Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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nonade of two hours; retumii^
thence to Danville and reporting.
The movement of the army south-
ward on transports was continued —
the 46th Ohio, CoL Worthington,
leading, on the transport B. J.
Adams— so far as Savannah, where
it wae landed,*' and proceeded to
take military possession. All the
transports, 69 in number, conveying
nearly 40,000 men, were soon de-
barking the army, with its material,
at and near this place, whence Gen.
Lew. Wallace's division was dis-
patched " to Purdy, a station 16 miles
W.S.W., where the'raih^ad was de-
stroyed. Gen. Sherman's first divi-
sion was next ** conveyed up the river
to Tyler's Landing, just across the
Mississippi State line; whence the
6th Ohio cavalry was dispatched to
Bumsville, on the Memphis and
Charleston road, some miles eastward
of Corinth, which was likewise de-
stroyed without resistance. The ex-
pedition then returned unmolested
to Savannah.

These easy successes, and the &ct
that no enemy came near or seemed
to meditate annoyance, must have
imbued our leading oflScers with a



" July 16-22.



** March 10.



"March 12.



"* March 14.



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GBAHT'S ABKY AT PITT8BUBG LANDING.



69



oootempt for the power or tb9 proweeB
of their en^ny; since onr regiments,
as they arrived, were mai^lj de-
barked at Pittsburg Landing, on the
side of the Tennessee nearest to and
within easy striking distance of the
Bebel headquarters at Oorinth« One
of the six divisions, under CFen. Lew.
Wallace, was encamped nearly op-
posite Savannah ; the other five were
thrown out in a semicircle southward
of Pittsburg Landing, with a front
like a Methodist camp-meeting, strag-
gling from Lick creek on the south
or left, to Snake creek on the north
or right, a distance of some three or
four miles. Gen. Prentiss's division
was encamped across the direct road
to Corinth, with Gen. McGlemand's
behind his right, and Gen. Sherman's
still further to tiie right, with Shiloh
church in his front, on a road lead-
ing also, but more circuitously, to
Corinth. Geo. Hurlbut's division
lay in the rear of Gen. Prentiss.
Gen. Smith's division, commanded,
because of Smith's sickness, by Qen.
W. H. L. Wallace, was on the left of
and behind McClemand, with its
ri^bt near Pittsburg Landing and its
front somewhat protected by the
ravines of two rivulets running iato
Snake creek

Though the vicinity of the enemy
was notorious, not an intrenchment
nor defense of any kind, not even an
abatis, here so easily made, covered
and protected our front; no recon-
noitring parties were thrown for-
ward to watch for and report an ad-
vance of the enemy ; and even the



pickets were scarcely a musket-shot
from the tents of our foremost regi-
ments ; Qome of which, it was asserted,
had not even been provided with
ammunition, though it was known
that the woods, scarcely a mile away,
had suddenly been found swarming
with Bebel scouts and sharp-shooters
in such strength as to forbid observa-
tion on our part** Low but ominous
whispers- and meaning glances of ex-
ultation among the Bebel civilians
in our rear had already given indi-
cations that a blow was about to be
struck; and alarmed Unionists had
sought the t^its of our Generals with
monitions of danger, whiph w^e re-
ceived with sneering intimations that
every one should stick to his trade.
Qen. Grant was at Savannah, super-
intending the reception of supplies.
Such was the condition of our forces
on Saturday evening, April 5th.

Albert Sidney Johnston was prob-
ably the ablest commander at any
time engaged in the Bebel service.
He had braved unpopularity and re-
proach from the h^of chimney-
comer critics who supposed it the
duty of a General to run his head
against every stone-wall within reach,
by refrising to fight losing battles for
BowlingGreen and Nashville, and had
thus brought off his army intact and
undemoralized ; retreatii^ across the
Tennessee and into a region at once
undevastated and unappalled by war,
ftill of resources, wherein devotion
to the Union had been utterly sup-
pressed, if not eradicated, and whence,
by a net-work of railroads and tele-



" « Agirte" [Whitelaw Reid], of the Omcm-
maH OaaeUe, in his report of the battle. Bays :

"We had lain three weeks at PittsbrngLand-
lag; within 20 mOes of the Bebels, tiiat were
tBktkj to attadE us in Boperior numbers, with-



out throwing up a single breastwork or prepar-
ing a single protection for a battery, and with
the brigades of one dirision [Sherman^s]
stretched fh>m extreme right to extreme left of
our line, while four other divisions had been
crowded in between, as thej arrived.**



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60



THE AMBBIOAK OONFLIOT.



