Memorandum from Major General U.S. Grant to
Capt. N.H. McLean
Report of Major General U.S. Grant-
Headquarters District of West Tennessee, Pittsburg, TN
April 9, 1862
It becomes my duty again to report another battle
fought between two great armies, one contending for the
maintenance of the best government ever devised, the
other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the
success of the army contending for the former principle.
On Sunday morning our pickets were attacked and
driven in by the enemy. Immediately the five divisions
stationed at this place were drawn up in line of battle,
ready to meet them. The battle soon waxed warm on the
left and center, varying at times to all parts of the
line. The most continuous firing of musketry and
artillery ever heard on this continent was kept up until
nightfall, the enemy having forced the entire line to
fall back nearly half way from their camps to the
At a late hour in the afternoon a desperate
effort was made by the enemy to turn our left and get
possession of the Landing, transports, etc. This point
was guarded by the gunboats Tyler and Lexington,
Captains Gwin and Shirk, U.S. Navy, commanding, four
20-pounder Parrott guns and a battery of rifled guns.
As there is a deep and impassable ravine for
artillery or cavalry, and very difficult for infantry,
at this point, no troops were stationed here, except the
necessary artillerists and a small infantry force for
their support. Just at this moment the advance of
Major-General Buell's column (a part of the division
under General Nelson) arrived, the two generals named
both being present. An advance was immediately made upon
the point of attack and the enemy soon driven back. In
this repulse much is due to the presence of the gunboats
Tyler and Lexington, and their able commanders, Captains
Gwin and Shirk.
During the night the divisions under Generals
Crittenden and McCook arrived. General Lewis Wallace, at
Crump's Landing, 6 miles below, was ordered at an early
hour in the morning to hold his division in readiness to
be moved in any direction to which it might be ordered.
At about 11 o'clock the order was delivered to move it
up to Pittsburg, but owing to its being led by a
circuitous route did not arrive in time to take part in
During the night all was quiet, and feeling that
a great moral advantage would be gained by becoming the
attacking party, an advance was ordered as soon as day
dawned. The result was a gradual repulse of the enemy at
all parts of the line from morning until probably 5
o'clock in the afternoon, when it became evident the
enemy was retreating. Before the close of the action the
advance of General T. J. Wood's division arrived in time
to take part in the action.
My force was too much fatigued from two days'
hard fighting and exposure in the open air to a
drenching rain during the intervening night to pursue
Night closed in cloudy and with heavy rain,
making the roads impracticable for artillery by the next
morning. General Sherman, however, followed the enemy,
finding that the main part of the army had retreated in
Hospitals of the enemy's wounded were found all
along the road as far as pursuit was made. Dead bodies
of the enemy and many graves were also found.
I in close herewith report of General Sherman,
which will explain more fully the result of this
Of the part taken by each separate command I
cannot take special notice in this report, but will do
so more fully when reports of division commanders are
General Buell, coming on the field with a distinct
army long under his command, and which did such
efficient service, commanded by himself in person on the
field, will be much better able to notice those of his
command who particularly distinguished themselves than I
I feel it a duty, however, to a gallant and able
officer, Brig. Gen. W. T. Sherman, to make a special
mention. He not only was with his command during the
entire two days' action, but displayed great judgment
and skill in the management of his men. Although
severely wounded in the hand the first day his place was
never vacant. He was again wounded, and had three horses
killed under him.
In making this mention of a gallant officer no
disparagement is intended to the other division
commanders, Maj. Gens. John A. McClernand and Lewis
Wallace, and Brig. Gens. S. A. Hurlbut, B. M. Prentiss,
and W. H. L. Wallace, all of whom maintained their
places with credit to themselves and the cause.
General Prentiss was taken prisoner in the first
day's action, and General W. H. L. Wallace severely,
probably mortally, wounded. His assistant
adjutant-general, Capt. William McMichael, is missing;
probably taken prisoner.
My personal staff are all deserving of particular
mention, they having been engaged during the entire two
days in conveying orders to every part of the field. It
consists of Col. J. D. Webster, chief of staff; Lieut.
Col. J. B. McPherson, chief engineer, assisted by
Lieuts. W. L. B. Jenney and William Kossak; Capt. J. A.
Rawlins, assistant adjutant-general; Capts. W. S.
Hillyer, W. R. Rowley, and C. B. Lagow, aides-de-camp;
Col G. G. Pride, volunteer aide, and Capt. J.P. Hawkins,
chief commissary, who accompanied me upon the field.
The medical department, under the direction of
Surgeon Hewitt, medical director, showed great energy in
providing for the wounded and in getting them from the
field regardless of danger.
Colonel Webster was placed in special charge of
all the artillery and was constantly upon the field. He
displayed, as always heretofore, both skill and bravery.
At least in one instance he was the means of placing an
entire regiment in a position of doing most valuable
service, and where it would not have been but for his
Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, attached to my
staff as chief engineer, deserves more than a passing
notice for his activity and courage. All the grounds
beyond our camps for miles have been reconnoitered by
him, and plats carefully prepared under his supervision
give accurate information of the nature of approaches to
our lines. During the two days' battle he was constantly
in the saddle, leading troops as they arrived to points
where their services were required. During the
engagement he had one horse shot under him.
The country will have to mourn the loss of many
brave men who fell at the battle of Pittsburg, or
Shiloh, more properly. The exact loss in killed and
wounded will be known in a day or two. At present I can
only give it approximately at 1,500 killed and 3,500
The loss of artillery was great, many pieces
being disabled by the enemy's shots and some losing all
their horses and many men. There were probably not less
than 200 horses killed.
The loss of the enemy in killed and left upon the
field was greater than ours. In wounded the estimate
cannot be made, as many of them must have been sent back
to Corinth and other points.
The enemy suffered terribly from demoralization
A flag of truce was sent in to-day from General
Beauregard. I inclose herewith a copy of the
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Capt. N.H. McLean,
A. A. G., Dept. of the Miss., Saint Louis, Mo.
Source: The Official Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies