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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO
From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, April 10, 1862.
THE LATEST NEWS.
Battle at Pittsburg.
Two days hard fighting
A. S. Johnston Killed.
GEN. BEAUREGARD WOUNDED.
The Rebels Fight Obstinately.
General Buell Arrives with Reinforcements.
PRINCIPAL FIGHTING BY ARTILLERY
THE TYLOR AND LEXINGTON "TAKE A HAND."
GEN. GRANT LEADS THE CHARGE.
INCIDENT OF GALLANTRY.
Complete Rout of the Enemy.
THEY RETREAT TO CORINTH.
THE FEDERAL CAVALRY IN PURSUIT.
PARTIAL LIST OF KILLED AND WOUNDED.
[Special Dispatch to the N. Y. Herald.]
PITTSBURG, TENN., via Fort Henry, April 9 3:00 A. M.—One of the greatest and bloodiest battles of modern days has just closed, resulting in the complete rout of the enemy, who attacked us at daylight on Sunday. The battle lasted without intermission during the entire day, and was again renewed on Monday morning and continued until 4 o’clock P. M., when the enemy commenced their retreat, and are still flying towards Corinth, pursued by a large force of our cavalry.
The slaughter on both sides is immense. We have lost in killed, wounded and missing, from 18,000 to 20,000. That of the enemy is estimated at from 35,000 to 40,000. It is impossible in the present confused state of affairs to ascertain any details; I therefore give you the best account possible, from observation, having passed through the storm of action during the two days that it raged.
The fight was brought on by a body of 200 of the Twenty-fifth Missouri Regiment of Gen. Prentiss’s division, attacking the advance brigade of the rebels, which were supposed to be the pickets of the enemy in front of our camp.
The rebels immediately advanced on General Prentiss’s division on the left wing, pouring volley after volley of musketry, and riddling our camps with grape, canister and shell.
Our forces soon formed in line and returned their fire vigorously, and by the time we were prepared to receive them, they had turned their heaviest fire on the left and center of Gen. Sherman’s Division, and drove our men back from their camps, and bringing up a fresh force, opened fire on our left wing, under Gen. McClernand.
The fire was returned with terrible effect and determined spirit, by both infantry and artillery, along the whole line for a distance of over four miles. Gen. Hurlbut’s division was thrown forward to support the center, when a desperate conflict ensued. The rebels were driven back with terrible slaughter, but soon rallied and drove back our men in turn.
From about nine o’clock, the time your correspondent arrived on the field, until night closed on the bloody scene, there was no determining the result of the struggle. The rebels exhibited remarkably good generalship, at times engaging the left with apparently their whole strength, then they would suddenly open a terrible and destructive fire on the right or centre.
Even our heaviest and most destructive fire on the enemy did not appear to discourage their solid columns. The fire of Major Taylor’s Chicago artillery raked them down in scores, but the smoke would no sooner be dispersed than the breach would again be filled. The most desperate firing took place late in the afternoon.
The rebels knew if they did not succeed in whipping us that their chances for success would be extremely doubtful, as a portion of General Buell’s force had by this time arrived on the opposite side of the river, and the other portion was coming up the river from Savannah. They became aware that we were being reinforced, as they could see General Buell’s troops from the river bank a short distance above us, on the left, to which point they had forced our left wing back so as to occupy fully two-thirds of our camp and were fighting their way forward with a desperate degree of confidence in their effort to drive us into the river, and at the same time bravely engaged our right. Up to this time we had received no reinforcements, Gen. Lew Wallace failing to come to our support until the day was over, having taken the wrong road from Crump’s Landing, and being without other transports than those used for quartermaster and commissary stores, which were too heavily laden to ferry and considerable number of General Buell’s forces across the river, those that were here having been sent to bring the troops from Savannah; we were contending against fearful odds, our force not exceeding thirty-eight thousand, while that of our enemy was upwards of sixty thousand. Our condition at this moment was extremely critical.
Large number of our men were panic-struck; others worn out by hard fighting, with the average percentage of skulkers, had struggled towards the river, and could not be rallied. Gen. Grant and staff, who had been recklessly riding along the lines during the day amid the unceasing storm of bullets, grape and shell, now rode from right to left, inciting the men to stand firm until our reinforcements could cross the river.
Col. Webster, Chief of Staff, immediately got into position the heaviest pieces of artillery, pointing on the enemy’s right, while a large number of batteries were planted along the entire line from the river bank northwest to our extreme right, two miles and a half distant.
About an hour before dark a general cannonade was opened upon the enemy from along our whole line, with a perpetual crack of musketry. Such a roar was never heard on this continent.
