Page images

"General Grant and staff, who had been recklessly riding along the lines during the entire day, amid the unceasing storm of bullets, grape, and shell, now rode from right to left, inciting the men to stand firm until our reinforcements could cross the river.

"Colonel Webster, Chief of Staff, immediately got into position the heaviest pieces of artillery, pointing on the enemy's right, while a large number of the batteries were planted along the entire line, from the river bauk northwest to our extreme right, some two and a half miles distant. About an hour before dusk, a general cannonading was opened upon the enemy from along our whole line, with a perpetual crack of musketry. Such a roar of artillery was never heard on this continent. For a short time the rebels replied with vigor and effect, but their return shots grew less frequent and destructive, while ours grew more rapid and more terrible.

"The gunboats Lexington and Tyler, which lay a short distance off, kept raining shell on the rebel hordes. This last effort was too much for the enemy, and ere dusk had set in the firing had nearly ceased, when, night coming on, all the combatants rested from their awful work of blood and carnage.

"Our men rested on their arms in the position they had at the close of the night, until the forces of Major-General Lewis Wallace arrived and took position on the right, and General Buell's forces from the opposite side and Savannah, were being conveyed to the battle-ground. The entire right of General Nelson's division was ordered to form on the right, and the forces under General Crittenden were ordered to his support early in the morning.

"General Buell, having himself arrived on Sunday evening, on the morning of Monday, April 7th, the ball was opened at daylight, simultaneously by General Nelson's division on the left, and Major-General Wallace's division on the right. General Nelson's force opened up a most galling fire on the rebels, and advanced rapidly as they fell back. The fire soon became general along the whole line, and began to tell with terrible effect on the enemy. Generals McClernand, Sherman, and Hurlbut's men, though terribly jaded from the previous day's fighting, still maintained their honors won at Donelson; but the resistance of the rebels at all points of the attack was terrible, and worthy of a better cause.

[ocr errors]

'But they were not enough for our undaunted bravery, and the dreadful desolation produced by our artillery, which was sweeping them away like chaff before the wind. But knowing that a defeat here would be the death-blow to their hopes, and that their all depended on this great struggle, their generals still urged them on in the face of destruction, hoping by flanking us on the right to turn the tide of battle. Their success was again for a time cheering, as they began to gain ground ou

us, appearing to have been reinforced; but our left, under General Nelson, was driving them, and with wonderful rapidity, and by eleven o'clock General Buell's forces had succeeded in flanking them, and capturing their batteries of artillery.


They, however, again rallied on the left, and re-crossed, and the right forced themselves forward in another desperate effort. But reinforcements from General Wood and General Thomas were coming in, regiment after regiment, which were sent to General Buell, who had again commenced to drive the enemy.

"About three o'clock in the afternoon, General Grant rode to the left where the fresh regiments had been ordered, and, finding the rebels wavering, sent a portion of his body guard to the head of each of five regiments, and then ordered a charge across the field, himself leading; and as he brandished his sword and waved them on to the crowning victory, the cannon-balls were falling like hail around him.

"The men followed with a shout that sounded above the roar and din of artillery, and the rebels fled in dismay as from a destroying avalanche, and never made another stand.

"General Buell followed the retreating rebels, driving them in splendid style, and by half-past five o'clock the whole rebel army was in full retreat to Corinth, with our cavalry in hot pursuit, with what further result is not known, not having returned up to this hour.

"We have taken a large amount of their artillery and also a number of prisoners. We lost a number of our forces prisoners yesterday, among whom is General Prentiss. The number of our force taken has not yet been ascertained. It is reported at several hundred. General Prentiss was also reported as being wounded. Among the killed on the rebel side was their General-in-Chief, Albert Sidney Johnston, who was struck by a cannon-ball on the afternoon of Sunday. Of this there is no doubt, and it is further reported that General Beauregard was wounded.

"This afternoon, Generals Bragg, Breckinridge, and Jackson were commanding portions of the rebel forces.

[ocr errors]

There has never been a parallel to the gallantry and bearing of our officers, from the Commanding General to the lowest officer.

"General Grant and staff were in the field, riding along the lines in the thickest of the enemy's fire during the entire two days of the battle, and all slept on the ground Sunday night, during a heavy rain. On several occasions General Grant got within range of the enemy's guns, and was discovered and fired upon.


'Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson had his horse shot from under him when along side of General Grant.

"Captain Carson was between General Grant and your correspondent, when a cannon-ball took off his head and killed and wounded several others

"General Sherman had two horses killed under him, and General McClernand shared like dangers; also General Hurlbut, each of whom received bullet holes through their clothes."

General Grant's official report of the battle was worded as follows:

[ocr errors]

"HEAD-QUARTERS, DIST. WESTERN TENNESSEE, PITTSBURGH, April 9th, 1862. "To Captain N. H. McLean, A. A. G., Department of Mississippi, St. Louis:

"CAPTAIN-It becomes my duty again to report another battle fought between two great armies, one contending for the maintenance of the best government ever devised, and the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the success of the army contending for the former principle.

[ocr errors]

On Sunday morning our pickets were attacked and driven in by the enemy. Immediately the five divisions stationed at this place were drawn up in line of battle to meet them.

[ocr errors]

The battle soon waxed warm on the left and centre, varying at times to all parts of the line. There was the most continuous firing of musketry and artillery ever heard on this continent, kept up until nightfall.


