During the night the army was reinforced by the arrival of the remainder of the troops under Generals Buell and Wallace.
At early dawn on the following morning, we advanced with our Division, and met the enemy at 9 A M. Their artillery was posted on a ridge, commanding an open field, which their batteries could rake from end to end. We charged over on double-quick, under a heavy artillery fire, and took possession of a piece of timber on the opposite side. Our batteries were soon brought to the front, when a regular artillery duel followed, which lasted about two hours, and at times became almost deafening, sending the shell and solid shot crashing through the timber, and tearing up the ground around us. Our troops being placed in supporting distance, were in better positions to assist each other than on the previous day, and at each attack of the rebels they were met by an equal force, and thus gradually they were compelled to yield the ground they had driven us from the day before. It was near 1 o'clock P. M. when they began cautiously to retreat, making a stand at every advantageous point, and delivering their fire with considerable effect, but being hotly pressed by our army, they finally gave way at about 4 P. M., and the rout became general. Our cavalry started in pursuit, following the retreating enemy several miles toward Corinth.
The enemy was already in retreat, and victory nearly won, when Col. Sullivan had his left arm shattered by a musket-ball, and Capt. Warner, of Company B, a brave and daring officer, was killed.
We then proceeded to take possession of our old camp, which we found in utter confusion, owing to the two days' battle over the same ground, and the occupation of our tents Sunday night by the enemy. In our absence our private property, including clothing, had been carried away. Our camp and the battle-field was a heart-sickening sight. The bodies of dead horses and wrecks of wagons, caissons, guns, and all kinds of war implements, were strewn over the battle-field. The dead were lying in every conceivable shape. - Some had fallen with their guns fast in their hands; others had received the messenger of death, and with their life-blood ebbing away, had sought the shelter of logs and trees, and laid down to die.
At one place, five rebels had found shelter behind a small tree, one behind the other in a row, when a cannon-ball struck a root in front of them, and glancing upward, passed diagonally through each one-the first at the hips, and the last at the head, severing it from the body! But why dwell longer on the horrid sights that met the gaze all around?
That night, hungry and weary, we slept once more in our old camp. Early next morning, the 8th, we buried the dead in front of the position we held on Sunday morning. Twenty graves were dug, where we buried the dead of our Regiment, and seventy dead rebels were buried in one long trench.
At 8 o'clock A. M. the Regiment was ordered forward with the Division, to follow up the retreating enemy, in the direction of Corinth. After marching about a mile, we came to the camp that the rebels occupied on Saturday night. All along our line of march, could be seen remains of the retreating rebels, fresh-made graves, and the wounded and unburied dead. We had marched about five miles, when the 77th Ohio, who were in advance, were suddenly attacked in an open cottonfield, by the rebel cavalry, and overpowered by superior numbers. We were ordered on double-quick to their support. When we emerged from the woods the rebels retreated in haste, leaving the field to our possession. The 77th lost, in killed, wounded and prisoners, one-third their number, and, but for our prompt arrival, the whole Regiment would have been annihilated. Among the captured was Capt. McCormick, who was afterward a prisoner at Camp Ford, Texas. We halted on the opposite side of the field, and remained in line of battle until near dark. This engagement went by the name of "Fallen Timber," from the many trees that lay over the field. We returned to our camp that evening, reaching it about 11 o'clock.
The entire route was through mud and mire, and covered with guns, ammunition, disabled artillery, baggage wagons, &c. &c. We recaptured a number of the sick and wounded of the Regiment, who had been captured on the 6th. This ended the fighting at Shiloh.
Jesse Nelson, our drummer-boy, who was but a stripling youth, when the battle began threw down his drum and stepped into the ranks, with a rifle. He was shot through the head by a musket-ball, early in the engagement, while on his knees, in the act of firing.
The first verse of the poem, published shortly after the battle, entitled "The Drummer-Boy of Shiloh," is very appropriate:
"0n Shiloh's dark and bloody ground
The dead and wounded lay;
Among them was a drummer-boy,
Who beat the drum that day."
The Regiment lost twenty killed, ninety wounded, and two taken prisoners. The following is a list of the casualties among the officers:
Killed: Capt. Warner, of Co. B. Mortally wounded; Capt. Bond, Co. I. Wounded: Col. Sullivan, Lieut. Posegate, Co. A, Lieuts. Lindsey and Plyley, Co. B; and Surgeon Carey, taken prisoner, while taking care of the wounded.
