THIRD. They have honorably won this distinction upon many well-fought battle-fields. I will only mention some of their services while serving under my command.
To General Sherman I was greatly indebted for his promptness in forwarding to me, during the siege of Fort Donelson, re-enforcements and supplies from Paducah. At the battle of Shiloh, on the first day, he held with raw troops the key-point to the Landing. To his individual efforts I am indebted for the success of that battle. Twice hit, and several (I think three) horses shot under him on that day, he maintained his position with his raw troops. It is no disparagement to any other officer to say that I do not believe there was another DIVISION commander on the field who had the skill or experience to have done it. His services as DIVISION commander in the advance on Corinth I will venture were appreciated by the (now) General-in-Chief beyond those of any other DIVISION commander. General Sherman's management as commander of troops in the attack on Chickasaw Bluffs last December was admirable. Seeing the ground from the opposite side of the attack, I saw the impossibility of making it successful. The conception of the attack on Arkansas Post was General Sherman's. His part of the execution no one denies was as good as it possibly could have been. His demonstration on Haynes' Bluff in April, to hold the enemy at Vicksburg whilst the army was securing a foot-hold east of the Mississippi; his rapid marches to join the army afterward; his management at Jackson, MISS., in the first attack; his almost unequaled march from Jackson to Bridgeport, and passage of that stream; his securing Walnut Hills on the 18th of May, and thus opening communication with our supplies, all attest his great merits as a soldier. The siege of Vicksburg, and last capture of Jackson and dispersion of Johnston's army, entitle General Sherman to more credit than it usually falls to the lot of one man to earn.
General McPherson has been with me in every battle since the commencement of the rebellion, except Belmont. At Henry, Donelson, Shiloh, and the siege of Corinth, as a staff officer and engineer, his services were conspicuous and highly meritorious. At the SECOND battle of Corinth, his skill as a soldier was displayed in successfully carrying re-enforcements to the besieged garrison, when the enemy were between him and the point to be reached.
In the advance through Central Mississippi, last November and December, General McPherson commanded one wing of the army, with all the ability possible to show, he having the lead in the advance, and the rear returning. In the campaign and siege terminating in the fall of Vicksburg, General McPherson has borne a conspicuous part. At the battle of Port Gibson, it was under his immediate direction that the enemy were driven, late in the afternoon, from a position they had succeeded in holding all day against an obstinate attack. His corps, the advance always under his immediate eye, were the pioneers in the advance from Port Gibson to Hankinson's Ferry. From North Fork of Bayou Pierre, to [Big] Black River, it was a constant skirmish, the whole skillfully managed. The enemy was so closely pressed as to be unable to destroy their bridge of boats after them. From Hankinson's Ferry to Jackson, the SEVENTEENTH Army Corps marched upon roads not traveled by other troops, fighting the battle of Raymond alone; and the bulk of Johnston's army, at Jackson, also was fought by this corps entirely, under the management of General McPherson. At Champion's Hill the SEVENTEENTH Army Corps and General McPherson were conspicuous. All that could be termed a battle there was fought by two divis-