FIELD OF OPERATIONS
On the 1st day of January, 1862, Gen. Albert Sidney
Johnston was in command of all the Confederate forces of Tennessee and Kentucky.
His troops occupied a line of defense extending from Columbus, Ky., through
Forts Henry and Donelson to Bowling Green, Ky., where General Johnston had
Gen. H.W. Halleck at that date commanded the
Department of the Missouri with headquarters at Louisville, Ky. The Cumberland
River formed the boundary separating the Departments of the Missouri and
Various plans had been canvassed by Generals Halleck and Buell, participated
in by the general in chief, for an attack upon the Confederate line. General
Halleck had asked to have General Buell's army transferred to him, or at
least placed under his command, claiming that without such union and an
army of at least 60,000 men under one commander, it would be impossible
to break the well-established lines of General Johnston.
Before such union could be effected, and before General Halleck had received
a reply to his request, General Grant asked for and received permission
to attack the line at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. Assisted by the
gunboat fleet of Commodore Foote, Grant captured Fort Henry on the 6th of
February, and then moving upon Fort Donelson captured that place with 15,000
prisoners on the 16th. The loss of these forts broke General Johnston's
line at its center and compelled him to evacuate Columbus and Bowling Green,
abandon Tennessee and Kentucky to the Union Army and seek a new line of
defense on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
General Halleck was displeased with Grant because he sent a division of
troops into Buell's department at Clarksville. This displeasure was increased
when he learned that General Grant had gone to Nashville for consultation
with General Buell. Halleck directed the withdrawal of Smith's division
from Clarksville, suspended General Grant from command and ordered him to
Fort Henry to await orders. He then placed Gen. C.F. Smith in command of
all the troops with orders to proceed up the
Tennessee River and to make an effort to break the Confederate line on the
Memphis and Charleston Railroad at some place near Florence.
General Smith's advance reached Savannah, Tenn., March 13, 1862. Having
determined to make that point his base of operations, he landed the troops
that accompanied his advance, and sent boats back for supplies and the remainder
of his army.
Gen. W.T. Sherman had organized a division of new troops while he was in
command at Paducah. With these he was ordered to report to General Smith.
He reached Savannah on the 14th of March and was ordered by General Smith
to proceed up the river to some point near Eastport and from there make
an attempt to break the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in the vicinity
of Burnsville, Miss.
Previous to this time a gunboat fleet had passed up the Tennessee River
as far as Florence. At Pittsburg Landing this fleet encountered a small
force of Confederates consisting of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry, Gibson's
battery of artillery, and some cavalry. The gunboats shelled the position
and drove away the Confederates. A bursting shell set fire to and destroyed
one of the three buildings at the landing. The fleet proceeded up the river
to Florence and on its return landed a small party at Pittsburg Landing
to investigate. This party found a dismounted 32-pounder gun on the river
bluff, and about 1 mile out, a hospital containing several Confederate soldiers
that had been wounded a few days before in the engagement with the fleet.
Near the hospital a Confederate picket post stopped their advance and the
party returned to the boats.
In the report made by the officer in command of this naval expedition is
found the first mention of Pittsburg Landing, that little hamlet on the
Tennessee River so soon to become historic.
When General Sherman's command was passing Pittsburg Landing, Lieutenant
Gwin of the U.S. gunboat Tyler pointed out to General Sherman the position
that had been occupied by the Confederate battery, and informed him that
there was a good road from that point to Corinth. That it was, in fact,
the landing place for all goods shipped by river to and from Corinth. General
Sherman at once reported these facts to General Smith and asked that the
place be occupied in force while the demonstration was being made against
Burnsville. In compliance with this request, General Hurlbut's division
was at once dispatched by boats to Pittsburg Landing.
General Sherman proceeded up the river and landed his division at the mouth
of Yellow Creek, a few miles below Eastport, and made an attempt to march
to Burnsville. Heavy rains and high water compelled his return to the boats.
Finding no other accessible landing place he dropped down to Pittsburg Landing,
where he found Hurlbut's division on boats.
Sherman reported to General Smith that Eastport was occupied in force by
the Confederates, and that Pittsburg Landing was the first point below Eastport
that was above water, so that a landing of troops could be made. He was
directed to disembark his division and Hurlbut's and put them in camp far
enough back to afford room for the other divisions of the army to encamp
near the river.
On the 16th of March Sherman landed a part
of his division, and accompanied by Colonel McPherson, of General Halleck's
staff, marched out as far as Monterey, 11 miles, dispersing a Confederate
cavalry camp. Returning to the river he spent two days in disembarking his
troops and selecting camps, and on the 19th moved out and put his troops
into the positions to which he had assigned them, about 2 ½ miles
from the landing.
Pittsburg Landing, on the left bank of the Tennessee River, 8 miles above
Savannah, was at that time simply a landing place for steamboats trading
along the river. Its high bluff, at least 80 feet above the water at its
highest flood, afforded a safe place for the deposits of products unloaded
from, or to be loaded upon, the boats. From this landing a good ridge road
ran southwesterly to Corinth, Miss., 22 miles away. One mile out from the
river the Corinth road crossed another road running north and south parallel
with the river, and connecting Savannah below with Hamburg, 4 miles above
Pittsburg Landing. One quarter of a mile beyond this crossing the Corinth
road forked, the part known as Eastern Corinth road running nearly south
until it intersected the Bark road, 3 miles from the river.
The other, or main road, running due west from the fork, crossed the Hamburg
and Purdy road 2 miles from the river, and then turning southwest, passed
Shiloh Church just 2 ½ miles from the river. At a point 5 miles out
this main road intersected the Bark road at the southwest corner of what
is now the lands of the Shiloh National Military Park. The Bark road, running
nearly due east to Hamburg, forms the southern boundary of the park.
On the south side of the Bark road ridge is Lick Creek, which has its rise
near Monterey, and empties into the Tennessee about 2 miles above Pittsburg
Landing. North of the main Corinth road, and at an average of about 1 mile
from it, is Owl Creek, which flows northeasterly and empties into Snake
Creek at the point where the Savannah road crosses it. Snake Creek empties
into the Tennessee River about 1 mile below Pittsburg Landing.