The following extracts are taken from the Cincinnati Times and Gazette, giving an account of the part taken by the 48th Ohio in the Battle of Shiloh:
"PITTSBURG LANDING, April 7, 1862.
* * * * "In regard to those troops raised in our vicinity, I must say that all acquitted themselves most valiantly. The 48th, under Col. Sullivan was among the very first whose camp was invaded, and even after the Regiments on either side had fallen back, they retired in good order, fighting every step of the way, to the line of the Second Division. It should be remembered that this is the first time they were ever brought into battle, and from the suddenness of the attack your readers may judge that the introduction was not one calculated to steady the nerves of raw troops. At one time during the contest, it was rumored that every officer of the 48th was killed; but they turned up in time to gather their men to the number of 250, and after a bivouac upon the wet ground last night, they led them again to the field to-day. Col. Sullivan returns to-night with a wound in his left arm, but not at all dangerous, although quite painful. He will be all right again in a few days. Gen. Sherman yesterday complimented the Colonel also Lieut Col. Parker, of Highland county, Maj. Wise, Adjutant Robt. McGill, and the men, as a body, by saying that even older Regiments could not have conducted themselves more nobly.
* * * E. M. S."
Highland News, April 24, 1862, copied from The Cincinnati Gazette.
"It was on Monday, during that terrible contest, that Col. Sullivan, while bravely rallying his Regiment, was wounded and borne from the field, and the brave and much-lamented Capt. Warner, of Co. B, fell with a Minie ball through the head. A better officer and more noble-hearted man, we had not in the Regiment. Lieut. Col. Parker won the entire esteem and confidence of the Regiment, as a man of cool and daring bravery. At all times during the conflict he was ever ready to cheer and rally by his presence, and his sword ever found in the thickest of the fight. In a word, the entire Regiment deserves the highest meed of praise. - To this Gen. Sherman has already subscribed by saying, the 48th and 72nd Ohio maintained their ground longer than any other Regiment in his division.
"The Band boys, like true patriots, threw down their instruments, took up guns and went into the fight. Two of their number, Wm. Purdy and E. Henry, were mortally wounded, and died from the effects of their wounds a short time after."
THE BATTLE NO SURPRISE.
We had penetrated about 225 miles up the Tennessee river, in the enemy's country. Corinth, our objective point, was but thirty miles distant, strongly fortified and garrisoned, by an army estimated between fifty and sixty thousand men, under Gen. Beauregard. We have already shown that on April 3d our brigade was sent out to reconnoiter. We found the enemy in strong force, within about five miles of our camp, but we were instructed not to bring on an engagement. April 4th, our picket-line was attacked by the rebel cavalry, which resulted in a loss of a few killed, wounded and prisoners, on each side. Saturday, the 5th, on account of the heavy picket-firing another alarm was sounded, at about 5 P. M., which was caused by the near approach of the rebel cavalry.
That night, Col. Sullivan instructed the Sergeant of the camp-guard to notify him, at once, if an alarm was given during the night. The following morning, Sunday, April 6th, the reveille was sounded as usual at daylight, and roll-call followed. - While at breakfast the long-roll beat, and we immediately formed on our color line. While in line, those who had not finished their breakfast, returned to their tents and finished their meals. We had been in line half an hour, when we were ordered to the front, to support the pickets, and had proceeded but a short distance, when we saw the enemy advancing in force. We returned to our brigade, reformed our line, and the battle commenced.
Our forces, the first day, numbered 32,000, and and the enemy 45,000 men. Both sides received reinforcements for the second day's battle. The rebels were armed, principally, with U. S. muskets, and their ammunition consisted of one ball and three buck-shot.
Previous to the battle, Gen. Beauregard had issued an order to his troops, a copy of which was found in one of our tents, the first section of which reads as follows:
"Field and company officers are specially enjoined to instruct their men to fire at the feet of the enemy! They will thus avoid over-shooting, and besides; wounded men give more trouble to our adversary than his dead, as they have to be taken from the field."
The loss in our Division was 318 killed, 1275 wounded and 440 missing. Our entire loss in killed and wounded, according to official reports, was 10,600; and Beauregard places his at 10,699; besides the prisoners taken on both sides, our loss in prisoners being the greatest. The total loss of both armies is estimated at 25,000 men, which was a frightful loss in proportion to the number engaged. This battle exploded the Southern assertion that one Southerner was a match for five Northern soldiers, and also taught the Western army, that all the advantages gained over their adversary would have to be won by desperate, hard fighting.
