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WHO of us, having reached middle life, does not recall the exultation and enthusiasm aroused by the news of the capture of Fort Donelson? What a thrill of pride and patriotism was felt through all the loyal North! The soldiers of the great Northwest had attacked a citadel of the rebellion, and captured it, with sixteen thousand of its defenders.

At this time the Third Iowa Infantry was strung along the North Missouri Railroad, guarding bridges and doing other police work. Company B, which had the honor of having on its muster roll private Olney, was stationed at that time in the little town of Sturgeon, Missouri, where our principal occupation was to keep from freezing. We had then spent eight months campaigning in that border State--that is, if you can call guarding railways and bridges, and attempting to overawe the disaffected, enlivened now and then by a brisk skirmish, campaigning. The Second Iowa had led the charge which captured the hostile breast works at Donelson, and General Grant had telegraphed to General Halleck at St. Louis, who had repeated the message to the Governor of our State, that the Second Iowa was the bravest of the brave. The First Iowa had distinguished itself at Wilson's Creek, near Springfield, under General Lyon, while we-well, we hadn't done much of anything but to get a licking at Blue Mills. Therefore, when a message to move came, and we found ourselves on the way to join General Grant's army, we felt quite hilarious.

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heart of the Confederacy. It was a beautiful and stirring sight; mild weather had set in (it was now the second week of March), the flotilla of steamboats, black with soldiers, bands playing, flags flying, all combined to arouse and interest. It was "the pomp and circumstance of glorious war."

Frequent stoppages were made, giving us a chance to run ashore. About the thirteenth we reached the landing-place, which soon afterwards became famous. The river was very high, and at first there seemed to be doubt as to where a landing should be effected, but in a few days the question was settled. Our boat was moored as near shore as possible, and we joined the immense throng painfully making its way through the unfathomable mud to camps in the dense woods. The first things I observed after reaching the high bluff, were trees that had been torn and shattered by shells from our gunboats, which, it seems, had dislodged a company of Confederates, who had dug riflepits on the bluff, from whence they had fired on our steamboats.

We first camped on the bluff near the landing, but shortly moved back about a mile from the river, and camped on the edge of a small cotton field with dense forests all around. The Hamburg road ran past the left of our line, between us and the Fortyfirst Illinois; while on the right was a small ravine, which ran into a little creek, and that into Snake Creek.

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the mud in every direction. The principal features of the landscape were trees, mud, wagons buried to the hub, and struggling, plunging mule teams. The shouts of teamsters and resounding whacks filled the air; and as to profanity—well, the army in Flanders must yield the palm to this army of Western teamsters. And the rain! how it did come down! As I recall it, the Spring of 1862 did not measure its rainfall in Western Tennessee by inches, but by feet.

But in time, our camp was fairly established. Sibley tents were distributed, one for fourteen men. They protected us from the rain, but they had their drawbacks. Several of us were schoolmates from a Western college, and, of course, in some respects, constituted a little aristocracy. We had had a small tent to ourselves, and the socialistic grayback, as yet, had not crawled therein. Now, we were required to share our tent with others, and that might mean a great many. But when it came to a question of sleeping out in the cold rain, or camping down in a crowded tent in true democratic equality, and taking the chances of immigration from our neighbors' clothing, we did not prefer the rain.

Of course, a private soldier has not much opportunity for exploration about his camp, however strong may be his passion in that direction. I did what I could, but my knowledge of the general encampment was much enlarged when, during the days following the battle, all discipline being relaxed, I tramped the field over in every direction, and talked with the men of numerous regiments on their camp grounds. Further on, I shall refer to the position occupied by our army more at length, and shall only refer now to the general position of our encampment, as on a wooded plateau, accessible to attack only from the direction of Corinth, the river being in our rear, Snake Creek and Owl Creek on our right flank, and Lick Creek on our left.

In places there were small fields with their adjuncts of deserted cabins. Our troops were camped wherever there was an opening in the woods or underbrush sufficiently large for a regiment. There seemed to be no or

der or system about the method of encampment, but each regiment occupied such suitable ground as presented itself in the neighborhood of the rest of the brigade; and the same was true of the brigades composing the divisions.

Our regiment was brigaded with the Twenty-eighth, Thirty-second, and Forty-first Illinois. The division was commanded by Brigadier-General Stephen A. Hurlbut (since somewhat notorious as United States Minister to Peru). We had served under him in Missouri, and our principal recollection of him was an event which occurred at Macon. We had got aboard a train of cattle cars for the purpose of going to the relief of some point threatened by the enemy. After waiting on the train two or three hours, expecting every moment to start, we noticed a couple of staff officers supporting on each side the commanding general, and leading him to the car I was in. Getting him to the side of the car, they boosted him in at the door, procured a soldier's knapsack for him to sit on, and left him. He was so drunk he couldn't sit upright. The consequence was that the regimental officers refused to move. A courtmartial followed, and we heard no more of our general until we found him at Pittsburg Landing in command of a division. showed so much coolness and bravery in the battle which followed, that we forgave him his first scandalous appearance. But the distrust of him before the battle can readily be imagined.


