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These successes produced astonishment among the insurgents of the Southwest. They saw Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee wrested from them. They began to realize the gigantio contest in which they were engaged.
Buell's army was concentrated at Nashville, and the rebel lines of defence from the Mississippi to the mountains, was broken through and swept away.
The rebels now made the most vigorous efforts to raise troops to repel the armies of Grant and Buel.
Beauregard was detached from the insurgent army in Virginia, and sent to the West, and the whole of the forces placed ander command of General Albert Sidney Johnson. The de feat of this army of Johuson, would open the whole Southwest to the Union flag. The Confederates appreciated the importance of the impending conflict, and used every effort to gather a force adequate to repel the approaching and victorious legions of the Northwest. The address of General Johnson, to his soldiers issued from his fortified camp, at Corinth, April 3d, indicates that he regarded the contest as little less than decisive:
“ Remember, soldiers," said he, “the precious stake involvedremember the dependence of your mothers, your wives, your sisters, your children, on the result- remember the fair, broad, abounding lands, the happy homes that will be desolated by your defeat. The eyes and hopes of eight millions of people rest upon you.”
The great armies met on the 6th of April, and fought the battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing. The rebel army was commanded by Generals Johnson and Beauregard, and the Union army was under Grant and Buell. It was the
purpose of Beauregard to attack and defeat Grant, before Buell, who had been ordered by Halleck to join Grant, should come up. Hence Beauregard advanced toward Grant with great rapidity, while Buell was somewhat tardy in marching to Grant. Before six o'clock, on the morning of the 6th of April, the rebel columns were in motion and attacked Grant's left, and coming on like a whirlwind, before 8 o'clock, captured General Prentiss, and 2,000 prisoners. This division was very nearly surprised; and before they made any considerable resistance, were taken prisoners. The battle was sternly contested by Hurlbut's, McClernand's, and Sherman's divisions. The division of General W. H. L. Wallace occupied an exposed position, and upon this was hurled the weight of the rebel attack. Four different charges were made upon
this gallant division, but each time, under their cool and brave leader, they repelled the enemy. But the gallant Wallace was mortally wounded, and the whole of the Union army was forced reluctantly, doggedly fighting, back into a comparatively small space near the river. They had lost many guns, and thousands had been taken prisoners. At this juncture, there was a pause on the part of the assailants, a pause at a moment when a vigorous and determined attack possibly might have driven the Union soldiers in confusion, into the river; but this pause of the rebels, allowed the Union soldiers time to rally, and perhaps saved them from destruction. Colonel Webster, General Grant's Chief of artillery, by his direction, collected the field batteries, and skillfully massed them in a commanding position to receive the assault the rebels were preparing to make.
This artillery, with such infantry as could be gathered, received the expected assault with a terrific and destructive fire. Besides this, as the rebel column advanced, two gunboats raked the rebel column with the tremendous guns they carried. This fire staggered the enemy, and prolonged the contest until night brought relief, and towards evening, the long expected column of Buell began to appear.
Beauregard, at the close of the day's fight, however, announced a complete victory, with the death of General Albert Sydney Johnson. But on the following morning, Grant. early assumed the offensive, and the enemy were forced back, until, after fighting until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, they were routed and put to flight.
The first long dreary day of this battle closed with the advantages all with the rebels. Night brought Buell and his gallant army, and the morrow, victory. Here was most strikingly exhibited the stubborn, persistent, resolute character of Grant, which never knew defeat, but which often
brought success out of apparent defeat. The shattered rebel army retreated into their strong works at Corinth.
Sad incidents illustrating the character of civil war occurred on this field.
Two regiments from Kentucky, fighting on opposite sides, met on this bloody field. A Union soldier wounded and captured a rebel soldier- his own brother. Resuming his fire, at a man hiding behind a tree, the wounded prisoner exclaimed, “Don't fire there, Bob, that is Father!”
Into a Union field hospital, was brought a rebel soldier, mortally wounded. He found there, in his attendant, a Union soldier- a brother, detailed as a nurse, and died in his arms.
Such is rebellion and civil war! This battle was fought on the Union side by troops comparatively new. There was a lack of concert and mutual
support, but it effectually tested the stamina and manliness of the belligerents. It was a long, terrible, hand-to hand, two day's fight; beginning at early dawn, and continuing until night; but when the sun went down on Shiloh on the second day, it went down on an army of fleeing rebels, the arrogance of which had been tamed, and their dream of invincibility, and contempt of Northern soldiers so long instilled into the people of the South, gone forever! From that bloody day, no rebel soldier despised the courage, the persistence, the manliness or the marksmanship of his adversary.
The Union army, when attacked, was not protected in its front by earthworks. It is not too much to say, that one year later in the war, no army of Grant or Sherman could have been found by the enemy in the condition their army was in on the first day of the battle of Shiloh.
Meanwhile, General Halleck, who had, as has been stated, Aucceeded General Hunter, in command of the West, left St. Louis, and assumed command in the field. On the 22d of April, General Pope, with his division of almost 25,000 men, arrived at Pittsburg Landing from New Madrid. The army of Halleck now consisted of the army of General Grant, forming the right wing, General Buell's the left, and General Pope's the centre. On the 3d of May, this army of General Halleck numbered 108,000 men, and was within
eight miles of Corinth. This place is in the northeast corner of Mississippi, ninety miles east of Memphis, on the Mississippi River, and on the line of the great railroad between Memphis and Charleston, South Carolina, where the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, running north and south, crosses the great east and west line between the Mississippi and the Atlantic.
General Grant was given the position of second in command, and General Thomas was assigned to the command of the right wing. The forces of Beauregard had been increas ed by the concentration of troops from Mississippi and Loui. siana, including General Lovell, from near New Orleans.
He had fled from the metropolis of the Southwest previous to its capture by the gallant Farragut and General Butler. By these additions, the Confederate force was largely increased, although it did not equal the army under General Halleck,
General Halleck now proceeded, by gradual advances, to the investment and siege of Coriuth. Although he commanded a victorious army, elated and confident from a career of almost uninterrupted success, he took the utmost care to prevent a general engagement. For more than a month, he issued his daily order to crowd up to the enemy, “but to avoid a general engagement.” His ardent and eager subordinates, anxious to reach the enemy, begged permission to at. tack, but were refused. By this course, Corinth was taken, but the rebel army escaped.
On the 30th of May, the heavy batteries of Halleck opened upon Corinth, and the Confederates were driven out. The enemy fled hastily, destroying immense quantities of stores, provisions and materiel of war. The line of fortifications thus abandoned, was fifteen miles long, with batteries commanding every road and assailable point. The Union troops pursued for some distance the retreating rebels, and made some captures, but they had all the territory which they could hold. The failure on the part of Halleck to attack and assault the enemy, enabled Beauregard to escape, and transfer his forces to positions of need at the East.
While the armies of the West had fought all the way
from Illinois, down the Valley of the Mississippi, from Cairo to Corinth, capturing Forts Henry and Donelson, New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Nashville; while they had fought the battles of Belmont, Mill Spring, Pea Ridge, and the great battle of Shiloh ; had rescued and reclaimed from the enemy Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Arkansas, and were holding points of Mississippi and Alabama, where was the Army of the Potomac and what had it done? Where were its trophies, where the prisoners, guns, forts it had captured, and the States it had subjugated ? Is it not now clear, that if General McClellan had been equally active, and had done as much fighting and with equal success as the armies which operated at the West, the rebellion would have been crushed and the Confederate States subjugated in 1862 ? But General McClellan never adopted the tactics of Grant, of attacking every assailable point of the rebellion at the same time; but he so managed, while in supreme command, that the rebels, being on the inner and shorter line of defense, could transfer their troops from point to point wherever most needed.
The city of New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi, was early the object of the anxious consideration of President Lincoln. Having passed his life in the great Valley of the West-knowing it as one who had in early life, as a flatboatman, urged his boat over its majestic waters-he had lived to see it, and its thousands of miles of tributary streams, covered with steamers, carrying to tidewater, the vast agricultural products of a delta more productive than that of the Nile. He fully sympathized with the declaration of the gallant Illinois soldier who declared that the hardy Western settler, turning his plough-share into the sword, would “Hew his way to the sea!” No place in the Union had been more associated with National pride than the city of New Orleans. The victory of General Jackson at that place had always been justly regarded as one of the most brilliant military achievements on record. This city, over which the lilies of France had floated, was the metropolis of the vast Southwest. By