The following is an extract from the official report of Gen. Sherman, of the Battle of Shiloh:
"SIR- * * * On Sunday morning early, the 6th inst., the enemy drove our advance-guard back on the main body, when I ordered under arms all my Division.
"Shortly after 7 A. M., with my entire staff, I rode along a portion of our front, and when in the open field, before Appler's regiment, the enemy's pickets opened a brisk fire upon my party, killing my orderly. * * *
"About 8 A. M. I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of infantry to our left front, in the woods beyond the small stream alluded to, and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy designed a determined attack on our whole camp. - All of the regiments of my Division were then in line of battle at their proper posts. * * *
"The battle opened by the enemy's battery, in the woods to our front, throwing shells into our camp. Taylor's and Waterhouse's batteries promptly responded, and I then observed heavy battalions of infantry passing obliquely to the left, across the open field in Appler's front; also other columns directly upon my Division. Our infantry and artillery opened along the whole line, and the battle became general. * * *
"Although our left was thus turned, and the enemy was pressing our whole line, I deemed Shiloh so important that I remained by it, and renewed my orders to Colonels McDowell and Buckland to hold their ground, and we did hold these positions until about 10 A. M., when the enemy had got his artillery to the rear of our left flank and some change became necessary. Two regiments of Hildebrand's brigade - Appler's and Mungen's - had already disappeared to the rear, and Hildebrand's own regiment was in disorder. I therefore gave orders for Taylor's battery, still at Shiloh, to fall back as far as the Purdy and Hamburg road, and for McDowell and Buckland to adopt that road as their new line. I rode across the angle and met Behr's battery at the cross-road, and ordered it immediately to come into battery action right. - Capt. Behr gave the order, but was almost immediately shot from his horse, when drivers and gunners fled in disorder, carrying off the caissons, and abandoning five out of six guns, without firing a shot. The enemy pressed on, gaining this battery and we were again forced to choose a new line of defense. Hildebrand's brigade had substantially disappeared from the field, though he himself bravely remained. McDowell's and Buckland's brigade maintained their organization, and were conducted by my aids, so as to join on Gen. McClernand's right, thus abandoning my original camps and line. This was about 10 1/2 A. M., at which time the enemy had made a furious attack on Gen. McClernand's whole front. He struggled most determinedly, but finding him pressed, I moved McDowell's brigade against the left flank of the enemy, forced him back some distance, and then directed the men to avail themselves of every cover, trees, fallen timber, and a wooded valley to our right. We held this position for four long hours, sometimes gaining and at other times losing ground, Gen. McClernand and myself acting in perfect concert, and struggling to maintain this line.
"While we were so hard pressed, two Iowa regiments approached our rear, but could not be brought up to the severe fire that was raging in our front, and Gen. Grant, who visited us on that ground, will remember our situation about 3 P. M.; but about 4 P. M. it was evident that Hurlburt's line had been driven back to the river, and knowing that Gen. Lew Wallace was coming with reinforcements from Crump's Landing, Gen. McClernand and I, on consultation, selected a new line of defense, with its right covering a bridge by which Gen. Wallace had to approach. We fell back as well as we could, gathering in addition to our own such scattered forces as we could find, and formed a new line. * * * I had a clear field about two hundred yards wide, in my immediate front, and contented myself with keeping the enemy's infantry at that distance during the rest of the day."
