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from the Paducah district. Halleck, intending to take the field in person, ordered Buell with the bulk of his army to join Grant. The latter's forces at the beginning of April were in good position but unintrenched, the front extending from Owl Creek on the right to Lick Creek on the left — a distance of about three
a miles. Three of Sherman's brigades were on the right, near Shiloh Church, more than two miles out on the Corinth road, and his other brigade (Stuart's) was on the extreme left; McClernand's division next Sherman's main force and partly rearward; between McClernand and Stuart's brigade, the division of Prentiss; and behind these three divisions were Hurlbut's on the right and W. H. L. Wallace's (late C. F. Smith's) on the left. Lew Wallace's division was at Crump's Landing and on the road thence to Purdy. For a week there had been an occasional collision of cavalry between the hostile camps on both the Corinth and the Purdy road, but neither Grant nor Sherman believed the enemy would advance to give battle, until the storm actually burst upon them on Sunday morning, the 6th of April.
Johnston began almost with the dawn, and meant, by the impetuous pressure of superior numbers, to drive the Union army back upon the river, turn its left, hem it in between the Tennessee and the swollen waters of Snake Creek, and compel a surrender before sunset. His men advanced in triple lines, extended to cover the Union front. Between two flanking creeks, now in flood, and the great river, on a ground broken by ravines its ridges and levels mostly covered with woods opened here and there by meadow, field, or orchard, the battle was to be waged. Hardee commanded the first line, Bragg the second, Polk the third, and there was a reserve under Breckinridge. Each of the four corps was about ten thousand strong.
The pickets of Prentiss and a regiment which had early gone out to their support received the first musket volley from the advancing host. Near the same moment, Sherman's foremost brigade, on a ridge overlooking a ravine to be crossed by the enemy, was made aware of the impending onslaught. In both encampments the alarm was promptly given, and line of battle formed in time to receive the assault. Some of Sherman's regiments gave way in disorder; brigades at length began crumbling; new lines were formed on ridges in the rear; McClernand became engaged, with like experience, and between McClernand and Prentiss the assailants tried to penetrate, seeking to cut the army in two. Prentiss fell back, after protracted resistance; Stuart, with much fighting, eluded Breckinridge's effort to surround him; Hurlbut and W. H. L. Wallace were busy and persistent, helping to stay the hostile tide. All this was the work of many hours. Some brigades were badly broken, some regiments dispersed; many stragglers and fugitives sought ignoble shelter under the bluffs on the river's brink. Grant, who was at Savannah in the morning, hastened to the scene of action, visited every division, and though compelled by previous injuries to use crutches when dismounted, he kept in the field through the day. Position after position was gradually yielded, ridges and hollows, timber and clearing favoring such retrograde movement and affording fit rallying places. At last a stronghold was occupied,- the “Hornets' Nest,” as styled by the enemy,which for hours defied all assaults. This was well toward Grant's left, where Johnston was specially concentrating his strength, to the neglect of the now much weakened Union right. Near 3 o'clock Johnston fell, dying from a flesh wound, which severed an artery.
The sun was getting low when the Union line was withdrawn to what seemed to be the best available position between the enemy and the river. Prentiss, not falling back promptly enough, was surrounded and captured in person, with more than two thousand of his men. Grant's front had receded more than a mile since morning. Most of his artillery in the field had been lost, but the reserve, twenty-two guns, had now been promptly massed by Colonel Webster, of his staff, on high ground commanding a ravine which the enemy must cross to deliver the intended final blow. The Confederates recoiled before Webster's destructive fire, which they in vain sought to silence by charges of infantry. About this time Nelson's division of Buell's army began arriving at the landing. The gunboats Lexington and Tyler improved with telling effect the opportunity which the ravine presented for shelling the enemy. Beauregard, now in chief command, withdrew his front, and the dreaded shells fired at intervals through the night helped to increase the interval between the opposing lines.
The heroic attempt to crush Grant, fighting singlehanded, had failed. The crisis was now past. Nelson's division was pushed forward at night on the left. Crittenden's division, also at hand, was sent to the right of Nelson, and McCook's, which reached the field during
the night and morning, took position on the right of Crittenden. Lew Wallace was posted on Sherman's right, in good position for aggressive action. The brunt of the renewed battle was to be borne by these four fresh divisions.
Early on the morning of the 7th Nelson and Wallace began the attack. Crittenden and McCook ere long became engaged as they advanced; the divisions battered in Sunday's struggle also took part as they could. Hard fighting followed at several points until afternoon. For the Confederates, as they might well have foreseen, this was a hopeless contest. The army which had yesterday so vigorously assailed, and had been reduced onehalf by death, wounds, or straggling, was to-day without material reinforcements or reserves. Long before night these beaten forces were hurrying toward Monterey.
The evening closed on a two-days' conflict more memorable than any hitherto waged in this war - one on which as much depended, it may be, as on any other of its first two years. The casualties on either side exceeded the entire number of our killed and wounded during the Mexican War. * The Government losses during the two days were over twelve thousand, including the prisoners taken from Prentiss's command near night on the 6th. Of this total, 1,754 were killed, and 8,408 wounded. Beauregard reported his killed as 1,728, and his wounded as 8,012; but he also stated for stragglers were abundant — that he was unable to put more than twenty thousand men in the field on the morning of the 7th — half the number he had in line at the beginning of the first day's battle.
* Viz.: Killed, 1,557; wounded, 3,420.
These armies were next to meet at the siege of Corinth.
The combined army and navy operations of the previous summer and autumn had caused much concern in Richmond. The capture of Hilton Head and Beaufort, the occupation of the Sea Island cotton districts in South Carolina, of Hatteras Inlet, and later (in February) of Roanoke Island, Newbern, N. C. (March 11th), Fort Macon (repossessed April 26th), and other positions on the Carolina and Virginia coast, were a series of losses disheartening to the Confederates; but these were slight disasters in comparison with another calamity which was to befall them from the joint expedition of Butler and Farragut, of which the military advance landed at Ship Island, off the Mississippi coast, early in December. The real purpose of this movement, for a time well disguised, was the capture of New Orleans and the defenses of the Mississippi River below, and co-operation with the army of Halleck in securing its possession above.
Farragut, having by the 15th of April got as many as possible of his vessels across the bar at the rivermouth most available for the heavier steamers, gave notice of his progress to Butler, who now had eight thousand men on transports, waiting to occupy the forts and the city, when mastered by the navy.
Bombardment of Fort Jackson, the stronger work on the west bank, was begun on the 17th by the mortar fleet of D. D. Porter, and continued for three days, the fort keeping up a vigorous response. Farragut then determined to attempt running by the forts; but it was first