All these streams flow through flat, muddy bottom lands and are, in the
spring of the year, practically impassable, and in April, 1862, could not
be crossed except at two or three places where bridges were maintained.
These streams therefore formed an excellent protection against an attack
upon either flank of an army encamped between them. The general surface
of the land along the Corinth road is about on the same level, but is cut
up on either side by deep ravines and water courses leading into the creeks.
In many of these ravines are running streams with the usual marshy margins.
In 1862 this plateau was covered with open forest with frequent this undergrowth
and an occasional clearing of a few acres surrounding the farmhouse of the
Sherman selected grounds foe his division camps just behind a stream called
Shiloh Branch, McDowell's brigade on the right, with his right on Owl creek.
Buckland's brigade next in line to the left, with his left at Shiloh Church.
Hildebrand's brigade to the left of the church. Stuart's brigade, detached
from others, to the extreme left of the line at the point where the Savannah
and Hamburg roads unite just before they cross Lick Creek.
Hurlbut's division formed its camp 1 mile in
rear of Sherman's near the crossing of the Corinth and the Hamburg and Savannah
On the 11th day of March the Departments of the Missouri and the Ohio were
consolidated under the name of the Department of the Mississippi, and Maj.
Gen. H. W. Halleck was assigned to the command, giving him from that date
the control he had sought - of both armies then operating in Tennessee.
General Smith, about the time of his arrival at Savannah, had received an
injury to his leg while stepping from a gunboat into a yawl. This injury,
apparently insignificant at first, soon took such serious form that the
General was obliged to relinquish command of the troops, and General Grant
was restored to duty and ordered by General Halleck to repair to Savannah
and take command of the troops in that vicinity. Upon his arrival at Savannah
March 17, General Grant found his army divided, a part on either side of
the Tennessee River. He at once reported to General Halleck the exact situation,
and in answer was directed to "destroy the railroad connections at
To carry out this order General Grant transferred his army, except a small
garrison for Savannah, to the west side of the river, concentrating the
First, Second Fourth, and Fifth divisions at Pittsburg Landing, and the
Third at Crump's landing, 6 miles below. General McClernand with First Division
formed his camp in rear of Sherman's right bridges. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace,
commanding the Second division, encamped to the right of Hurlbut between
Corinth road and Snake Creek. A new division, the Sixth, just organizing
under General Prentiss out of new troops, went into camp as the regiments
arrived between Hildebrand's and Stuart's brigades of Sherman's division,
its center on the eastern Corinth road. Gen. Lew Wallace, commanding the
third Division, placed his first brigade at Crump's, his second brigade
at Stony Lonesome, and his third brigade at Adamsville, 5 miles out on the
On March 10 General Halleck wrote General McClellan: "I propose going
to the Tennessee in a few days to take personal command." Pending his
arrival at the front his orders to Smith, to Sherman, and to Grant were:
"My instructions not to bring on an engagement must be strictly obeyed;"
but when informed by General Grant that the contemplated attack upon Corinth
would make a general engagement inevitable, Halleck at once ordered, "By
all means keep your forces together until you connect with General Buell.
Don't let the enemy draw you into an engagement now." To this General
Grant replied: "All troops have been concentrated near Pittsburg Landing.
No movement of troops will be made except to advance Sherman to Pea Ridge."
Sherman made a reconnaissance toward Pea Ridge March 24 and drove some cavalry
across Lick Creek. He bivouacked at Chambers's plantation that night, and
returned to camp next morning.
On the 31st, with two regiments of infantry, a section of artillery, and
a company of cavalry, Sherman went up to Eastport. Finding the Confederate
works there and at Chickasaw abandoned, he sent his scouts
toward Iuka. Confederate cavalry was encountered, and the command returned
to Pittsburg Landing.
The Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant, was, on the
5th of April, 1862, composed of six divisions. The First, commanded by Maj.
Gen. John A. McClernand; the Second, by Brig. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace; the
Third, by Maj. Gen. Lew. Wallace; the Fourth, by Brig. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut;
the Fifth, by Brig. Gen. W. T. Sherman, and the Sixth, by Brig. Gen. B.
M. Prentiss. Generals McClernand, C. F. Smith, and Lew Wallace had been
promoted major-generals march 21, 1862. Official notice of such promotion
was sent to General Grant by General Halleck from St. Louis April 5. Previous
to this notice of promotion the order of rank of the brigadiers was as follows:
Sherman, McClernand, Hurlbut, Prentiss, C. F. Smith, Lew. Wallace, W. H.
L. Wallace. General Smith, until relieved by General Grant, March 17, was
in command by order of General McClellan.
The camps of Sherman and Prentiss formed the front line about 2 ½
miles from Pittsburg Landing and extending in a semicircle from Owl Creek
on the right to Lick Creek on the left. One company from each regiment was
advanced as a picket 1 mile in front of regimental camps.
By the official returns of April 5, 1862, there were, in the five divisions
of the Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing, present for duty, infantry,
artillery, and cavalry, officers and men, 39,830; in the Third Division,
at Crump's Landing, present for duty, officers and men, 7,564.
On the evening of the 5th the advance of General Buell's army arrived at
Savannah, and in one day more would have united with the Army of the Tennessee,
ready for the advance on Corinth, as contemplated and announced in General
When General Johnston withdrew his army from Kentucky and Tennessee, after
the fall of Fort Donelson, he establish his new line of operations along
the Memphis and Charleston Railroad with his right at Chattanooga and his
left on the Mississippi at Fort Pillow. On this line he was reenforced by
Generals Polk and Beauregard from Columbus and west Tennessee, and by General
Bragg from Pensacola and Mobile, and had ordered Van Dorn, from Little Rock,
Ark.,. to report his army at Corinth, Miss. As early as March 9, General
Ruggles was placed in command at Corinth and was ordered to put his troops
in marching order and to commence a line of intrenchments around the town.
On the 29th of March general Johnston issued a general order consolidating
the armies of Kentucky and Mississippi, and some independent commands, into
the "Army of the Mississippi" of which he assumed the command,
naming gen. G. T. Beauregard as second in command and Maj. Gen. Braxton
Bragg as chief of staff. Subsequently he organized his army into four corps.
