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Ozzy

Complete Victory...

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While reviewing Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (volume 13, page 402 of the April 26, 1862 edition) encountered the full copy of General Beauregard's afternoon telegram to Richmond on Day One, just before suspending offensive operations. Here is the transcript:

[From] Battle Field of Shiloh, April 6, via Corinth and Chattanooga

[To] General S. Cooper, Adjutant-General:

     We have this morning attacked the enemy in a strong position in front of Pittsburg, and after a severe battle of ten hours, thanks to Almighty God, gained a complete victory, driving the enemy from every position. The loss on both sides is heavy, including our Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who fell gallantly leading his troops into the thickest of the fight. 

G. T. Beauregard, General-Commanding.

Here are a few curiosities IRT the above telegram:

  • In my review of Southern newspapers, I have yet to find this telegram in its entirety, anywhere, prior to May 1862. Yet here it is, in Frank Leslie's Illustrated on April 26th... Wonder how the Northern newspaper got hold of it?
  • The original telegram received at Richmond would have had the relay stations -- Corinth (sending station) and Chattanooga (relay station) -- recorded. If the Confederate telegraph line was tapped, it must have occurred east of Chattanooga (perhaps in vicinity of Knoxville?)
  • "after a severe battle of ten hours..."  From this detail, the time of construction of this message by General Beauregard can be deduced. If it was believed the battle commenced with the first shots fired by the pickets, the battle began about 5am. If the advance of the first Confederate attack wave was referenced, then the attack began as late as 6am. Ten hours later places construction of the brief message between 3- 4pm (and then sent by mounted courier to the telegraph office)
  • "driving the enemy from every position..."  Jefferson Davis in his Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, bemoans the fact that what General Beauregard meant to say was this:  "We have driven the enemy from every position, but ONE.  (And this ONE cost us the Complete Victory.)"

Ozzy 

 

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