Reports of Major General U.S. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding Army of the Tennessee including his correspondence with CSA General P.G.T. Beauregard, commanding the Confederate Army of Mississippi.
PITTSBURG, April 7, 1862
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Saint Louis, Mo.
Yesterday the rebels attacked us here with an overwhelming force, driving our troops in from their advanced position to near the Landing. General Wallace was immediately ordered up from Crump's Landing, and in the evening one division of General Buell's army and General Buell in person arrived. During the night one other division arrived, and still another to-day. This morning, at the break of the day, I ordered an attack, which resulted in a fight which continued until late this afternoon, with severe loss on both sides, but a complete repulse of the enemy. I shall follow to-morrow far enough to see that no immediate renewal of an attack is contemplated.
PITTSBURG, TENN. (via SAVANNAH), April 8, 1862.
Enemy badly routed and fleeing towards Corinth. Our
cavalry, supported by infantry, are now pursuing him, with instructions to
pursue to the swampy grounds near Pea Ridge. I want transports sent here for our
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Pittsburg, April 9, 1862.
Capt. N.H. McLEAN,
A. A. G., Dept. of the Miss., Saint Louis, Mo.
CAPTAIN: It becomes my duty again to report another battle
fought between two great armies, one contending for the maintenance of the best
government ever devised, the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record
the success of the army contending for the former principle.
On Sunday morning our pickets were attacked and driven in by the enemy. Immediately the five divisions stationed at this place were drawn up in line of battle, ready to meet them. The battle soon waxed warm on the left and center, varying at times to all parts of the line. The most continuous firing of musketry and artillery ever heard on this continent was kept up until night-fall, the enemy having forced the entire line to fall back nearly half way from their camps to the Landing.
At a late hour in the afternoon a desperate effort was made by the enemy to turn our left and get possession of the Landing, transports, &c. This point was guarded by the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, Captains Gwin and Shirk, U.S. Navy, commanding, four 20-pounder Parrott guns and a battery of rifled guns. As there is a deep and impassable ravine for artillery or cavalry, and very difficult for infantry, at this point, no troops were stationed here, except the necessary artillerists and a small infantry force for their support. Just at this moment the advance of Major-General Buell's column (a part of the division under General Nelson) arrived, the two generals named both being present. An advance was immediately made upon the point of attack and the enemy soon driven back. In this repulse much is due to the presence of the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, and their able commanders, Captains Gwin and Shirk.
During the night the divisions under Generals Crittenden and McCook arrived. General Lewis Wallace, at Crump's Landing, 6 miles below, was ordered at an early hour in the morning to hold his division in readiness to be moved in any direction to which it might be ordered. At about 11 o'clock the order was delivered to move it up to Pittsburg, but owing to its being led by a circuitous route did not arrive in time to take part in Sunday's action.
During the night all was quiet, and feeling that a great moral advantage would be gained by becoming the attacking party, an advance was ordered as soon as day dawned. The result was a gradual repulse of the enemy at all parts of the line from morning until probably 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when it became evident the enemy was retreating. Before the close of the action the advance of General T. J. Wood's division arrived in time to take part in the action.
My force was too much fatigued from two days' hard fighting and exposure in the open air to a drenching rain during the intervening night to pursue immediately.
Night closed in cloudy and with heavy rain, making the roads impracticable for artillery by the next morning. General Sherman, however, followed the enemy, finding that the main part of the army had retreated in good order.
Hospitals of the enemy's wounded were found all along the road as far as pursuit was made. Dead bodies of the enemy and many graves were also found.
I inclose herewith report of General Sherman, which will explain more fully the result of this pursuit.
Of the part taken by each separate command I cannot take special notice in this report, but will do so more fully when reports of division commanders are handed in.
General Buell, coming on the field with a distinct army long under his command, and which did such efficient service, commanded by himself in person on the field, will be much better able to notice those of his command who particularly distinguished themselves than I possibly can.
I feel it a duty, however, to a gallant and able officer, Brig. Gen. W. T. Sherman, to make a special mention. He not only was with his command during the entire two days' action, but displayed great judgment and skill in the management of his men. Although severely wounded in the hand the first day his place was never vacant. He was again wounded, and had three horses killed under him.
In making this mention of a gallant officer no disparagement is intended to the other division commanders, Maj. Gens. John A. McClernand and Lewis Wallace, and Brig. Gens. S. A. Hurlbut, B. M. Prentiss, and W. H. L. Wallace, all of whom maintained their places with credit to themselves and the cause.