For a short time the rebels replied with vigor and effect, but their return shots grew less frequent and destructive, while ours grew more rapid and more terrible. The gunboats Lexington and Tyler, which lay a short distance off, kept raining shell on the rebel hordes. This last effort was too much for the enemy and ere dusk the firing had nearly ceased, when night coming on, all combatants rested from their awful work of blood and carnage.
Our men rested on their arms in the position they had accepted at the close fight, until the forces under Maj. Gen. Wallace came up and took position on the right, and met Gen. Buell’s forces from the opposite side, and Savannah being now convenient to the battle ground the entire right of Gen. Nelson’s Division was ordered to form on their right and the forces under Gen. Crittenden were ordered to his support early in the morning.
SECOND DAY’S BATTLE.
Gen. Buell having arrived on the previous evening, the ball was opened at daylight in the morning simultaneously, by Gen. Nelson’s division on the left, and Gen. Wallace’s division on the right.
Gen. Nelson’s force opened a most galling fire, and advanced rapidly as the rebels fell back. The fire soon became general along the whole line, and began to tell with terrible effect upon the enemy.
Generals McClernand, Sherman and Hurlbut’s men, though terribly jaded from the previous day’s fighting, still maintained their honors won at Donelson, but the resistance of the rebels at all points was terrible, and worthy a better cause. But they were not enough for our undaunted bravery, and the dreadful destruction produced by our artillery, which was sweeping them away like chaff before the wind. But knowing that a defeat would be a death blow to their hopes, and that their all depended upon this great struggle, their generals still urged them on in the face of destruction, hoping by ducking us on the right to turn the tide of battle. Their success was again for a time cheering, as they began to gain ground, on our appearing to have been reinforced, but our left, under Gen. Nelson, was driving them forward with wonderful rapidity, and by 11 o’clock, General Buell’s force had succeeded in flanking them, and capturing their batteries of artillery. They however again rallied on the left, and re-crossed to the right, and forced themselves forward in another desperate effort, but reinforcements from General Wood and General Thomas were coming in, regiment after regiment, which were sent to General Buell, who had again commenced to drive the enemy.
About 3 P. M. Gen. Grant rode to the left, where the fresh regiments had been ordered, and finding the rebels wavering, sent a portion of his body guard to the head of each of five regiments, and then ordered a charge across the field, himself leading as he brandished his sword and waved them on to the crowning victory, while cannon balls were falling like hail around him. The men followed with a shout that sounded above the roar and din of artillery and the rebels fled in dismay as from a destroying avalanche, and never made another stand.
General Buell followed the retreating rebels, driving them in splendid style, and by half-past five o’clock, the whole rebel army was in full retreat to Corinth with our cavalry in hot pursuit, but with what success is not known, they not having returned up to this hour.
We have taken a large amount of their artillery, also a number of prisoners. We lost a number or our forces, prisoners, yesterday, among whom is General Prentiss. The number of our troops taken has not been ascertained, but it is reported at several hundred. Gen. Prentiss is also reported wounded.
Among the killed on the rebel side was their General-in-Chief Albert Sidney Johnston, who was struck by a cannon ball on Sunday. Of this there is no doubt as the report is corroborated by several rebel officers taken to-day. It is further reported that Beauregard had his arm shot off this afternoon. Generals Bragg, Breckinridge and Jackson were commanding portions of the rebel forces.
There has never been a parallel to the gallantry and bearing of our officers, from the Commanding General to the lowest officer. General Grant and staff were in the field riding along the lines in the thickest of the fire during the two days of the battle, and all slept on the ground Sunday night, during a heavy rain. On several occasions Gen. Grant got within range of the enemy’s guns, and was discovered and fired upon. Lieut. Col. McPherson had his horse shot from under him, when along side of Gen. Grant. Capt. Carson was between Gen. Grant and your correspondent, when a cannon ball took off his head and wounded several others.
Gen. Sherman had two horses killed under him, and Gen. McClernand shared like danger, also Gen. Hurlbut, each of whom received bullet holes through their clothes. Gen. Buell remained with his troops during the entire day, and with Gen. Crittenden and Gen. Nelson rode continually along the lines encouraging their men.
Our loss in officers is very heavy. It is impossible at present to present their names but the following are among the number: Brigadier General W. H. Wallace killed; Col Cogram, acting Brigadier General, killed; Col. Ellis, Tenth Illinois, killed; Lieut. Canfield, Twenty-second Ohio, wounded-since dead; Col. Kyle, Thirty-first Indiana, mortally wounded; Col. Davis, Forty-sixth Illinois, mortally wounded.