graphs, he comimmicated easQy with
Bidunond, and with every portion of
the Cotton States. The recent evao-
uatipn of Oolumbns by Polk was
probably ordered by him, in obedi-
ence to his policy of concentrating
around Corinth the greatest possible
force, with intent to rush upon and
overwhelm the Union army, so care-
lessly encamped just before him on
the hither bank of the Tennessee.
Having a spy in nearly every dwell-
ing in southern Tennessee, he was
doubtless aware that the command
of that army had just been turned
oveir by Qen. C. F. Smith, an expe-
rienced and capable soldier, to Gen.
Grant, so recently fix>m civil life;
and he had no doubt of his ability to
accomplish its destruction. Calling
urgently upon the Qt)vemors of Ten-
nessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana,
for all the troops they could spare
or raise, and being strongly reen-
forced by Gen. Braxton Bragg, with
a drilled corps from Mobile and Pen-
sacola," he had, by the 1st of April,
collected an army of about 50,000."
Moving silently out from Corinth, in
light marching order and without
tents, at 8 A« M., on the 3d, the ad-
vance of his infentry preceded and



mtoked by cavalry, he confidently
expected to attack in full force on
the morning of the 5th; but a heavy
rain on the 4th so deepened the mire
of the narrow, wretched roads, that
his army was by that time but fairly
concentrated at Monterey, thence
moving with the utmost caution un-
til within- three and a half miles of
our pickets, where, unable to advance
farther without braving discovery, he
halted for the night.** Here, with
double guards along his front, in-
structed to shoot any nian who, upon
whatever jwetext, should attempt to
pass, a council of war was held at 8
p. M., and every preparation made for
a stealthy and desperate assault at
daybreak ; while the soldiers, forbid-
den to make fires, sank on th*e cold,
damp ground, under the open sky,
and shivered through a part of the
night. Each Colonel had orders to
have his regiment under arms and
ready to move by 3 a. m.

At early dawn, the advance was
resumed in line of battle : Maj.-Gen.
Hardee, with the 3d corps, in front,
with the 2d, and strongest, under
Gen. Bragg, 500^ yards behind him ;
the 1st, under Gen. Polk, half a mile
in the rear of this, with the reserve.



■* About this time abandoned by the Rebels.

•^ Beauregard, in his field return of the * Ar-
mj of the Mississippi,* before and after the bat-
tle of Shiloh, makes his effectiye total, before
battle, 40,355 men, of whom 4,382 were cayalry,
which he says was useless and oould not oper-
ate at all, the battle-field being so thickly wood-
ed. But this return includes none of his troops
left to guard his base at Corinth, or his trains in
the rear of the battle-field, and conceals the fact
that his cavalry were usefUlly employed in guard-
ing, on their way to Corinth, his prisoners as
weU as his wounded. Beside, when he comes
to sum up his losses, he states the loss of his
oayalry at 301— rather inexplicablei if that cay-
alry was useless and unemployed.



•• "An Impressed New-Yorker," who was
then serying on Beauregard's staf^ in his "Thir-
teen Months in the Bebel Army,*' says:

" While it is no part of my duty, in this narra*
tiye, to criticise military moyementa, and espe-
cially those of the Union forces, I may state that
the total absence of cayalry pickets from Gen.
Grant's army was a matter of perfect amazement
to the Rebel officers. There were absolutely
none on Grant* s leH;, where Gen. Breckinridge's
division was meeting him ; so that We were aUe
to come up within hearing of their drums en-
tirely unperoeived. The Southern Generals al-
ways kept cavalry pickets out for miles, even
wjien no enemy was supposed to be within a
day's march of them. The infantry pickets of
Grant's forces were not above three-fourths of •
mile from his advance camps, and they were too
few to make any resistance."



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THB BBBBL ATTACK AT PITTSBURG LANDING.



61



imder Oen« John O. Breckmridge,
dceely following. This order, how-
erer, was soon sacrificed to the exi-
gencies of the contest.

Bnmois of a Bebel adyance, and
the capture of some of oxir officers
thereby, had reached onr camps on*
Friday ;*• and an* Ohio brigade had
been sent out to reconnoiter, which
had a brash with fk smaller Bebel
force, and pushed it back to a battery
which was found in position near our
lines. Gen. Lew. Wallace's division
was thereupon ordered out, and ad-
vanced to Adamsville, on the road to
Purdy; but, meeting no opponent,
after passing a night in drenching
rain, it returned to its camp. On
Saturday, there was firing along our
front, which ought to have incited
inquiry, if not alarm, but did not.

