On any other we surely would have been overwhelmed, as both Lick and Snake Creeks forced the enemy to confine his attack to a direct front attack, for which new troops are better qualified than where the flanks are exposed to a real or chimerical danger. Even the divisions of that army were arranged in that camp by General Smith's order, my division forming as it were the outlying picket, whilst McClernand and Prentiss were the real line of battle, with W. H. L. Wallace in support of the right wing and Hurlbut of the left, Lew. Wallace's division being detached. All those subordinate dispositions were made by the order of General Smith before General Grant succeeded him to the command of all the forces up the Tennessee, headquarters Savannah. If there was any error in putting that armyon the west side of the Tennessee, exposed to the superior force of the enemy also assembling at Corinth, the mistake was not Geneal Grant's. But there was no mistake. It was necessary that a combat, firm and bitter, to test the manhood of the two armies should come off, and that was as good a place as any. It was not then a question of military skill and strategy, but of courage and pluck, and I am convinced that every life lost that day to us was necessary, for otherwise, at Corinth, at Memphis, and at Vicksburg we should have found harder resistance had we not shown our enemies that, rude and untutored as we then were, we would fight as well as they. Excuse so long a letter, which is very unusual from me, but of course my life is liable to cease at any moment and I happen to be a witness to certain truths which are now beginning to pass out of memoery and from what is called history. I also take great pleasure in adding that nearly all the new troops that at Shiloh drew from me official censure have more than redeemed their good name; among them that very regiment which first broke, the Fifty-third Ohio, Colonel Appler. Under another leader, Colonel Jones, it has shared every campaign and expedition of mine since; is with me now and can march and bivouac and fight as well as the best regiment in this or any army. Its reputation now is equal to that of any from the State of Ohio.
I am, with respect, yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Kenesaw, Ga., June 13, 1864.
Prof. Henry COPPEE,
DEAR SIR: I see in the fly leaf of the June number of your Military Magazine you propose to give a biography of myself from a brother officer, who has had every facility to make it accurate. I cannot recall ever having given any data to a brother officer or any other person, but on the contrary have stubbornly, and it may be wrongfully, withheld such data, preferring the after judgment of mankind to contemporaneous battery or otherwise. But I see that I am forced by events into a most conspicuous place (which God knows I wish were better filled), and that I cannot prevent that curiosity which exists among our people to know something of military leaders whose records have heretofore been short and unimportant. I merely, therefore, will give you a few brief data whereby to test the paper which you possess and pronounce very "interesting." I was born February 8, 1820, at Lancester, Ohio,
36 R R-VOL LII, PT I