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The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Vol. I., Part 2 by William T. Sherman

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By the end of February, 1862, Major-General Halleck commanded all
the armies in the valley of the Mississippi, from his headquarters
in St: Louis. These were, the Army of the Ohio, Major-General
Buell, in Kentucky; the Army of the Tennessee, Major-General Grant,
at Forts Henry and Donelson; the Army of the Mississippi,
Major-General Pope; and that of General S. R. Curtis, in Southwest
Missouri. He posted his chief of staff, General Cullum, at Cairo,
and me at Paducah, chiefly to expedite and facilitate the important
operations then in progress up the Tennessee, and Cumberland

Fort Donelson had surrendered to General Grant on the 16th of
February, and there must have been a good deal of confusion
resulting from the necessary care of the wounded, and disposition
of prisoners, common to all such occasions, and there was a real
difficulty in communicating between St. Louis and Fort Donelson.

General Buell had also followed up the rebel army, which had
retreated hastily from Bowling Green to and through Nashville, a
city of so much importance to the South, that it was at one time
proposed as its capital. Both Generals Grant and Buell looked to
its capture as an event of great importance. On the 21st General
Grant sent General Smith with his division to Clarksville, fifty
miles above Donelson, toward Nashville, and on the 27th went
himself to Nashville to meet and confer with General Buell, but
returned to Donelson the next day.

Meantime, General Halleck at St. Louis must have felt that his
armies were getting away from him, and began to send dispatches to
me at Paducah, to be forwarded by boat, or by a rickety
telegraph-line up to Fort Henry, which lay entirely in a hostile
country, and was consequently always out of repair. On the 1st of
March I received the following dispatch, and forwarded it to
General Grant, both by the telegraph and boat:

To General GRANT, Fort Henry

Transports will be sent you as soon as possible, to move your
column up the Tennessee River. The main object of this expedition
will be to destroy the railroad-bridge over Bear Creek, near
Eastport, Mississippi; and also the railroad connections at
Corinth, Jackson, and Humboldt. It is thought best that these
objects be attempted in the order named. Strong detachments of
cavalry and light artillery, supported by infantry, may by rapid
movements reach these points from the river, without any serious

Avoid any general engagements with strong forces. It will be
better to retreat than to risk a general battle. This should be
strongly impressed on the officers sent with expeditions from the
river. General C. F. Smith or some very discreet officer should be
selected for such commands. Having accomplished these objects, or
such of them as may be practicable, you will return to Danville,
and move on Paris.

Perhaps the troops sent to Jackson and Humbolt can reach Paris by
land as easily as to return to the transports. This must depend on
the character of the roads and the position of the enemy. All
telegraphic lines which can be reached must be cut. The gunboats
will accompany the transports for their protection. Any loyal
Tennesseeans who desire it, may be enlisted and supplied with arms.
Competent officers should be left to command Forts Henry and
Donelson in your absence. I have indicated in general terms the
object of this.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

Again on the 2d:

Cairo, March 1, 1862

To General GRANT:

General Halleck, February 25th, telegraphs me: "General Grant will
send no more forces to Clarksville. General Smith's division will
come to Fort Henry, or a point higher up on the Tennessee River;
transports will also be collected at Paducah. Two gunboats in
Tennessee River with Grant. General Grant will immediately have
small garrisons detailed for Forts Henry and Donelson, and all
other forces made ready for the field"

From your letter of the 28th, I learn you were at Fort Donelson,
and General Smith at Nashville, from which I infer you could not
have received orders. Halleck's telegram of last night says: "Who
sent Smith's division to Nashville? I ordered it across to the
Tennessee, where they are wanted immediately. Order them back.
Send all spare transports up Tennessee to General Grant."
Evidently the general supposes you to be on the Tennessee. I am
sending all the transports I can find for you, reporting to General
Sherman for orders to go up the Cumberland for you, or, if you
march across to Fort Henry, then to send them up the Tennessee.

G. W. CULLUM, Brigadier-General.

On the 4th came this dispatch:

To Major-General U. S. GRANT

You will place Major-General C. F. Smith in command of expedition,
and remain yourself at Fort Henry. Why do you not obey my orders
to report strength and positions of your command?

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

Halleck was evidently working himself into a passion, but he was
too far from the seat of war to make due allowance for the actual
state of facts. General Grant had done so much, that General
Halleck should have been patient. Meantime, at Paducah, I was busy
sending boats in every direction--some under the orders of General
Halleck, others of General Cullum; others for General Grant, and
still others for General Buell at Nashville; and at the same time I
was organizing out of the new troops that were arriving at Paducah
a division for myself when allowed to take the field, which I had
been promised by General Halleck. His purpose was evidently to
operate up the Tennessee River, to break up Bear Creek Bridge and
the railroad communications between the Mississippi and Tennessee
Rivers, and no doubt he was provoked that Generals Grant and Smith
had turned aside to Nashville. In the mean time several of the
gunboats, under Captain Phelps, United States Navy, had gone up the
Tennessee as far as Florence, and on their return had reported a
strong Union feeling among the people along the river. On the 10th
of March, having received the necessary orders from General
Halleck, I embarked my division at Paducah. It was composed of
four brigades. The First, commanded by Colonel S. G. Hicks, was
composed of the Fortieth Illinois, Forty-sixth Ohio, and Morton's
Indiana Battery, on the boats Sallie List, Golden Gate, J. B.
Adams, and Lancaster.

The Second Brigade, Colonel D. Stuart, was composed of the
Fifty-fifth Illinois, Seventy-first Ohio, and Fifty-fourth Ohio;
embarked on the Hannibal, Universe, Hazel Dell, Cheeseman, and
Prairie Rose.

The Third Brigade, Colonel Hildebrand, was composed of the
Seventy-seventh Ohio, Fifty-seventh Ohio, and Fifty-third Ohio;
embarked on the Poland, Anglo-Saxon, Ohio No. Three, and

The Fourth Brigade, Colonel Buckland, was composed of the
Seventy-second Ohio, Forty-eighth Ohio, and Seventieth Ohio;
embarked on the Empress, Baltic, Shenango, and Marrengo.

We steamed up to Fort Henry, the river being high and in splendid
order. There I reported in person to General C. F. Smith, and by
him was ordered a few miles above, to the remains of the burned
railroad bridge, to await the rendezvous of the rest of his army.
I had my headquarters on the Continental.

Among my colonels I had a strange character--Thomas Worthington,
colonel of the Forty-sixth Ohio. He was a graduate of West Point,
of the class of 1827; was, therefore, older than General Halleck,
General Grant, or myself, and claimed to know more of war than all
of us put together. In ascending the river he did not keep his
place in the column, but pushed on and reached Savannah a day
before the rest of my division. When I reached that place, I found
that Worthington had landed his regiment, and was flying about
giving orders, as though he were commander-in-chief. I made him
get back to his boat, and gave him to understand that he must
thereafter keep his place. General C. F. Smith arrived about the
13th of March, with a large fleet of boats, containing Hurlbut's
division, Lew. Wallace's division, and that of himself, then
commanded by Brigadier-General W. H. L. Wallace.

General Smith sent for me to meet him on his boat, and ordered me
to push on under escort of the two gunboats, Lexington and Tyler,
commanded by Captains Gwin and Shirk, United States Navy. I was to
land at some point below Eastport, and make a break of the Memphis
& Charleston Railroad, between Tuscumbia and Corinth. General
Smith was quite unwell, and was suffering from his leg, which was
swollen and very sore, from a mere abrasion in stepping
into a small boat. This actually mortified, and resulted in his
death about a month after, viz., April 25, 1862. He was
adjutant of the Military Academy during the early part of my
career there, and afterward commandant of cadets. He was a very
handsome and soldierly man, of great experience, and at Donelson
had acted with so much personal bravery that to him many attributed
the success of the assault.

I immediately steamed up the Tennessee River, following the two
gunboats, and, in passing Pittsburg Landing, was told by Captain
Gwin that, on his former trip up the river, he had found a rebel
regiment of cavalry posted there, and that it was the usual
landing-place for the people about Corinth, distant thirty miles.
I sent word back to General Smith that, if we were detained up the
river, he ought to post some troops at Pittsburg Landing. We went
on up the river cautiously, till we saw Eastport and Chickasaw,
both of which were occupied by rebel batteries and a small rebel
force of infantry.

We then dropped back quietly to the mouth of Yellow River, a few
miles below, whence led a road to Burnsville, a place on the
Memphis & Charleston road, where were the company's repair-shops.
We at once commenced disembarking the command: first the cavalry,
which started at once for Burnsville, with orders to tear up the
railroad-track, and burn the depots, shops, etc; and I followed
with the infantry and artillery as fast as they were disembarked.
It was raining very hard at the time. Daylight found us about six
miles out, where we met the cavalry returning. They had made
numerous attempts to cross the streams, which had become so swollen
that mere brooks covered the whole bottom; and my aide-de-camp,
Sanger, whom I had dispatched with the cavalry, reported the loss,
by drowning, of several of the men. The rain was pouring in
torrents, and reports from the rear came that the river was rising
very fast, and that, unless we got back to our boats soon, the
bottom would be simply impassable. There was no alternative but to
regain our boats; and even this was so difficult, that we had to
unharness the artillery-horses, and drag the guns under water
through the bayous, to reach the bank of the river. Once more
embarked, I concluded to drop down to Pittsburg Landing, and to
make the attempt from there. During the night of the 14th, we
dropped down to Pittsburg Landing, where I found Hurlbut's division
in boats. Leaving my command there, I steamed down to Savannah,
and reported to General Smith in person, who saw in the flooded
Tennessee the full truth of my report; and he then instructed me to
disembark my own division, and that of General Hurlbut, at
Pittsburg Landing; to take positions well back, and to leave room
for his whole army; telling me that he would soon come up in
person, and move out in force to make the lodgment on the railroad,
contemplated by General Halleck's orders.

Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, of General C. F. Smith's, or rather
General Halleck's, staff, returned with me, and on the 16th of
March we disembarked and marched out about ten miles toward
Corinth, to a place called Monterey or Pea Ridge, where the rebels
had a cavalry regiment, which of course decamped on our approach,
but from the people we learned that trains were bringing large
masses of men from every direction into Corinth. McPherson and I
reconnoitred the ground well, and then returned to our boats. On
the 18th, Hurlbut disembarked his division and took post about a
mile and a half out, near where the roads branched, one leading to
Corinth and the other toward Hamburg. On the 19th I disembarked my
division, and took post about three miles back, three of the
brigades covering the roads to Purdy and Corinth, and the other
brigade (Stuart's) temporarily at a place on the Hamburg Road, near
Lick Creek Ford, where the Bark Road came into the Hamburg Road.
Within a few days, Prentiss's division arrived and camped on my
left, and afterward McClernand's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions,
which formed a line to our rear. Lew Wallace's division remained
on the north side of Snake Creek, on a road leading from Savannah
or Cramp's Landing to Purdy.

