James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
at once the regular order of the day was changed to haste and confusion. Between seven and eight oclock the camp of the Sixth division was carried. The surprise was complete, wrote Johnstons aide-de-camp. Colors, arms, stores and ammunition were abandoned. The breakfasts of the men were on the table, the officers baggage and apparel left in the tents.1
About 8 A.M., wrote Sherman in his report of April 10, I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of infantry to our left front and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy designed a determined attack on our whole camp.2 Recovering from his surprise, wasting not a moment in vain regret, Sherman plunged into the contest, making his presence felt by command and example. In the thick of the fight he had three horses killed under him and was himself twice wounded. History may accept with only slight reservation Hallecks report sent a week later from Pittsburg Landing. It is the unanimous opinion here, he wrote, that General Sherman saved the fortune of the day.3 He was ably supported by McClernand and the other division commanders, but, by ten oclock, shermans and McClernands camps with their supplies had been taken. As the Union soldiers were outflanked they fell back until, at the close of the day, they occupied, if McClernands division may be taken as an example of those who had not been captured or fled, their eighth position.4
Note 2. Ibid., 249. The hours given by men engaged in battle are naturally not exact. A coordination of them from several honest reports is impossible. It is certain that Sherman knew that a mighty battle was on before the camp of the Sixth division was captured. [back]