Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/445
Military Operations of General Beauregard. 435
movement was only a reconnoisance in force." Hence it is proved that the Federals were suprised, notwithstanding the probabilities to the contrary, and that they were driven into a battle for which they were not prepared. It was fought with great fury on both sides during two days. The Confederate loss, out of forty thousand men, was ten thousand. The Federals, whose ranks had been, swelled particularly during the battle of the second day, by strong reinforcements, that raised their forces to seventy-two thousand, lost over twelve thou- sand men.
General Albert Sidney Johnston was killed at 2.50 P. M. on the first day of the battle, and General Beauregard, who had acted under him, continued it with great vigor and intelligence until nightfall. We think it useless, for the purpose we have in view, to notice the controversy which has arisen about whether the Federals would or would not have been crushed if General Johnston had not been killed and General Beauregard not assumed command, for which it is con- tended that he was not prepared, on account of bad health and other circumstances. It is difficult to read Colonel Roman's narrative with- out being convinced that General Beauregard acted on that occasion with his usual valor and ability.
At the end of the first day's battle, as demonstrated by Colonel Roman, the starving and weary Confederates had, during the long and exhaustive conflict, been thrown into much confusion, resulting pardy from their pillage of the enemy's camps to satisfy their hunger and recuperate their overtaxed strength, when they believed themselves to be victorious, and partly from the disjointed condition in which the different corps found themselves on the approach of night. A further struggle would have been usless, if prosecuted under exist- ing disadvantages, and it looked as if imperatively necessary to cease it, and to reorganize for the next day. But, in the meantime, all the forces of Buell had arrived, and Beauregard went into the bloody batde of the next day, merely to deceive the enemy about the retreat which he meditated back to Corinth, and which he executed with consummate skill.
At Corinth it soon became apparent to General Beauregard that the insalubrity of that locality would, says Colonel Roman, " increase as the season advanced," and that, apart from the danger of being overwhelmed by a steadily growing army in his front, he would have to select another strategic point more salubrious, and in which he could hold in check the enemy and protect his rear. For these rea- sons he evacuated Corinth and fell back on Tupelo, where begins