General C. F. Smith remained back at Savannah, in chief command,
and I was only responsible for my own division. I kept pickets
well out on the roads, and made myself familiar with all the ground
inside and outside my lines. My personal staff was composed of
Captain J. H. Hammond, assistant adjutant-general; Surgeons
Hartshorn and L'Hommedieu; Lieutenant Colonels Hascall and
Sanger, inspector-generals; Lieutenants McCoy and John Taylor,
aides-de-camp. We were all conscious that the enemy was collecting
at Corinth, but in what force we could not know, nor did we know
what was going on behind us. On the 17th of March, General U. S.
Grant was restored to the command of all the troops up the
Tennessee River, by reason of General Smith's extreme illness, and
because he had explained to General Halleck satisfactorily his
conduct after Donelson; and he too made his headquarters at
Savannah, but frequently visited our camps. I always acted on the
supposition that we were an invading army; that our purpose was to
move forward in force, make a lodgment on the Memphis & Charleston
road, and thus repeat the grand tactics of Fort Donelson, by
separating the rebels in the interior from those at Memphis and on
the Mississippi River. We did not fortify our camps against an
attack, because we had no orders to do so, and because such a
course would have made our raw men timid. The position was
naturally strong, with Snake Creek on our right, a deep, bold
stream, with a confluent (Owl Creek) to our right front; and Lick
Creek, with a similar confluent, on our left, thus narrowing the
space over which we could be attacked to about a mile and a half or
two miles.

At a later period of the war, we could have rendered this position
impregnable in one night, but at this time we did not do it, and it
may be it is well we did not. From about the 1st of April we were
conscious that the rebel cavalry in our front was getting bolder
and more saucy; and on Friday, the 4th of April, it dashed down and
carried off one of our picket-guards, composed of an officer and
seven men, posted a couple of miles out on the Corinth road.
Colonel Buckland sent a company to its relief, then followed
himself with a regiment, and, fearing lest he might be worsted, I
called out his whole brigade and followed some four or five miles,
when the cavalry in advance encountered artillery. I then, after
dark, drew back to our lines, and reported the fact by letter to
General Grant, at Savannah; but thus far we had not positively
detected the presence of infantry, for cavalry regiments generally
had a couple of guns along, and I supposed the guns that opened on
the on the evening of Friday, April 4th, belonged to the cavalry
that was hovering along our whole front.

Saturday passed in our camps without any unusual event, the weather
being wet and mild, and the roads back to the steamboat landing
being heavy with mud; but on Sunday morning, the 6th, early, there
was a good deal of picket-firing, and I got breakfast, rode out
along my lines, and, about four hundred yards to the front of
Appler's regiment, received from some bushes in a ravine to the
left front a volley which killed my orderly, Holliday. About the
same time I saw the rebel lines of battle in front coming down on
us as far as the eye could reach. All my troops were in line of
battle, ready, and the ground was favorable to us. I gave the
necessary orders to the battery (Waterhouse's) attached to
Hildebrand's brigade, and cautioned the men to reserve their fire
till the rebels had crossed the ravine of Owl Creek, and had begun
the ascent; also, sent staff-officers to notify Generals McClernand
and Prentiss of the coming blow. Indeed, McClernand had already
sent three regiments to the support of my left flank, and they were
in position when the onset came.

In a few minutes the battle of "Shiloh" began with extreme fury,
and lasted two days. Its history has been well given, and it has
been made the subject of a great deal of controversy. Hildebrand's
brigade was soon knocked to pieces, but Buckland's and McDowell's
kept their organization throughout. Stuart's was driven back to
the river, and did not join me in person till the second day of the
battle. I think my several reports of that battle are condensed
and good, made on the spot, when all the names and facts were fresh
in my memory, and are herewith given entire:


Captain Wm. McMICHAEL, Assistant Adjutant-General to General C. F
SMITH, Savannah, Tennessee.

SIR: Last night I dispatched a party of cavalry, at 6 p.m., under
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Heath, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, for a
strong reconnoissance, if possible, to be converted into an attack
upon the Memphis road. The command got off punctually, followed at
twelve o'clock at night by the First Brigade of my division,
commanded by Colonel McDowell, the other brigades to follow in

About one at night the cavalry returned, reporting the road
occupied in force by the enemy, with whose advance-guard they
skirmished, driving them back--about a mile, taking two prisoners,
and having their chief guide, Thomas Maxwell, Esq., and three men
of the Fourth Illinois wounded.

Inclosed please find the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Heath; also a
copy of his instructions, and the order of march. As soon as the
cavalry returned, I saw that an attempt on the road was frustrated,
and accordingly have placed McDowell's brigade to our right front,
guarding the pass of Snake Creek; Stuart's brigade to the left
front, to watch the pass of Lick Creek; and I shall this morning
move directly out on the Corinth road, about eight miles to or
toward Pea Ridge, which is a key-point to the southwest.

General Hurlbut's division will be landed to-day, and the artillery
and infantry disposed so as to defend Pittsburg, leaving my
division entire for any movement by land or water.

As near as I can learn, there are five regiments of rebel infantry
at Purdy; at Corinth, and distributed along the railroad to Inca,
are probably thirty thousand men; but my information from prisoners
is very indistinct. Every road and path is occupied by the enemy's
cavalry, whose, orders seem to be, to fire a volley, retire, again
fire and retire. The force on the Purdy road attacked and driven
by Major Bowman yesterday, was about sixty strong. That
encountered last night on the Corinth road was about five companies
of Tennessee cavalry, sent from Purdy about 2 p.m. yesterday.

I hear there is a force of two regiments on Pea Ridge, at the point
where the Purdy and Corinth roads come together.

I am satisfied we cannot reach the Memphis & Charleston road
without a considerable engagement, which is prohibited by General
Halleck's instructions, so that I will be governed by your orders
of yesterday, to occupy Pittsburg strongly, extend the pickets so
as to include a semicircle of three miles, and push a strong
reconnoissance as far out as Lick Creek and Pea Ridge.

I will send down a good many boats to-day, to be employed as you
may direct; and would be obliged if you would send a couple of
thousand sacks of corn, as much hay as you can possibly spare, and,
if possible, a barge of coal.

I will send a steamboat under care of the gunboat, to collect corn
from cribs on the river-bank.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, commanding First Division.

Pittsburg, March 18, 1882.

Captain RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT.

SIR: The division surgeon having placed some one hundred or more
sick on board the Fanny Bullitt, I have permitted her to take them
to Savannah. There is neither house nor building of any kind that
can be used for a hospital here.

I hope to receive an order to establish floating hospitals, but in
the mean time, by the advise of the surgeon, allow these sick men
to leave. Let me hope that it will meet your approbation.

The order for debarkation came while General Sherman was absent
with three brigades, and no men are left to move the effects of
these brigades.

The landing, too, is small, with scarcely any chance to increase
it; therefore there is a great accumulation of boats. Colonel
McArthur has arrived, and is now cutting a landing for himself.

General Sherman will return this evening. I am obliged to
transgress, and write myself in the mean time,

Respectfully your obedient servant,

J. H. HAMMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S--4 p.m.--Just back; have been half-way to Corinth and to
Purdy. All right. Have just read this letter, and approve all but
floating hospitals; regimental surgeons can take care of all sick,
except chronic cases, which can always be sent down to Paducah.

Magnificent plain for camping and drilling, and a military point of
great strength. The enemy has felt us twice, at great loss and
demoralization; will report at length this evening; am now much
worn out.

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General.

Pittsburg Landing, March 19, 1862.

Captain RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT, Savannah, Tennessee.

SIR: I have just returned from an extensive reconnoissance toward
Corinth and Purdy, and am strongly impressed with the importance of
this position, both for its land advantages and its strategic
position. The ground itself admits of easy defense by a small
command, and yet affords admirable camping-ground for a hundred
thousand men. I will as soon as possible make or cause to be made
a topographical sketch of the position. The only drawback is that,
at this stage of water, the space for landing is contracted too
much for the immense fleet now here discharging.

I will push the loading and unloading of boats, but suggest that
you send at once (Captain Dodd, if possible) the best quartermaster
you can, that he may control and organize this whole matter. I
have a good commissary, and will keep as few provisions afloat as
possible. Yours, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General commanding.

Camp Shiloh, near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, April 2, 1862

Captain J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT.

SIR: In obedience to General Grant's instructions of March 31st,
with one section of Captain Muench's Minnesota Battery, two
twelve-pound howitzers, a detachment of Fifth Ohio Cavalry of one
hundred and fifty men, under Major Ricker, and two battalions of
infantry from the Fifty-seventh and Seventy-seventh Ohio, under the
command of Colonels Hildebrand and Mungen, I marched to the river,
and embarked on the steamers Empress and Tecumseh. The gunboat
Cairo did not arrive at Pittsburg, until after midnight, and at 6
p.m. Captain Bryant, commanding the gunboat, notified me that he
was ready to proceed up the river. I followed, keeping the
transports within about three hundred yards of the gunboat. About
1 p.m., the Cairo commenced shelling the battery above the mouth of
Indian Creek, but elicited no reply. She proceeded up the river
steadily and cautiously, followed close by the Tyler and Lexington,
all throwing shells at the points where, on former visits of the
gunboats, enemy's batteries were found. In this order all
followed, till it was demonstrated that all the enemy's batteries,
including that at Chickasaw, were abandoned.

I ordered the battalion of infantry under Colonel Hildebrand to
disembark at Eastport, and with the other battalion proceeded to
Chickasaw and landed. The battery at this point had evidently been
abandoned some time, and consisted of the remains of an old Indian
mound, partly washed away by the river, which had been fashioned
into a two-gun battery, with a small magazine. The ground to its
rear had evidently been overflowed during the late freshet, and led
to the removal of the guns to Eastport, where the batteries were on
high, elevated ground, accessible at all seasons from the country
to the rear.

Upon personal inspection, I attach little importance to Chickasaw
as a military position. The people, who had fled during the
approach of the gunboats, returned to the village, and said the
place had been occupied by one Tennessee regiment and a battery of
artillery from Pensacola. After remaining at Chickasaw some
hours, all the boats dropped back to Eastport, not more than a mile
below, and landed there. Eastport Landing during the late freshet
must have been about twelve feet under water, but at the present
stage the landing is the best I have seen on the Tennessee River.

The levee is clear of trees or snags, and a hundred boats could
land there without confusion.

The soil is of sand and gravel, and very firm. The road back is
hard, and at a distance of about four hundred yards from the water
begin the gravel hills of the country. The infantry scouts sent
out by Colonel Hildebrand found the enemy's cavalry mounted, and
watching the Inca road, about two miles back of Eastport. The
distance to Inca is only eight miles, and Inca is the nearest point
and has the best road by which the Charleston & Memphis Railroad
can be reached. I could obtain no certain information as to the
strength of the enemy there, but am satisfied that it would have
been folly to have attempted it with my command. Our object being
to dislodge the enemy from the batteries recently erected near
Eastport, and this being attained, I have returned, and report the
river to be clear to and beyond Chickasaw.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding Division.

CAMP SHILOH, April 5, 1862.

Captain J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General, District of
Western Tennessee.

SIR: I have the honor to report that yesterday, about 3 p.m., the
lieutenant commanding and seven men of the advance pickets
imprudently advanced from their posts and were captured. I ordered
Major Ricker, of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, to proceed rapidly to the
picket-station, ascertain the truth, and act according to
circumstances. He reached the station, found the pickets had been
captured as reported, and that a company of infantry sent by the
brigade commander had gone forward in pursuit of some cavalry. He
rapidly advanced some two miles, and found them engaged, charged
the enemy, and drove them along the Ridge road, till he
met and received three discharges of artillery, when he very
properly wheeled under cover, and returned till he met me.