Gen. W. T. Sherman wounded in the hand by a cannon ball; Col. Sweeney, Forty-second Illinois, acting Brigadier General, wounded, he received two shots in his only remaining arm, having lost one in Mexico, also a shot in one of his legs.
Col. Sweeney kept the field until the close of the fight and he excited the admiration of the whole army.
Col. Dave Stuart, of the Fifty-fifth Illinois, acting Brigadier General, was shot through the breast on Sunday but returned to the field on Monday.
Col. Cass. Crufts, of the Thirty-first Indiana, acting Brigadier General, was shot through the right shoulder, but not dangerously.
Col. Kayne, Forty-eighth Illinois, wounded slightly.
Col. McHenry, Seventeenth Kentucky, wounded slightly.
Lieut. Colonel Morgan of the Twenty-fifth Indiana, wounded badly in the head.
Colonel Mason, of the Seventy-first Ohio, wounded slightly.
Major Eaton of the Eighteenth Illinois, acting Colonel, wounded fatally.
Major Nevins, of the Eleventh Illinois, wounded slightly.
Capt. Irvin Curren, Gen. Grant’s scout, had his head shot off by a cannon ball.
Capt. Preston Morton, of the Seventeenth Kentucky, wounded mortally, since dead.
Capt. Dillon, of the Eighteenth Illinois, killed.
Capt. Macy, Fifth Illinois, killed.
Capt. Carter, of the Eleventh Illinois, killed.
Maj. Page, of the Fifty-seventh Illinois, killed.
Further Accounts of the Pittsburg Battle.
[Special Dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]
CAIRO, April 9.—General Beauregard, with seventy thousand men, attacked our forces, forty thousand strong, at Pittsburg, on Sunday morning, at four o’clock.
We were surprised, and driven back to the river, with great slaughter, until four P. M., when a large part of General Buell’s command reinforced General Grant, and turned the tide of affairs.
Early on Monday morning we renewed the engagement, routed the rebels with great loss, took a great many prisoners, recaptured six batteries of artillery, which had been taken from us on Sunday by the rebels, and took forty pieces of cannon from them.
Our latest advices are up to Monday night, when eight thousand of our cavalry were in close pursuit of the enemy who, in great confusion, were fleeing for Corinth. Their return is expected to bring intelligence of the greatest defeat which has befallen the rebel arms.
Our loss in killed and wounded is estimated from 8,000 to 10,000; the enemy’s about the same.
Rebel prisoners say Beauregard made a speech upon entering the fight, saying he would "water his horse in the Tennessee river or in HELL!-the fight before them was Hell, unless successful."
He is reported mortally wounded, and Gen. A. S. Johnston killed.
Gen. Prentiss was taken prisoner. Gen. Wallace, of Illinois; Col. Hall, of Illinois; and Col. Canfield, of Ohio, were killed. Colonel Davis, of Illinois, was mortally wounded.
A horse fell upon Gen. Grant, wounding him.
Though our army was signally routed and driven back on Sunday, the success of Monday was the greatest of the war.
The telegraph wires are monopolized by the government. Details cannot be sent before night.
[Special Dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]
CAIRO, April 9.—J. Chapman, of Springfield, Ills., who left Pittsburg Landing Monday night and reached here this morning at 4 A. M. on the T. J. Patton, says the fight began there at five o’clock Sunday morning.
Gen. Beauregard, with his whole command, made the attack.
Our forces were completely surprised.
Great blame is attached to Gens. Prentiss and Sherman, who, it is said, had no scouts out, and only a very small picket guard. Information of the approach of the rebel army is said to have been given to those Generals by persons from the country, but it was disregarded, and no preparations made to receive the enemy.
Sherman was on the left; Prentiss was next to him; Gens. Hurlbut and McClernand occupied the center; Gen. Sherman held the right.
The onset of the rebels was terrible. It was received first by Prentiss and Sherman. By 10 o’clock A. M., our whole line, from right to left, was engaged. Our line was five miles back of Pittsburg, and we were driven back to the river. The slaughter was great, and officers who participated at Fort Donelson, say that fight in no way compares with this in fierceness.
It raged all day Sunday, and by 10 o’clock A. M., three steamboats, lying at the river, were loaded with wounded.
Our loss would have been much greater, but for the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, which, when our men had been driven to the banks of the river, poured a hot fire of shot and shell into the enemy’s ranks, and held them at bay.
The confusion of our men is said to have been great.
Gen. Prentiss and two regiments of his command were taken prisoners.
The gunboats continued firing all of Sunday night. At 4 o’clock Sunday, P. M., Gen. Buell marched to Pittsburg from Savannah. About this time a great part of his command reached the river opposite to Pittsburg, and rent the air with their cheers. This inspired our men who had been driven back with fury during the day, and the tide of affairs changed.
A large body of Buell’s forces were crossed Monday evening and night by fifteen or twenty transports, which we now have at that place.
Monday morning at fifteen minutes before six the engagement was renewed by us, and continued until 2 P. M., by which time all ground lost Sunday was regained, and the enemy were precipitately driven back farther than we had been the day before.
Six batteries of artillery which had been taken from us by the enemy on Sunday, were recaptured, and forty pieces of their own fell into our hands.
One ravine between Hurlbut’s and Prentiss’s divisions is said to have been literally filled with dead rebels.
On Monday, Gen. Wallace, of Illinois, was shot dead by a musket ball which passed through his head.
Col. John Logan, of the Thirty-second Illinois, was wounded in the shoulder.
The sutlers were all bankrupt on Sunday.
When our informant left Monday night at 2 o’clock, the Twenty-first and Eleventh Illinois and six hundred of Buell’s cavalry were in hot pursuit of the flying enemy, whose return to Corinth has been cut off.
Gen. A. S. Johnston was reported killed, and various rumors about Beauregard having his arms and legs shot off were current in camp.
A great many of our officers were killed. Our loss in killed is estimated from six hundred to one thousand, and in wounded from three to four thousand. The enemy’s is thought to be the same, with a greater percentage killed.
Sunday night five hundred prisoners had been brought in, and they still continue to arrive. They say Beauregard’s force was 120,000.
General McClernand is said to have conducted himself with great coolness and courage in the crisis of Sunday.
The return of our cavalry, who were at last account near Corinth, in hot pursuit of the rebels, is expected to furnish news of a great disaster to their arms.
CAIRO, Wednesday, April 9, 9 P. M.—A fuller account of the fight at Pittsburg increases its importance. It has been, by far, the bloodiest battle of the war.
The disposition of the Confederates in the attack was in the form of the letter V. The point penetrated Prentiss’s division, which consisted of raw recruits, who could not stand the shock, and fell back, causing great confusion among our troops on the left.
This charge would have resulted in turning our left wing, and the capture of a large portion of Prentiss’s and Sherman’s divisions, but for the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, which beat the enemy back by firing into his ranks shot and shell.
Since my dispatch of this morning I have learned that Gen. Prentiss was wounded and taken prisoner early on Sunday morning.
Gen. Grant took command of his division, and by four o’clock P. M., most of the ground lost in the morning had been regained.
Sunday night Gen. Lew. Wallace got up from Crump’s Landing with 10,000 men. With this reinforcement the fight was renewed on Monday morning, and raged the hottest from nine to two P. M., by which time a force of 40,000 men from Buell’s army had crossed the river at Pittsburg.
This force immediately took part, and the fight was continued until 4 P. M., by which time the rebels had been driven eight or ten miles into the country, with immense loss.
Their approach to Corinth had been cut off and 8,000 of our cavalry were cutting up their rear at last accounts.
Rebel prisoners say they had orders to kill as many of our officers as possible. Their officers fought in disguise, ours in their uniforms, which was the cause of their being distinguished and so many of them killed.
Gen. Strong has telegraphed to the Governors of the Western States, and to several medical institutions for aid to take care of the wounded.
Several barges of ice are to be immediately sent up the Tennessee for hospital purposes.
The Mound City Hospital has been cleared of sick and wounded, to receive those daily expected from Pittsburg.
The Silver Wave is expected to reach here to-night, from No. 10, with prisoners.
Gen. Pope’s headquarters are still back of New Madrid. Gens. Paine’s and Palmer’s divisions are the only ones over the river.
The floating battery was scuttled by the rebels, and floated down past New Madrid, when it was fired into by our batteries, under the delusion that it was manned. It sunk near Point Pleasant.
The Ohio Belle was also scuttled and floated soon to New Madrid, where it was made fast without sinking.
The firing of Capt. Walke, from the Carondelet, is said to have completely demolished the rebel works at and new Tiptonville. The rebels left a large amount of ammunition, which was appropriated by the Captain.
Emerson Etheridge is here. He strongly condemns the leniency with which well known traitors are treated by our officers at Nashville.
LATEST FROM ISLAND NO. 10
The steamer Brown, which left here last night at 9 P. M., brings the latest intelligence from Island No. 10. Six hundred and forty prisoners, seventy cannon, a warehouse full of commissary stores, camp equipage, and five steamboats were taken at the Island. Five steamboats are scuttled and sunk. The floating battery was submerged as much as possible, and set afloat. The Terry and Trio tried to stop it at New Madrid, but could not. It was made fast when it reached Riddle’s Point, on Monday night.