"In this position we rested for the night. My command had become decidedly of a mixed character. Buckland's brigade was the only one that retained its organization. Col. Hildebrand was personally there, but his brigade was not. Col. McDowell had been severely injured by a fall from his horse, and had gone to the river, and the three regiments of his brigade were not in line. * * * Generals Grant and Buell visited me in our bivouac that evening, and from them I learned the situation of officers on other parts of the field. Gen. Wallace arrived from Crump's Landing shortly after dark, and formed his line to my right rear. It rained hard during the night, but our men were in good spirits, lay on their arms, being satisfied with such bread and meat as could be gathered at the neighboring camps, and determined to redeem on Monday the losses on Sunday. * * *
"At daylight on Monday I received General Grant's order to advance and recapture our original camps. I dispatched several members of my staff to bring up all the men they could find, and reoccupied the ground to the extreme right of Gen. McClernand's, where we attracted the fire of a battery located near Col. McDowell's former headquarters. Here I remained, patiently waiting for the sound of Gen. Buell's advance upon the main Corinth road. About 10 A. M. the heavy firing in that direction and its steady approach satisfied me, and Gen. Wallace being on our right flank, with his well-conducted Division, I led the head of my column to Gen. McClernand's right, formed line of battle, facing south, with Buckland's brigade directly across the ridge, and Stuart's brigade on its right in the woods, and thus advanced, steadily and slowly, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery. Taylor had just got to me from the rear, where he had gone for ammunition, and brought up three guns, which I ordered into position to advance by hand-firing. Under cover of their fire, we advanced till we reached the point where the Corinth road crosses the line of McClernand's camp, and here I saw for the first time the well-ordered and compact columns of Gen. Buell's Kentucky forces, whose soldierly movements at once gave confidence to our newer and less disciplined men.
"This was about 2 P. M. The enemy had one battery close by Shiloh, and another near the Hamburg road, both pouring grape and canister upon any column of troops that advanced upon the green point of water-oaks. Willich's regiment had been repulsed, but a whole brigade of McCook's Division advanced, beautifully deployed, and entered this dreaded wood. I ordered my second brigade to form on its right, and my fourth brigade, Col. Buckland,* [*To which the 15th Ohio was attached.] on its right, all to advance abreast with this Kentucky brigade, before mentioned, which I afterward found to be Rousseau's brigade of McCook's Division. I gave personal direction to the twenty-four pounder guns, whose well-directed fire first silenced the enemy's guns to the left, and afterward at the Shiloh meeting-house. Rousseau's brigade moved in splendid order steadily to the front, sweeping everything before it, and at 4 P. M. we stood upon the ground of our original front line, and the enemy was in full retreat. I directed my several brigades to resume at once their original camps. * * *
"My Division was made up of regiments perfectly new, nearly all having received their muskets for the first time at Paducah. None of them had ever been under fire, or beheld heavy columns of an enemy bearing down on them, as they did on last Sunday.
* * * "Col. Buckland managed his brigade well. I commend him to your notice as a cool, intelligent and judicious gentleman, needing only confidence and experience to make a good commander. His subordinates, Colonels Sullivan (48th Ohio) and Cockerill, (70th Ohio), behaved with great gallantry; the former receiving a wound on Sunday, and yet commanding and holding his regiment well in hand all day on Monday, until his right arm was broken by a shot. Col. Cockerill held a larger proportion of his men than any Colonel in my division, and was with me from first to 1ast. * * *
A week after the battle the Sanitary Commission began to arrive, with supplies for the sick and wounded. With them came Dr. S. J. Spees, of Lynchburg, Ohio. Our Surgeon, Dr. Cary, had been taken prisoner, leaving all the care of the sick and wounded on Assistant Surgeon, A. A. Johnson. The sick list increased very rapidly, caused by the fatigue and exposure of the three days' battle, together with the heavy rains and damp weather. Over one-half of the Regiment was unable for duty.
In the mean time, Gen. Halleck had arrived at Pittsburg Landing, and assumed command of the combined armies of Grant and Buell, leaving Gen. Grant second in command. He issued a general order for every regiment to attend battalion drill in the morning, and brigade and division drill in the afternoon. From these drills none were excused, unless unable to sit up. Those unable to march were hauled out to the drill-ground in ambulances, where they could watch the maneuvers.
On the 15th of April, a general order was issued to discharge all regimental bands, excepting one to each brigade. When the battle of Shiloh commenced, our band discarded their fine instruments, armed themselves, and went into the fight with the Regiment. The result was, they lost their instruments, and had two of their number killed. Having no instruments, they were one of the first bands discharged, much to the regret of the whole Regiment.
April 16th, all the sick and wounded of the Regiment were sent North.
The army was now thoroughly drilled in division, brigade and battalion dril1,
as well as picket-duty and the art of constructing field defenses, which
was a great advantage to us in the advance on Corinth, as Gen. Halleck had
decided to approach by regular siege, that was necessarily slow and attended
with a great deal of labor. The 48th Ohio bore its full share of duty in
picketing, constructing earthworks, and reconnoitering.