The effect of this tremendous concentrated fire was very evident. The reserves, which could be plainly seen going up to Prentiss' relief, fell back in confusion under the shower of shot, shell, and canister that was poured upon them, while our infantry, encouraged by such heavy artillery support, rushed forward with a shout and carried the position.
I regret that I cannot state the name of the staff officer ordering me up or to whose staff he was attached. All I have been able to ascertain, upon consultation with battery commanders touching this remarkable concentration of artillery, is that it was not the result of accident, but under and by the direction of one controlling mind, as batteries were brought up from various portions of the field and directed to this particular position. I have made repeated inquiry of officers of the artillery and staff officers to ascertain by whose order this movement was executed, and the only reliable information I have received was communicated
to me by Lieutenants A. H. Polk and William B. Richmond, aides to Major-General Polk, who state that they felt assured it was executed under the direction of Brigadier-General Ruggles, as they saw him at that time on our extreme left engaged in ordering up batteries for some position along the lines.
I have the honor to remain, captain, your obedient servant,
SMITH P. BANKHEAD,
Colonel of Artillery, Provisional Army, Confederate States.
Captain ROY MASON HOOE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Jackson, Miss.
[Inclosure Numbers 3.]
GENERAL: Being cognizant of many inquiries made by officers of the artillery who participated in the memorable battle of Shiloh relative to artillery practice, &c., and particularly concerning the effect our artillery had in forcing Prentiss' division to fall back in a direction which compelled his ultimate surrender, I will, with your permission, make a short statement of a few facts which occurred under my own observation respecting the latter idea, i. e., concerning the artillery fire and Prentiss' division:
I conceive a few remarks on this topic necessary from the fact that so few of our officers are aware under whose direction that especial concentration of artillery was made, which seemed to my mind to have such a controlling influence over the line of march taken by General Prentiss' command in his retrograde movement.
Late Sunday evening, the first day of the fight, after our forces had compelled Prentiss' troops to commence a rapid retreat, I rejoined you just beyond an open space known as the enemy's parade ground, I think, and found myself, as I afterwards ascertained, in the wake of the retreating enemy. At this point, however, a desperate stand was made by them, and they succeeded in checking our infantry, and were apparently intending to hold the ground they then occupied till they could be re-enforced.
At this juncture (about 3 p.m., as near as I can recollect) I received from you a verbal but positive order to bring up all the artillery I could find and post it along the Woods road, running between the parade ground above mentioned and a small cleared field in front, through the center of which passed a small brook densely crowded with large shrubbery, in which large numbers of the enemy had taken refuge, to the serious discomfort of our troops, who for the time were unable to dis-