As soon as I heard artillery, I advanced with two regiments of
infantry, and took position, and remained until the scattered
companies of infantry and cavalry had returned. This was after

I infer that the enemy is in some considerable force at Pea Ridge,
that yesterday morning they crossed a brigade of two regiments
of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and one battery of
field-artillery, to the ridge on which the Corinth road lies. They
halted the infantry and artillery at a point abort five miles in my
front, sent a detachment to the lane of General Meeks, on the north
of Owl Creek, and the cavalry down toward our camp. This cavalry
captured a part of our advance pickets, and afterward engaged the
two companies of Colonel Buckland's regiment, as described by him
in his report herewith inclosed. Our cavalry drove them back upon
their artillery and Infantry, killing many, and bringing off ten
prisoners, all of the First Alabama Cavalry, whom I send to you.

We lost of the pickets one first-lieutenant and seven men of the
Ohio Seventieth Infantry (list inclosed); one major, one
lieutenant, and one private of the Seventy-second Ohio, taken
prisoners; eight privates wounded (names in full, embraced in
report of Colonel Buckland, inclosed herewith).

We took ten prisoners, and left two rebels wounded and many killed
on the field.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, commanding Division.

Camp Shiloh, April 10, 1862.

Captain J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General
to General GRANT.

SIR: I had the honor to report that, on Friday the 4th inst., the
enemy's cavalry drove in our pickets, posted about a mile and a
half in advance of my centre, on the main Corinth road, capturing
one first-lieutenant and seven men; that I caused a pursuit by the
cavalry of my division, driving them back about five miles, and
killing many. On Saturday the enemy's cavalry was again very bold,
coming well down to our front; yet I did not believe they designed
any thing but a strong demonstration. On Sunday morning early, the
6th inst., the enemy drove our advance-guard back on the main body,
when I ordered under arms all my division, and sent word to General
McClernand, asking him to support my left; to General Prentiss,
giving him notice that the enemy was in our front in force, and to
General Hurlbut, asking him to support General Prentiss. At that
time--7 a.m.--my division was arranged as follows:

First Brigade, composed of the Sixth Iowa, Colonel J. A. McDowell;

Fortieth Illinois, Colonel Hicks; Forty-sixth Ohio, Colonel
Worthington; and the Morton battery, Captain Behr, on the extreme
right, guarding the bridge on the Purdy road over Owl Creek.

Second Brigade, composed of the Fifty-fifth Illinois, Colonel D.
Stuart; the Fifty-fourth Ohio, Colonel T. Kilby Smith; and the
Seventy-first Ohio, Colonel Mason, on the extreme left, guarding
the ford over Lick Creek.

Third Brigade, composed of the Seventy-seventh Ohio, Colonel
Hildebrand; the Fifty-third Ohio, Colonel Appler; and the
Fifty-seventh Ohio, Colonel Mungen, on the left of the Corinth
road, its right resting on Shiloh meeting-house.

Fourth Brigade, composed of the Seventy-second Ohio, Colonel
Buckland; the Forty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Sullivan; and the
Seventieth Ohio, Colonel Cookerill, on the right of the Corinth
road, its left resting on Shiloh meeting-house.

Two batteries of artillery--Taylor's and Waterhouse's--were posted,
the former at Shiloh, and the latter on a ridge to the left, with a
front-fire over open ground between Mungen's and Appler's
regiments. The cavalry, eight companies of the Fourth Illinois,
under Colonel Dickey, were posted in a large open field to the left
and rear of Shiloh meeting-house, which I regarded as the centre of
my position.

Shortly after 7 a.m., with my entire staff, I rode along a portion
of our front, and when in the open field before Appler's regiment,
the enemy's pickets opened a brisk fire upon my party, killing my
orderly, Thomas D. Holliday, of Company H, Second Illinois Cavalry.
The fire came from the bushes which line a small stream that rises
in the field in front of Appler's camp, and flows to the north
along my whole front.

This valley afforded the enemy partial cover; but our men were so
posted as to have a good fire at them as they crossed the valley
and ascended the rising ground on our side.

About 8 a.m. I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of
infantry to our left front in the woods beyond the small stream
alluded to, and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy
designed a determined attack on our whole camp.

All the regiments of my division were then in line of battle at
their proper posts. I rode to Colonel Appler, and ordered him to
hold his ground at all hazards, as he held the left flank of our
first line of battle, and I informed him that he had a good battery
on his right, and strong support to his rear. General McClernand
had promptly and energetically responded to my request, and had
sent me three regiments which were posted to protect Waterhouse's
battery and the left flank of my line.

The battle opened by the enemy's battery, in the woods to our
front, throwing shells into our camp. Taylor's and Waterhouse's
batteries promptly responded, and I then observed heavy battalions
of infantry passing obliquely to the left, across the open field in
Appler's front; also, other columns advancing directly upon my
division. Our infantry and artillery opened along the whole line,
and the battle became general. Other heavy masses of the enemy's
forces kept passing across the field to our left, and directing
their course on General Prentiss. I saw at once that the enemy
designed to pass my left flank, and fall upon Generals McClernand
and Prentiss, whose line of camps was almost parallel with the
Tennessee River, and about two miles back from it. Very soon the
sound of artillery and musketry announced that General Prentiss was
engaged; and about 9 A. M. I judged that he was falling back.
About this time Appler's regiment broke in disorder, followed by
Mungen's regiment, and the enemy pressed forward on Waterhouse's
battery thereby exposed.

The three Illinois regiments in immediate support of this battery
stood for some time; but the enemy's advance was so vigorous, and
the fire so severe, that when Colonel Raith, of the Forty-third
Illinois, received a severe wound and fell from his horse, his
regiment and the others manifested disorder, and the enemy got
possession of three guns of this (Waterhouse's) battery. Although
our left was thus turned, and the enemy was pressing our whole
line, I deemed Shiloh so important, that I remained by it and
renewed my orders to Colonels McDowell and Buckland to hold their
ground; and we did hold these positions until about 10 a.m., when
the enemy had got his artillery to the rear of our left flank and
some change became absolutely necessary. Two regiments of
Hildebrand's brigade--Appler's and Mungen's--had already
disappeared to the rear, and Hildebrand's own regiment was in
disorder. I therefore gave orders for Taylor's battery--still at
Shiloh--to fall back as far as the Purdy and Hamburg road, and for
McDowell and Buckland to adopt that road as their new line. I rode
across the angle and met Behr's battery at the cross-roads, and
ordered it immediately to come into battery, action right. Captain
Behr gave the order, but he was almost immediately shot from his
horse, when drivers and gunners fled in disorder, carrying off the
caissons, and abandoning five out of six guns, without firing a
shot. The enemy pressed on, gaining this battery, and we were
again forced to choose a new line of defense. Hildebrand's brigade
had substantially disappeared from the field, though he himself
bravely remained. McDowell's and Buckland's brigades maintained
their organizations, and were conducted by my aides, so as to join
on General McClernand's right, thus abandoning my original camps
and line. This was about 10 1/2 a.m., at which time the enemy had
made a furious attack on General McClernand's whole front. He
straggled most determinedly, but, finding him pressed, I moved
McDowell's brigade directly against the left flank of the enemy,
forced him back some distance, and then directed the men to avail
themselves of every cover-trees, fallen timber, and a wooded valley
to our right. We held this position for four long hours, sometimes
gaining and at others losing ground; General McClernand and myself
acting in perfect concert, and struggling to maintain this line.
While we were so hard pressed, two Iowa regiments approached from
the rear, but could not be brought up to the severe fire that was
raging in our front, and General Grant, who visited us on that
ground, will remember our situation about 3 p.m.; but about 4 p.m.
it was evident that Hurlbut's line had been driven back to the
river; and knowing that General Lew Wallace was coming with
reinforcements from Cramp's Landing, General McClernand and I, on
consultation, selected a new line of defense, with its right
covering a bridge by which General Wallace had to approach. We
fell back as well as we could, gathering in addition to our own
such scattered forces as we could find, and formed the new line.

During this change the enemy's cavalry charged us, but were
handsomely repulsed by the Twenty-ninth Illinois Regiment. The
Fifth Ohio Battery, which had come up, rendered good service in
holding the enemy in check for some time, and Major Taylor also
came up with another battery and got into position, just in time to
get a good flank-fire upon the enemy's column, as he pressed on
General McClernand's right, checking his advance; when General
McClernand's division made a fine charge on the enemy and drove him
back into the ravines to our front and right. I had a clear field,
about two hundred yards wide, in my immediate front, and contented
myself with keeping the enemy's infantry at that distance during
the rest of the day. In this position we rested for the night.

My command had become decidedly of a mixed character. Buckland's
brigade was the only one that retained its organization. Colonel
Hildebrand was personally there, but his brigade was not. Colonel
McDowell had been severely injured by a fall off his horse, and had
gone to the river, and the three regiments of his brigade were not
in line. The Thirteenth Missouri, Colonel Crafts J. Wright, had
reported to me on the field, and fought well, retaining its
regimental organization; and it formed a part of my line during
Sunday night and all Monday. Other fragments of regiments and
companies had also fallen into my division, and acted with it
during the remainder of the battle. General Grant and Buell
visited me in our bivouac that evening, and from them I learned the
situation of affairs on other parts of the field. General Wallace
arrived from Crump's Landing shortly after dark, and formed his
line to my right rear. It rained hard during the night, but our
men were in good spirits, lay on their arms, being satisfied with
such bread and meat as could be gathered at the neighboring camps,
and determined to redeem on Monday the losses of Sunday.

At daylight of Monday I received General Grant's orders to advance
and recapture our original camps. I dispatched several members of
my staff to bring up all the men they could find, especially the
brigade of Colonel Stuart, which had been separated from the
division all the day before; and at the appointed time the
division, or rather what remained of it, with the Thirteenth
Missouri and other fragments, moved forward and reoccupied the
ground on the extreme right of General McClernand's camp, where we
attracted the fire of a battery located near Colonel McDowell's
former headquarters. Here I remained, patiently waiting for the
sound of General Buell's advance upon the main Corinth road. About
10 a.m. the heavy firing in that direction, and its steady
approach, satisfied me; and General Wallace being on our right
flank with his well-conducted division, I led the head of my column
to General McClernand's right, formed line of battle, facing south,
with Buckland's brigade directly across the ridge, and Stuart's
brigade on its right in the woods; and thus advanced, steadily and
slowly, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery. Taylor had
just got to me from the rear, where he had gone for ammunition, and
brought up three guns, which I ordered into position, to advance by
hand firing. These guns belonged to Company A, Chicago Light
Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant P. P. Wood, and did most
excellent service. Under cover of their fire, we advanced till we
reached the point where the Corinth road crosses the line of
McClernand's camp, and here I saw for the first time the
well-ordered and compact columns of General Buell's Kentucky
forces, whose soldierly movements at once gave confidence to our
newer and less disciplined men. Here I saw Willich's regiment
advance upon a point of water-oaks and thicket, behind which I knew
the enemy was in great strength, and enter it in beautiful style.
Then arose the severest musketry-fire I ever heard, and lasted some
twenty minutes, when this splendid regiment had to fall back. This
green point of timber is about five hundred yards east of Shiloh
meeting-home, and it was evident here was to be the struggle. The
enemy could also be seen forming his lines to the south. General
McClernand sending to me for artillery, I detached to him the three
guns of Wood's battery, with which he speedily drove them back,
and, seeing some others to the rear, I sent one of my staff to
bring them forward, when, by almost providential decree, they
proved to be two twenty-four pound howitzers belonging to
McAlister's battery, and served as well as guns ever could be.

This was about 2 p.m. The enemy had one battery close by Shiloh,
and another near the Hamburg road, both pouring grape and canister
upon any column of troops that advanced upon the green point of
water-oaks. Willich's regiment had been repulsed, but a whole
brigade of McCook's division advanced beautifully, deployed, and
entered this dreaded wood. I ordered my second brigade (then
commanded by Colonel T. Kilby Smith, Colonel Smart being wounded)
to form on its right, and my fourth brigade, Colonel Buckland, on
its right; all to advance abreast with this Kentucky brigade before
mentioned, which I afterward found to be Rousseau's brigade of
McCook's division. I gave personal direction to the twenty-four
pounder guns, whose well-directed fire first silenced the enemy's
guns to the left, and afterward at the Shiloh meeting-house.

Rousseau's brigade moved in splendid order steadily to the front,
sweeping every thing before it, and at 4 p.m. we stood upon the
ground of our original front line; and the enemy was in full
retreat. I directed my several brigades to resume at once their
original camps.

Several times during the battle, cartridges gave out; but General
Grant had thoughtfully kept a supply coming from the rear. When I
appealed to regiments to stand fast, although out of cartridges, I
did so because, to retire a regiment for any cause, has a bad
effect on others. I commend the Fortieth Illinois and Thirteenth
Missouri for thus holding their ground under heavy fire, although
their cartridge-boxes were empty.

I am ordered by General Grant to give personal credit where I think
it is due, and censure where I think it merited. I concede that
General McCook's splendid division from Kentucky drove back the
enemy along the Corinth road, which was the great centre of this
field of battle, where Beauregard commanded in person, supported by
Bragg's, Polk's, and Breckenridge's divisions. I think Johnston
was killed by exposing himself in front of his troops, at the time
of their attack on Buckland's brigade on Sunday morning; although
in this I may be mistaken.

My division was made up of regiments perfectly new, nearly all
having received their muskets for the first time at Paducah. None
of them had ever been under fire or beheld heavy columns of an
enemy bearing down on them as they did on last Sunday.

To expect of them the coolness and steadiness of older troops would
be wrong. They knew not the value of combination and organization.
When individual fears seized them, the first impulse was to get
away. My third brigade did break much too soon, and I am not yet
advised where they were during Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
Colonel Hildebrand, its commander, was as cool as any man I ever
saw, and no one could have made stronger efforts to hold his men to
their places than he did. He kept his own regiment with individual
exceptions in hand, an hour after Appler's and Mungen's regiments
had left their proper field of action. Colonel Buckland managed
his brigade well. I commend him to your notice as a cool,
intelligent, and judicious gentleman, needing only confidence and
experience, to make a good commander. His subordinates, Colonels
Sullivan and Cockerill, behaved with great gallantry; the former
receiving a severe wound on Sunday, and yet commanding and holding
his regiment well in hand all day, and on Monday, until his right
arm was broken by a shot. Colonel Cookerill held a larger
proportion of his men than any colonel in my division, and was with
me from first to last.

Colonel J. A. McDowell, commanding the first brigade, held his
ground on Sunday, till I ordered him to fall back, which he did in
line of battle; and when ordered, he conducted the attack on the
enemy's left in good style. In falling back to the next position,
he was thrown from his horse and injured, and his brigade was not
in position on Monday morning. His subordinates, Colonels Hicks
and Worthington, displayed great personal courage. Colonel Hicks
led his regiment in the attack on Sunday, and received a wound,
which it is feared may prove mortal. He is a brave and gallant
gentleman, and deserves well of his country. Lieutenant-Colonel
Walcutt, of the Ohio Forty-sixth, was severely wounded on Sunday,
and has been disabled ever since. My second brigade, Colonel
Stuart, was detached nearly two miles from my headquarters. He had
to fight his own battle on Sunday, against superior numbers, as the
enemy interposed between him and General Prentiss early in the day.
Colonel Stuart was wounded severely, and yet reported for duty on
Monday morning, but was compelled to leave during the day, when the
command devolved on Colonel T. Kilby Smith, who was always in the
thickest of the, fight, and led the brigade handsomely.

I have not yet received Colonel Stuart's report of the operations
of his brigade during the time he was detached, and must therefore
forbear to mention names. Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle, of the
Seventy-first, was mortally wounded on Sunday, but the regiment
itself I did not see, as only a small fragment of it was with the
brigade when it joined the division on Monday morning. Great
credit is due the fragments of men of the disordered regiments who
kept in the advance. I observed and noticed them, but until the
brigadiers and colonels make their reports, I cannot venture to
name individuals, but will in due season notice all who kept in our
front line, as well as those who preferred to keep back near the
steamboat-landing. I will also send a full list of the killed,
wounded, and missing, by name, rank, company, and regiment. At
present I submit the result in figures:

[Summary of General Sherman's detailed table:]
Killed ........................ 318
Wounded ....................... 1275
Missing ....................... 441
Aggregate loss in the division: 2034

The enemy captured seven of our guns on Sunday, but on Monday we
recovered seven; not the identical guns we had lost, but enough in
number to balance the account. At the time of recovering our camps
our men were so fatigued that we could not follow the retreating
masses of the enemy; but on the following day I followed up with
Buckland's and Hildebrand's brigade for six miles, the result of
which I have already reported.

Of my personal staff, I can only speak with praise and thanks. I
think they smelled as much gunpowder and heard as many cannon-balls
and bullets as must satisfy their ambition. Captain Hammond, my
chief of staff, though in feeble health, was very active in
rallying broken troops, encouraging the steadfast and aiding to
form the lines of defense and attack. I recommend him to your
notice. Major Sanger's intelligence, quick perception, and rapid
execution, were of very great value to me, especially in bringing
into line the batteries that cooperated so efficiently in our
movements. Captains McCoy and Dayton, aides-de-camp, were with me
all the time, carrying orders, and acting with coolness, spirit,
and courage. To Surgeon Hartshorne and Dr. L'Hommedieu hundreds of
wounded men are indebted for the kind and excellent treatment
received on the field of battle and in the various temporary
hospitals created along the line of our operations. They worked
day and night, and did not rest till all the wounded of our own
troops as well as of the enemy were in safe and comfortable
shelter. To Major Taylor, chief of artillery, I feel under deep
obligations, for his good sense and judgment in managing the
batteries, on which so much depended. I inclose his report and
indorse his recommendations. The cavalry of my command kept to the
rear, and took little part in the action; but it would have been
madness to have exposed horses to the musketry-fire under which we
were compelled to remain from Sunday at 8 a.m. till Monday at
4 p.m. Captain Kossack, of the engineers, was with me all the time,
and was of great assistance. I inclose his sketch of the
battlefield, which is the best I have seen, and which will enable
you to see the various positions occupied by my division, as well as
of the others that participated in the battle. I will also send in,
during the day, the detailed reports of my brigadiers and colonels,
and will indorse them with such remarks as I deem proper.

I am, with much respect, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding Fifth Division.

Tuesday, April 8,1862

Sir: With the cavalry placed at my command and two brigades of my
fatigued troops, I went this morning out on the Corinth road. One
after another of the abandoned camps of the enemy lined the roads,
with hospital flags for their protection; at all we found more or
less wounded and dead men. At the forks of the road I found the
head of General T. J. Wood's division of Buell's Army. I ordered
cavalry to examine both roads leading toward Corinth, and found the
enemy on both. Colonel Dickey, of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry,
asking for reenforcements, I ordered General Wood to advance the
head of his column cautiously on the left-hand road, while I
conducted the head of the third brigade of my division up the
right-hand road. About half a mile from the forks was a clear
field, through which the road passed, and, immediately beyond, a
space of some two hundred yards of fallen timber, and beyond that
an extensive rebel camp. The enemy's cavalry could be seen in this
camp; after reconnoisance, I ordered the two advance companies of
the Ohio Seventy-seventh, Colonel Hildebrand, to deploy forward as
skirmishers, and the regiment itself forward into line, with an
interval of one hundred yards. In this order we advanced
cautiously until the skirmishers were engaged. Taking it for
granted this disposition would clear the camp, I held Colonel
Dickey's Fourth Illinois Cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy's
cavalry came down boldly at a charge, led by General Forrest in
person, breaking through our line of skirmishers; when the regiment
of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets, and
fled. The ground was admirably adapted for a defense of infantry
against cavalry, being miry and covered with fallen timber.

As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey's Cavalry began to
discharge their carbines, and fell into disorder. I instantly sent
orders to the rear for the brigade to form line of battle, which
was promptly executed. The broken infantry and cavalry rallied on
this line, and, as the enemy's cavalry came to it, our cavalry in
turn charged and drove them from the field. I advanced the entire
brigade over the same ground and sent Colonel Dickey's cavalry a
mile farther on the road. On examining the ground which had been
occupied by the Seventy-seventh Ohio, we found fifteen of our men
dead and about twenty-five wounded. I sent for wagons and had all
the wounded carried back to camp, and caused the dead to be buried,
also the whole rebel camp to be destroyed.

Here we found much ammunition for field-pieces, which was
destroyed; also two caissons, and a general hospital, with about
two hundred and eighty Confederate wounded, and about fifty of our
own wounded men. Not having the means of bringing them off,
Colonel Dickey, by my orders, took a surrender, signed by the
medical director (Lyle) and by all the attending surgeons, and a
pledge to report themselves to you as prisoners of war; also a
pledge that our wounded should be carefully attended to, and
surrendered to us to-morrow as soon as ambulances could go out. I
inclose this written document, and request that you cause wagons or
ambulances for our wounded to be sent to-morrow, and that wagons'
be sent to bring in the many tents belonging to us which are
pitched along the road for four miles out. I did not destroy them,
because I knew the enemy could not move them. The roads are very
bad, and are strewed with abandoned wagons, ambulances, and
limber-boxes. The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns,
but has crippled his batteries by abandoning the hind limber-boxes
of at least twenty caissons. I am satisfied the enemy's infantry
and artillery passed Lick Creek this morning, traveling all of last
night, and that he left to his rear all his cavalry, which has
protected his retreat; but signs of confusion and disorder mark the
whole road. The check sustained by us at the fallen timber delayed
our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were
provided for and the dead buried, and our troops being fagged out
by three days' hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I ordered
them back to their camps, where they now are.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding Division.

