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HALLECK'S CORINTH CAMPAIGN
April 9, 1862. W. R.
Vol. X., Part II.,
N Wednesday, April 9, two days after the
battle of Shiloh, General Grant gave evidence that he had fully learned the severe lesson of that terrible encounter. Reporting to Halleck his information that the enemy was again concentrating all his forces at Corinth, he added: “I do not like
to suggest, but it appears to me that it would be Grant to demoralizing upon our troops here to be forced to Halleck,
retire upon the opposite bank of the river, and un
safe to remain on this many weeks without large pp. 99, 100. reënforcements."
Halleck's opinion probably coincided with that of Grant, and the fortunes of war enabled him immediately to fulfill his promise to come to his relief. The day which saw the conclusion of the fight at Shiloh (April 7, 1862) witnessed the surrender of the rebel works at Island No. 10, on the Mississippi River, and the quick capture of nearly their entire garrison of 6000 or 7000 men. This finished the task which General Pope had been sent to do, and enabled Halleck to transfer him and his army, by water, from the Mississippi River to the Tennessee. Halleck's order
was made on April 15, and on the 22d Pope landed Chap. XIX. at Hamburg, four miles above the battlefield of Shiloh, with his compact force of 20,000 men fully organized and equipped, and flushed with a signal victory. Halleck had arrived before him. Reaching Pittsburg Landing on the 11th of April, he began with industry to cure the disorders produced by the recent battle. Critics who still accuse the Lincoln Administration of ignorant meddling with military affairs are invited to remember the language of the Secretary of War to Halleck on this 1862. W.'R. occasion: “I have no instructions to give you. Go ahead, and all success attend you.”
The arrival of Pope was utilized by Halleck to give his united command an easy and immediate organization into army corps. His special field orders of April 28 named the Army of the Tennessee the First Army Corps, commanded by Grant, and constituting the right wing; the Army of the Ohio the Second Army Corps, commanded by Buell, and constituting the center; and the newly arrived Army of the Mississippi the Third Army Corps, Vol. X., commanded by Pope, and forming the left wing. Two days later (April 30) another order gave command of the right wing to General Thomas, whose division of the Army of the Ohio was added to it; it also organized a reserve corps under General McClernand, and had this provision: “Major-General Grant will retain the general command of the District of West Tennessee, including the Army Corps of the Tennessee, and reports will be made to him as heretofore; but in the present movements he 1862. W.k will act as second in command under the majorgeneral commanding the department.”
VOL. V.- 22
Halleck, Orders, April 28, 1862. W. R. Part II.,
The exact intent of this assignment remains to this day a matter of doubt. Nominally, it advanced Grant in rank and authority; practically, it deprived him of active and important duty. Halleck being on the field in person issued his orders directly to the corps commanders and received reports from them, and for about two months Grant found himself without serious occupation. The position became so irksome that he several times asked to be relieved, but Halleck refused; though he finally allowed him to go for a season into a species of honorable retirement, by removing his headquarters from the camp of the main army.
Coming to the front so soon after the great battle, Halleck seems to have been impressed with the seriousness of the conflict, for all his preparations to assume the offensive were made with the most deliberate caution. It was manifest that the enemy intended to defend Corinth, and necessarily that place became his first objective. With all the efforts that the Confederate Government could make, however, Beauregard succeeded in bringing together only about 50,000 effective troops. Halleck's combined armies contained more than double that number; but such was his fear of another surprise, or a sudden disaster, that his
advance upon Corinth was not like an invading Sherman to march, but like the investment of a fortress. An
army carrying 100,000 bayonets, in the picturesque Vol. xvir., language of General Sherman, moved upon Corinth
“ with pick and shovel.” Intrenching, bridge-building, road-making, were the order of the day. Former carelessness and temerity were succeeded by a fettering over-caution.