Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/265

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The Battle of Shiloh.—1862

GENERAL A. S. JOHNSTON had fallen back at first from Nashville in a southeasterly direction, to Murfreesboro', where he strengthened his force by reinforcements from Kentucky and Tennessee to the number of nineteen thousand, and then moved by rail to the Memphis & Charleston Railroad and over this road to its junction with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad at Corinth, in the northeast corner of Mississippi. This railroad centre was selected as the point of concentration for all the available rebel forces west of the Appalachian Mountains, as from it they could be readily used for the protection of both the middle rebel States and the Mississippi Valley. At Corinth, Johnston found General Beauregard with ten thousand men, and their united command continued to receive accessions. The Union commanders became aware of the proposed rebel concentration early in March, and decided upon their future operations accordingly.

Very strong opinions have been expressed by competent critics, during and since the war, that it was a grave mistake of our military leaders to make for the point chosen by the enemy instead of drawing him away from it by strategic moves and compelling him to meet them upon a field chosen by themselves. It is not for me, however, to discuss the merits or demerits of what was to be known as the Shiloh campaign, but simply to record the fact that Generals Halleck and Buell reached an understanding that the latter's army should join that of General Grant at Savannah on the Tennessee River. The operations of the united armies were to be conducted under the chief