General Grant did not make an official report of the battle of
Shiloh, but all its incidents and events were covered by the
reports of division commanders and Subordinates. Probably no
single battle of the war gave rise to such wild and damaging
reports. It was publicly asserted at the North that our army was
taken completely by surprise; that the rebels caught us in our
tents; bayoneted the men in their beds; that General Grant was
drunk; that Buell's opportune arrival saved the Army of the
Tennessee from utter annihilation, etc. These reports were in a
measure sustained by the published opinions of Generals Buell,
Nelson, and others, who had reached the steamboat-landing from the
east, just before nightfall of the 6th, when there was a large
crowd of frightened, stampeded men, who clamored and declared that
our army was all destroyed and beaten. Personally I saw General
Grant, who with his staff visited me about 10 a.m. of the 6th,
when we were desperately engaged. But we had checked the headlong
assault of our enemy, and then held our ground. This gave him
great satisfaction, and he told me that things did not look as well
over on the left. He also told me that on his way up from Savannah
that morning he had stopped at Crump's Landing, and had ordered Lew
Wallace's division to cross over Snake Creek, so as to come up on
my right, telling me to look out for him. He came again just
before dark, and described the last assault made by the rebels at
the ravine, near the steamboat-landing, which he had repelled by a
heavy battery collected under Colonel J. D. Webster and other
officers, and he was convinced that the battle was over for that
day. He ordered me to be ready to assume the offensive in the
morning, saying that, as he had observed at Fort Donelson at the
crisis of the battle, both sides seemed defeated, and whoever
assumed the offensive was sure to win. General Grant also
explained to me that General Buell had reached the bank of the
Tennessee River opposite Pittsburg Landing, and was in the act of
ferrying his troops across at the time he was speaking to me.

About half an hour afterward General Buell himself rode up to where
I was, accompanied by Colonels Fry, Michler, and others of his
staff. I was dismounted at the time, and General Buell made of me
a good many significant inquiries about matters and things
generally. By the aid of a manuscript map made by myself, I
pointed out to him our positions as they had been in the morning,
and our then positions; I also explained that my right then covered
the bridge over Snake Creek by which we had all day been expecting
Lew Wallace; that McClernand was on my left, Hurlbut on his left,
and so on. But Buell said he had come up from the landing, and had
not seen our men, of whose existence in fact he seemed to doubt. I
insisted that I had five thousand good men still left in line, and
thought that McClernand had as many more, and that with what was
left of Hurlbut's, W. H. L. Wallace's, and Prentiss's divisions, we
ought to have eighteen thousand men fit for battle. I reckoned
that ten thousand of our men were dead, wounded, or prisoners, and
that the enemy's loss could not be much less. Buell said that
Nelson's, McCook's, and Crittendens divisions of his army,
containing eighteen thousand men, had arrived and could cross over
in the night, and be ready for the next day's battle. I argued
that with these reenforcements we could sweep the field. Buell
seemed to mistrust us, and repeatedly said that he did not like the
looks of things, especially about the boat-landing,--and I really
feared he would not cross over his army that night, lest he should
become involved in our general disaster. He did not, of course,
understand the shape of the ground, and asked me for the use of my
map, which I lent him on the promise that he would return it. He
handed it to Major Michler to have it copied, and the original
returned to me, which Michler did two or three days after the
battle. Buell did cross over that night, and the next day we
assumed the offensive and swept the field, thus gaining the battle
decisively. Nevertheless, the controversy was started and kept up,
mostly to the personal prejudice of General Grant, who as usual
maintained an imperturbable silence.

After the battle, a constant stream of civilian surgeons, and
sanitary commission agents, men and women, came up the Tennessee to
bring relief to the thousands of maimed and wounded soldiers for
whom we had imperfect means of shelter and care. These people
caught up the camp-stories, which on their return home they
retailed through their local papers, usually elevating their own
neighbors into heroes, but decrying all others: Among them was
Lieutenant-Governor Stanton, of Ohio, who published in Belfontaine,
Ohio, a most abusive article about General Grant and his
subordinate generals. As General Grant did not and would not take
up the cudgels, I did so. My letter in reply to Stanton, dated
June 10, 1862, was published in the Cincinnati Commercial soon
after its date. To this Lieutenant-Governor Stanton replied, and I
further rejoined in a letter dated July 12, 1862. These letters
are too personal to be revived. By this time the good people of
the North had begun to have their eyes opened, and to give us in
the field more faith and support. Stanton was never again elected
to any public office, and was commonly spoken of as "the late Mr.
Stanton." He is now dead, and I doubt not in life he often
regretted his mistake in attempting to gain popular fame by abusing
the army-leaders, then as now an easy and favorite mode of gaining
notoriety, if not popularity. Of course, subsequent events gave
General Grant and most of the other actors in that battle their
appropriate place in history, but the danger of sudden popular
clamors is well illustrated by this case.

Tho battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, was one of the most
fiercely contested of the war. On the morning of April 6, 1862,
the five divisions of McClernand, Prentiss, Hurlbut, W. H. L.
Wallace, and Sherman, aggregated about thirty-two thousand men. We
had no intrenchments of any sort, on the theory that as soon as
Buell arrived we would march to Corinth to attack the enemy. The
rebel army, commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston, was,
according to their own reports and admissions, forty-five thousand
strong, had the momentum of attack, and beyond all question fought
skillfully from early morning till about 2 a.m., when their
commander-in-chief was killed by a Mini-ball in the calf of his
leg, which penetrated the boot and severed the main artery. There
was then a perceptible lull for a couple of hours, when the attack
was renewed, but with much less vehemence, and continued up to
dark. Early at night the division of Lew Wallace arrived from the
other side of Snake Creek, not having fired a shot. A very small
part of General Buell's army was on our side of the Tennessee River
that evening, and their loss was trivial.

During that night, the three divisions of McCook, Nelson, and
Crittenden, were ferried across the Tennessee, and fought with us
the next day (7th). During that night, also, the two wooden
gunboats, Tyler, commanded by Lieutenant Groin, and Lexington,
Lieutenant Shirk, both of the regular navy, caused shells to be
thrown toward that part of the field of battle known to be occupied
by the enemy. Beauregard afterward reported his entire loss as ten
thousand six hundred and ninety-nine. Our aggregate loss, made up
from official statements, shows seventeen hundred killed, seven
thousand four hundred and ninety-five wounded, and three thousand
and twenty-two prisoners; aggregate, twelve thousand two hundred
and seventeen, of which twenty-one hundred and sixty-seven were in
Buell's army, leaving for that of Grant ten thousand and fifty.
This result is a fair measure of the amount of fighting done by
each army.




While, the "Army of the Tennessee," under Generals Grant and C. F.
Smith, was operating up the Tennessee River, another force, styled
the "Army of the Mississippi," commanded by Major-General John
Pope, was moving directly down the Mississippi River, against that
portion of the rebel line which, under Generals Polk and Pillow,
had fallen back from Columbus, Kentucky, to Island Number Ten and
New Madrid. This army had the full cooperation of the gunboat
fleet, commanded by Admiral Foote, and was assisted by the high
flood of that season, which enabled General Pope, by great skill
and industry, to open a canal from a point above Island Number Ten
to New Madrid below, by which he interposed between the rebel army
and its available line of supply and retreat. At the very time
that we were fighting the bloody battle on the Tennessee River,
General Pope and Admiral Foote were bombarding the batteries on
Island Number Ten, and the Kentucky shore abreast of it; and
General Pope having crossed over by steamers a part of his army to
the east bank, captured a large part of this rebel army, at and
near Tiptonville.

General Halleck still remained at St. Louis, whence he gave general
directions to the armies of General Curtis, Generals Grant, Buell,
and Pope; and instead of following up his most important and
brilliant successes directly down the Mississippi, he concluded to
bring General Pope's army around to the Tennessee, and to come in
person to command there. The gunboat fleet pushed on down the
Mississippi, but was brought up again all standing by the heavy
batteries at Fort Pillow, about fifty miles above Memphis. About
this time Admiral Farragut, with another large sea-going fleet, and
with the cooperating army of General Butler, was entering the
Mississippi River by the Passes, and preparing to reduce Forts
Jackson and St, Philip in order to reach New Orleans; so that all
minds were turned to the conquest of the Mississippi River, and
surely adequate means were provided for the undertaking.

The battle of Shiloh had been fought, as described, on the 6th and
7th of April; and when the movement of the 8th had revealed that
our enemy was gone, in full retreat, leaving killed, wounded, and
much property by the way, we all experienced a feeling of relief.
The struggle had been so long, so desperate and bloody, that the
survivors seemed exhausted and nerveless; we appreciated the value
of the victory, but realized also its great cost of life. The
close of the battle had left the Army of the Tennessee on the
right, and the Army of the Ohio on the left; but I believe neither
General Grant nor Buell exercised command, the one over the other;
each of them having his hands full in repairing damages. All the
division, brigade, and regimental commanders were busy in
collecting stragglers, regaining lost property, in burying dead men
and horses, and in providing for their wounded. Some few new
regiments came forward, and some changes of organization became
necessary. Then, or very soon after, I consolidated my font
brigades into three, which were commanded: First, Brigadier-General
Morgan L: Smith; Second, Colonel John A. McDowell; Third,
Brigadier-General J. W. Denver. About the same time I was promoted
to major-general volunteers.

The Seventy-first Ohio was detached to Clarksville, Tennessee, and
the Sixth and Eighth Missouri were transferred to my division.

In a few days after the battle, General Halleck arrived by
steamboat from St. Louis, pitched his camp near the steamboat-
landing, and assumed personal command of all the armies. He was
attended by his staff, composed of General G. W. Cullum, U. S.
Engineers, as his chief of staff; Colonel George Thom, U. S.
Engineers; and Colonels Kelton and Kemper, adjutants-general. It
soon became manifest that his mind had been prejudiced by the
rumors which had gone forth to the detriment of General Grant; for
in a few days he issued an order, reorganizing and rearranging the
whole army. General Buell's Army of the Ohio constituted the
centre; General Pope's army, then arriving at Hamburg Landing, was
the left; the right was made up of mine and Hurlbut's divisions,
belonging to the old Army of the Tennessee, and two new ones, made
up from the fragments of the divisions of Prentiss and C. F. Smith,
and of troops transferred thereto, commanded by Generals T. W.
Sherman and Davies. General George H. Thomas was taken from Buell,
to command the right. McClernand's and Lew Wallace's divisions
were styled the reserve, to be commanded by McClernand. General
Grant was substantially left out, and was named "second in
command," according to some French notion, with no clear,
well-defined command or authority. He still retained his old
staff, composed of Rawlins, adjutant-general; Riggin, Lagow, and
Hilyer, aides; and he had a small company of the Fourth Illinois
Cavalry as an escort. For more than a month he thus remained,
without any apparent authority, frequently visiting me and others,
and rarely complaining; but I could see that he felt deeply the
indignity, if not insult, heaped upon him.

General Thomas at once assumed command of the right wing, and,
until we reached Corinth, I served immediately under his command.
We were classmates, intimately acquainted, had served together
before in the old army, and in Kentucky, and it made to us little
difference who commanded the other, provided the good cause

Corinth was about thirty miles distant, and we all knew that we
should find there the same army with which we had so fiercely
grappled at Shiloh, reorganized, reenforced, and commanded in chief
by General Beauregard in place of Johnston, who had fallen at
Shiloh. But we were also reenforced by Buell's and Pope's armies;
so that before the end of April our army extended from Snake Creek
on the right to the Tennessee River, at Hamburg, on the left, and
must have numbered nearly one hundred thousand men.

Ample supplies of all kinds reached us by the Tennessee River,
which had a good stage of water; but our wagon transportation was
limited, and much confusion occurred in hauling supplies to the
several camps. By the end of Aril, the several armies seemed to be
ready, and the general forward movement on Corinth began. My
division was on the extreme right of the right wing, and marched
out by the "White House," leaving Monterey or Pea Ridge to the
south. Crossing Lick Creek, we came into the main road about a
mile south of Monterey, where we turned square to the right, and
came into the Purdy road, near "Elams." Thence we followed the
Purdy road to Corinth, my skirmishers reaching at all times the
Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Of course our marches were governed by the
main centre, which followed the direct road from Pittsburg Landing
to Corinth; and this movement was provokingly slow. We fortified
almost every camp at night, though we had encountered no serious
opposition, except from cavalry, which gave ground easily as we
advanced. The opposition increased as we neared Corinth, and at a
place called Russell's we had a sharp affair of one brigade, under
the immediate direction of Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith,
assisted by the brigade of General Denver. This affair occurred on
the 19th of May, and our line was then within about two miles of
the northern intrenchments of Corinth.

On the 27th I received orders from General Halleck "to send a force
the next day to drive the rebels from the house in our front, on
the Corinth road, to drive in their pickets as far as possible, and
to make a strong demonstration on Corinth itself;" authorizing me
to call on any adjacent division for assistance.

I reconnoitred the ground carefully, and found that the main road
led forward along the fence of a large cotton-field to our right
front, and ascended a wooded hill, occupied in some force by the
enemy, on which was the farm-house referred to in General Halleck's
orders. At the farther end of the field was a double log-house,
whose chinking had been removed; so that it formed a good block
house from which the enemy could fire on any person approaching
from our quarter.

General Hurlbut's division was on my immediate left, and General
McClernand's reserve on our right rear. I asked of each the
assistance of a brigade. The former sent General Veatch's, and the
latter General John A. Logan's brigade. I asked the former to
support our left flank, and the latter our right flank. The next
morning early, Morgan L. Smith's brigade was deployed under cover
on the left, and Denver's on the right, ready to move forward
rapidly at a signal. I had a battery of four twenty-pound Parrott
guns, commanded by Captain Silversparre. Colonel Ezra Taylor,
chief of artillery, had two of these guns moved up silently by hand
behind a small knoll, from the crest of which the enemy's
block-house and position could be distinctly seen; when all were
ready, these guns were moved to the crest, and several quick rounds
were fired at the house, followed after an interval by a single
gum. This was the signal agreed on, and the troops responded
beautifully, crossed the field in line of battle, preceded by their
skirmishers who carried the position in good style, and pursued the
enemy for half a mile beyond.

The main line halted on the crest of the ridge, from which we could
look over the parapets of the rebel works at Corinth, and hear
their drum and bugle calls. The rebel brigade had evidently been
taken by surprise in our attack; it soon rallied and came back on
us with the usual yell, driving in our skirmishers, but was quickly
checked when it came within range of our guns and line of battle.
Generals Grant and Thomas happened to be with me during this
affair, and were well pleased at the handsome manner in which the
troops behaved. That night we began the usual entrenchments, and
the next day brought forward the artillery and the rest of the
division, which then extended from the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, at
Bowie Hill Out, to the Corinth & Purdy road, there connecting with
Hurlbut's division. That night, viz., May 29th, we heard unusual
sounds in Corinth, the constant whistling of locomotives, and soon
after daylight occurred a series of explosions followed by a dense
smoke rising high over the town. There was a telegraph line
connecting my headquarters with those of General Halleck, about
four miles off, on the Hamburg road. I inquired if he knew the
cause of the explosions and of the smoke, and he answered to
"advance with my division and feel the enemy if still in my front"
I immediately dispatched two regiments from each of my three
brigades to feel the immediate front, and in a very short time
advanced with the whole division. Each brigade found the rebel
parapets abandoned, and pushed straight for the town, which lies in
the northeast angle of intersection of the Mobile & Ohio and
Memphis & Charleston Railroads. Many buildings had been burned by
the enemy on evacuation, which had begun the night before at 6
p.m., and continued through the night, the rear-guard burning their
magazine at the time of withdrawing, about daybreak. Morgan L.
Smith's brigade followed the retreating rear-guard some four miles
to the Tuacumbia Bridge, which was found burned. I halted the
other brigades at the college, about a mile to the southwest of the
town, where I was overtaken by General Thomas in person.

The heads of all the columns had entered the rebel lines about the
same time, and there was some rather foolish clamor for the first
honors, but in fact there was no honor in the event. Beauregard
had made a clean retreat to the south, and was only seriously
pursued by cavalry from General Pope's flank. But he reached
Tupelo, where he halted for reorganization; and there is no doubt
that at the moment there was much disorganization in his ranks, for
the woods were full of deserters whom we did not even take
prisoners, but advised them to make their way home and stay there.
We spent the day at and near the college, when General Thomas, who
applied for orders at Halleck's headquarters, directed me to
conduct my division back to the camp of the night before, where we
had left our trains The advance on Corinth had occupied all of the
month of May, the most beautiful and valuable month of the year for
campaigning in this latitude. There had been little fighting, save
on General Pope's left flank about Farmington; and on our right. I
esteemed it a magnificent drill, as it served for the instruction
of our men in guard and picket duty, and in habituating them to
out-door life; and by the time we had reached Corinth I believe
that army was the best then on this continent, and could have gone
where it pleased. The four subdivisions were well commanded, as
were the divisions and brigades of the whole army. General Halleck
was a man of great capacity, of large acquirements, and at the time
possessed the confidence of the country, and of most of the army.
I held him in high estimation, and gave him credit for the
combinations which had resulted in placing this magnificent army of
a hundred thousand men, well equipped and provided, with a good
base, at Corinth, from which he could move in any direction.

Had he held his force as a unit, he could have gone to Mobile, or
Vicksburg, or anywhere in that region, which would by one move have
solved the whole Mississippi problem; and, from what he then told
me, I believe he intended such a campaign, but was overruled from
Washington. Be that as it may, the army had no sooner settled down
at Corinth before it was scattered: General Pope was called to the
East, and his army distributed among the others; General Thomas was
relieved from the command of the right wing, and reassigned to his
division in the Army of the Ohio; and that whole army under General
Buell was turned east along the Memphis & Charleston road, to march
for Chattanooga. McClernand's "reserve" was turned west to Bolivar
and Memphis. General Halleck took post himself at Corinth,
assigned Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson to take charge of the
railroads, with instructions to repair them as far as Columbus,
Kentucky, and to collect cars and locomotives to operate them to
Corinth and Grand Junction. I was soon dispatched with my own and
Hurlbut's divisions northwest fourteen miles to Chewalla, to save
what could be of any value out of six trains of cars belonging to
the rebels which had been wrecked and partially burned at the time
of the evacuation of Corinth.

A short time before leaving Corinth I rode from my camp to General
Halleck's headquarters, then in tents just outside of the town,
where we sat and gossiped for some time, when he mentioned to me
casually that General Grant was going away the next morning. I
inquired the cause, and he said that he did not know, but that
Grant had applied for a thirty days' leave, which had been given
him. Of course we all knew that he was chafing under the slights
of his anomalous position, and I determined to see him on my way
back. His camp was a short distance off the Monterey road, in the
woods, and consisted of four or five tents, with a sapling railing
around the front. As I rode up, Majors Rawlins, Lagow, and Hilyer,
were in front of the camp, and piled up near them were the usual
office and camp chests, all ready for a start in the morning. I
inquired for the general, and was shown to his tent, where I found
him seated on a camp-stool, with papers on a rude camp-table; he
seemed to be employed in assorting letters, and tying them up with
red tape into convenient bundles. After passing the usual
compliments, I inquired if it were true that he was going away. He
said, "Yes." I then inquired the reason, and he said "Sherman, you
know. You know that I am in the way here. I have stood it as long
as I can, and can endure it no longer." I inquired where he was
going to, and he said, "St. Louis." I then asked if he had any
business there, and he said, "Not a bit." I then begged him to
stay, illustrating his case by my own.

Before the battle of Shiloh, I had been cast down by a mere
newspaper assertion of "crazy;" but that single battle had given me
new life, and now I was in high feather; and I argued with him
that, if he went away, events would go right along, and he would be
left out; whereas, if he remained, some happy accident might
restore him to favor and his true place. He certainly appreciated
my friendly advice, and promised to wait awhile; at all events, not
to go without seeing me again, or communicating with me. Very soon
after this, I was ordered to Chewalla, where, on the 6th of June, I
received a note from him, saying that he had reconsidered his
intention, and would remain. I cannot find the note, but my answer
I have kept:

Chewalla, Jane 6, 1862.

Major-General GRANT.

My DEAR SIR: I have just received your note, and am rejoiced at
your conclusion to remain; for you could not be quiet at home for a
week when armies were moving, and rest could not relieve your mind
of the gnawing sensation that injustice had been done you.

My orders at Chewalla were to rescue the wrecked trains there, to
reconnoitre westward and estimate the amount of damage to the
railroad as far as Grand Junction, about fifty miles. We camped
our troops on high, healthy ground to the south of Chewalla, and
after I had personally reconnoitred the country, details of men
were made and volunteer locomotive engineers obtained to
superintend the repairs. I found six locomotives and about sixty
cars, thrown from the track, parts of the machinery detached and
hidden in the surrounding swamp, and all damaged as much by fire as
possible. It seems that these trains were inside of Corinth during
the night of evacuation, loading up with all sorts of commissary
stores, etc., and about daylight were started west; but the
cavalry-picket stationed at the Tuscumbia bridge had, by mistake or
panic, burned the bridge before the trains got to them. The
trains, therefore, were caught, and the engineers and guards
hastily scattered the stores into the swamp, and disabled the
trains as far as they could, before our cavalry had discovered
their critical situation. The weather was hot, and the swamp
fairly stunk with the putrid flour and fermenting sugar and
molasses; I was so much exposed there in the hot sun, pushing
forward the work, that I got a touch of malarial fever, which hung
on me for a month, and forced me to ride two days in an ambulance,
the only time I ever did such a thing during the whole war. By the
7th I reported to General Halleck that the amount of work necessary
to reestablish the railroad between Corinth and Grand Junction was
so great, that he concluded not to attempt its repair, but to rely
on the road back to Jackson (Tennessee), and forward to Grand
Junction; and I was ordered to move to Grand Junction, to take up
the repairs from there toward Memphis.

The evacuation of Corinth by Beauregard, and the movements of
General McClernand's force toward Memphis, had necessitated the
evacuation of Fort Pillow, which occurred about June 1st; soon
followed by the further withdrawal of the Confederate army from
Memphis, by reason of the destruction of the rebel gunboats in the
bold and dashing attack by our gun-boats under command of Admiral
Davis, who had succeeded Foote. This occurred June 7th. Admiral
Farragut had also captured New Orleans after the terrible passage
of Forts Jackson and St. Philip on May 24th, and had ascended the
river as high as Vicksburg; so that it seemed as though, before the
end of June, we should surely have full possession of the whole
river. But it is now known that the progress of our Western armies
had aroused the rebel government to the exercise of the most
stupendous energy. Every man capable of bearing arms at the South
was declared to be a soldier, and forced to act as such. All their
armies were greatly reenforced, and the most despotic power was
granted to enforce discipline and supplies. Beauregard was
replaced by Bragg, a man of more ability--of greater powers of
organization, of action, and discipline--but naturally exacting and
severe, and not possessing the qualities to attract the love of his
officers and men. He had a hard task to bring into order and
discipline that mass of men to whose command he succeeded at
Tupelo, with which he afterward fairly outmanoeuvred General Buell,
and forced him back from Chattanooga to Louisville. It was a fatal
mistake, however, that halted General Halleck at Corinth, and led
him to disperse and scatter the best materials for a fighting army
that, up to that date, had been assembled in the West.

During the latter part of June and first half of July, I had my own
and Hurlbut's divisions about Grand Junction, Lagrange, Moscow, and
Lafayette, building railroad-trestles and bridges, fighting off
cavalry detachments coming from the south, and waging an
everlasting quarrel with planters about their negroes and fences
--they trying, in the midst of moving armies, to raise a crop of
corn. On the 17th of June I sent a detachment of two brigades,
under General M. L. Smith, to Holly Springs, in the belief that I
could better protect the railroad from some point in front than
by scattering our men along it; and, on the 23d, I was at
Lafayette Station, when General Grant, with his staff and a very
insignificant escort, arrived from Corinth en route for Memphis, to
take command of that place and of the District of West Tennessee.
He came very near falling into the hands of the enemy, who infested
the whole country with small but bold detachments of cavalry. Up
to that time I had received my orders direct from General Halleck
at Corinth, but soon after I fell under the immediate command of
General Grant and so continued to the end of the war; but, on the
29th, General Halleck notified me that "a division of troops under
General C. S. Hamilton of 'Rosecrans's army corps,' had passed the
Hatchie from Corinth," and was destined for Holly Springs, ordering
me to "cooperate as far as advisable," but "not to neglect the
protection of the road." I ordered General Hurlbut to leave
detachments at Grand Junction and Lagrange, and to march for Holly
Springs. I left detachments at Moscow and Lafayette, and, with
about four thousand men, marched for the same point. Hurlbut and I
met at Hudsonville, and thence marched to the Coldwater, within
four miles of Holly Springs. We encountered only small detachments
of rebel cavalry under Colonels Jackson and Pierson, and drove them
into and through Holly Springs; but they hung about, and I kept an
infantry brigade in Holly Springs to keep them out. I heard
nothing from General Hamilton till the 5th of July, when I received
a letter from him dated Rienzi, saying that he had been within
nineteen miles of Holly Springs and had turned back for Corinth;
and on the next day, July 6th, I got a telegraph order from General
Halleck, of July 2d, sent me by courier from Moscow, "not to
attempt to hold Holly Springs, but to fall back and protect the
railroad." We accordingly marched back twenty-five miles--Hurlbut
to Lagrange, and I to Moscow. The enemy had no infantry nearer
than the Tallahatchee bridge, but their cavalry was saucy and
active, superior to ours, and I despaired of ever protecting a
railroad, preventing a broad front of one hundred miles, from their

About this time, we were taunted by the Confederate soldiers and
citizens with the assertion that Lee had defeated McClellan at
Richmond; that he would soon be in Washington; and that our turn
would come next. The extreme caution of General Halleck also
indicated that something had gone wrong, and, on the 16th of July,
at Moscow, I received a dispatch from him, announcing that he had
been summoned to Washington, which he seemed to regret, and which
at that moment I most deeply deplored. He announced that his
command would devolve on General Grant, who had been summoned
around from Memphis to Corinth by way of Columbus, Kentucky, and
that I was to go into Memphis to take command of the District of
West Tennessee, vacated by General Grant. By this time, also, I
was made aware that the great, army that had assembled at Corinth
at the end of May had been scattered and dissipated, and that
terrible disasters had befallen our other armies in Virginia and
the East.

I soon received orders to move to Memphis, taking Hurlbut's
division along. We reached Memphis on the 21st, and on the 22d I
posted my three brigades mostly in and near Fort Dickering, and
Hurlbut's division next below on the river-bank by reason of the
scarcity of water, except in the Mississippi River itself. The
weather was intensely hot. The same order that took us to Memphis
required me to send the division of General Lew Wallace (then
commanded by Brigadier-General A. P. Hovey) to Helena, Arkansas, to
report to General Curtis, which was easily accomplished by
steamboat. I made my own camp in a vacant lot, near Mr. Moon's
house, and gave my chief attention to the construction of Fort
Pickering, then in charge of Major Prime, United States Engineers;
to perfecting the drill and discipline of the two divisions under
my command; and to the administration of civil affairs.

At the time when General Halleck was summoned from Corinth to
Washington, to succeed McClellan as commander-in-chief, I surely
expected of him immediate and important results. The Army of the
Ohio was at the time marching toward Chattanooga, and was strung
from Eastport by Huntsville to Bridgeport, under the command of
General Buell. In like manner, the Army of the Tennessee was
strung along the same general line, from Memphis to Tuscumbia, and
was commanded by General Grant, with no common commander for both
these forces: so that the great army which General Halleck had so
well assembled at Corinth, was put on the defensive, with a
frontage of three hundred miles. Soon thereafter the rebels
displayed peculiar energy and military skill. General Bragg had
reorganized the army of Beauregard at Tupelo, carried it rapidly
and skillfully toward Chattanooga, whence he boldly assumed the
offensive, moving straight for Nashville and Louisville, and
compelling General Buell to fall back to the Ohio River at

The army of Van Dorn and Price had been brought from the
trans-Mississippi Department to the east of the river, and was
collected at and about Holly Springs, where, reenforced by
Armstrong's and Forrests cavalry, it amounted to about forty
thousand brave and hardy soldiers. These were General Grant's
immediate antagonists, and so many and large detachments had been
drawn from him, that for a time he was put on the defensive. In
person he had his headquarters at Corinth, with the three divisions
of Hamilton, Davies, and McKean, under the immediate orders of
General Rosecrans. General Ord had succeeded to the division of
McClernand (who had also gone to Washington), and held Bolivar and
Grand Junction. I had in Memphis my own and Hurlbut's divisions,
and other smaller detachments were strung along the Memphis &
Charleston road. But the enemy's detachments could strike this
road at so many points, that no use could be made of it, and
General Grant had to employ the railroads, from Columbus, Kentucky,
to Corinth and Grand Junction, by way of Jackson, Tennessee, a
point common to both roads, and held in some force.

In the early part of September the enemy in our front manifested
great activity, feeling with cavalry at all points, and on the 13th
General Van Dorn threatened Corinth, while General Price seized the
town of Iuka, which was promptly abandoned by a small garrison
under Colonel Murphy. Price's force was about eight thousand men,
and the general impression was that he was en route for Eastport,
with the purpose to cross the Tennessee River in the direction of
Nashville, in aid of General Bragg, then in full career for
Kentucky. General Grant determined to attack him in force,
prepared to regain Corinth before Van Dorn could reach it. He had
drawn Ord to Corinth, and moved him, by Burnsville, on Iuka, by the
main road, twenty-six miles. General Grant accompanied this column
as far as Burnsville. At the same time he had dispatched Rosecrans
by roads to the south, via Jacinto, with orders to approach Iuka by
the two main roads, coming into Iuka from the south, viz., they
Jacinto and Fulton roads.

On the 18th General Ord encountered the enemy about four miles out
of Iuka. His orders contemplated that he should not make a serious
attack, until Rosecrans had gained his position on the south; but,
as usual, Rosecrans had encountered difficulties in the confusion
of roads, his head of column did not reach the vicinity of Iuka
till 4 p.m. of the 19th, and then his troops were long drawn out
on the single Jacinto road, leaving the Fulton road clear for
Price's use. Price perceived his advantage, and attacked with
vehemence the head of Rosecrans's column, Hamilton's division,
beating it back, capturing a battery, and killing and disabling
seven hundred and thirty-six men, so that when night closed in
Rosecrans was driven to the defensive, and Price, perceiving his
danger, deliberately withdrew by the Fulton road, and the next
morning was gone. Although General Ord must have been within four
or six miles of this battle, he did not hear a sound; and he or
General Grant did not know of it till advised the next morning by a
courier who had made a wide circuit to reach them. General Grant
was much offended with General Rosecrans because of this affair,
but in my experience these concerted movements generally fail,
unless with the very best kind of troops, and then in a country on
whose roads some reliance can be placed, which is not the case in
Northern Mississippi. If Price was aiming for Tennessee; he
failed, and was therefore beaten. He made a wide circuit by the
south, and again joined Van Dorn.

On the 6th of September, at Memphis, I received an order from
General Grant dated the 2d, to send Hurlbut's division to
Brownsville, in the direction of Bolivar, thence to report by
letter to him at Jackson. The division started the same day, and,
as our men and officers had been together side by side from the
first landing at Shiloh, we felt the parting like the breaking up
of a family. But General Grant was forced to use every man, for he
knew well that Van Dorn could attack him at pleasure, at any point
of his long line. To be the better prepared, on the 23d of
September he took post himself at Jackson, Tennessee, with a small
reserve force, and gave Rosecrans command of Corinth, with his
three divisions and some detachments, aggregating about twenty
thousand men. He posted General Ord with his own and Hurlbut'a
divisions at Bolivar, with outposts toward Grand Junction and
Lagrange. These amounted to nine or ten thousand men, and I held
Memphis with my own division, amounting to about six thousand men.
The whole of General Grant's men at that time may have aggregated
fifty thousand, but he had to defend a frontage of a hundred and
fifty miles, guard some two hundred miles of railway, and as much
river. Van Dom had forty thousand men, united, at perfect liberty
to move in any direction, and to choose his own point of attack,
under cover of woods, and a superior body of cavalry, familiar with
every foot of the ground. Therefore General Grant had good reason
for telegraphing to General Halleck, on the 1st of October, that
his position was precarious, "but I hope to get out of it all
right." In Memphis my business was to hold fast that important
flank, and by that date Fort Dickering had been made very strong,
and capable of perfect defense by a single brigade. I therefore
endeavored by excursions to threaten Van Dorn's detachments to the
southeast and east. I repeatedly sent out strong detachments
toward Holly Springs, which was his main depot of supply; and
General Grierson, with his Sixth Illinois, the only cavalry I had,
made some bold and successful dashes at the Coldwater, compelling
Van Dorn to cover it by Armstrong's whole division of cavalry.
Still, by the 1st of October, General Grant was satisfied that the
enemy was meditating an attack in force on Bolivar or Corinth; and
on the 2d Van Dorn made his appearance near Corinth, with his
entire army. On the 3d he moved down on that place from the north
and northwest, General Roseerana went out some four miles to meet
him, but was worsted and compelled to fall back within the line of
his forts. These had been began under General Halleck, but were
much strengthened by General Grant, and consisted of several
detached redoubts, bearing on each other, and inclosing the town
and the depots of stores at the intersection of the two railroads.
Van Dorn closed down on the forts by the evening of the 3d, and on
the morning of the 4th assaulted with great vehemence. Our men,
covered by good parapets, fought gallantly, and defended their
posts well, inflicting terrible losses on the enemy, so that by
noon the rebels were repulsed at all points, and drew off, leaving
their dead and wounded in our hands. Their losses, were variously
estimated, but the whole truth will probably never be known, for in
that army reports and returns were not the fashion. General
Rosecrans admitted his own loss to be three hundred and fifteen
killed, eighteen hundred and twelve wounded, and two hundred and
thirty-two missing or prisoners, and claimed on the part of the
rebels fourteen hundred and twenty-three dead, two thousand and
twenty-five prisoners and wounded. Of course, most of the wounded
must have gone off or been carried off, so that, beyond doubt, the
rebel army lost at Corinth fully six thousand men.