The enemy having forced the centre line to fall back nearly half-way from their camps to the landing, at a late hour in the afternoon a desperate effort was made by the enemy to turn our left and get possession of the landing, transports, etc.

"This point was guarded by the gunboats, Tyler and Lexington, Captains Gwin and Shirk, commanding, with four twentyfour-pounder Parrot guns, and a battery of rifled guns.

"As there is a deep and impassable ravine for artillery or cavalry, and very difficult for infantry at this point, no troops were stationed here except the necessary artillerists and a small infantry force for their support. Just at this moment the advance of Major-General Buell's column and a part of the division of General Nelson arrived, the two generals named both being present. An advance was immediately made upon the point of attack, and the enemy was soon driven back.

"In this repulse, much is due to the presence of the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, and their able commanders, Captains Gwin and Shirk.

"During the night the divisions under Generals Crittenden and McCook arrived.

"General Lewis Wallace, at Camp Landing, six miles below, was ordered, at an early hour in the morning, to hold his divi. sion in readiness to move in any direction it might be ordered. At eleven o'clock, the order was delivered to move it up to Pittsburgh, but owing to its being led by a circuitous route, did not arrive in time to take part in Sunday's action.

"During the night all was quiet, and, feeling that a great

moral advantage would be gained by becoming the attacking party, an advance was ordered as soon as day dawned. The result was the gradual repulse of the enemy at all points of the line, from nine until probably five o'clock in the afternoon, when it became evident the eneiny was retreating.


Before the close of the action, the advance of General T. J. Wood's division arrived in time to take part in the action.

"My force was too much fatigued, from two days' hard fighting and exposure in the open air to a drenching rain during the intervening night, to pursue immediately.


Night closed in cloudy and with a heavy rain, making the roads impracticable for artillery by the next morning.

"General Sherman, however, followed the enemy, finding that the main part of the army had retreated in good order.

"Hospitals with the enemy's wounded were found all along the road as far as pursuit was made. Dead bodies of the enemy and many graves were also found. I inclose herewith a report of General Sherman, which will explain more fully the result of the pursuit, and of the part taken by each separate command.

"I cannot take special notice in this report, but will do so more fully when the reports of the division commanders are handed in.

"General Buell, commanding in the field with a distinct army long under his command, and which did such efficient service, commanded by himself in person on the field, will be much better able to notice those of his command who particularly distinguished themselves, than I possibly can.

I feel it a duty, however, to a gallant and able officer, Brigadier-General W. T. Sherman, to make special mention. He not only was with his command during the entire two days of the action, but displayed great judgment and skill in the management of his men; although severely wounded in the hand on the first day, his place was never vacant. He was again wounded, and had three horses killed under him. In making this mention of a gallant officer no disparagement is intended to other division commanders or major-generals, John A. McClernand, and Lewis Wallace, and Brigadier-Generals Hurlbut, Prentiss, and W. H. L. Wallace, all of whom maintained their places with credit to themselves and the cause. General Prentiss was taken prisoner on the first day's action, and General W. H. L. Wallace was severely, and probably mortally, wounded. His Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain William McMichael, is missing, and was probably taken prisoner. My personal staff are all deserving of particular mention, they having been engaged during the entire two days in carrying orders to every part of the field. It consists of Colonel J. D. Webster, Chief of Staff; Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. McPherson, Chief of Engineers, assisted by Lieutenants W. L. B. Jenny and William Kossac; Captain J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant-General; W. S.

Hilyer, W. R. Rawley, and C. B. Lagon, Aides-de-Camp; Colonel G. Pride, Volunteer Aid, and Captain J. P. Hawkins, Chief Commissary, who accompanied me upon the field. The medical department, under direction of Surgeon Hewitt, Medical Director, showed great energy in providing for the wounded and in getting them from the field, regardless of danger.

Colonel Webster was placed in special charge of all the artillery, and was constantly upon the field. He displayed, as always heretofore, both skill and bravery. At least in one instance he was the means of placing an entire regiment in position of doing most valuable service, and where it would not have been but for his exertions. Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, attached to my staff as Chief of Engineers, deserves more than a passing notice for his activity and courage. All the grounds beyond our camps for miles have been reconnoitered by him, and the plans carefully prepared under his supervision give the most accurate information of the nature of the approaches to our lines. During the two days' battle he was constantly in the saddle leading the troops as they arrived to points where their services were required. During the engagement he had one horse shot under him.

"The country will have to mourn the loss of many brave mea who fell at the battle of Pittsburgh, or Shiloh more properly. The exact loss in killed and wounded will be known in a day or two.

[ocr errors]

"At present I can only give it approximately at one thousand five hundred killed, and three thousand five hundred wounded.

"The loss of artillery was great, many pieces being disabled by the enemy's shots, and some losing all their horses and many men. There were probably not less than two hundred horses killed.


The loss of the enemy in killed and left upon the field was greater than ours. In the wounded an estimate cannot be made, as many of them must have been sent to Corinth and other points.

The enemy suffered terribly from demoralization and desertion.

"A flag of trace was sent in to-day from General Beauregard. I inclose herewith a copy of the correspondence.

"I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

[ocr errors][merged small]

"Major-General Commanding."





MONTEREY, April 8th, 1862.

"SIR-At the close of the conflict of yesterday, my forces being exhausted by the extraordinary length of the time during

« PreviousContinue »