make it the subject of a communication to me complaining of it, and me to concur in it and send it to General Grant.
My position during the battle was with my center, composed of Osterhaus' and Carr's DIVISIONS, and during its progress, when I ordered Osterhaus to push forward and make a diversion in favor off Hovey, he sent me word that his column was as much advanced as Hovey's, was contending with great difficulties, and was doing all it could do. General Grant coming up and finding Hovey's DIVISION forming for the attack, remained on the right.
In noticing the battle of Black River Bridge, General Grant also omits the fact that he did not come up until after I had disposed my forces and brought them into action. In noticing the battle of Port Gibson, he says, "Early on the m I went out * * * and found McClernand and his corps engaging the enemy about 4 miles from Port Gibson. " It might be inferred from this statement that General Grant early arrived on the field, yet the truth is I neither saw nor heard of his being on the field until after I had made the dispositions for the battle, and had driven the enemy from his first position on my right, and captured several pieces of cannon and a number of prisoners, and had disabled two of the enemy's guns on my left. General Grant came up after this, and, riding together to Hovey's position, we were greeted by the hurrahs of his men.
Again he says:
McClernand, who was with the right in person, sent repeated messages to me before the arrival of Logan to send Logan's and Quinby's DIVISIONS, of McPherson's corps, to him. I had been on that as well as other parts of the field, and could not see how they could be used there to advantage. However, as soon as the advance of McPherson's corps [Logan's DIVISION] arrived, I sent one brigade to McClernand, on the right, and sent one brigade, Brigadier General J. E. Smith commanding, to the left, to the assistance of Osterhaus. By the judicious disposition of this brigade, under the immediate supervision of McPherson and Logan, a position was soon obtained giving us an advantage which soon drove the enemy from that part of the field, to make no further stand south of Bayou Pierre.
If I sent repeated messages to General Grant to send forward re-enforcements, it was because my early and intimate knowledge of what was going on justified it, and General Grant, notwithstanding his opinion to the contrary, sent re-enforcements, and Stevenson's brigade, of Logan's DIVISION, was accordingly applied to strengthen my center, and did good service. If General Grant thought it was unnecessary, why did he send it? In doing so, he impeaches his own firmness and self-reliance. By his own admission, Smith's brigade, of the same DIVISION, was profitably applied on my left. Indeed, of what avail are troops unless they are used to forestall the chances of battle; to insure success against all vicissitudes; to cast the balance decisively and finally at a critical moment? All the great masters inculcate this as a fundamental principle, as a condition of success, as the characteristic of a safe commander. My purpose was to make short, sure, and conclusive work of a contest that was to open or close the door to the passage of the Bayou Pierre and the road to Vicksburg. Unless General Grant held contrary views, and was unwilling that others should share with my troops the losses and sufferings of battle, he could not have consistently objected. That Smith's brigade did good service I doubt not. I have already borne testimony to that fact in my official report; but how "soon" he "drove the enemy" from my left front may be uncertain, as quite late in the evening General Grant sent an order detaching Benton's brigade from my right wing to go to the left-an order, it is true, that was revoked before the brigade reached its destination.