War of the Rebellion: Serial 011 Page 0609 Chapter XXII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., March 31, 1863.


C. S. Engineers, &c., Port Hudson, La.:

MY DEAR CAPTAIN: The general commanding has been informed that General Polk, in his report of the battle of Shiloh, says that the banks of the Tennessee River were so high that they offered good opportunity for our men during the evening of the 6th of April last, and that the enemy's gunboats could not have prevented our forces from completing our victory and capturing Grant's army before night.

Besides other strong reasons for believing otherwise, General Beauregard thinks he has heard you and others say, who saw the river on that occasion, that its waters were so high its banks could offer cover only here and there to small bodies of men, except near Pittsburg Landing, where the enemy's scattered forces were concentrated; more-over, that the gunboats (four or five in number) could command completely the approaches to Pittsburg Landing by the ravines which branched off from the river in that direction.*

Yours, very respectfully,


CHARLESTON, S. C., March 31, 1863.

Col. JACOB THOMPSON, Jackson, Miss.:

COLONEL: The general commanding desires me to inquire of you if you recollect passing the evening of the 6th of April last (battle of Shiloh) in a tent with him, General Bragg, and Polk, until they parted, and what was said on the occasion? He is informed that General Polk, in his report of the battle of Shiloh, within several months after (about nine), expresses regret that he was ordered to stop fighting that evening to reform his troops for the next morning's battle, as the thought the contest could have ended before night; moreover that, owing to the high bank of the river, our troops were perfectly protected from the fire of the enemy's gunboats.

1st. Do you recollect about what time Generals Bragg and Polk arrived at General Bearuregard's headquarters? Was it not then so dark that the general did not at first see them? And at what time did they retire?

2nd. What did they say of the condition of their troops when the order reached them. Did they express then any such opinion as above attributed to General Polk? Did they not, on the contrary, seem to think it was the best thing that could have been done, owing to the scattered and exhausted condition of their troops, who filled all the captured camps and the woods of the battle of the

battle-fields, that those in hand could not longer be made to charge for want of rest and food? Did they not seem to consider the contest over, notwithstanding the fears the general commanding expressed of Vallace's and Buell's junction that night Grant?

3rd. Where did General Polk and his command pass the night? How far back from the battle-field? Did he not go there because he thought the battle over? Did not the general commanding send at once for General Polk's forces as soon as he heard, to this utter surprise (on the morning of the 7th), where they had passed the night? Did not the


*Reply, if any, not found.