Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant — Volume 1 eBook

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of regiments, from troops near by, formed them in line of battle and marched them forward, going in front myself to prevent premature or long-range firing.  At this point there was a clearing between us and the enemy favorable for charging, although exposed.  I knew the enemy were ready to break and only wanted a little encouragement from us to go quickly and join their friends who had started earlier.  After marching to within musket-range I stopped and let the troops pass.  The command, charge, was given, and was executed with loud cheers and with a run; when the last of the enemy broke. (7)

CHAPTER XXV.

Struck by A bullet—­precipitate retreat of the confederates —­intrenchments at Shiloh—­general Buell—­general Johnston—­remarks on Shiloh.

During this second day of the battle I had been moving from right to left and back, to see for myself the progress made.  In the early part of the afternoon, while riding with Colonel McPherson and Major Hawkins, then my chief commissary, we got beyond the left of our troops.  We were moving along the northern edge of a clearing, very leisurely, toward the river above the landing.  There did not appear to be an enemy to our right, until suddenly a battery with musketry opened upon us from the edge of the woods on the other side of the clearing.  The shells and balls whistled about our ears very fast for about a minute.  I do not think it took us longer than that to get out of range and out of sight.  In the sudden start we made, Major Hawkins lost his hat.  He did not stop to pick it up.  When we arrived at a perfectly safe position we halted to take an account of damages.  McPherson’s horse was panting as if ready to drop.  On examination it was found that a ball had struck him forward of the flank just back of the saddle, and had gone entirely through.  In a few minutes the poor beast dropped dead; he had given no sign of injury until we came to a stop.  A ball had struck the metal scabbard of my sword, just below the hilt, and broken it nearly off; before the battle was over it had broken off entirely.  There were three of us:  one had lost a horse, killed; one a hat and one a sword-scabbard.  All were thankful that it was no worse.

After the rain of the night before and the frequent and heavy rains for some days previous, the roads were almost impassable.  The enemy carrying his artillery and supply trains over them in his retreat, made them still worse for troops following.  I wanted to pursue, but had not the heart to order the men who had fought desperately for two days, lying in the mud and rain whenever not fighting, and I did (8) not feel disposed to positively order Buell, or any part of his command, to pursue.  Although the senior in rank at the time I had been so only a few weeks.  Buell was, and had been for some time past, a department commander, while I commanded only a district.  I did not meet Buell in person until too late to get troops ready and pursue with effect; but had I seen him at the moment of the last charge I should have at least requested him to follow.

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