As day broke,** our pickets in
Prentiss's front came rushing into
camp, barely in advance of the pursu-
ing Rebels, whose shells were tearing
through our tents a moment after-
ward. Some of our men were dress-
ing ; others washing or cooking ; a
few eating their breakfasts ; many,
especially officers, liad not yet risen.
The next instant, magnificent lines
of battle poured out of the woods in
front of our camps, and at double-
quick rushed in upon our bewildered,
half-dressed, and not yet half-formed
men, firing deadly volleys at close
range, then springing upon the help-
lees, coatless, musketless mob with
the bayonet Some fell as they ran ;
others as they emerged from their
tents, or as they strove to buckle on
their accouterments ; some tried to
surrender; but the Rebels could not
stop then to take prisoners. Some
of these were found, tiiough disabled.



still alive, when we recovered those
tents next evening.

Thus was Prentiss's division routed
before it had time to form in line of
battle; and Hildebrand's brigade,
on Sherman's right, was demolished
with equal expedition, in spite of
Sherman's best exertions. His ef-
forts and infiuence, backed by the
most reckless self-exposure, held his
remaining brigades, under Buckland
and McDowell, steady for a time ;
but these were soon compelled to
fall back behind the next ravine,
leaving their camps, with all their
tents and tent equipage, to the enemy.

McClemand's division, comprising
10 raiments and 4 batteries, had
been astonished with the rest, but
not yet directly assailed. Moving
up, at 7 A. M., to the support of Sher-
man, it found his division mostly
gone or going ; its best officers killed
or wounded, its batteries either cap-
tured or badly cut up. Buckland's
brigade, which had gone aft;6r Hilde-
brand's, forming our extreme right
on the front, had fallen back to avoid
certain destruction. To aU practical
intents, and in spite of its leader's
desperate and untiring exertions,
Sherman's division was out of the
fight by 8 o'clock that ominous morn-
ing. It seemed a miracle that their
commander, always in the hottest of
the Rebel fire, escaped with a single
musket-ball through his hand.

Prentiss formed his division as
quickly as possible, and not far in
the rear of their camps, where his
men faced to the front and fought
stubbornly for a time ; but they had
been strangely drawn up in an open
field, leaving to the enemy the cover
of a dense scrub-oak thicket in our



'Aprils.



' On Smidaj, April 6.



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69



THB AlCBSIOAK OOKVLIOT.




FimBITBa LAJIDUrQh



A PcMltiont of Ma).-6«a. Ckant^s forces on the morning
of April «th.



Poflittona of Grant, with the divisions of Nelson snd
Crittenden, on the evening of April 6th.



O Positions of Grsnt snd BneU on the morning of
D



April 7th. -

Positions of Grsot snd Bnell on the evening <»



April Tth.
B Beserve Artillery.



front, whence they could pour volley
after volley in comparative security.
Soon, our men were flanked on either
side, and fell back, perceiving that
they were squandering their lives to
no purpose. Thus the division lost
all coherence and efficiency ; its lead-
er became separated from a large



portion of his command ; and by 10
o'clock it had been virtually demol-
ished. Prentiss himself, with three
regiments, held an unassailed posi-
tion until, having long since become
completely surrotmded, he was finally
obliged to surrender;" when over
2,000 of our men in one body were



*>Thi8didiiotooecirtillal>out4p.ic.; buthe
had long befbre oeued to fann a part of our



line of batUe, the Bebela haying flanked and
passed on bejond him.



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PBBKTISS OAPTUBSD— KoOLBBHAND WOBSTBD.



68



Iramed to the Bebel rear aBprisonere,
and Boon started on the road to
Corinth.

McGlemand for ^ whfle stood firm ;
but the defection of Sherman's divi-
sion on one side, and Prentiss's on
tiie other, left tibe Eebels free to
hurl themselves against him in tre-
mendous force. Two green regi-
ments, the 15th and 16th Iowa, which
he now brought to the front under
a heavy fire, gave way at once in
disorder. CSianging his firont to
meet the Sebel onset, he faced along
tiie Corinth road and planted his
batteries to command it ; so that the
Bebels were for a time foiled in their
efforts to advance ; and an effort to
oome in on his rear, over ground
abandoned by Sherman's division, was
•handsomely repulsed, with heavy mu-
toal loss, by Dresser's rifled battery.

But one division could not sustain
the weight of more than half the
Bebel army, admirably handled, and
OHistantly advancing fresh regiments
to replace those already blown or
too badly cut up. After repulsing
eevenj determined attacks, some-
times advancing a little, but gener-
ally giving ground, and losing three
Colonels of the line and three officers
of his staff^ with at least half the
effective force of his batteries, Mc-
Qemand, by 11 a. m., found himself
pushed bac^, with Hurlbut's fresh
division on his left, and the d&fris
of Sherman's on his right.

