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hurried to the Rebel rear as prisoners, and soon started on the road to Corinth. McClernand for a while stood firm; but the defection of Sherman’s division on one side, and Prentiss's on the other, left the Rebels free to hurl themselves against him in tremendous force. Two green regiments, the 15th and 16th Iowa, which he now brought to the front under a heavy fire, gave way at once in disorder. Changing his front to meet the Rebel onset, he faced along the Corinth road and planted his batteries to command it ; so that the Rebels were for a time foiled in their efforts to advance; and an effort to come in on his rear, over ground abandoned by Sherman's division, was handsomely repulsed, with heavy mutual loss, by Dresser's rifled battery. But one division could not sustain the weight of more than half the Rebel army, admirably handled, and constantly advancing fresh regiments to replace those already blown or too badly cut up. After repulsing several determined attacks, sometimes advancing a little, but generally 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, McClernand, by 11 A. M., found himself pushed back, with Hurlbut's fresh division on his left, and the débris 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 Suddenly shelled from the opposite bluffs 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 Rebel batteries, firing over the heads of their infantry, soon made our position untenable. Stuart fell back to the next ridge; and, finding the Rebels who had followed Prentiss beginning to come in on his right, sent to Gen. W. H. L. Wallace for assistance. Gen. McArthur's brigade was promptly dispatched to Stuart's support; but, bearing too much to the right, was soon sharply engaged with the pursuers of Prentiss. Falling back to a good position, he held it, though wounded, until Wallace came to his aid; but Stuart, receiving no direct Support, was driven back from one ridge to another, until by noon, himself wounded, several of his officers fallen, and his command sadly shattered, he fell in behind McArthur to réorganize. And thus, of our six divisions, three had been thoroughly routed before mid-day. Gen. Grant had arrived on the battle-field about 8 A. M.; but, early as was the hour, his army was already beaten. As this, however, is a circumstance of which he is not easily conVinced, it did not seem to make as vivid an impression on him as on others. Sending word to Lew. Wallace to hasten up with his division on our right, he devoted his personal attention to reforming his shattered brigades, röestablishing 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.
Hurlbut 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 numerous, 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 close 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 24 o'clock, Albert Sidney Johnston, the Rebel commander-inchief, struck in the thigh by a fragment of shell, but sitting 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, IIurlbut’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 Rebels 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 fall back also, or be flanked 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 IIurlbut’s new position; losing of its batteries but a single gun, whereof 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 11; 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 adVanced divisions had been overpowered 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 numbers. 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 Pittsburg Landing. This countermarch delayed his junction with our sorelypressed combatants until after nightfall; and thus 11 regiments of our infantry, 2 batteries, and 2 battalions of cavalry, remained useless throughout that day's bloody struggle.
At 4% P. M., our surprised but otherwise over-matched army, apart from Lew. Wallace's division, had been crowded back into a semicircle of three or four hundred acres immediately around, but rather to the left of the Landing. It could retreat no farther. A deep, rapid river in its rear could only be crossed with the loss of half its remaining men” and every thing beside. Of its five divisions, two had been beaten back; the other three utterly routed. Our artillery 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 disheartened ; not less than 5,000 men in uniform, possibly twice that number—to say nothing of sutlers, commissaries, and the usual rabble of camp-followers—were huddled under the bank of the river, not all of them privates, but all repeating the stereotyped excuse, “Our regiment is all cut to pieces,” and resisting every entreaty of their more zealous officers to bring them again into line. But the Rebels, whose losses had also been heavy, fearing a trap, hesitated for a few minutes to follow W. H. L. Wallace's division, as it recoiled from the position it had so long and so stoutly defended. Those moments were incalculably precious, and were thoroughly improved. Col. J. D. Webster, chief of staff to Gen. Grant, a believer in artillery, improved the opportunity to collect our *Among the apocryphal anecdotes in circulation one represents Gen. Buell as remonstrating two or three days afterward, against the soldiership which placed Grant's army on the south rather than on the north bank of the Tennessee. “Whero was your line of retreat?” VOL. II.-O.
remaining guns—22 only—and plant them on the bluff in a semicircle, commanding the roads whereby the Rebels must approach. Gunners proving scarce, Dr. Cornyn, surgeon of the 1st Missouri artillery, volunteered 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 position, 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 grander Ball's Bluff. Promptly and most efficiently, Webster's guns make reply. Soon, the Rebel infantry was seen crowding up to their guns, opening fire at rather long range, to find our shattered battalions reformed and giving abundant answer. At this moment, the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, which had all day been chafing at their impotence, opened on our left, firing up 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 front, 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 evening of that busy, lurid Sabbath, our asked Buell. “Oh, across the river,” 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," rebatteries and boats kept up their thunders, fairly silencing the Rebel guns, and compelling their infantry to take post farther and farther back, in order to be out of the reach of our shells; and all through the night, at intervals of 10 to 15 minutes, the gunboats continued to send their compliments into the Rebel lines, as if the pouring rain which fell at midnight might not suffice to break the slumbers of the weary thousands who had lain down on their arms wherever night found them, to gather strength and refreshment for the inevitable struggle of the morrow. Before seeking his couch in the little church at Shiloh, the surviving Rebel leader dispatched a messenger to Corinth with this exhilarating dispatch for Richmond:
plied Grant. Temerity was then so rare among our Generals that it seemed a virtue.
repairing roads and rebuilding the bridge over Duck river at Columbia; which place Gen. B. himself left with his rear division on the 2d of April; reaching Savannah with his advance division, Gen. Nelson's, on the evening of the 5th : the remaining divisions were strung along the road from Columbia at intervals of six miles. A halt to rest on reaching the Tennessee was generally expected; but, on the morning of the 6th, ominous and persistent reports of musketry as well as cannon in the direction of Pittsburg Landing dispelled this illusion. Buell hastened to Gen. Grant's headquarters, only to learn that he had just started on a steamboat for the Landing; having left orders for Gen. Nelson, with Buell's advance, to push on up the right bank of the river, leaving his cannon, because of the badness of the roads, to be taken by steamboats.
Though it was still believed at Savannah that there was nothing going on above more serious than an affair of outposts, Gen. Buell sent orders to his rear divisions to hurry forward, and, taking a steamboat, proceeded to the Landing; where the multiplicity and constant increase of stragglers soon convinced him that the matter in hand was urgent and important.” Finding Gen. Grant at the Landing, he requested the die
* His official report says:
“As we proceeded up the river, groups of soldiers were seen on the west bank; and it soon became evident that they were stragglers from the engaged army. The groups increased in size and frequency, until, as we approached the Landing, they numbered whole companies, and almost regiments; and at the Landing the banks swarmed with a confused mass of men of various regiments. There could not have been less than 4,000 or 5,000. Late in the day, it became much greater. Finding Gen. Grant at the Landing, I requested him to send steamers to
Savannah to bring up Gen. Crittenden's division which had arrived during the morning, and then went ashore with him. The throng of disorganized and demoralized troops increased continually by fresh fugitives from the battle, which steadily drew nearer the Landing; and with these were intermingled great numbers of teams, all striving to get as near as possible to the river. With few exceptions, all efforts to form the troops and move them forward to the fight utterly failed. In the mean time, the enemy had made such progress against our troops, that his artillery and musketry began to play into the
patch of steamers to Savannah, for Gen. Crittenden’s, his 2d division, while he landed to take part in the fray. Gen. Nelson, starting at 1:30, arrived at 5 P.M. opposite the Landing with his leading (Col. Ammen’s) bri. gade, which was immediately crossed and formed in line, under a fire of Rebel artillery, on the right of Webster's guns. Ammen’s men were just able to put in an appearance before dark, firing a few volleys and repulsing a Rebel charge on their guns at 6} P. M., when the enemy desisted and withdrew. By 7, the whole division was over, and soon in position; lying down on their arms, under orders from Buell to advance and attack at early daylight; which were implicitly obeyed. Crittenden’s division reached Savannah at nightfall of Sunday, and was forwarded by steamboats directly to the Landing; where it was rapidly debarked and formed on the right of Nelson. Buell's next division, Gen. A. McD. McCook, was 12 miles from Savannah when it received orders, which it made haste to obey, arriving at Savannah at 7 to 8 P. M.; but, finding there no boats ready for its service, McCook routed up the captains of the boats lying at the dock, and embarked Rousseau's brigade, with which he reached the Landing at 54 A. M.; his other brigades, Cols. Gibson and Kirk, arriving some time
later, on boats which had been pressed into service as they successively reached Savannah. The residue of Buell's army was too far behind on the Columbia road to be even hoped for. Two brigades of Wood's division arrived, however, just at the close of the battle. The fighting réopened along the whole line at daylight of the 7th, and under conditions bravely altered from those of the day preceding. The arrival of part of Buell's and all Lew. Wallace's commands had brought to the field not less than 25,000 troops; fresh, so far as fighting was concerned, for this day's action; while Beauregard, whose men, throughout the 6th, had been on foot 16 hours, and fighting most of the time had barely 3,000 left of his reserve wherewith to match them. His force had been fearfully reduced by the casualties of battle, and scarcely less by skulking, or scattering in quest of plunder—faults common to all raw troops, but of which he complains in his report as though they were novel and amazing." He had hitherto been buoyed up, or at least had buoyed up the spirits of his soldiers, by expectations and assurances that Gens. Price and Van Dorn, with some 30,000 men from across the Mississippi, were close at hand, and would reach him in time for this day’s battle. But they did not come, and Buell did. The hot fire of musketry and artillery poured in upon
vital spot of the position, and some persons were killed on the bank, at the very Landing." * He says: - “From this agreeable duty [of praising the meritorious]. I turn to one in the highest degree unpleasant—one due, however, to the brave men unier me, as a contrast to the behavior of most of the army who fought so heroically. I allude
to the fact that some officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, abandoned their colors, early in the first day, to pillage the captured encamp; ments; others retired shamefully from the field on both days, while the thunder of cannon and the roar and rattle of musketry told them that their brothers were being slaughtered by the fresh legions of the enemy."