General Prentiss was taken prisoner in the first day's action, and General W. H. L. Wallace severely, probably mortally, wounded. His assistant adjutant-general, Capt. William McMichael, is missing; probably taken prisoner.
My personal staff are all deserving of particular mention, they having been engaged during the entire two days in conveying orders to every part of the field. It consists of Col. J. D. Webster, chief of staff; Lieut. Col. J. B. McPherson, chief engineer, assisted by Lieuts. W. L. B. Jenney and William Kossak; Capt. J. A. Rawlins, assistant adjutant-general; Capts. W. S. Hillyer, W. R. Rowley, and C. B. Lagow, aides-de-camp; Col G. G. Pride, volunteer aide, and Capt. J.P. Hawkins, chief commissary, who accompanied me upon the field.
The medical department, under the direction of Surgeon Hewitt, medical director, showed great energy in providing for the wounded and in getting them from the field regardless of danger.
Colonel Webster was placed in special charge of all the artillery and was constantly upon the field. He displayed, as always heretofore, both skill and bravery. At least in one instance he was the means of placing an entire regiment in a position of doing most valuable service, and where it would not have been but for his exertions.
Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, attached to my staff as chief engineer, deserves more than a passing notice for his activity and courage. All the grounds beyond our camps for miles have been reconnoitered by him, and plats carefully prepared under his supervision give accurate information of the nature of approaches to our lines. During the two days' battle he was constantly in the saddle, leading troops as they arrived to points where their services were required. During the engagement he had one horse shot under him.
The country will have to mourn the loss of many brave men who fell at the battle of Pittsburg, or Shiloh, more properly. The exact loss in killed and wounded will be known in a day or two. At present I can only give it approximately at 1,500 killed and 3,500 wounded.
The loss of artillery was great, many pieces being disabled by the enemy's shots and some losing all their horses and many men. There were probably not less than 200 homes killed.
The loss of the enemy in killed and left upon the field was greater than ours. In wounded the estimate cannot be made, as many of them must have been sent back to Corinth and other points.
The enemy suffered terribly from demoralization and desertion.
A flag of truce was sent in to-day from General Beauregard. I inclose herewith a copy of the correspondence.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Monterey, April 8, 1862
Maj. Gen. U.S. GRANT. U.S.A.,
Commanding U. S. Forces near Pittsburg, Tenn.
SIR: At the close of the conflict of yesterday, my forces being exhausted by
the extraordinary length of time during which they were engaged with yours on
that and the preceding day, and it being apparent that you had received and were
still receiving re-enforcements, I felt it my duty to withdraw my troops from
the immediate scene of conflict.
Under these circumstances, in accordance with usages of war, I shall transmit this under a flag of truce, to ask permission to send a mounted party to the battle-field of Shiloh for the purpose of giving decent interment to my dead.
Certain gentlemen wishing to avail themselves of this opportunity to remove the remains of their sons and friends, I must request for them the privilege of accompanying the burial party, and in this connection I deem it proper to say I am asking only what I have extended to your own countrymen under similar circumstances.
Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Pittsburg, April 9, 1862
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Comdg. Confederate Army of the Mississippi, Monterey, Tenn.
Your dispatch of yesterday is just received. Owing to the warmth of the
weather I deemed it advisable to have all the dead of both parties buried
immediately. Heavy details were made for this purpose, and now it is
accomplished. There cannot, therefore, be any necessity of admitting within our
lines the parties you desire to send on the grounds asked.
I shall always be glad to extend any courtesy consistent with duty, and especially so when dictated by humanity.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GENERAL ORDERS No. 34.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Pittsburg, April 8, 1862.
The general commanding congratulates the troops who so gallantly maintained,
repulsed, and routed a numerically superior force of the enemy, composed of the
flower of the Southern Army, commanded by their ablest generals, and fought by
them with all the desperation of despair.
In numbers engaged, no such contest ever took place on this continent; in importance of results, but few such have taken place in the history of the world.
Whilst congratulating the brave and gallant soldiers, it becomes the duty of the general commanding to make special notice of the bravo wounded and those killed upon the field. Whilst they leave friends and relatives to mourn their loss, they have won a nation's gratitude and undying laurels, not to be forgotten by future generations, who will enjoy the blessings of the best government the sun ever shone upon, preserved by their valor.
By order of Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant:
JNo. A. RAWLINS,
Text Source - The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Image Source - The Library of Congress
This page was last updated on 01/17/09
© 1998-2009 The Civil War Archive