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COMMENTS ON THE BATTLE.
Character of the ing two days, one hundred thousand men battle of Shiloh. had been engaged-engaged in the heart of a forest. From that circumstance it presented no brilliant military evolutions. It may be said to have been a gi gantic and bloody bush-fight. The twenty thousand kill. ed and wounded men bore testimony to its severity. On the side of the Confederates it was simply a vigorous ef fort to push straight down to Pittsburg Landing; on the national side it was a determined effort to resist. The confusion into which both armies fell was the necessary consequence of the wooded and broken field. The brave Confederate General Johnston, who, in such an untimely manner, lost his life in the front of the battle, saw from the beginning that his duty was to act, not as the commander, but as the leader of his men. The mixed-up condition, the inextricable confusion into which, as related by Bragg, that army had fallen at the close of the first day, had more than its counterpart on the national side. In the very crisis of the battle, the guns with which Grant checked the last rush of the Confederates were brought from all quarters, and were worked by chance volunteers, soldiers, artillerists, and a doctor.
In some remarks which he published on this battle, Sherman has pointed out how strikingly it displayed the characteristic qualities of the two armies. Opposed to the energy, vigor, vivacity of the South was the inflexible determination of the North. On the national right Sherman himself had been hammered by main force from his camps of the morning until he had been brought to the bridge at Snake Creek. It was then of no use to hammer at him any longer; he could be driven in no more; the hammer merely rebounded from its own blows. Grant, at the ravine on the national left, had not been conquered, but only compressed. He was certain to recoil the more violently in proportion as the pressure was more severe.
This battle was made the subject of the most extraor Misrepresentations dinary misrepresentations. Reporters who were not upon the plateau, but on board the steam-boats, or down at the Landing, gathered from the raw troops who had fled many false statements. Thus Prentiss, who fought desperately until four o'clock in the afternoon, and was then taken prisoner, with four regiments, because he would not recede when Hurlbut and Wallace were forced back, was said to have been surprised in bed in the morning, and captured in his shirt; Grant, whose movements from daybreak we have related, was said to have been absent from the army; Buell was said to have purposely delayed his march out of jealousy. From such authorities Beauregard received credit for having taken Grant by surprise, and so completely overthrown him that he was rescued from total ruin only by the arrival of Buell.
SHERMAN BREAKS THE RAILROAD.
No resolute pursuit, however, having been made by the national army from Shiloh, Beauregard occupied himself in strengthening the works of Corinth, his fortifications extending more than fifteen miles. He destroyed the roads and bridges of approach, and made every thing ready for the reception of Halleck, who, leaving St. Louis on the news of the great battle, had arrived at Pittsburg The national army Landing. The national army was rapidly re-enforced. Pope brought to it from Missouri 25,000 men; eventually it became more than 100,000 strong.
A few days after he had reached Shiloh, Halleck ordered Sherman to take some fresh troops from Buell's army, ascend the Tennessee to the mouth of Bear Creek, Sherman breaks the and there break the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which crosses the creek by a bridge of two spans and about five hundred feet of trestle-work. Accordingly, Sherman burnt that bridge on
the 14th of April, and effectually severed the line of communication.
Halleck reorganizes the army,
HALLECK'S ADVANCE TO CORINTH.
Halleck, on joining the army, put command," without any real duty. der his displeasure, being blamed for the manner in which the battle of Shiloh had been fought. The
army was now completely reorganized, and slowly advanced on Corinth during the month of May. As if to indicate the cause of the reproach that had been cast upon Grant, Halleck intrenched himself incessantly as he moved forward. As Grant had been blamed for want of precaution, so now Halleck was blamed for overprecaution. His adversaries affirmed that it took him. six weeks to march fifteen miles. They abstained, however, from giving weight to the fact that, though his army had won a great battle, it was still a raw army, needing drill and time for cementing. In the opinion of the best officers in it, it was not fit for marches or for military risks. He had before him two grand operations which demanded great efficiency — a march southward for the complete opening of the Missis sippi, and a march eastward for the seizure of Chattanooga.
and advances very slowly on Corinth.
Grant as "second in
The fall of Corinth.
Halleck determined to conduct his operations against Corinth by regular approaches. On the 21st of May his nearest batteries were three miles distant from that place. He had become persuaded that the works were exceedingly strong, adequately garrisoned, and that an energetic resistance would be made. Beauregard had, however, concluded that it was impossible for him to resist such an army as that which was approaching. Accordingly, he commenced secretly evacuating the place on the 26th of May, and in three days had removed or destroyed every thing of value. He then retreated by the southern road to Tupelo. On the morning of the 30th the national troops entered the town.
They found that they might have taken it long before. The fortifications were substantially a counterfeit; no adequate garrison had ever been present; in some of the batteries there were wooden or "Quaker" guns. Halleck now dispatched Pope and Buell in pursuit of the retreating Confederates, but they were unable to overtake them.
Beauregard left his army when at Tupelo, on the 15th of June, relieving himself from duty on the plea of ill health. He went into retirement at Mobile and Bladon Springs, having turned over the command temporarily to Beauregard unjust- General Bragg. No sooner did Davis hear of this than he ordered Bragg to assume permanent command, passionately declaring that he would not reinstate Beauregard though the whole world should urge him to the measure.
FALL OF CORINTH.
From the second line, thus broken, the Confederates had to fall back on the third, of which the strategic points were Vicksburg, Jackson, Meridian, and Selma.
Summary of the
In view of the whole campaign, from the attack on Fort Henry to the occupation of Corinth, it must Shiloh campaign. be regarded as a complete success for the national cause. The objects originally proposed — the breaking through the Confederate lines of defense, the fall of the powerful blockading works on the Mississippi, the opening of that river down to Memphis, the forcing of the enemy from their camp at Bowling Green, the occupation of Nashville, the severing of the Memphis and Charleston Road, and the capture of Corinth-all these objects were attained.
Doubtless more might have been accomplished had there been more celerity in the advance on Corinth. Had Halleck acted energetically with his left, he might, perhaps, have crowned his triumph with the destruction of Beauregard's army.
On the part of the Confederates, the rapidity of their
concentration at Corinth, their plan of campaign, their conduct on the field of Shiloh, were very brilliant; and, considering how near he came to success with the imperfect means he had, Beauregard was justified in his reproaches of the Richmond authorities. He did his part of the duty fully. They failed in giving him support.
Great ability displayed by the Confederates.
At the time when Buell set out from Nashville to reenforce Grant at Shiloh, he dispatched MitchMitchell to break ell southward to destroy, as far as might be possible, the Memphis and Charleston Road, Negley being left in command of the reserves at Nashville. Mitchell reached Shelbyville on the 4th of April, and thence made forced marches to Huntsville, which he seized by a night attack on the 11th, getting possession of 17 locomotives and more than 100 passenger cars. From Huntsville he proceeded to destroy the road eastward as far as Stevenson, and westward as far as Decatur and Tuscumbia, over a distance of one hundred miles. From the latter place he was driven by a Confederate force coming from Corinth, but in his retreat he burned the bridge over the Tennessee at Decatur. It was his intention to move eastward as far as Chattanooga, and destroy the railroads there, es pecially that to Atlanta, and to burn the founderies and machine shops at Rome.
To accomplish the destruction of the Atlanta Road, he sent out a secret expedition of twenty-two picked men. They rendezvoused at Marietta, Georgia. At Big Shanty, a short distance from Great Kenesaw Mountain, they surreptitiously uncoupled from a train a locomotive, with a few box cars, giving out that it was a powder-train for Beauregard's supply. Then, moving away with all speed, they destroyed the telegraph and pulled up the rails.
His complete suc