's force was superior in numbers, and a large part of it had seen service and been under fire, while, on the other hand, the Confederates were too raw, and too recently enlisted to send them against breastworks with confidence. Success, therefore, as we have stated, depended on taking the Federals unawares, before they could fortify their position.

It is proper to state again (in some extenuation) that it began to rain very heavily during the night of the 3d, which softened the [318] roads and retarded the movement of the troops. It would seem, however, that the corps commanders, aware of the importance of surprising the enemy, would have used greater efforts to impel the men along. Will anyone believe that Jackson or Forrest would have failed to be there?

To explain very clearly how disappointed General Beauregard was over the failure to attack Saturday, we may say that he advised General Johnston to abandon the enterprise. He believed that the enemy was aware of the close proximity of the Confederates, and would, therefore, be found in breastworks.

General Johnston gave grave and earnest attention to his views, and doubtless coincided in them, but said he still hoped the enemy was not looking for them.

Lord Napier said: ‘That celerity in war depends as much on the experience of the troops as upon the energy of the general.’

Forrest said: ‘Success depends on getting there first with the most men.’

Stonewall Jackson said: ‘Attack as soon as you have come upon the enemy. Do not wait for stragglers to catch up, because it is very likely the enemy straggles also.’ There can be no doubt, had the Confederates attacked early Saturday morning, the Federal army would have been captured or destroyed. As a matter of fact, on Sunday evening Grant's army was a wrecked and shivering mass, and had Monday dawned upon them without the aid of Buell, the end would have been at hand.

One reason why the battle of Sunday fell short of a complete victory is, that after the battle was at its height, near noon, the corps and division officers, who should have been occupied with keeping their forces concentrated and in order, so as to be able to hurl them in masses against the shattered enemy, were in front of the lines leading regiments and brigades into action. They were inspired by the events of the moment, and, of course, did a great deal by their personal example; they led with great intrepidity, but their place was with the mass of their commands, and not leading the advance regiments.

Everything goes to prove that there was little or no concert of action; each brigade acted for itself, particularly after noon, when the attacks were piecemeal entirely. Had each corps been well in hand, to mass and press on, instead of sacrificing the regiments and brigades singly, who will doubt the result? The battle should have [319] ended by 4 o'clock, and would have done so but for the unfortunate absence of discipline and experience.

When the Confederates passed through the enemy's encampments and found such quantities of provisions and booty, they halted and began to help themselves. Good men left the ranks and returned to the rear with bundles of plunder, in some cases sufficient to stock a small store. Then it was the officers failed to do their duty. They should have checked the confusion and kept the men in ranks.

General Buell, in his report of his arrival at Pittsburg Landing, said:

The banks swarmed with a confused mass of men of various regiments; these could not have been less than four or five thousand, and later in the day it became much greater. The throng of demoralized troops increased continually by fresh fugitives from the battle, which steadily closed nearer the landing, and these were intermingled with teams, striving to get as near the river as possible. With few exceptions, all efforts to form the troops and move them forward to the fight utterly failed.

Assuredly the Confederates were at fault for not pressing on, not that it was General Beaureguard's fault, he who urged that movement, but his officers, who allowed the lines to halt in the Yankee camps.

In ending this criticism of Shiloh, and in closing the Confederate column, which we have endeavored to make as interesting to the old boys as we were able to do, we close our work with a reference to a subject not associated with Shiloh alone, but which has become a source of so much ill-feeling and contention on the part of our late enemies, that we deem it of use and as appropriate as a finale to these stories about the war, to place on record the following statement from a Federal newspaper correspondent at Shiloh to the Cincinnati Commercial.

Said he: ‘I am glad to be able to say something good of an army of traitors. * * * No instance came to my knowledge in which our dead or wounded were treated in so diabolical a manner as they were reported to be at Manassas and Pea Ridge. They were invariably, whenever practicable, kindly cared for. * * * A. Heckenlooper tells me that one of his corporals, who was wounded, received many attentions. An officer handed him a rubber blanket, saying that he needed it bad enough, but a wounded man needed it more. [320] Others brought him food and water, and wrapped him in woolen blankets. Such instances were common, and among the hundreds of dead and wounded not one showed signs of barbarity, of which the Rebels are accused.’ Certainly this easily refutes the outrageous slanders made about the treatment of prisoners by the Confederates.

In taking leave of the work in which I have sought to interest my comrades, I can not too warmly express my appreciation for the generous aid which the Picayune has given, and for the liberality in donating a page, and often more, to the stories of the war, which, doubtless, has no interest for a large class of its readers.

If we have contributed anything to the pleasure of the old boys, or stated any facts during the life of the Confederate column, which will give a fair and just conception of the distinctive traits of the Confederate soldier, we are happy to have done so.

‘The battle of the handkerchiefs.’

We are indebted to the Hon. W. H. Seymour for the following very interesting story:

There was a great stir and intense excitement at one time during General Banks' administration. A number of ‘Rebels’ were to leave for the “Confederacy. ” Their friends, amounting to some 20,000 persons, women and children principally, wended their way down to the levee to see them off and to take their last farewell.

Such a quantity of women frightened the officials; they were exasperated at their waving of handkerchiefs, their loud calling to their friends, and their going on to vessels in the vicinity.

Order were given to “Stand back,” but no heed was given; the bayonets were pointed at the ladies, but they were not to be scared. A lady ran across to get a nearer view. An officer seized her by the arm, but she escaped, leaving a scarf in his possession. At last the military received orders to do its duty.

The affair was called the “Pocket handkerchief war,” and has been put in verse, which is quite comical.

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