Meantime, a brigade of Sherman's
division, under CoL David Stuart,
which had been oddly posted on our
extreme left, holding what was known
as the Hamburg road, had been sud-
denly shelled from the opposite bluflb
of lick creek, by a force which the
, next instant peppered them with



grape, and the next rushed across the
creek and began pouring in sharp vol-
leys of musketry, while the Bebel bat-
teries, firing over the heads of their
infantry, soon made our position un-
tenable. Stuart fell back to the next
ridge; and, finding the Bebels ^o
had followed Prentiss beginning to
come in on his right, sent to Gen.
W.H. L.Wallace for assistance. Qea.
McArthur's brigade was promptly
dispatched to Stuart's support; but,
bearing too much to the right, was
soon sharply engaged with the pur-
suers of Prentiss. Falling back to a
good position, he held it, though
wounded, untU Wallace came to his
aid ; but Stuart, receiving no direct
support, was driven back from one
ridge to another, until by noon, him-
self wotmdeii, several of his officers
fallen, and his command sadly shat-
tered, he fell in behind McArthur to
reorganize. And thus, of our six di-
visions, three had been thoroughly
routed before mid-day.

Gen. Grant had arrived on the bat-
tle-field about 8 A. M. ; but, early as
was the hour, his army was already
beaten. As this, however, is a circum-
stance of which he is not easily con-
vinced, it did not seem to make as
vivid an impression on him as on
others. Sending word to Lew. Wal-
lace to hasten up witii his division
on our right, he devoted his personal
attention to reforming his shattered
brigades, reestablishing his silenced
batteries, and forming new lines of
defense to replace those so suddenly
demolished. Hurlbut's and W. H. L.
Wallace's divisions were still intact ;
while of the others the better but not
the larger part of those not already
disabled fell into line on their flanks,
or just behind them.



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64



THE AMBBIOAN CONFLICT.



Hnrlbnt held the direct road to
Corinth, with woods at his back
and open fields commanded by his
batteries in his front; and here he
stood, fighting a more nnmerons,
equally gallant, and victory-flushed
enemy, for more than five hours.
Here he was thrice charged in full
force, and thrice he repulsed the foe
with terrible slaughter. The dose
ranks which rushed upon him were
first plowed through and through
with grape, then, as they came
nearer, with more deadly musketry ;
until the shouted orders, entreaties,
menaces, of frantic officers no longer
availed, and the long lines sank back
defeated to the shelter in their rear.
Here fell, at 2^ o'clock, Albert Sidney
Johnston, the Eebel commander-in-
chief, struck in the thigh by a frag-
ment of shell, but sittiQg silently on
his horse for some minutes, and only
taken off to die. Beauregard at once
assumed command ; but the death of
Johnston was concealed, so far as
possible, until his army had returned
to Corinth. An hour later. Hurl-
but's division, worn out by incessant
fighting against fresh regiments, fell
back nearly half a mile, to a position
about that distance from the Landing.

W. H^ L. "Wallace's division was in
like manner exposed to and attacked
by the exultant Eebels about 10 a. m. ;
and for six hours was hotly engaged,
with scarcely an intermission. Four
times was it charged along its whole
line ; and every charge was repulsed
with heavy slaughter. Once or twice,
our men pursued their retreating foes ;
but the disparity of numbers was too
great, and they were soon pushed
back to their lines. They were still
fighting as eagerly and confidently
as ever, when Hurlbut's retreat com-



pelled them to Ml back also, or be
fianked and surrounded as Prentiss
had been. Just now, their leader fell,
mortally wounded ; closing in death
a day's work which had won for him
the admiration of all beholders and
the lasting gratitude of his country.
The division fell back into line with
Hurlbut's new position ; losing of its
batteries but a single gun, wh^'eof
the carriage had been disabled.

Lew. Wallace was at Crump's
Landing, with his force extended on
the road to Purdy, when he received,
at llj A. M., Grant's order to bring
his division into the fight. He had
been anxiously awaiting that order,
listening to the sound of the mutual
cannonade since morning; and his
column was instantly put in motion.
Snake creek, with steep banks and
swampy bottom, was in his way ; but
his men were eager for the fray, and
were soon making good time in the
direction indicated. But he was
met, near the creek, by messengers
from Grant with tidings that our ad-
vanced divisions had been over-
powered and beaten back ; so that the
road on which he was hastening
would now lead him directly into the
midst of the enemy, who could easily
envelop him with thrice his num-
bers. He thereupon turned abruptly
to the left, moving down the west
bank of Snake creek to the river
road, which follows the windings of
the Tennessee bottom, and crosses
the creek at its mouth, close by Pitts-
burg Landing. This countermarch
delayed his junction with our sorely-
pressed combatants until after night-
fall ; and thus 11 regiments of our in-
fantry, 2 batteries, and 2 battalions
of cavalry, remained useless through-
out that day's bloody struggle.



