Gen. Grant's Official Report.
HEADQUARTERS, DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
PITTSBURG, April 9, 1862.
Capt. N. H. McLean, A. A. Gen. Dept. of the Mississippi, St. Louis, Missouri:
CAPTAIN: — It becomes my duty again to report another battle, fought between two great armies, one contending for the maintenance of the best government ever devised, the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the success of the army contending for the former principle.
On Sunday morning our pickets were attacked and driven in by the enemy. Immediately the five divisions stationed at this place were drawn up in line of battle ready to meet them. The battle soon waxed warm on the left and centre, varying at times to all parts of the line.
The most continuous firing of musketry and artillery ever heard on this continent was kept up until nightfall, the enemy having forced the entire line to fall back nearly half way from their camps to the landing. At a late hour in the afternoon a desperate effort was made by the enemy to turn our left and get possession of the landing, transports, &c. This point was guarded by the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, Captains Bwynn and Shirk, U.S.N., commanding four 20-pounder Parrott guns, and a battery of rifled guns. As there is a deep and impassable ravine for artillery or cavalry, and very difficult for infantry at this point, no troops were stationed here except the necessary artillerists, and a small infantry force for their support. Just at this moment the advance of Major General Buell's column, (a part of the division of Gen. Nelson,) arrived, the two Generals named, both being present. An advance was immediately made upon the point of attack, and the enemy soon driven back. In this repulse, much is due to the presence of the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, and their able commanders, Captains Gwynn and Shirk. During the night the divisions under Generals Crittenden and McCook arrived.
Gen. Lew. Wallace, at Crump's Landing, six miles below, was ordered at an early hour in the morning to hold his Division in readiness, to be moved in any direction to which it might be ordered. At about 11 o'clock, the order was delivered to move it up to Pittsburg, but owing to its being led by a circuitous route, did not arrive in time to take part in Sunday's action. During the night all was quiet, and feeling that a great moral advantage would be gained by becoming the attacking party, an advance was ordered as soon as day dawned. The result was a gradual repulse of the enemy at all points of the line, from morning until probably 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when it became evident the enemy was retreating.
Before the close of the action, the advance of Gen. T. J. Wood's division arrived, in time to take part in the action. My force was too much fatigued from two days' hard fighting, and exposed in the open air to a drenching rain during the intervening night to pursue immediately. Night closed in cloudy and with heavy rain, making the roads impractiable for artillery by the next morning. Gen. Sherman, however, followed the enemy, finding that the main part of the army had retreated in good order. Hospitals of the enemy's wounded were found all along the road as far as pursuit was made. Dead bodies of the enemy and graves were also found. I inclose herewith the report of Gen. Sherman, which will explain more fully the result of this pursuit. Of the part taken by each separate command, I cannot take special notice in this report, but will do so more fully when reports of division commanders are handed in.
Gen. Buell coming on the field with a distinct army, long under his command, and which did such efficient service, commanded by himself in person on the field, will be much better able to notice those of his command who particularly distinguished themselves, than I possible can.
I feel it a duty, however, to a gallant and able officer, Brigadier General W. T. Sherman, to make a special mention. He not only was with his command during the entire of the two days action, but displayed great judgement and skill in the management of his men. Although severely wounded in the hand the first day, his place was never vacant. He was again wounded, and had three horses killed under him.
In making this mention of a gallant officer, no disparagement is intended to the other division commanders, Major Generals John A. McClernand and Lew. Wallace, and Brigadier Generals S. A. Hurlbut, B. M. Prentiss and W. H. L. Wallace, all of whom maintained their places with credit to themselves and the cause.
Gen. Prentiss was taken prisoner in the first day's action, and Gen. W. H. L. Wallace severely, probably mortally wounded. His Assistant Adjutant General, Captain William McMichael, is missing, probably taken prisoner.
My personal staff are all deserving of particular mention, they having been engaged during the entire two days in carrying orders to every part of the field. It consists of Col. J. D. Webster, Chief-of-Staff, Lieut. Col. J. B. McPherson, Chielf Engineer; assisted by Lieuts. W. L. B. Jenny and Wm. Kossac, Capt. J. A. Rawlings, A. A. General W. S. Hillyer, W. R. Rawley and C. B. Lagow, Aides de Camp, Col. G. G. Pride, Volunteer Aid, and Capt. J. P. Hawkins, Chief Commissary, who accompanied me upon the field.
The Medical Department, under dircetion of Surgeon Hewitt, Medical Director, showed great energy if providing for the wounded, and in getting them from the field, regardless of danger.
