Battle Field of Shiloh (near Pittsburg Tenn) 10 Apr. 1862.
My dear Father;
A great battle has been fought, a
great victory has been gained over a victorious army; yet
am I safe and sound, escaped from the terrors of battle.
The next morning after the battle I telegraphed you to this
effect and wrote Mr. John Ward to do so likewise. The
anxiety, which must have come into our house with
the receipt of this news of the Great Fight was, I trust,
but of short duration owing to the blessings of the Telegraph.
As it will undoubtedly be interesting to you I will
give you a sketch of the 6th & 7th of April 1862, days
to be remembered for many a year.
On Saturday 5th April our divi-
sion arrived at Savannah Tenn. 210 miles above its mouth
and went into camp there with the intention of remain-
ing three or four days to recover from the fatigue of our
march across the country from Nashville. That night
Genl Buel slept at our Head Quarters and the next morn-
ing before breakfast the booming of heavy guns star-
tled every one. In a few minutes all our staff were
galloping across the country to warn the various
brigades to prepare for instant movement. Hour after
hour passed, the big guns booming, our soldiers cursing
the delay and every now and then when the wind
favored we could hear the volleys of musketry and the
clamor of field pieces, which told us of the close-
try force thro' the woods for Pittsburgh 8 miles distant
upon the opposite bank of the Tennessee. The Artillery, the
wagons, the cavalry were all left behind to follow us at another
time. The mens carried two days rations in their haver-
sacks, I carried half a dozen biscuit, a few herrings
in one saddlebag and corn for my horse in the other.
At 4 P.M. we reached the river bank opposite Pittsburg
Landing; at 5 P.M. Gen. Nelson, his staff and his Advanced
Guard landed on the West Bank & formed in the
midst of disheartened, aye skulking soldiers who were
cowering beneath the bluff, a mob 6000 or 8000 strong;
many indeed standing & sitting in mud a foot or more
deep: it was not so much the fault of the men as of
the officers who seemed to be rather a poor material
for either gentlemen or soldiers. We formed about 200 men
and advanced up the hill to the plateau above
meeting as we came up a most dismal sight; the
enemy were driving us in on all sides so that we
were actually hemed into a slaughter pen 400
yds. each way: their shot & shell filled the air
the trees were crashing in their path, the struggles
of dying horses, the groans dying men formed
the most appalling sight I have ever witnessed.
Presently a heavy "thud" was heard behind me
and the top of a man's head [Reference mark here points to the note at bottom of page:] hustled through
the air between Lt. Graves & me who were riding
knee to knee; our adjutant general was riding on
[Handwritten clarification appears here on the page:] Capt. Carson, Genl Grant's chief of scouts who had joined Genl Nelson when
he crossed the river
with human brains. The cannon ball, which came
thus near, struck the brass-bound cantle of his sad
dle and being thereby slightly turned aside was
satisfied with carrying away his sword sling, the
skirt of his coat and a piece out of the seat of his
pants: thence pursuing its horrible path, it plunged
into the ranks & carried off a couple of legs. That
was undeniably a most terrible receptioninitiation into the
horrors of War. The men looked a little startled,
when Genl. Nelson said "carry him to the rear,"
and I took out a biscuit and began eating it
with the coolness of a cow chewing on her cud, tho'
each morsel seemed a big as a potatoe. The men,
seeing us not (apparently) scared, took heart and
stood their ground bravely. Presently Genl. Nelson
sent me to find Gen. Buell who was "somewhere
near that battery yonder;" which was less that
100 yds. of the enemy. There were several little
ravines or rather hollows between me & the battery;
I ran my horse over the knolls & cantered through
the ravines. It took me some 10 min. (tho' it seemed
10 times as long) to find Gen. Buell, riding close
behind the line of battle, often completely enveloped
in the smoke of the musketry. Gen. Nelson told me
that night as we lay in the rain at the foot of
a big tree which we called Head Quarters; "You
have very good reason to be tired. You have done
today as much work as all the rest of my staff
[The following name is written in the margin in pencil, perpendicular to the main text ] Anderson
ternoon I was sent by Gen. Grant with a very
important message to Gen. Buell; how that Gen.
Buell was to take command of the left wing while
he (Grant) confined his attention to the right wing.
The arrival of Nelson's Division saved (by universal
consent) the whole of Grant's army some 50,000 men
They were whipped to pieces & before 6 oclk must
have either surrendered or jumped into the river.
At 51/2 P.M. the rebel army were ordered to make
a grand charge which could scarcely have failed
to accomplish this end.
We slept on our arms in the line
of battle. At 3 1/2 A.M. 7th April Monday, I was sent
to Genl. Grant to inform him that we were
ready to advance. AD At a little after 4 oclk.
we commenced to move at at 5.20 the battle
commenced and lasted for 10 hours. Several other
divisions of Buell's Army had come up during
the night and we had some 65000 men engaged
that day. The line of battle stretched for seven
miles, of wch at least 4 miles was hotly engaged.
At 8 A.M. a furious charge was made by the enemy
headed by Sidney Johnson, the commander in chief
of the confederate armies, in wch he was killed
by a rifle shot in front of Hazen's Brigade of our
Division. Gen. Beauregard commanded their right
composed or our Division. Gen. Hardee commanded
their left and Gen. Bragg commanded their center.
The Washington Artillery (wch distinguish itself at
Bull Run) was opposite our left and was crushed.
The hardest fighting took place on our left as you
may judge from the fact that our division lost
more than 1/7 of all engaged. It is estimated that
the U.S. lost 7000 men killed & wounded and 3000
prisoners (Prentiss' Brigade, taken on Sunday morn.)
and that theirs exceeds 30000 men (by their own esti-
mate). Most horrible thought! The dead men & dead
horses lay in piles, the wounded were on every side
One of our regts loss rising 1/3 its effective force. Three
color- bearers were shot down one after another and
then an officer took theirs and he fell too. The round
shot cut great trees in two, the hiss of the shell
was fearful, the rifle shot pattered like hail on
the trees all around us as we sat upon our
horses. Yet not one of our staff was touched, thanks
to an overruling Providence. The hours moved [The manuscript letter ends abruptly here.]