The First Corps commanded by Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg; the Third Corps commanded
by Maj. Gen. W. J. Hardee, and the Reserve Corps commanded by Brig. Gen.
J. C. Breckinridge. One division of the First
Corps, Cheatham's, was at Bethel and Purdy; a brigade of the Second Corps
was at Monterey; the reserve Corps at Burnsville; the cavalry nearer the
Union lines. All other troops concentrated at Corinth.
General Johnston had been depressed by the censure of the southern press,
and as late as March 18 offered to relinquish the command of the army to
General Beauregurd. Reassured by expressions of confidence by Mr. Davis,
he resolved to retain command and, if possible, to regain the confidence
of the people by taking the offensive and attacking Grant's army at Pittsburg
Landing, hoping to defeat that army before it could be reenforced by General
Hearing that General Buell was nearing Savannah, General Johnston determined
to attack at once, without waiting the arrival of Van Dorn. Accordingly,
on the 3d of April he issued orders for the forward movement, directing
his army to move by the several roads and concentrate at Mickey's, 8 miles
from Pittsburg Landing, so as to be ready to attack at sunrise on the morning
of the 5th. Heavy rains, wagon trails and artillery over muddy roads, prevented
the assembly of the army at Mickey's until nearly night of the5th. It was
then determined to delay the attack until daylight next morning.
The aggregate present for duty, officers and men of the confederate army,
infantry, artillery, and cavalry, assembled at Mickey's April 5, 1862, as
shown by official reports, was 48,968.
This army General Johnston put in line of battle and bivouacked Saturday
night in the following order: Major General Hardee's corps on the first
or advanced line, with Cleburne's brigade on the left, its left flank at
Widow Howell's near Winningham Creek. Wood's brigade next to the right,
with his right on the main Pittsburg and Corinth road, and just in rear
of the Wood's field. Shaver's brigade on right of Pittsburg and Corinth
road, extending the line nearly to Bark road. As Hardee's line thus deployed
did not occupy all the space to Lick Creek, as desired. Gladden's brigade
from Withers's division of Second Crops was added to Hardee's right, extending
the line across Bark road.
Major General Bragg's corps was deployed 800 yards in rear of the first
line, with Ruggles's division on the left and Withers's division on the
right, in the following order of brigades from left to right: Pond, Anderson,
Gibson, Jackson, and Chalmers. This second line overlapped the first and
extended beyond Hardee's on both flanks, Jackson's left flank resting on
the Bark road.
The corps of Generals Polk and Breckinridge were formed in column by brigades
in rear of the second line. Wharton's and Brewer's cavalry were on the left
flank, guarding the roads toward Stantonville. Clanton's cavalry was on
the right front, Avery's, Forrest's and Adam's cavalry at Greer's Ford on
Lick Creek. Other cavalry organizations were attached to the different corps.
General Johnston's headquarters were established at the forks of the Bark
and Pittsburg roads.
Pickets were sent out from the first line. The Third Mississippi, commanded
by Maj. Hardcastle, was on such duty in front of Wood's brigade, his reserve
post, at the corner where Wood's and Fraley's fields join.
During the Confederate advance from Monterey on
the 3d there had been skirmishing between the cavalry of the two armies,
and on the 4th one of Buckland's picket posts was captured. Buckland sent
out two companies in pursuit of the captors. These companies were attacked
and surrounded by Confederate cavalry, but were rescued by Buckland coming
to their relief with his whole regiment. On Saturday Generals Prentiss and
Sherman each sent out reconnoitering parties to the front. Neither of these
parties developed the enemy in force, but reported such evidences of cavalry,
that pickets of both divisions were doubled, and General Prentiss, being
still apprehensive of attack, sent out at 3 o'clock Sunday morning three
companies of the Twenty-fifth Missouri, under Major Powell of that regiment,
to again reconnoiter well to the front.
Major Powell marched to the right and front, passing between the Rhea and
Seay fields, and at 4.55 a.m. struck Hardcastle's pickets and received their
fire. The fire was returned by Powell and a sharp engagement was had between
these outposts, continuing, as Hardcastle says, one hour and a half, until
6.30 a.m., when he saw his brigade formed in his rear and fell back to his
place in line.
Wood's brigade, advancing, drove Powell back to the Seay field, where he
was reinforced by four companies of the Sixteenth Wisconsin, that had been
on picket near by, and by five companies of the Twenty-first Missouri under
Colonel Moore, who at once took command and sent back to camp for the remainder
of his regiment.
This force, fighting and retreating slowly, was reinforced at south-east
corner of the Rhea field by all of Peabody's brigade. Peabody succeeded
in holding the Confederates in check until about 8 o'clock, when he fell
back to the line of his camp, closely followed by Shaver's brigade and the
right of Wood's brigade.
While Peabody's brigade was thus engaged, General Prentiss had advanced
Miller's brigade to the south side of Spain field, and placed Hickenlooper's
battery to the left and Munch's battery to the right of the Eastern Corinth
road. In this position he was attacked by Gladden's brigade and by the left
of Chalmers's brigade, that had advanced to the front line. These Confederate
brigades, after a stubborn fight, in which Gladden was mortally wounded,
drove Miller back to his line of camps at the same time that Peabody was
driven back to his. In their several camps Prentiss formed his regiments
again and was vigorously attacked by Gladden's and Shaver's brigades, assisted
on their left by a part of Wood's brigade, and on the right by Chalmers.
At 9 o'clock Prentiss was driven from his second position with the loss
of the entire division camp, two guns of Hickenlooper's battery, and many
killed and wounded left on the field. Among the killed was Colonel Peabody,
the commander of the First Brigade of Prentiss's division.
While the right of Hardee's line was engaged with Prentiss his left had
attacked the brigades of Hildebrand and Buckland, of Sherman's division.
These brigades had formed in line in front of their camps and behind Shiloh
Branch, with Barrett's battery at Shiloh Church and Waterhouse's battery
to the left, behind the camp of the Fifty-third
Ohio. The Third Brigade of McClernand's division was brought up and formed
in support of Sherman's left flank and of Waterhouse's battery. In the Confederate
advance the left of Wood's brigade had been slightly engaged with the Fifty-third
Ohio, which easily gave way, when Wood obliqued to the right, to avoid Waterhouse's
battery, and, following Prentiss, passed the left flank of Hildebrand's
brigade, then left wheeled to the attack of McClernand's Third Brigade.
