quarter of the field. On the left, however, and nearest to the point of arrival of his re-enforcements, he drove forward line after line of his fresh troops, which were met with a resolution and courage of which our country may be proudly hopeful. Again and again our troops were brought to the charge, invariably to win the position in issue; invariably to drive back their foe. But hour by hour, thus opposed to an enemy constantly re-enforced, our ranks were perceptibly thinned under the unceasing, withering fire of the enemy, and by 12 m. eighteen hours of hard fighting had sensibly exhausted a large number.
My last reserves had necessarily been disposed of, and the enemy was evidently receiving fresh re-enforcements after each repulse; accordingly about 1 p. m. I determined to withdraw from so unequal a conflict, securing such of the results of the victory of the day before as was then practicable.
Officers of my staff were immediately dispatched with the necessary orders to make the best dispositions for a deliberate, orderly withdrawal from the field, and to collect and post a reserve to meet the enemy, should he attempt to push after us.
In this connection I will mention particularly my adjutant-general, Colonel Jordan, who was of much assistance to me on this occasion, as he had already been on the field of battle on that and the preceding day.
About 2 p. m. the lines in advance, which had repulsed the enemy in their last fierce assault on our left and center, received the orders to retire. This was done with uncommon steadiness and the enemy made no attempt to follow.
The line of troops established to cover this movement had been disposed on a favorable ridge commanding the ground of Shiloh Church. From this position our artillery played upon the woods beyond for a while, but upon no visible enemy and without reply. Soon satisfied that no serious pursuit would be attempted this last line was withdrawn, and never did troops leave a battle-field in better order; even the stragglers fell into the ranks and marched off with those who had stood more steadily by their colors.
A second strong position was taken up about a mile in rear, where the approach of the enemy was awaited for nearly an hour, but no effort to follow was made, and only a small detachment of horsemen could be seen at a distance from this last position, warily observing our movements.
Arranging through my staff officers for the completion of the movements thus begun, Brigadier-General Breckinridge was left with his command as a rear guard to hold the ground we had occupied the night preceding the first battle, just in front of the intersection of the Pittsburg and Hamburg roads, about 4 miles from the former place, while the rest of the army passed to the rear in excellent order.
On the following day General Breckinridge fell back about 3 miles, to Mickey's, which position we continued to hold, with our cavalry thrown considerably forward in immediate proximity to the battle-field.
Unfortunately, toward night of the 7th instant it began to rain heavily. This continued throughout the night; the roads became almost impassable in many places, and much hardship and suffering now ensued before all the regiments reached their encampments; but, despite the heavy casualties of the two eventful days of April 6 and 7, this army is more confident of ultimate success than before its encounter with the enemy.