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338

ISLAND NUMBER TEN SURRENDERS.

This strong-hold had finally fallen, and with it we had captured a hundred heavy guns, several field batteries, immense quantities of small arms, tents, wagons, horses, and provisions. The news was received at the north with the firing of cannon, hoisting of flags, and general joy. The Mississippi was now open to forts Wright and Pillow, some sixty miles above Memphis, and Foote immediately prepared to move down with his flotilla and attack them

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CHAPTER XXVI.

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APRIL, 1802.

BATTLE OF PITTSBURG LANDING-THE SURPRISE OF SHERMAN'S AND PREN

TISS' DIVISIONS-CAPTURE OF THE LATTER-THE RETREAT-GALLANTRY

OF SHERMAN-ARRIVAL OF GRANT-GLOOMY PROSPECT-THE LAST ONSET

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UT while these events were passing at Island Number

Ten, à terrible battle was raging on the banks of the Tennessee, at Pittsburg Landing. On the very Sunday night the Pittsburg ran the batteries, the two hostile armies lay face to face on the field where they had struggled desperately all day. On the next day, when our troops were moving across to the Kentucky shore to assured victory, our army there was struggling to recover the bloody field lost the day before.

Johnston, as we have seen, after retiring southward through Tennessee, moved west towards Memphis, and finally concentrated his army at Corinth, in Mississippi, near the Tennessee line, and nincty-three miles east of Memphis. Grant had moved up the Tennessee with his army and established it on the west bank of the river at Pittsburg Landing, where he was to await the arrival of Buell's was crossing the country from Nashville. When the junction should be effected the entire army was to move forward on the rebel camp at Corinth. Why Grant placed his division on the west bank of the river, thus provoking an attack on his inferior force before Buell could arrive, while a safe passage could at any time be secured by the gun boats, does

corps which

340

THE BATTLE FIELD.

not appear in any official document. The fact that he had done so was known to Johnston, as well as to the whole country. That he would attack him before Buell could arrive, if he could concentrate his forces in time, was a moral certainty. His water and rail road communications with New Orleans, Mobile, and the entire south, rendered this extremely probable; and those accustomed to study military movements feared a catastrophe. It came,-and well nigh proved a fatal one. On the fourth of April, Johnston moved his entire army forward, intending to attack Grant on Saturday ; but the muddy roads so impeded his progress that he was unable to do it till Sunday morning. Grant's force at the time was disposed in the following manner. From Pittsburg Landing a road strikes straight for Corinth, twenty miles distant. About two miles from the river it divides, one fork leading to lower Corinth, and the other · keeping the ridge straight on. A little farther inland, a road from Hamburg Landing, a few miles farther up the river, intersects the former. On the right, two roads branch off towards Purdy. On and between these several roads, from two to five miles out, lay the army. The three divisions of Prentiss, Sherman, and McClernand, were the farthest advanced. Between them and the river, were Hurlbut's and Smith's, the latter commanded by W. H. L. Wallace, Smith being sick. Sherman's brigade was on the right, and Colonel Stuart on the left, and Prentiss in the center.

On the extreme left, up the river from the landing, were precipitous hights and a ravine, that were considered a sufficient protection of themselves against any serious advance of the enemy down the left bank.

The rebel army seventy thousand strong came on in three great divisions, ---not feeling its way cautiously, but in a swift, overwhelming rush. Johnston, though Commander

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in-Chief, had especial charge of the center. Soon after daylight on Sunday, the pickets of Prentiss and Sherman were driven in, when the long roll sounded through the camps.

Wholly unprepared for such a sudden attack, the, troops were scattered around, some preparing their breakfasts and others sitting idly in their tents. They had hardly time to form, when the compact masses of the foe, in far extending lines, came sweeping down in one unbroken wave on the camps. Right on the heels of the shouting pickets, dashed the dark columns; and while the artillery-sudilenly appearing on the hights-began to pitch shot and shell into and beyond the encampments, the regiments stormed through them, firing volleys as they came. So complete was the surprise and so suidden the rush, that officers were bayoneted in their beds. The on-pouring thousands swept the camps of the front division like an inundation, and the dreadful spec tacle of a vast army in disorderly flight, before it had time to form in line of battle, was presented. So swift was the onset on Brckland's brigade of Sherman's division, that between the long roll of the drum and the actual presence of the shouting foe in the camp, the officers not yet up had not tinue to dress, and the troops seizing their muskets as they could, fled like a herd of sheep towards the rest of the division. This, Sherman made desperate efforts to get in a position to receive the coming shock. Though the shot and shell which the enemy sent after the fugitives crashed and burst around him, he rode up and down his agitated lines, -steadying his men by the reckless exposure of his person and his gallant words. The sight of Buckland's broken, fleeing brigade was enough to shake the firmest troops, yet the fearless bearing of their leader held them firm.

In the mean time, McClernand moved up to fill the gap caused by Buckland's flight, and a noble effort was made to stay the fearful refluent tide of battle. The woods and

342

PRENTISS.TAKEN PRISONER.

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fields were filled with the rolling smoke, and it was one continuous crash and roar of musketry and artillery on every side. Our officers fell fast in the unequal struggle, and it was plain to Sherman that he was fighting against hopeless odds, and he gave the order to fall back.

In the mean time, still more disastrous results had befallen Prentiss' division, Surprised, as the advance of Sherman's had been, the camp was not swept so as by a whirlwind, and the men had time to form in line of battle. Unfortunately, however, they formed in an open field, and stood there to meet the attack. The enemy, streaming through the woods, halted at the edge, and poured in a murderous fire upon the uncovered troops, mowing them down with great slaughter. But they held their position like veterans, and did what men could do under such disheartening circumstances. Their volleys were rapid and steady, but the Commander-in-Chief was not on the field, and hence there could be but little unity of action, so that supports could be brought up at the proper time and place. Each General had as much as he could do to take care of his own division, and his whole efforts were used in simply holding his ground, hoping in the mean time that help would come. There was no time to form a regular line of battle, and no one to do it. On the other hand, the rebel army was handled like a single ma. chine, and hurled its whole power on our broken, disjointed divisions. Hence, while Prentiss was holding his men to the slaughter, the supports on either ilanks had given way, and over the ground which they had occupied, the flanking col. umns of the enemy swept without opposition, inclosing him in a wall of steel... He saw at once that he was lost, and this mutilated portion of his division, three thousand strong, laid down their arms. They were immediately sent to the rear, and over the ground they had held the victorious rebel columns stormed, with loud exultant shouts, driving the re

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