Cleburne's brigade, in attempting to cross the marshy ground of Shiloh Branch,
received the concentrated fire of the Third and Fourth brigades of Sherman's
division, and after two or three unsuccessful efforts to dislodge them,
in which his regiments lost very heavily---the Sixth Mississippi having
over 70 percent killed and wounded---he was obliged to give place to Anderson's
brigade of Bragg's corps, which was in like manner repulsed with severe
loss. Johnson's and Russell's brigades of Polk's corps now came up together.
Russell on the right, overlapping Sherman's left, and Johnson to the left
across the Corinth road. The reorganized parts of the brigades of Cleburne
and Anderson joining Russell and Johnson, the four brigades, assisted by
Wood's brigade, advanced, and at 10 o'clock drove Sherman's two brigades,
and the Third Brigade of McClernand's division back across the Purdy road
with the loss of three guns of Waterhouse's battery and of the camps of
the three brigades. During the contest Confederate Generals Clark, commanding
a division, and Johnson, commanding a brigade, were severely wounded, and
Colonel Raith, commanding McClernand's Third Brigade, was mortally wounded.
The capture of the three guns of Waterhouse's battery is claimed by the
Thirteenth Tennessee of Russell's brigade, and General Polk seems to concede
the claim, though it appears that several regiments were attacking the battery
from the front when the Thirteenth Tennessee moved by the right flank and
approaching the battery from its left rear reached it before those from
the front. General Vaughan, of the Thirteenth Tennessee, says that when
his regiment reached these guns a dead Union officer lay near them, and
keeping guard over his body was a pointer dog that refused to allow the
Confederates to approach the body.
Pond's brigade of Bragg's corps had engaged McDowell's brigade, in conjunction
with Anderson's attack on Buckland, and had succeeded in gaining the bridge
at McDowell's right flank but had not become seriously engaged when Sherman
ordered McDowell to retire and form junction with his Third and Fourth brigades
which were then falling back from Shiloh Church. McDowell therefore abandoned
his camp to Pond without a contest.
After the capture of Prentiss's camps Chalmers's and Jackson's brigades
from Bragg's corps were ordered to the right to attack the extreme left
of the Union line. Preceded by Clanton's cavalry these brigades moved by
the flank down the Bark road until the head of the column was at the swampy
grounds of Lick Creek, then forming line of battle and placing Gages and
Girardey's batteries upon the bluff south of Locust Grove Creek they compelled
Stuart, who was without artillery, to leave his camp and form his lines
to left and rear in the timber. Here he held Chalmers in a fierce fight
until about 2 o'clock when he fell back to the landing, abandoning the last
of Sherman's camps. Jackson's attack, as he came across the creek, fell
upon McArthur's brigade, consisting of the Ninth and Twelfth Illinois, supported
on the left by the Fiftieth Illinois and by Willard's battery in the rear.
McArthur, in a stubborn contest in which the Ninth Illinois lost 60 per
cent of the men engaged, held his ground until Jackson was reinforced by
Bowen's brigade of Breckinridge's corps, when McArthur fell back.
When Sherman and Prentiss discovered that they were being attacked by the
Confederates in force they asked reenforcements from the divisions in their
McClernand sent his third brigade to reenforce Sherman's left, and Schwartz's
battery to assist Buckland. He then formed his First and Second brigades
along the Pittsburg road in front of his headquarters; Marsh's brigade,
with Burrows's battery on the right; Hare's brigade to the left behind the
Review field; McAllister's battery at the northwest corner of said field,
and Dresser's battery at Water Oaks Pond. On this line the Third brigade
rallied when it fell back from Sherman's line.
Veatch's brigade of Hurlbut's division was sent to reenforce McClernand
and formed behind Burrows's battery. Hurlbut marched his other brigades
to the Peach Orchard and formed line of battle with Williams's brigade facing
south and Lauman's brigade facing west. The batteries, Mann's, Ross's, and
Myer's, all in the field behind the infantry.
W.H.L. Wallace's First Brigade, commanded by Colonel Tuttle, moved out on
the Eastern Corinth road and formed on the east side of the Duncan field
in an old sunken road. McArthur's brigade was disunited. The Eighty-first
Ohio and the Fourteenth Missouri were sent to guard the bridge over Snake
Creek; the Thirteenth Missouri to reenforce McDowell's brigade and McArthur,
in person with the Ninth and Twelfth Illinois and Willard's battery, went
to the support of Stuart and formed on his right rear, and at the left of
Hurlbut's division, just east of the Peach Orchard. Of Sweeny's brigade,
the Seventh and Fifty-eight Illinois formed on Tuttle's right connecting
it with McClernand's left. The Fiftieth Illinois was sent to McArthur. The
other regiments were held in reserve until about noon when the Eighth Iowa
formed on Tuttle's left to fill a gap between Wallace and Prentiss. The
Fifty-seventh Illinois went to the extreme left, and the Fifty-second Illinois
reported to McClernand at his sixth position just east of Tilghman Creek.
Batteries D, H, and K, First Missouri Light Artillery, were placed along
the ridge in rear of Tuttle. Prentiss rallied his broken division, not over
800 men, on Hurlbut's right connecting it with Wallace's left.
In the early morning, General Grant at Savannah heard the firing and directed
General Nelson, of the Army of the Ohio, to march his division along the
east bank on the Tennessee to the point opposite Pittsburg. Then, leaving
a request for General Buell to hurry his troops forward as rapidly as possible,
he hastened by boat to join his army. Arriving upon the field at about the
time that Prentiss was driven from his camp, he immediately dispatched orders
to Gen. Lew Wallace to bring his division to the battlefield. There has
ever since been a dispute as to the terms of this order and the time of
its delivery. It is admitted that General Wallace received an order, and
that he started his command at about 12 o'clock by a road leading into the
Hamburg and Purdy road west of the bridge over Owl Creek on the right of
Sherman's camps. This bridge was abandoned by McDowell and held by
the Confederates at 10 o'clock. An aide from General Grant overtook Wallace
on this road about 3 o'clock and turned him back to the Savannah and Hamburg,
or river road, by which he reached the battlefield about 7 o'clock p.m.
In the movements of the Confederate troops in the morning Gibson's brigade
of Bragg's corps had followed Shaver's brigade and had halted just inside
the line of camps. This had separated Gibson from Anderson by the length
of a brigade; into this space Bragg directed Stephens's brigade, of Polk's
corps, and it entered the line of camps in rear of Gladden's brigade.
When Prentiss was driven back General Johnston ordered his reserve into
action by sending Trabue forward on the Pittsburg Landing road to Shiloh
Church, while Bowen and Statham were moved down the Bark road and formed
line of battle south of the Peach Orchard to the left rear of Jackson and
completing the line to where Gladden's brigade, now commanded by Adams,
was resting near Prentiss's headquarters camp.
Following the capture of the guns of Waterhouses's battery and the retreat
of Sherman and Raith to the Purdy road, Wood's and Shaver's brigades, with
Swett's battery, were ordered to left wheel. Stewart's brigade was sent
by left flank along the rear of Peabody's camp to Wood's left where three
of the regiments took their places in line, while the Fourth Tennessee,
supported by the Twelfth Tennessee, from Russell's brigade, went into line
between wood's and Shaver's brigades. Stanford's battery took position in
the camp of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. Joining this force on its left
were the somewhat disorganized brigades of Cleburne, Anderson, Johnson,
and Russell. General Polk was personally directing their movements and led
them forward, without waiting for perfect organization, in pursuit of Sherman's
retreating brigades. This combined force of seven brigades moved to the
attack of McClernand and Sherman in their second position along the Pittsburg
and Purdy road. The right of this attacking force, extending beyond McClernand's
left, became engaged with W. H. L. Wallace's troops near Duncan House, while
Stephens's brigade of Polk's Corps engaged the left of Tuttle's brigade
and Prentiss's division in the Hornets' Nest. At the same time Gladden's
brigade attacked Lauman on west side of the Peach Orchard. In these attacks
General Hindman and Wood were disabled, and the Confederates in front of
Wallace, Prentiss, and Lauman were repulsed.
The attack upon McClernand and Sherman was successful, and drove these commands
back to the center of Marsh's brigade camp, where they made a short stand
at what McClernand calls his third line, and then retired to the field at
the right of that camp, to the fourth line. The third and fourth brigades
of Sherman's division retired from that part of the field, and his first
brigade, McDowell's, took position on McClernand's right.
In the repulse of McClernand from his second and third line he had lost
Burrows's entire battery of six guns, which was taken by Wood's brigade;
also one gun of McAllister's battery, taken by the Fourth Tennessee, and
two guns of Schwartz's battery and four guns of Dresser's battery; part
of these, perhaps all, are claimed by the One hundred and fifty-fourth Tennessee.
Rallying in the camp of Hare's brigade, McClernand, with McDowell's brigade
on his right, checked the Confederate advance, and then, by a united countercharge,
at 12 o'clock, recovered his second brigade camp and his own headquarters,
and captured Cobb's Kentucky battery. McClernand gives the Eleventh Iowa
and the eleventh and twentieth Illinois the credit for the capture of this
battery. In the forward movement the Sixth Iowa and the Forty-sixth Ohio
of McDowell's brigade, and Thirteenth Missouri of McArthur's brigade, became
engaged with Trabue's Confederate brigade in a fierce battle, of which Trabue
The combat here was a severe one. I fought the enemy an hour and a quarter,
killing and wounding 400 or 500 of the Forty-sixth Ohio Infantry, as well
as of another Ohio regiment, a Missouri regiment, and some Iowa troops.
I lost here many men and several officers. The
number killed, wounded, and missing of the Forty-sixth Ohio at the battle
of Shiloh, both days, was 246. But of the three regiments opposed to Trabue
there were 510 killed, wounded and missing; most of them were doubtless
lost in this conflict. So that Trabue may not have seriously erred in his
At the time that McClernand fell back from his second position, General
Stewart took command of Wood's and Shaver's brigades, and with the Fourth
Tennessee of his own brigades, and with the Fourth Tennessee of his own
brigade moved to the right and renewed the attack upon Tuttle and Prentiss.
Meeting a severe repulse he withdrew at 12 o'clock, with the Fourth Tennessee,
to the assistance of the force in front of McClernand. At the same time
Shaver's and Wood's brigades retired for rest and ammunition, and Stephen's
brigade moved to the right and joined Breckinridge south of the Peach Orchard.
General Bragg then brought up Gibson's brigade, which had been resting near
Peabody's camp, and sent it in four separate charges against the position
held by Prentiss and Tuttle. Gibson's brigade was shattered in their useless
charges and retired from the field. While Bragg was directing these several
movements, Generals Polk and Hardee had renewed the attack upon McClernand
and in a contest lasting two hours had driven him back once more to the
camp of his First Brigade where he maintained his position until 2:30 p.m.,
when he fell back across the valley of Tilghman Creek to his sixth line,
abandoning the last of his camps.
About 12 o'clock General Johnston, having gotten his reserve in position
south of the Peach Orchard, assumed personal command of the right wing of
his army and directed a combined forward movement, intending to break the
Union left where Chalmers and Jackson had been engaged since 10 o'clock,
in an unsuccessful fight with Stuart and McArthur. Bowen's brigade was sent
to support Jackson and was closely followed, en échelon to the left,
by Statham's, Stephens's, and Gladden's brigades in an attack upon Hurlbut
in the Peach Orchard. Stuart, hard pressed by Chalmers and threatened on
the left flank by Clanton's cavalry, was, as we have seen, the first to
yield, and falling back left McArthur's flank exposed, compelling him and
Hurlbut to fall back to the north side of the Peach Orchard. As Hurlbut's
First Brigade fell back, Lauman's brigade on its right was transferred to
the left of the division in support of McArthur. Hurlbut's division as then
formed stood at a right angle with the line of Prentiss and Wallace.
At 2:30p.m., while personally directing the movements of his reserve, General
Johnston was struck by a minie ball and almost instantly killed. The
death of the Confederate commander in chief caused a relaxation of effort
on that flank until General Bragg, hearing of Johnston's death, turned over
the command at the center to General Ruggles and repairing to the right,
assumed command, and again ordered a forward movement.