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65



At 4| p. K., our gmpiised bnt
otherwise over-matched army, apart
tcom Lew. Wallace's division, had
been crowded back into a semicircle
of three or four hundred acres imme-
diately around, but rather to the left
of the Landing. It could retreat no
&rther. A deep, rapid river in its
rear could only be crossed with the
loss of half its remafaiing men '^ and
every tiling beside. Of its five divi-
sions, two had been b«aten back ; the
other three utterly routed. Our ar-
tillery was half lost or disabled ; our
field-hospitals overflowing ; our tents
and camp-equipage mainly in the
hands of the enemy; our losses in
men enormous ; and those who had
not fallen were in good part dis-
heartened ; not less than 5,000 men
in uniform, possibly twice that num-
ber — ^to say nothing of sutlers, com-
missaries, and the usual rabble of
camp-followers^ — ^were huddled under
the bank of the river, not all of them
privates, but all repeating the stereo-
typed excuse, '^ Our regiment is all
cut to pieces," and resisting every
entreaty of their more zealous ofBcers
to bring them again into line.

3ut the Bebels, whose losses had
also been heavy, fearing a trap, hesi-
tated for a few minutes to follow W.
H. L: Wallace's division, as it recoiled
fixmi the position it had so long and
80 stoutly defended. Those mo-
ments were incalculably precious,
and were thoroughly improved. Col.
J. D. Webster, diief of staff to Gen.
Grant, a believer in artillery, im-
proved the opportunity to collect our



remaining guns — 22 only — ^and plant
them on the bluff in a semicircle,
commanding the roads whereby the
Bebels must approach. Gunners
proving scarce, Dr. Oomyn, surgeon
of the 1st Missouri artillery, volun-
teered in that capacity, and proved
himself a workman who needed not
to be ashamed. There was rare
virtue inherent in those 22 guns, and
men around them who knew how to
evoke it.

It was hardly 6 o'clock when the
Rebel batteries, once more in posi-
tion, opened, at a distance of a few
hundred yards, on our last possible
holding-ground. Our next recoil
must be over the bank, into the
hideous, helpless massacre of a grand-
er Ball's Bluff. Promptly and most
efficientiy, Webster's guns make re-
ply. Soon, the Rebel infantry was
seen crowding up to their guns, open-
ing fire at rather long range, to find
our shattered battalions reformed and •
giving abundant answer. At this
moment, the grmboats Tyler and
Lexington, which had all day been
chafing at their impotence, opened
on our left, firing jap a deep ravine
that seemed to have been cut through
the bluff on purpose. Seven-inch
shell and 64-pound shot were hurled
by them diagonally across the new
Rebel firont, decidedly interfering
with the regularity of its formation,
and preventing that final rush upon
our guns and the supporting infantry
whose success would have perfected
their triumph. So, far into the even-
ing of that busy, lurid Sabbath, our



** Among the apocryphal anecdotes in drcula-
tkm, one represents Gen. Bnell as remonstrat-
ing; two or three days afterward, agunst the
soUtoahip which placed Grant's army on the
sooth rather than' on the north bank of the
Tennessee. ** Where was yonr line of retreat ?"
VOL. n. — 5



asked BuelL " Oh, across the riyer," responded
Grant "But you could not have ferried over
more than 10,000 men," persisted BuelL " Well,
there would not have been more than that," re-
plied Grant Temerity was then so rare among
our Generals that it seemed a viitue.



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M



THB AMBBIOAN OOKFLIOT.



batteries and boats kept up their
thunders, fSedrlj silencing -the Bebel
gnns, and compelling their infantry
to take post farther and further baek,
in order to be out <^ the reach of our
shells ; and all through the night, at
intervals of 10 to 16 minutes, the
gunboats continued to send their
compliments into the Bebel lines, as
if the pouring rain which fell at mid-
night might not suffice to break the
slumbers of the weary thousands who
had lain down on their arms wher-
ever night found th^n, to gather
strength and refreshment for the in-
evitable struggle of the morrow.

Before seeking his couch in the
^little church at Bhiloh, the surviving
Bebel leader dispatched a messenger
to Oorinth with this exhilarating dis-
patch for Bichmond :

" Battlb-field or Shiloh, )
*^ Via Corinth and Chattanooga, >
"April 6th, 1862.)
*• Gen. S. Cooper, Adjutant-General :



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