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Part II

General Prentiss’ Camp

View of General Prentiss' Camp as the Confederate charge upon fell upon

Even though General Prentiss troops were making a gallant fight of holding their position. They soon found that the Confederates had out flank them. In total confusion General Prentiss’ entire division broke and ran. Even through all this confusion General Prentiss’ was still able in to rallying about 1,000 of his men, near the center of a line that General’s W. H. L. Wallace and General Hurlburt were forming with parts of their divisions in a very strong position to the rear. This new line now being formed, also ran through some densely wooded area that was called the old sunken road, it proved to be such a strong position for the Union that the Confederates re-named the place "The Hornets' Nest" because of the stinging shot and shell they had to face there”.

Let’s go back a little to the Headquarters of General Grant who was sitting down to his breakfast table, at his Headquarters in Savannah; soon he heard the Artillery and the shot of musketry fire at the Landing. He at once sent word to the advance of General Buell's army, which was just now arriving at Savannah, General Grant ordered General Buell to march immediately his entire division to the point on the river opposite of the battlefield; He then boarded the steamer Tigress, and headed off to Pittsburg Landing, as the Tigress began pulling along side the Warf, General Grant seeing General Lew Wallace, he shouted to him instructing the General to be prepared to execute any order he might receive from the battle field. When Grant arrived on the field, he immediately dis­patched orders to reinforce General Prentiss Division and formed a brigade in line near Pittsburg Landing, to turn the tide of stragglers from the battle and to organize them to return to the front lines. Then he rode off to the front.

While the Confederate’s right was still engaged with General Prentiss’ Division, Sherman and McClernand’s Divisions were being attack by a continuous artillery barrage, Sherman’s divisions were making a brilliantly stubborn stand all along the ridge of the old log church. This tiny little logged church was considered the key position of the field, because it commanded the best road from Corinth to Pittsburg Landing.

General Grant arrived at the old logged church, about 10 in the morning. There he found his troops were heavily engaged all along the entire front. They were subjected to relentless pounding from confederate guns, and were able to turned back many infantry charges for over 2 hours. General Grant seeing that they would not be able to hold out much longer, sent a dis­patch to General Lew Wallace at the Landing, to now move his division onto the field, Wallace was to reinforce the Union line at the Old Logged Church. After General Grant left General Sherman, he rode down the line to the left of the Church to confer with his other division commanders. He then rode over and visited General Prentiss in the Hornets' Nest and directed him to hold this position at all cost.

General Prentiss troops defended this part of Shiloh, called the Hornets' Nest, His troops repulsed the Confederate Charges against the Sunken Road

After General Grant's departure, General Sherman withdrew from their position along the church’s Ridge, in doing so he abandons his camps and all of their equipment. This is when the 4th Illinois was to lose their regimental flag, it was still in a trunk, and orders were given to a young lad to find an engineer and take the 4th Illinois Headquarters trunks back to the Landing. But before he could load the trunk with the regimental flag in it, the confederates began to over run the camp where he was, so the young lad fled and ran as quickly as he could back to the union’s new line of defense, at the Hamburg Purdy Road where General Sherman had reinforced General McClernand at his new position.

General Grant's army was now posted on both sides of Prentiss’s division, which made a line of battle almost three and one half miles long. General Johnston army was charging General Grant’s entire line of defense with a series of combined frontal attacks. At this juncture General Johnston original plans were not going as planned. He originally planned to push the hardest on the Unions left (Johnston’s Right) which he figured would push the Federal Army into the swamps of Snake Creek and Owl Creek, then destroy the Union army there. At the same time seizing the Federals base of supplies at Pittsburg Landing.

General Johnston soon saw that General Grants forces was being driven back into his base of supplies at the Landing, rather than away from it, General Johnston, rode to his extreme right to direct in person the attack of that wing of his army. When he rode up he found his troops exposed to a galling musket fire, and was unable to advance. General Johnson saw that his line needed to move forward or continue to be cut to pieces, so he ordered and led himself a suc­cessful charge. The Union lines were unable to hold, so they recoiled from their position, in doing so the confederates were able to surged forward almost a mile. General Johnston was watching from his horse, his lines reforming, then a shot rang out from the musket of an unknown Union soldier, striking the General in his right leg, severing a large artery. Approximately 2:30 p.m. the General died along side his fallen troops, due to a massive loss of blood. Perhaps General Johnson would have survived if there were a surgeon along with his staff, but the surgeon was serving elsewhere.

Ronald R Wallace

 

Part III General General Johnston Mortally Wounded

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