Meantime, General Grant, at Jackson, had dispatched Brigadier-
General McPherson, with a brigade, directly for Corinth, which
reached General Rosecrans after the battle; and, in anticipation of
his victory, had ordered him to pursue instantly, notifying him
that he had ordered Ord's and Hurlbut's divisions rapidly across to
Pocahontas, so as to strike the rebels in flank. On the morning of
the 5th, General Ord reached the Hatchie River, at Davies bridge,
with four thousand men; crossed over and encountered the retreating
army, captured a battery and several hundred prisoners, dispersing
the rebel advance, and forcing the main column to make a wide
circuit by the south in order to cross the Hatchie River. Had
General Rosecrans pursued promptly, and been on the heels of this
mass of confused and routed men, Van Dorn's army would surely have
been utterly ruined; as it was, Van Dom regained Holly Springs
somewhat demoralized.

General Rosecrans did not begin his pursuit till the next morning,
the 5th, and it was then too late. General Grant was again
displeased with him, and never became fully reconciled. General
Rosecrans was soon after relieved, and transferred to the Army of
the Cumberland, in Tennessee, of which he afterward obtained the
command, in place of General Buell, who was removed.

The effect of the battle of Corinth was very great. It was,
indeed, a decisive blow to the Confederate cause in our quarter,
and changed the whole aspect of affairs in West Tennessee. From
the timid defensive we were at once enabled to assume the bold
offensive. In Memphis I could see its effects upon the citizens,
and they openly admitted that their cause had sustained a
death-blow. But the rebel government was then at its maximum
strength; Van Dorn was reenforced, and very soon Lieutenant-General
J. C. Pemberton arrived and assumed the command, adopting for his
line the Tallahatchie River, with an advance-guard along the
Coldwater, and smaller detachments forward at Grand Junction and
Hernando. General Grant, in like manner, was reenforced by new

Out of those which were assigned to Memphis, I organized two new
brigades, and placed them under officers who had gained skill and
experience during the previous campaign.



JULY, 1882 TO JANUARY, 1883

When we first entered Memphis, July 21,1862, I found the place
dead; no business doing, the stores closed, churches, schools, and
every thing shut up. The people were all more or less in sympathy
with our enemies, and there was a strong prospect that the whole
civil population would become a dead weight on our hands. Inasmuch
as the Mississippi River was then in our possession northward, and
steamboats were freely plying with passengers and freight, I caused
all the stores to be opened, churches, schools, theatres, and
places of amusement, to be reestablished, and very soon Memphis
resumed its appearance of an active, busy, prosperous place. I
also restored the mayor (whose name was Parks) and the city
government to the performance of their public functions, and
required them to maintain a good civil police.

Up to that date neither Congress nor the President had made any
clear, well-defined rules touching the negro slaves, and the
different generals had issued orders according to their own
political sentiments. Both Generals Halleck and Grant regarded the
slave as still a slave, only that the labor of the slave belonged
to his owner, if faithful to the Union, or to the United States, if
the master had taken up arms against the Government, or adhered to
the fortunes of the rebellion. Therefore, in Memphis, we received
all fugitives, put them to work on the fortifications, supplied
them with food and clothing, and reserved the question of payment
of wages for future decision. No force was allowed to be used to
restore a fugitive slave to his master in any event; but if the
master proved his loyalty, he was usually permitted to see his
slave, and, if he could persuade him to return home, it was
permitted. Cotton, also, was a fruitful subject of controversy.
The Secretary of the Treasury; Mr. Chase, was extremely anxious at
that particular time to promote the purchase of cotton, because
each bale was worth, in gold, about three hundred dollars, and
answered the purpose of coin in our foreign exchanges. He
therefore encouraged the trade, so that hundreds of greedy
speculators flocked down the Mississippi, and resorted to all sorts
of measures to obtain cotton from the interior, often purchasing it
from negroes who did not own it, but who knew where it was
concealed. This whole business was taken from the jurisdiction of
the military, and committed to Treasury agents appointed by Mr.

Other questions absorbed the attention of military commanders; and
by way of illustration I here insert a few letters from my
"letter-book," which contains hundreds on similar subjects:

Memphis, Tennessee, August 11, 1862

Hon. S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.

Sir: Your letter of August 2d, just received, invites my discussion
of the cotton question.

I will write plainly and slowly, because I know you have no time to
listen to trifles. This is no trifle; when one nation is at war
with another, all the people of the one are enemies of the other:
then the rules are plain and easy of understanding. Most
unfortunately, the war in which we are now engaged has been
complicated with the belief on the one hand that all on the other
are not enemies. It would have been better if, at the outset, this
mistake had not been made, and it is wrong longer to be misled by
it. The Government of the United States may now safely proceed on
the proper rule that all in the South are enemies of all in the
North; and not only are they unfriendly, but all who can procure
arms now bear them as organized regiments, or as guerrillas. There
is not a garrison in Tennessee where a man can go beyond the sight
of the flag-staff without being shot or captured. It so happened
that these people had cotton, and, whenever they apprehended our
large armies would move, they destroyed the cotton in the belief
that, of course, we world seize it, and convert it to our use.
They did not and could not dream that we would pay money for it.
It had been condemned to destruction by their own acknowledged
government, and was therefore lost to their people; and could have
been, without injustice, taken by us, and sent away, either as
absolute prize of war, or for future compensation. But the
commercial enterprise of the Jews soon discovered that ten cents
would buy a pound of cotton behind our army; that four cents would
take it to Boston, where they could receive thirty cents in gold.
The bait was too tempting, and it spread like fire, when here they
discovered that salt, bacon, powder, fire-arms, percussion-caps,
etc., etc., were worth as much as gold; and, strange to say, this
traffic was not only permitted, but encouraged. Before we in the
interior could know it, hundreds, yea thousands of barrels of salt
and millions of dollars had been disbursed; and I have no doubt
that Bragg's army at Tupelo, and Van Dorn's at Vicksburg, received
enough salt to make bacon, without which they could not have moved
their armies in mass; and that from ten to twenty thousand fresh
arms, and a due supply of cartridges, have also been got, I am
equally satisfied. As soon as I got to Memphis, having seen the
effect in the interior, I ordered (only as to my own command) that
gold, silver, and Treasury notes, were contraband of war, and
should not go into the interior, where all were hostile. It is
idle to talk about Union men here: many want peace, and fear war
and its results; but all prefer a Southern, independent government,
and are fighting or working for it. Every gold dollar that was
spent for cotton, was sent to the seaboard, to be exchanged for
bank-notes and Confederate scrip, which will buy goods here, and
are taken in ordinary transactions. I therefore required cotton to
be paid for in such notes, by an obligation to pay at the end of
the war, or by a deposit of the price in the hands of a trustee,
viz., the United States Quartermaster. Under these rules cotton is
being obtained about as fast as by any other process, and yet the
enemy receives no "aid or comfort." Under the "gold" rule, the
country people who had concealed their cotton from the burners, and
who openly scorned our greenbacks, were willing enough to take
Tennessee money, which will buy their groceries; but now that the
trade is to be encouraged, and gold paid out, I admit that cotton
will be sent in by our open enemies, who can make better use of
gold than they can of their hidden bales of cotton.

I may not appreciate the foreign aspect of the question, but my
views on this may be ventured. If England ever threatens war
because we don't furnish her cotton, tell her plainly if she can't
employ and feed her own people, to send them here, where they
cannot only earn an honest living, but soon secure independence by
moderate labor. We are not bound to furnish her cotton. She has
more reason to fight the South for burning that cotton, than us for
not shipping it. To aid the South on this ground would be
hypocrisy which the world would detect at once. Let her make her
ultimatum, and there are enough generous minds in Europe that will
counteract her in the balance. Of course her motive is to cripple
a power that rivals her in commerce and manufactures, that
threatens even to usurp her history. In twenty more years of
prosperity, it will require a close calculation to determine
whether England, her laws and history, claim for a home the
Continent of America or the Isle of Britain. Therefore, finding us
in a death-struggle for existence, she seems to seek a quarrel to
destroy both parts in detail.

Southern people know this full well, and will only accept the
alliance of England in order to get arms and manufactures in
exchange for their cotton. The Southern Confederacy will accept no
other mediation, because she knows full well that in Old England
her slaves and slavery will receive no more encouragement than in
New England.

France certainly does not need our cotton enough to disturb her
equilibrium, and her mediation would be entitled to a more respect
consideration than on the part of her present ally. But I feel
assured the French will not encourage rebellion and secession
anywhere as a political doctrine. Certainly all the German states
must be our ardent friends; and, in case of European intervention;
they could not be kept down.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

23, 1862

Dr. E. S. PLUMMER and others, Physician in Memphis, Signers to a

GENTLEMEN: I have this moment received your communication, and
assure you that it grieves my heart thus to be the instrument of
adding to the seeming cruelty and hardship of this unnatural war.

On my arrival here, I found my predecessor (General Hovey) had
issued an order permitting the departure south of all persons
subject to the conscript law of the Southern Confederacy. Many
applications have been made to me to modify this order, but I
regarded it as a condition precedent by which I was bound in honor,
and therefore I have made no changes or modifications; nor shall I
determine what action I shall adopt in relation to persons
unfriendly to our cause who remain after the time limited by
General Hovey's order had expired. It is now sunset, and all who
have not availed themselves of General Hovey's authority, and who
remain in Memphis, are supposed to be loyal and true men.

I will only say that I cannot allow the personal convenience of
even a large class of ladies to influence me in my determination to
make Memphis a safe place of operations for an army, and all people
who are unfriendly should forthwith prepare to depart in such
direction as I may hereafter indicate.

Surgeons are not liable to be made prisoners of war, but they
should not reside within the lines of an army which they regard as
hostile. The situation would be too delicate.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.


SAMUEL SAWYER, Esq., Editor Union Appeal, Memphis.

DEAR SIR: It is well I should come to an understanding at once
with the press as well as the people of Memphis, which I am ordered
to command; which means, to control for the interest, welfare; and
glory of the whole Government of the United States.

Personalities in a newspaper are wrong and criminal. Thus, though
you meant to be complimentary in your sketch of my career, you make
more than a dozen mistakes of fact, which I need not correct, as I
don't desire my biography to be written till I am dead. It is
enough for the world to know that I live and am a soldier, bound to
obey the orders of my superiors, the laws of my country, and to
venerate its Constitution; and that, when discretion is given me, I
shall exercise it wisely and account to my superiors.

I regard your article headed "City Council--General Sherman and
Colonel Slack," as highly indiscreet. Of course, no person who can
jeopardize the safety of Memphis can remain here, much less

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