weight raised from our breasts, or so thankful for a most fruitful
series of victories. They at once gave Generals Halleck, Grant,
and C. F. Smith, great fame. Of course, the rebels let go their
whole line, and fell back on Nashville and Island No. Ten, and to
the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Everybody was anxious to help.
Boats passed up and down constantly, and very soon arrived the
rebel prisoners from Donelson. I saw General Buckner on the boat,
he seemed self-sufficient, and thought their loss was not really so
serious to their cause as we did.
About this time another force of twenty or twenty-five thousand men
was collected on the west bank of the Mississippi, above Cairo,
under the command of Major-General John Pope, designed to become
the "Army of the Mississippi," and to operate, in conjunction with
the navy, down the river against the enemy's left flank, which had
held the strong post of Columbus, Kentucky, but which, on the fall
of Fort Donelson, had fallen back to New Madrid and Island No. 10.
BATTLE of SHILOH.
MARCH AND APRIL, 1862.
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 Halleek 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
Tenneaseeans 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 accross 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
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 ad-
jutant 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
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