General Ruggles, having noted the ineffectual efforts of Bragg to break
the Union center, determined to concentrate artillery upon that point. He
therefore assembled ten batteries and a section, sixty-two guns, and placed
them in position along the west side of the Duncan field and southeast of
the Review field. In support of these batteries he brought up portions of
the brigade of Gibson, Shaver, Wood, Anderson, and Stewart with the Thirty-eighth
Tennessee and Crescent regiment of Pond's brigade, and once more attacked
the position so stubbornly held by Wallace and Prentiss. The concentrated
fire of these sixty-two guns drove away the Union batteries, but was not
able to rout the infantry from its sheltered position in the old road.
William Preston Johnston, in the Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston,
gives this graphic description of the fighting at this point:
This portion of the Federal line was occupied by Wallace's division and
by the remnants of Prentiss's division. Here behind a dense thicket on the
crest of a hill was posted a strong force of as hardy troops as ever fought,
almost perfectly protected by the conformation of the ground. To assail
it an open field had to be passed, enfiladed by the fire of its batteries.
It was nicknamed by the Confederated by that very mild metaphor, "The
Hornet's Nest." No figure of speech would be too strong to express
the deadly peril of an assault upon this natural fortress whose inaccessible
barriers blazed for six hours with sheets of flame and whose infernal gates
poured forth a murderous storm of shot and shell and musketry fire which
no living think could quell or even withstand. Brigade after brigade was
led against it, but valor was of no avail. Hindman's brilliant brigades
which had swept everything before them from the field were shivered into
fragments and paralyzed for the remainder of the day. Stewart's regiments
made fruitless assaults, but only to retire from the field. Bragg now ordered
up Gibson's splendid brigade; it made a charge, but like the others recoiled
and fell back. Bragg sent orders to charge again. * * * Four times the position
was charged. Four times the assault proved unavailing, the brigade was repulsed.
About half past 3 o'clock the struggle which had been going on for five
hours with fitful violence was renewed with the utmost fury. Polk's and
Bragg's corps, intermingled, were engaged in a death grapple with the sturdy
commands of Wallace and Prentiss. * * * General Ruggles judiciously collected
all the artillery he could find, some eleven batteries, which he massed
against the position. The opening of so heavy fire and the simultaneous
advance of the whole Confederate line resulted first in confusion and then
in defeat of Wallace and the surrender of Prentiss at about half past 5
o'clock. Each Confederate commander of division, brigade, and regiment,
as his command pounced upon the prey, believed it entitled to the credit
of the captures. Breckinridge, Ruggles, Withers, Cheatham, and other divisions
which helped to subdue these stubborn fighters each imagined his own the
hardest part of the work.
Generals Polk and Hardee, with the commingled commands of the Confederate
left, had followed McClernand in his retreat across Tilghaman Creek and
about 4 o'clock Hardee sent Pond with three of his regiments and Wharton's
cavalry to attack the Union position upon the east side of this creek. In
this attack the Confederates were repulsed with heavy loss, the Eighteenth
Louisiana alone losing 42 percent of those engaged. Pond retired to the
west side of the creek and took no further part in the action of Sunday.
Trabue and Russell, with some other detachments, renewed the attack, and
at 4.30 p.m. succeeded in driving McClernand and Veatch back to the Hamburg
road, then wheeled to the right against the exposed flank of W.H.L. Wallace's
division. At the same time Bragg had forced back the Union left until McArthur
and Hurlbut, seeing that they were in danger
of being cut off from the Landing, withdrew their forces, letting the whole
of Bragg's forces upon the rear of Prentiss and Wallace, while Polk and
Hardee were attacking them on their right flank and Ruggles was pounding
them from the front. Wallace attempted to withdraw by the right flank, but
in passing the lines, closing behind him, he was mortally wounded. Colonel
Tuttle with two of his regiments succeeded in passing the lines while four
of Wallace's regiments with the part of Prentiss's division were completely
surrounded, and, after an ineffectual effort to force their way back to
the Landing, were compelled to surrender at 5:30 p.m. The number of prisoners
captured here and in previous engagements was 2,254 men and officers, about
equal number from each division. General Prentiss and the mortally wounded
General Wallace were both taken prisoners, but General Wallace was left
on the field and was recovered by his friends next day, and died at Savannah,
Tenn., four days later.
During the afternoon, Colonel Webster, chief of artillery, on General Grant's
staff, had placed Madison's battery of siege buns in position about a quarter
of a mile from the Landing, and then, as the other batteries came back from
the front, placed them in position to the right and left of the siege guns.
Hurlbut's division as it came back formed on the right of these guns; Stuart's
brigade on the left; parts of Wallace's division and detached regiments
formed in the rear and to the right of Hurlbut, connecting with McClernand's
left. McClernand extended the line to Hamburg and Savannah road and along
that road to near McArthur's headquarters, where Buckland's brigade of Sherman's
division, with three regiments of McArthur's brigade, were holding the right
which covered the bridge by which Gen. Lew. Wallace was to arrive on the
About 5 o'clock Ammen's brigade of Nelson's division of the Army of the
Ohio reached the field, the Thirty-sixth Indiana taking position near the
left in support of Stone's battery. Two gunboats, the Tyler and Lexington,
were at the mouth of Dill Branch, just above the Landing.
After the capture of Prentiss an attempt was made to reorganize the Confederate
forces for an attack upon the Union line in position near the Landing. Generals
Chalmers and Jackson and Colonel Trabue moved their commands to the right
down the ridge south of Dill Branch until they came under fire of the Union
batteries and gunboats, which silenced Gage's battery, the only one with
the command. Trabue sheltered his command on the south side of the ridge,
while Chalmers and Jackson moved into the valley of Dill Branch and pressed
skirmishers forward to the brow of the hill on the north side of the valley,
but their exhausted men, many of them without ammunition, could not be urged
to a charge upon the batteries before them. Colonel Deas, commanding a remnant
of Gladden's brigade, formed at the head of the ravine on Jackson's left,
and Anderson formed at the head of the ravine, where he remained ten or
fifteen minutes, then he retired beyond range of the floating guns. Colonel
Lindsay, First Mississippi Cavalry, charged upon and captured Ross's battery,
as it was withdrawing from position near Hurlbut's headquarters, and then
with 30 or 40 men crossed the head of Dill Branch and attempted to charge
another battery, but finding himself in the presence of an infantry force
"managed to get back under the hill without damage." This cavalry
and the skirmishers from Chalmers' and Jackson's brigades were
the only Confederate troops that came under musketry fire after the Prentiss
and Wallace surrender.