At 9 P. M. the steamer DeSoto went up to the fleet with rebel officers and surrendered the Island. They tried to spike some of the cannon, but having nothing but nails could not successfully accomplish it.
Gen. Pope’s infantry is in the rear, and about 4,000 prisoners have been taken.
The evacuation began after the gunboats passed down. The Island is now occupied by our infantry.
Two gunboats and several transports are lying alongside.
The effect or our bombshells is reported tremendous; some made holes in the ground, which, when measured, proved to be sixteen feet deep. The rebels had cellars and holes in the ground to take refuge in whenever we fired.
[Dispatches to the Associated Press.]
CAIRO, April 9.—Further advice from Pittsburg Landing give the following about the battle:
The enemy attacked at 4 o’clock Sunday morning-the brigades of General Sherman and Prentiss being first engaged. The attack was successful. Our entire force was driven back to the river where the advance of the enemy was checked by the fire of the gunboats, and our force increased by the arrival of Gen. Grant with troops from Savannah, and inspired by the arrival of two divisions of Gen. Buell’s army.
Our loss this day was heavy, and besides the killed and wounded, embraced our camp equipage and 36 field guns. Next morning our forces, now amounting to 80,000, assumed the offensive, and by two o’clock P. M., we had retaken our camp and batteries, together with some 40 of the enemy’s guns and a number of prisoners, and the enemy were in full retreat, pursued by our victorious forces.
The casualties are numerous. Gen. Grant was wounded in the ankle, slightly. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace was killed, Gen. Smith severely wounded, Col. Hall, of the Sixteenth Illinois, killed. Colonel Logan, of the Thirty-second Illinois and Davis of the Fifty-first Illinois, wounded severely. Major Hunter, of the Thirty-second Illinois, killed, Col. Peabody, of the Twenty-fifth Missouri, severely wounded.
Our killed, wounded and missing are not less than five thousand.
CHICAGO, April 9.—The Times’s account of the battle of Pittsburg Landing on Sunday and Monday, says the enemy surprised Gen. Prentiss’s brigade, which was in advance, five miles beyond Pittsburg, at 5 o’clock on Sunday morning, taking two regiments prisoners, including the General.
The fight continued the entire day, the enemy driving our forces back to Pittsburg with fearful loss. Gen. Buell, with Nelson’s Division, arrived at 4 o’clock and turned the tide of the battle. The enemy commanded by Polk and Beauregard suspended the attack at about 6 o’clock.
On Monday morning the troops having rested on the field, and being reinforced by Nelson’s Division, supported by the gunboats, drove the enemy back and occupied their former position, completely routing them. The rebels were immediately followed by several thousand cavalry, who, at last accounts, were some miles beyond Corinth.
The Tribune’s dispatch places our loss from 600 to 1,000 killed, and from 3,000 to 4,000 wounded. The rebel loss is twice that number.
Six of our batteries were taken and retaken six times.
The Times’s dispatch says that Beauregard had given orders not to destroy the camp equipage taken on Sunday as he expected a complete victory next day.
CHICAGO, April 9.—A special to the Tribune from Cairo has the following summary of reports gathered from persons who witnessed the battle at Pittsburg Landing: The Federal army was posted between two streams about four miles apart, that run into the Tennessee at right angles to it about two miles from Pittsburg.
The left was commanded by Gen. Prentiss, who had several raw regiments. In his rear was Gen. Sherman, with his division, completely cutting it off from the main army.
Gen. McClernand put himself at the head of his troops, and cut his way through the rebels and reformed the army.
The fight had now become desperate. General Grant assuming command, the enemy were driven back and the Federal forces occupied at night nearly the same position they did in the morning. The fight lasted 13 hours.During the night Major-General Lew. Wallace came up from Crump’s Landing with 10,000 troops, and in the morning the battle was resumed with great fury; neither party seemed disposed to yield.
Between 10 and 11 o’clock the fight was terrific. Soon after noon Gen. Buell crossed the Tennessee river and got on the flank with 40,000 men. The rebels were soon routed. Gen. Buell pursued with 12,000 men, mostly cavalry. Rumors were that he had taken Corinth.
Eight hundred wounded are reported on one steamer on the way down.
Gen. Halleck is expected here in the morning, en route for Tennessee.
Several barges of ice are ordered to go up the Tennessee for the wounded.
CAIRO, April 9.—An officer who left Pittsburg Landing on Monday evening reports that our forces occupy Corinth; that Gen. Johnston’s body had been found on the field.
He also confirms the report that Beauregard had his arm shot off.
There has been no arrivals from the Tennessee since early this morning, but a boat is expected to-night.
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