No one who has not been through the experience can realize the anxiety of the pri vate soldier respecting the character and capacity of his commanding officer. His life is in the general's hand. Whether he shall be uselessly sacrificed, may depend wholly upon the coolness or readiness for an emergency of the commander; whether he has had two drinks or three; whether he has had a good night's rest, or a good cigar. The private soldier regards a new and unknown commander very much as a slave does a new owner, and with good reason. Without confidence on the part of the rank and file, victory is impossible. Their soldiers' confidence

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in Stonewall Jackson and Lee doubled the
effective strength of their armies. When in
the Franco-Prussian war a German regiment
was called upon for a charge, each man felt
that the order was given because it was nec-
essary, and that what he was doing was part
of a comprehensive scheme, whose success
might very likely depend upon whether he
did his assigned part manfully. The French
soldier in that war had no such feeling, and
of course, the result of that campaign could
not long be in doubt. In Napoleon's time,
the confidence of the rank and file was such
that time and again he was saved from de-
feat by the feeling of the attacked corps or
detachment that it must hold its ground, or
probably imperil the army. Oh, the sicken-
ing doubt and distrust of our generals during
the first years of the war! Our soldiers were
as brave as ever trod the earth, and thor-
oughly imbued with the cause for which they
were fighting: but the suspicion that at head-
quarters there might be inefficiency or drunk-
enness; that marches and counter-marches
had no definite purpose; that their lives
might be uselessly thrown away-you would
have to go through it to realize it! At the
beginning of the war, the Southerners had a
vast advantage over us in that respect. Gen-
erally speaking, they started out with the
same able commanders they had at the end.

them freshly recruited, and not yet familiar with their arms, or the simplest elements of regimental maneuvers. It was said there were some regiments who had just received their guns, and had never fired them. Badeau says they came on the field without cartridges. I know that improved rifles were scarce, for my own regiment at that time did not have rifles, but old smooth bore muskets with buck-and-ball ammunition—that is, the cartridge had next to the powder a large ball, and then next to it three buck shot. Of course, we should have had no show against rifles at long range, but at short range, in woods and brush, these weapons were fearfully destructive, as we shall presently see.

Strange to say, these freshly recruited regiments were assigned to Sherman's division and to Prentiss's division, whose camps were scattered in the woods farthest out towards Corinth. As might have been expected, these new soldiers did not stand on the order of their going, when they suddenly discovered a hostile army on top of them.

A map of the place selected for the concentration of our army shows that with proper precautions and such defensive works as later in the war would have been constructed within a few hours, the place was impregnable. The river which ran in the rear was controlled by our gunboats, and furnished us the means of obtaining abundant supplies. Creeks with marshy banks protected either flank. The only possible avenue of attack upon this position was directly in front, and across that ran little creeks and ravines, with here and there open fields affording fine vantage-ground. A general anticipating the possibility of attack, would not have scattered his divisions so widely, and would have marked a line of defense upon which the troops should rally. Advantage would have been taken of the ground, and trees felled with the tops outward, through which an attacking force would have, with great difficulty, to struggle. And later in the war, as a matter of precaution, and because of the proximity of the enemy, breastworks would have been thrown up. All this could have been

Our colonel was thoroughly hated and distrusted. We even doubted his courage. As he was the ranking colonel of the brigade, he was placed in command of it so you see we did not feel particularly happy over the situation, especially as we knew the Confederate army was only twenty-two miles off. The steady, cold rains of the first week or two were most depressing. On account, probably, of the bad weather and exposure, the soldier's worst enemy, diarrhoea, took possession of our camps, and for a week or ten days we literally had no stomachs for fighting. But after a little the rain let up, the sun came out warm, our spirits revived, the roads, and consequently the supplies, improved; and on the whole, we thought it rather jolly. Troops were continually arriving, some of done in a few hours. Our flanks were so

well protected that no troops were needed there, and in case of attack each division commander should have had his place in the front, to which to immediately march his command; while, the line being not more than three miles long at the very outside estimate, there were abundant forces to man it thoroughly, leaving a large force in reserve to reinforce a point imperiled.

Why was not this done? It is hard to find an answer. General Sherman's division was at the extreme front. It was just being organized. The enemy was not more than twenty-two miles away, and was known to be concentrating from all the West. Yet this general, who afterwards acquired such fame as a consummate master of the art of war, took no precautions whatever, not even thoroughly scouting the ground in his front. His pickets could not have been out more than a mile. General Prentiss's division was also in process of organization, and he, like Sherman, was in advance, and on Sherman's left. The complete absence of the ordinary precautions always taken by military commanders since the beginning of history, is inexplicable. The only reason I can conjecture for it grows out of the character of General Grant and his distinguished subordinate, and their inexperience. They had then no practical knowledge of the requirements of actual warfare. General Sherman, except on one occasion, had never heard a hostile gun fired. They had to learn their art, and the country and their army had to pay the cost of their teaching. Happily, they were able to profit by every lesson, and soon had no equal among our commanders. But because they have since deserved so well of their country, is no reason why history should be silent as to their mistakes. The Confederates would have made a great mistake in attacking us at all in such a position, if we had been prepared to receive them. This want of preparation prevented us from taking advantage of the opportunity, and inflicting a crushing defeat upon the South.. By it the war was prolonged, and every village and hamlet in the West had its house of mourning.

