Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/317

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The Battle of Shiloh. 309

before they could rally. It will soon be forty-two years since that eventful day, and yet the mass of people believe that General Beau- regard was at fault for not pushing on. The writer has also shared in that belief, but from a careful examination of every circumstance which I have been able to review, and from conversations with some of those who participated in the battle, I am thoroughly satisfied that the fault was with the company, regimental and brigade officers, who allowed the men to halt in the Federal camps and regale them- selves with the tempting food and other spoil.

After the staff officers had succeeded in recalling the line officers to their duty, they immediately began to collect their men for an advance.

Howbeit, those tired and exhausted men had lost the inspiration of an hour before, and move'd with less enthusiasm. The officers realized, however, that only an hour of daylight remained, and be- gan to make amends for their inactivity while in the enemy's camp.

This came too late though, because Buell's Corps was arriving, which gave strength and force to the line which Colonel Webster had formed. The situation was desperate. The enemy had made a last stand, like a dog at bay in a corner of a fence, from which there was no escape but to fight with desperation. Finally the Con- federate line moved forward in the terrible work, which failed, because of the impossibility of reaching the Federal line through the storm of shell and grape shot and bullets which filled the air and plowed up the ground. An example of the fruitless effort may give a better idea of the cause which made it impossible.

The 1 8th Louisiana Regiment, led by that gallant soldier, Colonel Mouton, moved forward to capture a battery some six hundred yards distant. The regiment advanced without support, and soon became exposed to a cross-fire from three batteries. Nevertheless, these superb Louisianians pressed on to within sixty yards of the Federal guns, but were then beaten back, leaving over two hundred of their members dead or wounded on the ground.

Another characteristic charge was made on the extreme Confed- erate right by General Chalmers, with his own and a part of J. K. Jackson's Brigade. General Bragg, who dubbed General Chalmers 'The Little Game Cock," sent him an order to go into the enemy's lines. The order was received just before night, and his men, like all the others in that magnificent army, had been engaged for ten hours without respite; but when General Chalmers received the word, he placed himself in front of his troops and called on them to follow.