By Jack Hurst, Joe Barrett
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Additional resources for Born to Battle
He knew Confederates were gathering around Corinth, twenty-five miles south-west of Pittsburg Landing. Their numbers were reported to be anywhere from 20,000 to five times that, and Grant wanted to attack before they consolidated. He was certain they would not leave the Corinth fortifications in force. He knew, though, that a significant Confederate unit was “hovering,” as he put it, to the west of his troops at Crump’s Landing. He had a division’s supplies stockpiled at Crump’s, five miles north of Pittsburg on the same side of the Tennessee, and he worried that Confederates might raid there before he could send reinforcements.
His horse fell on the watery road and pinned its rider. He returned to Savannah with an ankle so swollen that the boot had to be cut off. Still, he had learned that out in front, much closer than Corinth, were Confederate cavalrymen accompanied by at least three pieces of artillery and some infantry. “How much,” Grant wrote Halleck on Saturday, April 5, “cannot of course be estimated. ”8 He turned out to be anything but, as he learned all too well the next morning. The Confederates had beaten Halleck to his great battle.
The smashing victory he had won at Fort Donelson sustained him. 4 Grant’s first task was to rejoin his men. During his post-Donelson removal, his erstwhile army had swelled from three to five divisions: 39,000 men. Halleck had put General Smith in command and ordered them seventy-five miles farther south on the Tennessee River. Smith’s orders were to do nothing to bring on a full-scale battle. He debarked most of his force just north of the Mississippi state line at two steamboat landings, Pittsburg and Crump’s, and allowed his ground commander, Brigadier William Tecumseh Sherman, to arrange them willy-nilly.