Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/538

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57
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

the same band sounded retreat, tattoo and taps all along the rebel lines, moving from place to place, and this morning suspicion was ripened into certainty when we saw dense volumes of smoke arise in the direction of Corinth and heard the report of an exploding magazine. Corinth was evacuated and Beauregard had achieved another triumph. I do not know how this matter strikes abler military men, but I think we have been fooled. The works are far from being invaluable, and the old joke of quaker guns has been played off on us. They were real wooden guns, with stuffed ‘paddies’ for gunners. I saw them. We approached clear from Shiloh in line of battle and made preparations to defend ourselves, compared with which the preparations of Beauregard sink into insignificance. This morning we could have poured shot and shell from our 300 guns into works that never saw the day when General McCook could not have taken his division into them."

Another Northern correspondent wrote: "The retreat of the enemy was conducted in best of order. Before our men had entered the place all had got off safely. General Hatleck has thus far achieved one of the most barren triumphs of the war. In fact, it was tantamount to a defeat. It gives the enemy an opportunity to select a new position as formidable as that at Corinth, and in which it will be far more difficult for us to attack him, on account of the distance our army will have to transport its supplies. * * * I look upon the evacuation there as a victory for Beauregard, or at least as one of the most masterly pieces of strategy that has been displayed during this war. It prolongs the contest in the Southwest for at least six months."

This modest estimate of the prolongation of the war is an evidence of the prevalent idea at times both South and North. Jackson had not yet concluded his campaign in the Shenandoah valley, nor had Lee driven McClellan from before Richmond.