Immediately in the right rear of General Sherman was camped the veteran division of General McClernand. About two miles further back, and about a mile from the river, was stationed the reserve, consisting of two divisions, Hurlbut's and W. H. L. Wallace's, formerly C. F. Smith's. Across Owl Creek, and seven or eight miles off, was camped General Lew Wallace's division. It was so far away as not to be in easy supporting distance.

On April 1st, our division was marched to an open field, and there carefully reviewed by General Grant. This was our first sight of the victor of Donelson. Friday, the 4th of April, was a sloppy day, and just before sundown we heard firing off towards Sherman's division. We fell into line and started toward the front. After we had marched about a mile, pitch darkness came on. Presently, a staff officer directed a countermarch back to camp, saying it was only a rebel reconnoisance. It was a nasty march back in the mud, dense woods, and thick darkness. All this day the Confederate army was struggling through the woods and mud, on its march from Corinth to attack us. It was the expectation of General Johnson and his subordinates to cover the intervening space between the two armies in this one day, and attack early Saturday morning; but the difficulties of the march were such that he did not make more than half the distance, and had to go into camp for the night. Saturday was a reasonably pleasant day, but General Johnson's troops had got so entangled in the forests, he did not feel justified in attacking until all his preparations were made, which took the whole of Saturday. He then moved up to within a mile or two of Sherman and Prentiss, and went into camp within sound of our drums.

The delay had been so great that Beauregard now advised a countermarch back to Corinth. He represented that our forces had surely been apprised of their march, and it would be too late now to effect a surprise; that they would undoubtedly find us all prepared, and probably behind breastworks and other obstructions. General Johnson was

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smarting under the criticisms of the campaign which resulted in the loss of Donelson. A bold stroke was necessary to redeem the fortunes of the Confederacy and his own reputaHis resolution was to conquer or die; and he replied to Beauregard: "We shall attack at daylight tomorrow."

Here was an army of a little over 40,000 men, as brave as ever shouldered muskets, fighting on their own soil, and, as they be lieved, for homes and liberty, resting for the night at about two miles from the invading army, and all prepared to attack at dawn, and sweep the invaders of their country back into the Tennessee River. Upon the favoring breeze, the sound of our drums at evening parade came floating to their ears. They heard the bugle call enjoining quiet and repose in the camp of their unsuspecting foe. They, themselves, were crouching in the thick woods and darkness, all prepared to spring on their prey. No camp-fire was lighted; no unnecessary sound was permitted; but silent, watchful, with mind and heart prepared for conflict, the Southern hosts waited for the morning.


* *

Such was the situation, so far as our enemies were concerned. But how was it with the army fighting for the integrity and preservation of the nation? Let us begin with the commanding General. That day (Saturday) he despatched General Halleck as follows: "The main force of the enemy is at Corinth. The number at Corinth and within supporting distance of it cannot be far from 80,000 men." Later in the day he despatched the news of the enemy's reconnoisance the night before, and added: "I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack (general one) being made upon us, but will be prepared should such a thing take place."

Grant had less than 50,000 men fit for battle. He thinks the enemy at Corinth, twenty-two miles away, has 80,000 men. He must know that the enemy knows Buell, with his army, will soon reach the Tennessee, and when united with his own will nearly double his effective strength; that now, and before Buell joins him, if ever, must the Con

federates strike an effective blow His pickets have been driven in the night before the enemy using a piece or two of artillery; yet he does not expect an attack, and makes not the slightest preparation to receive or repel one. He leaves General Lew Wallace with over 7,000 good troops at Crump's Landing, out of easy supporting distance; Nelson's division and Crittenden's division of Buell's army at Savannah; and has no thought of moving them up that day to repel an overwhelming attack about to be made on him. On Saturday he visits his army and Sherman, and then goes back to Savannah, unsuspicious of the presence of the enemy.

How was it with General Sherman, who had the advance on the right, and was probably more relied upon by Grant and Halleck than was Prentiss? He reported on Saturday that he thought there were about two regiments of infantry and a battery of artillery about six miles out. Later in the day he despatches: "The enemy is saucy, but got the worst of it yesterday, and will not press our pickets far. I do not apprehend anything like an attack on our position."

A tolerably extensive reading of campaigns and military histories justifies me in saying, that such an exhibition of unsuspicious security in the presence of a hostile army is without a parallel in the history of warfare.

How was it with our army? We knew the enemy to be at Corinth, but there had been no intimation of advance; and no army could get over the intervening space in less than two days, of which, of course, it was the duty of our generals to have ample notice. Usually, before a battle, there seems to be something in the very air that warns the soldier and the officer of what is coming, and to nerve themselves for the struggle; but most of us retired this Saturday night to our blankets in as perfect fancied security as ever enveloped an army.

But this was not true of all. A sense of uneasiness pervaded a portion of the advance line. Possibly there had been too much noise in the woods in front, possibly that occult sense, which tells us of the proximity of another, warned them of the near approach

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