The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 520
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
subordinates created respect and confidence; staff organization
was admirable. For six months he displayed successful strategy
in concealing from the enemy the actual size of his army and so
gained time to strengthen his force. After the fall of Fort Henry
and the breach of his line, he declared Fort Donelson untenable
and yet ordered reinforcement of that post in what was "the
most grievous error of military judgment of his career." As a
result the Confederacy lost Kentucky and Tennessee and an im-
portant part of Johnston's army. While retreating south, the gen-
eral worked to restore spirit and create an effective force, making
skillful tactical use of his cavalry as he sought to recover morale
In late March, 1862, Federal troops were at Pittsburg Landing,
and Johnston had united his forces twenty-five miles south at
Corinth. His task was to change unseasoned officers and a multi-
tude of recently defeated raw troops into an offensive army in
a period of less than two weeks, for he was forced to attack before
Grant was reinforced. The Confederates had moved to attack
position on April 5, when P. G. T. Beauregard, who had declined
Johnston's offer of the command, argued that the advantage of
surprise had been lost and that the Confederates should return
to Corinth. Instead, Johnston pursued his attack order in a de-
cision well justified, for the Union troops were taken by complete
surprise at his turning a retreat into a counteroffensive. As he
rode in the front line, reassuring his men and even participating
in the assault, minus staff and minus the surgeon whom he had
sent to care for Confederate and prisoner wounded, Johnston
was shot in the leg and died within fifteen minutes from loss of
Beauregard, assuming command, pressed the attack but desisted
at night, a night during which the Federal position was so rein-
forced that April 7 saw a reversal of the tide of battle which
forced Beauregard to retreat to Corinth. Possibly because he had
suffered too many casualties in this engagement described as "the
epitome of battle," Grant failed to follow and destroy the Con-
For a century, post-war tacticians have argued the might-have-
beens of Shiloh. If Johnston had lived, would he have won? If
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965, periodical, 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/m1/607/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.