Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/375

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Battle of SIM. 359

HOW THEY RETIRED.

The retirement of the Confederate army was screened from the Federals so far as such a thing could be done by a covering force of less than 3,000 men and 15 pieces of artillery under General Breck- inridge, posted on elevated ground and commanding a wide view. Brigadier-General Thomas Jordan, Beauregard's adjutant-general, who had selected the ground for this covering force says : "There I remained until after 4 o'clock, or until the entire Confederate force had retired. General Breckinridge's troops being the last, and without seeing a single Federal soldier within the wide range of my eyes." The Confederate retreat was discovered on some parts of the line but no vigorous effort was made to interfere with them. An advance by two regiments, accompanied by General Grant has been dignified into a charge led by that officer, although they advanced but a short distance, and encountered a few skirm- ishers only.

General Grant reported his loss in the two days' fight as 1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded and 95 missing, in all 10,699.

The aggregate of Union troops engaged for the two days was by their own lowest estimate 58,000 effectives.

The total Confederate force engaged was by the very highest esti- mate 40,335.

NOT A DEFEAT.

General Buell, whose timely arrival saved the army of General Grant, says that to the Confederates "Shiloh did not seem to be a defeat, but rather the disappointment of a hope almost realized."

They knew that they had attacked the victors of Ports Henry and Donelson, stormed and spoiled their camp and brought them to the verge of ruin. Very few of the Confederate soldiers, who fought at Shiloh, could in that day be found, who did not claim even the second day as more of a success to themselves than to the enemy, for the reason that -they had fought a fresh army assisted by the remnant of Grant's defeated troops, and when they found the odds too great, had marched off the field undisturbed by even the sem- blance of a pursuit, carrying with them much of the spoil of the cap- tured camp.

General Buell says that when he arrived upon the field on the evening of the 6th, there were of Grant's army "not more than 5,000 men in ranks and available for battle the rest were either