Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/322

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

314 Southern Historical Society Papers.

field. It was 9 o'clock, and Nelson sent every available staff officer calling for aid.

In this brilliant affair the Confederate officers led their men most nobly.

Said General Hardee, "General Chalmers, seizing the colors of a regiment, as his brigade wavered, rode forward, waiving the flag above his head; the men rallied, and, resuming the offensive, carried the contested point.

" At the same time, Colonel Wheeler did the like with the flag of the igth Alabama, and Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Rankin, of Mis- sissippi, lost his life giving a conspicuous example of determined courage to his regiment."

Nelson was re-enforced by Crittenden's Division, and a desperate struggle for the mastery raged on that part of the field until about i o' clock. Neither side gained any material advantage. In the mean- time, McClernand and McCook on the right, and Sherman and Lew Wallace were opposing Polk. The battle raged with fury, while fresh troops were sent to re-enforce the Federal lines.

The Yankees reeled and rushed rearward, then, caught by sup- porting columns, they returned to the fray. Sherman had been driven back a mile, where he was re-enforced and made a desperate struggle to hold his position.

Here Rousseau's Federal Brigade was pitted against Trabue's Kentuckians. Both fought with much determination to win, but the Yankees were repulsed, and then Wallace was so pressed it looked as if he must surrender.

McCook' s two brigades rushed to his assistance, and Federal writers state there were 20,000 troops opposed to the Confederates at that point.

The impetuosity of the Confederate attacks had worn them out, and in the face of such odds there was no alternative but to with- draw. In every instance on the field of Shiloh the Confederate troops were animated by the greatest intrepidity on the part of their officers.

The battle had opened at daylight; had raged furiously from right to left for more than five hours; and, notwithstanding the odds and the fresh troops sent against them, despite their two days' engage- ment, the Confederates had not receded an inch from the ground upon which they had formed.

General Beauregard, seeing the unprofitable nature of the struggle,