Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/536

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55
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

command, lately Grant's, and the corps of Buell and Pope. At the same time Polk and Breckinridge took position fronting the Purdy road. But Van Dorn, having been sent on a circuitous route toward Farmington, was not heard from until the next morning, when he reported that he had been delayed by bad management, the stupidity of officers and the difficulty of the country, and was "sick with disappointment and chagrin," but "felt like a wolf and would fight like one." It was still intended to attack, when a telegram from Van Dorn was received stating that at noon, after a conference with Hardee and Price, he had determined to return to his intrenchments, finding difficulties that had so delayed him that it was too late to begin a general engagement.

On the 25th, after a consultation with General Beauregard, General Hardee, an officer whose fighting qualities and sound judgment have never been questioned, sent to the general-in-chief his views in writing, saying that: "The situation at Corinth requires that we should attack the enemy at once, or await his attack, or evacuate the place. Assuming that we have 50,000 men and the enemy nearly twice that number, protected by intrenchments, I am clearly of opinion that no attack should be made. Our forces are inferior, and the battle of Shiloh proves, with only the advantage of position, it was hazardous to contend against his superior strength; and to attack him in his intrenchments now would probably inflict on us and the Confederacy a fatal blow. Neither the number nor instruction of our troops renders them equal to the task. I think we can successfully repel any attack on our camp by the enemy, but it is manifest no attack is meditated. It will be approached gradually, and will be shelled and bombarded without equal means to reply." In conclusion, he advised an immediate evacuation. Upon this document Beauregard indorsed: "I concur fully in the above views, and already