In the meantime General Bragg made an effort to get troops into position
on the left of Pittsburg road, but before arrangements were completed night
came on and General Beauregard ordered all the troops withdrawn. The Confederate
troops sought bivouacs on the field, some occupying captured Union camps
and some returning to their bivouac of Saturday night. General Beauregard
remained near Shiloh Church. General Polk retired to his Saturday night
camp. General Bragg was with Beauregard near the church, occupying General
Sherman's headquarters camp. General Hardee and General Withers encamped
with Colonel Martin in Peabody's camp. Trabue occupied camps of the sixth
Iowa and forth-sixth Ohio. Pond's brigade alone of the infantry troops remained
in line of battle confronting the Union line.
The Union troops bivouacked on their line of battle, extending from Pittsburg
Landing to Snake Creek bridge, where the third division arrived after dark,
occupying the line from McArthur's headquarters to the lowlands of the creek.
Thirteen hours the battle had raged aver all parts of the field without
a moment's cessation. The Union Army had been steadily forced back on both
flanks. The camps of all but the Second Division had been captured, and
position after position surrendered after the most persistent fighting and
with great loss of life on both sides. Many regiments, and brigades even,
of both armies had been shattered and had lost their organization. Detachments
of soldiers and parts of companies and regiments were scattered over the
field, some doubtless seeking in vain for their commands; many caring for
dead and wounded comrades; others exhausted with the long conflict and content
to seek rest and refreshment at any place that promised relief from the
terrors of the battle. The fierceness of the fighting on Sunday is shown
by the losses sustained by some of the organizations engaged. The Ninth
Illinois lost 366 out of 617. The Sixth Mississippi lost 300 out of 425.
Cleburne's brigade lost 1,013 out of 2,700, and the brigade was otherwise
depleted until he had but 800 men in line Sunday night. He continued in
the fight on Monday until he had only 58 men in line, and these he sent
to the rear for ammunition.
Gladden's brigade was reduced to 244. The Fifty-fifth Illinois lost 275
out of 657. The Twenty-eighth Illinois lost 245 out of 642. The Sixth Iowa
had 52 killed outright. The Third Iowa lost 33 per cent of those engaged.
The Twelfth Iowa lost in killed, wounded, and prisoners 98 per cent of the
present for duty. Only 10 returned to camp, and they were stretcher bearers.
These are but samples; many other regiments lost in about the same proportion.
The loss of officers was especially heavy; out of 5 Union division commanders
1 was killed, 1 wounded, and 1 captured; out of 15 brigade commanders 9
were on the list of casualties, and out of 61 infantry regimental commanders
on the field 33 were killed, wounded, or missing, making a loss on Sunday
of 45 out of 81 commanders of divisions, brigades, and regiments. The Confederate
Army lost its commander in chief, killed; 2 corps commanders wounded; 3
out of 5 of its division commanders wounded; 4 of its brigade commanders
killed or wounded, and 20 out of 78 of its regimental commanders killed
and wounded. With suck losses, the constant shifting of positions, and the
length of time engaged, it is not a matter
to cause surprise that the Confederate Army was reduced, as General Beauregard
claims, to less that 20,000 men in line, and that these were so exhausted
that they sought their bivouacs with little regard to battle lines, and
that both armies lay down in the rain to sleep as best they could with very
little thought, by either, of any danger of attack during the night.
We find at Shiloh that with three exceptions no breastworks were prepared
by either side on Sunday night. Of these exceptions a Union battery near
the Landing was protected by a few sacks of corn piled up in front of the
guns; some Confederate regiment arranged the fallen timber in front of Marsh's
brigade camp into a sort of defensive work that served a good purpose the
next day; and Lieutenant Nispel, Company E, second Illinois Light artillery,
dug a trench in front of his guns, making a slight earthwork, which may
yet be seen, just at the right of the position occupied by the siege guns.
He alone of all the officers on the field thought to use the spade, which
was so soon to become an important weapon of war.
During Sunday night the remainder of General Nelson's division and General
Crittenden's division of the Army of the Ohio arrived upon the field, and
early Monday morning the Union forces were put in motion to renew the battle.
General Crittenden's right rested on the Corinth road, General Nelson, to
his left, extending the line across Hamburg road. About 1,000 men from the
Army of the Tennessee, extended the line to the overflowed land of the Tennessee.
Two brigade of General McCook's arriving on the field about 8 o'clock formed
on Crittenden's right, Rousseau's brigade in front line and Kirk's in reserve.
At McCook's right was Hurlbut, then McClernand, then Sherman, then Lew.
Wallace, whose right rested on the swamps of Owl Creek. The Army of the
Ohio formed with one regiment of each brigade in reserve, and with Boyle's
brigade of Crittenden's division as reserve for the whole. The remnant of
W. H. L. Wallace's division under command of Colonel Tuttle, was also in
reserve behind General Crittenden.
The early and determined advance of the Union Army soon convinced General
Beauregard that fresh troops had arrived. He, however, made his disposition
as rapidly as possible to meet the advance by sending General Hardee to
his right, General Bragg to his left, General Polk to left center, and General
Breckinridge to right center with orders to each to put the Confederate
troops into line of battle without regard to their original organizations.
These officers hurried their staff officers to all parts of the field and
soon formed a line. Hardee had Chalmers on the right in Stuart's camp; next
to him was Colonel Wheeler in command of Jackson's old brigade; then Col.
Preston Smith with remnants of B. R. Johnson's brigade; Colonel Maney with
Stephen's brigade. Then came Stewart, Cleburne, Statham, and Martin under
Breckinridge. Trabue, across the main Corinth road, just west of Duncan's,
with Anderson and Gibson to his left under Polk. Then Wood, Russell, and
Pond under Bragg, finishing the line to Owl Creek. Very few brigades were
intact, the different regiments were hurried into line from their bivouacks
and placed under the command of the nearest brigade officer, and were then
detached and sent from one part of the field to another as they were needed
to reenforce threatened points, until it is
impossible to follow movements or determine just where each regiment was
Monday's battle opened by the advance of Gen. Lew. Wallace's division on
the Union right, attacking Pond's brigade in Hare's brigade camp, and was
continued on that flank by a left wheel of Wallace, extending his right
until he gained the Confederates left flank. Nelson's division commenced
his advance at daylight and soon developed the Confederate line of battle
behind the peach orchard. He then waited for Crittenden and McCook to get
into position, and then commenced the attack upon Hardee, in which he was
soon joined by all troops on the field. The fighting seems to have been
most stubborn in the center, where Hazen, Crittenden, and McCook were contending
with the forces under Polk and Breckinridge upon the same ground where W.
H. L. Wallace and Prentiss fought on Sunday.
The 20,000 fresh troops in Union Army made the contest an unequal one, and
though stubbornly contested for a time, at about 2 o'clock General Beauregard
ordered the withdrawal of his army. To secure the withdrawal he placed Colonel
Looney, of the Thirty-eighth Tennessee with his regiment, augmented by detachments
form other regiments, at Shiloh Church, directed him to change the Union
center. In this charge Colonel Looney passed Sherman's headquarters and
pressed the Union line back to the Purdy road; at the same time General
Beauregard sent batteries across Shiloh Branch and placed them in battery
on the high ground beyond. With these arrangements, Beauregard, at 4 o'clock,
safely crossed Shiloh Branch with his army occupied by his army on Saturday
night. The Confederate Army retired leisurely to Corinth, while the Union
Army returned to the camps that it had occupied before the battle.
General Beauregard, in his Century "war-book" article, page 64,
in speaking of "The second days fighting at Shiloh," says:
Our widely scattered forces, which it had been impossible to organize in
the night after the late hour at which they were drawn out of action, were
gathered in hand for the exigency as quickly as possible.
General Bragg, Hardee, and Breckinridge hurried to their assigned positions-Hardee
now to the extreme right, where were Chalmers' and Jackson's brigade of
Bragg's corps; General Bragg to the left, where were assembled fragments
of his own troops, as also of Clark's division, Polk's corps, with Trabue's
brigade; Breckinridge was on the left of Hardee. This left space to be occupied
by General Polk, who, during the night, had gone with Cheatham's division
back nearly to Hardee's position on the night of April 5. But just at the
critical time, to my great pleasure, General Polk came upon the field with
the essential division.
By 7 o'clock the night before all of Nelson's division had been thrown across
the Tennessee, and during the night had been put in position between Grant's
discouraged forces and our own. * * * After exchanging some shots with Forrest's
cavalry, Nelson's division was confronted with a composite force embracing
Chalmer's brigade, Moore's Texas regiment, with other parts of Withers's
division; also the Crescent regiment of New Orleans and the Twenty-sixth
Alabama, supported by well-posted batteries, and so stoutly was Nelson received
that his division had to recede somewhat. Advancing again, however, about
8 o'clock, now reenforced by Hazen's brigade, it was our turn to retire
with the loss of a battery. But rallying and taking the offensive, somewhat
reenforced, the Confederates were able to recover their lost ground and
guns inflicting a sharp loss on Hazen's brigade, that narrowly escaped capture.
Ammen's brigade was also seriously pressed and must have been turned but
for the opportune arrival of Terrill's regular battery of McCook's division.
In the meantime Crittenden's division became involved in the battle, but
was successfully kept at bay for several hours by the forced under Hardee
and Breckinridge until it was reenforced by two brigades of McCook 's division,
which had been added to the attacking force on the field after the battle
had been joined. * * *
By 1 o'clock General Bragg's forces on our left, necessarily weakened by
the withdraw of a part of his troop to reinforce
our right and center, had become so seriously pressed that he had called
for aid. Some remnants of Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee regiments were
gathered up and sent to support him as best they might, and I went with
them personally. General Bragg now taking the offensive, pressed his adversary
back. This was about 2 o'clock . My headquarters were still at Shiloh Church.
The odds of fresh troops alone were now too great to justify the prolongation
of the conflict. So, directing Adjutant-General Jordan to select at once
a proper position in our near rear, and there establish a covering force
including artillery, I dispatched my staff with orders to the several corps
commanders to prepare to retire from the field, first making a show, however,
at different points of resuming the offensive. These orders were executed,
I may say, with no small skill, and the Confederate army began to retire
at 2:30 p.m. without apparently the least perception on the part of the
enemy that such a movement was going on.
The losses of the two days' battle are summed up
|General Grant's five divisions.............
Gen. Lew Wallace's division..............
Total Army of the Tennessee.............
Army of the Ohio..............................
|Grand Total, Union Army..................
|Total Loss at Shiloh...........................
This gives a Confederate loss of 241/3 per cent of those present for duty,
and a loss in the five divisions of Grant's army present for duty Sunday
of 26 ¾ per cent.
It is impossible to give losses of each day separately except as to general
officers and regimental commanders. These are reported by name, and it is
found that casualties among the officers of these grades are as follows:
In the five divisions of Grant's army, loss Sunday
In the same divisions, loss on Monday
In Lew. Wallace's division, loss on Monday
In the Army of the Ohio, loss on Monday
Total loss of general officers and regimental commanders, Sunday and
In Confederate Army, casualties to officers of like grade, on Sunday
In Confederate Army, Monday
Total loss of general officers and regimental commanders, Confederate
No general pursuit of the Confederates was made. The orders of General Halleck
forbade pursuit, so the Confederates were allowed to retire to Corinth while
the Union Army occupied itself in burying the dead and caring for the wounded
until General Halleck arrived, and assuming command, inaugurated the "advance
upon Corinth," in which the most conspicuous and leading part was played
by the spade.
In answer to an inquiry made by the Secretary of War, General Halleck said:
The impression, which at one time seemed to have been received by the Department,
that our forces were surprised in the morning of the 6th, is entirely erroneous.
I am satisfied from a patient and careful inquiry and investigation that
all our troops were notified of the enemy's approach some time before the