308 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Captain Clifton H. Smith, who carried to Bragg the order that Gen- eral Beauregard really did give, slates that it was in these words :
" Ride to the front and instruct General Bragg to arrest the conflict and reform the lines." Smith also writes that he found Bragg "in a slight ravine in rear of Ruggles's division, accompanied by his staff and escort. * He had evidently but just retired from some
portion of his line of battle. General Ruggles himself was immedi- ately at hand. * * * I am confident none of his troops in that immediate quarter were in offensive action at that moment ; for I can only remember hearing a dropping fire of musketry, and not the regular roll of a line of battle in action, which, once heard, is ever after easily recognized. I communicated your (Beauregard) order to General Bragg in the exact words I had received it, without one syllable of comment. He (Bragg) transmitted the same to his division commanders. General Bragg turning to me asked, can you
conduct me to the place where General Beauregard is at present ? I replied in the affirmative, and we left the front, riding towards the point where I had parted with you (Beauregard), and where I had left you in conversation with General Prentiss. When I
reached General Bragg the troops appeared to me to be essentially at a standstill, judging from the character of the firing and the con- dition of those presented to my view. * * I perfectly recollect walking with him (Bragg), after dismounting, to the spot where you were, and calling his ( Bragg* s) attention to the fact that he was in your (Beauregard's) presence. It was quite dark, and he was at first unable to distinguish you. The darkness settles in my mind the time of our return to your headquarters." Smith further states, circumstantially, that the distance traversed by Bragg and himself was between one and two miles no more; that is, not exceeding twenty minutes in time. As will be seen in his report of February 7th, 1863, General Hardee connects himself with what I may here properly call by its right name, the conspiracy of the story of the " Lost Opportunity at Shiloh," in words which rather suggest than outrightly express blame and criticism, to-wit:
"Upon the death of General Johnston, the command having devolved upon General Beauregard, the conflict was continued until near sunset, and the advance divisions were within a few hundred yards of Pittsburg, where the onemy huddled in confusion, when the order to withdraw was received. The troops were ordered to bivouac on the field of battle. Exhausted by fasting and the toils of the day, scattered and disordered by continued combat of twelve hours, many