Col. Webster was placed in special charge of all the artillery, and was constantly upon the field. He displayed, as always heretofore, both skill and bravery. At least in one instance he was the mean of placing an entire regiment in a position of doing most valuable service, and where it would not have been but for his exertions.
Lieut. Col. McPherson, attached to my staff as Chief of Engineers, deserves more than a passing notice for his activity and courage. — All the grounds, beyond our camps for miles have been reconnoitered by him, and plats carefully prepared under his supervision, giving accurate information of the nature of approaches to our lines.
During the two days' battle he was constantly in the saddle, leading troops as they arrived to points where their services were required. — During the engagement he had one horse shot under him.
The country will have to mourn the loss of many brave men who fell at the battle Pittsburg, or Shiloh, more properly. The exact loss in killed and wounded will be known in a day or two; at present I can only give it approximately at 1,500 killed, and 3,500 wounded.
The loss of artillery was great, many pieces being disabled by the enemy's shots, and some losing all their horses and many men. There were probably not less than two hundred horses killed.
The loss of the enemy, in killed and left upon the field, was greater than ours. In wounded, the estimate cannot be made, as many of them must have been sent to Corinth and other points.
The enemy suffered terribly from demoralization and desertion.
A flag of truce was sent in to-day from Gen. Beauregard. I inclose herewith a copy of the correspondence.
I am respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION,
TUESDAY, April 8, 1862.
Major General Grant, Commanding Army in the Field:
SIR: With the cavalry placed at my command and two brigades of my fatigued troops, I went this morning out on the Corinth road. One after another abandoned camps of the enemy lines the roads, with hospital flags for their protection. At all we found more or less wounded and dead. At the fork of the road, I found the head of Gen. Wood's Division. At that point I ordered cavalry to examine both roads, and found the enemy's cavalry. Col. Dickey, of the Illinois cavalry asked for reinforcements. I ordered Gen. Wood to advance the head of his column cautiously on the left hand road, whilst I conducted the head of the third brigade of the fifth division up the right hand road. About a half a mile from the forks was a clear field through which the road passed, and immediately beyond a space of some two hundred yards of fallen timber, and beyond an extensive camp. The enemy's cavalry could be seen in this camp, and after a reconnoissance, I ordered the two advance companies of the Ohio 77th, Col. Hilderbrand, to deploy as skirmishers, and the regiment itself forward into line, with an interval of 100 yards. In this order I advanced cautiously, until the skirmishers were engaged. Taking it for granted this disposition would clear the camp, I held Col. Dickey's Fourth Illinois cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy's cavalry came down boldly to the charge, breaking through the line of skirmishers, when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets and fled. The ground was admirably adapted to a defense of infantry against cavalry, the ground being miry and covered with fallen timber.
As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey's cavalry began to discharge their carbines, and fell into disorder. I instantly sent orders to the rear for the brigade to form in line of battle, which was promptly executed. The broken infantry and cavalry rallied on this line, and as the enemy's cavalry came to it, our cavalry in turn charged and drove them from the field. I advanced the entire brigade upon the same ground, and sent Col. Dickey's cavalry, a mile further on the road.
On examining the ground which had been occupied by the 77th Ohio, we found fifteen dead and about twenty-five wounded. I sent for wagons and had all the wounded carried back to camp, and the dead buried; also, the whole camp to be destroyed. Here, we found much amunition for field pieces, which was destroyed; also, two caissons and a general hospital, with about 280 Confederate wounded, and about 50 of our own. Not having the means of bringing these off, Col. Dickey, by my orders, took a surrender, signed by Medical Director Dyle, and all the attending Surgeons, and a pledge to report themselves to you as prisoners of war; also, a pledge that our wounded would be carefully attended, and surrendered to us to-morrow, as soon as ambulances could go out. I enclose the within document, and request that you cause to be sent out wagons or ambulances for the wounded of ours to-morrow; also, that wagons be sent out to bring in the many tents belonging to us, which are pitched all along the road for four miles. I did not destroy them; however, I know the enemy cannot move them. The roads are very bad, and the road is strewn with abandoned wagons, ambulances and limber-boxes. The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns, but has crippled his batteries by abandoning the hind limber-boxes of at least twenty guns. I am satisfied the enemy's infantry and cavalry passed Lick Creek this morning, traveling all last night, and that he left behind all his cavalry, which has protected his retreat, but the signs of confusion and disorder mark the whole road. The check sustained by us at the fallen timbers, delayed our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were provided for, and the dead buried; and our troops being fagged out by three days' hard fighting, exposure and privation, I ordered them back to camp, where all now are.
I have the honor to be, your ob't serv't,
Brig. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN,