« 上一頁繼續 »
the junction of the Memphis and Charleston, and the Mobile and Ohio Railroads, the conquest of Memphis would be greatly facilitated, and another valuable point on the Mississippi River secured. A bold step it was, indeed, from Bowling Green, in Kentucky, to the northern boundaries of Mississippi and Alabama. Yet it was accomplished, and in the course of a month, Tennessee being firmly held by the Union army, our energetic commanders in the West were advancing against the new lines of the enemy's defence in the states bordering on the Gulf.
Beauregard, aware of the momentous issue at stake, concentrated all his available forces at and around Corinth, with Gens. A. S. Johnston, Polk, Bragg and Hardee to aid and support his plans, and with an army more than 40,000 in number, in the highest state of efficiency, to resist the progress of our advancing host. It was not unnatural that he should expect to be able to rout the Union army at Pittsburg Landing before it could be reinforced by Buell. Grant, who had in charge the important movement now on foot, had also a number of distinguished officers in his command, as W. T. Sherman, McClernand, C. F. Smith, "Wallace, etc.; his army, too, numbering about 30,000, was as brave a body of troops as could be desired, when work was to be done which required steadiness, and the higher soldierly qualities. On the 11th of March, the transport steamers began to arrive at Savannah on the Tennessee River, with the advance division of the army. The gun boats, the
next day, proceeded some forty miles up the river to recoDroitre, going as far as Eastport, and finding the rebels engaged in erecting fortifications wherever they could.
The enemy's line of defence had for its base the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, the preservation of which was absolutely necessary to enable the rebels to hold Northern Mississippi. Alabama, and Georgia. East of Corinth were several important points on this road, as Chattanooga, Huntsville, Tuscumbia, Florence, etc.; westwardly, the road runs in a direct line to Memphis, ninety-three miles distant. The Union line was the Tennessee River, extending from Paducah in Kentucky, to Eastport in Mississippi. The gun boats were kept moving up and down the river to prevent the erection of batteries by the rebels, and were of special service to Grant's plans.
By the middle of March, all of the troops under Grant had arrived at Savannah, when an advance was made seven miles to Pittsburg Landing. Wallace's division landed on the left bank of the river, marched to Purdy, about fifteen miles to the west, and destroyed the railroad bridge and part of the railroad from Humboldt to Corinth, cutting off a train laden with rebel troops. On the night of the 16th, an expedition started for the purpose of intercepting communication on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. They met the enemy's ca\alry in the woods, and a sharp skirmish ensued; after which our men. returned to Pittsburg Landing.
Buell, not being able to advance into
Northern Alabama, in columns, as he proposed, was ordered to join Grant and co-operate with him in attacking and driving Beauregard out of Corinth. Buell left Nashville on the 28th of March, and his army took the road overland from Columbia to Savannah, some eighty miles distant. By the junction of his forces with those of Grant there would be an army of about 100,000 men, ready to crush any resistance the rebel leaders might be able to offer.
Beauregard, as we have intimated, felt the necessity of striking a blow before Buell's arrival. He did every thing he could to rouse the spirit of his troops; as did also Johnston, who took command of the entire force at Corinth, numbering between 40,000 and 45,000 1S62 men" Some delays occurred;
but, early in April, hearing, as he phrases it," from a reliable quarter," that Buell was near at hand, it was resolved to hurry forward the movemeut against Grant. Johnston issued an animated address to the troops, filled with the usual incentives to action, and urging them to "march to a decisive victory over agrarian mercenaries, sent to subjugate and despoil them of their liberties, property and honor." The troops were arranged in three corps, under Polk, Bragg and Hardee, Beauregard being second in command.
Pittsburg Landing is about eighteen miles from Corinth, and it was expected by Johnston and Beauregard that they would be able to reach the Union lines and make an attack early on April 5th; but the badness of the roads hindered their advance considerably,
and it was not till the next morning, Sunday, April'6th, that the rebel army began the assault. The five divisions of Grant's forces, numbering between 30 and 40,000 men, were posted on the left bank of the Tennessee, in a semicircular outline around Pittsburg Landing, waiting, with some anxiety, for Buell's arrival.
Before daylight, the pickets were driven in, and the rebel columns pressed forward upon our men. Sherman, with his widely extended brigade in the front, bore the brunt of the attack. Advised of the enemy's approach by their assault upon his advanced guard, he ordered under arms all his division, and sent word to McClernand, asking him to support the left; to Prentiss, giving him notice that the enemy was in force on the front, and to Hurlbut asking him to support Prentiss. The four brigades of Sherman's division were stationed to the right and left of Shiloh Church, which he regarded as the centre of his position. Two batteries of artillery were posted, one at Shiloh, the other on a bridge to the left, and some cavalry and infantry were placed in a large open field to the left and rear of the church.
Hour after hour the raging contest went forward. The rebels pressed heavily upon the Union left, and pushed it back. Soon the same result happened to the front and right. In some cases, our troops became panic-stricken, and brought discredit upon their name and position; but, as a whole, they fought stubbornly, and resisted the enemy's assaults with all their might. Yet, they were not able to withstand the force of the rebel attack. Prentiss, and 2,000 of his men, were made prisoners; the camps of every division except Smith's, commanded by Wallace, were occupied by the rebels; nearly half the field artillery was lost; and our whole force was pressed back upon the ravine near the Lauding, where, by oue final rush, the enemy hoped to pusb them into the river and compel them to surrender.*
This was in the latter part of the afternoon, and had it not been for the opportune aid afforded by the gun boats, which brought their fire to bear upon the rebel batteries, and also for the arrival of the advance of Buell's army, late in the day, it is almost certain that Grant would have been utterly routed. As it was, however, night came on; the battle ceased; the rebels were worn down with fatigue; and Grant and Buell, with new and fresh forces, prepared for the morrow. Having the ability now, they determined to reverse the order of the day previous, and become the attacking instead of the attacked army.
Very early on the morning of the 7th of April, our forces were in motion. The men, reinspirited by new troops being brought into the field, resolved to redeem, on Monday, the losses of the day before. The rebels, though, as
* Beauregard, In his report, sharply censures a portion of his army for their unworthy conduct, when the Union camps fell into their hands: ** some officers, noncommissioned officers, and men, abandoned their colors early in the first day, to pillage the captured encampments; others retired shamefully from the field, on both days, while the thunder of cannon, and the roar and rattle of musketry told them that their brothers were being slaughtered by the fresh legions of the enemy."
Beauregard says, "not in condition to cope with an equal force of fresh troops, armed and equipped like our adversary, in the immediate possession of his depots, and sheltered by such an auxiliary as the enemy's tnin boats," still made a determined resistance. They fought bravely and steadily throughout the earlier part of the day. The victory, however, could not long remain in doubt; most of the camps were recovered; the artillery again fell into our hands; and the insurgent leaders gave up the contest. Early in the afternoon, they began to retire, and by four o'clock, they were driven from the field. The pursuit was kept up until night came on, when our men returned to camp.
In this hotly contested battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, *he slaughter on both sides was fearful The rebel General Johnston, with a number of other officers, were killed; Beauregard gave as their total loss, 1,728 killed, 8,012 wounded, 959 missing; total, 10,699. On our part, the losses were: Gen. Wallace mortally wounded, besides a number of other officers killed and wounded, 1,614 killed, 7,721 wounded, 3,963 missing; total, 13,508. The rebels left between 2,000 and 3,000 dead on the field when they retreated; the bodies were buried, by order of Grant, at the same time that our own dead were consigned to their graves.
The war department issued a bulletin, April 9th, highly praising "Generals Grant and Buell and their forces, for the glorious repulse of Beauregard at Pittsburg, in Tennessee;" and the pre