Letter written by Private Henry S. Clark of Company C, 15th IL Infantry, to Frank W. Fuller, from the camp of the 15th IL near Pittsburgh Landing. Clark writes that the previous night, his regiment was ordered to fall into ranks, and the 4th Division was ordered to support a wing of the army that had been attacked by Confederate forces. However, after marching for about a mile, the order was countermanded. General Hurlbut informed them that General William T. Sherman had been attacked, but was able to drive back the Confederate forces. Clark thinks they will have a hard battle in the next week. He advises Fuller not to come, as they have plenty of men at the moment. Clark is sending Fuller some “Tennessee script” that he captured from a “live secesh at Fort Donelson.” This letter was written the day before the Confederate surprise attack at Shiloh.
Camp of the 15th Ill
1st Regt. 2nd brigade of the 4th Division Department of west Tenn. Pittsburgh landing Tennessee River Apr 3rd
Yours in haste
P.S. Well Frank I suppose that you are looking rather anxiously for news from this quarter, but when I received your very kind letter of the 19th, 24th, &c, a day or two since, I thought the show was rather poor for me to give you any (news) but this morning I can give you a little, last night about half past seven we received orders to fall into ranks immediately with
guns and equipments ready for action, the Regt was soon formed in line of battle awaiting further orders meantime the news came that the right wing of our army had been attacked by the Rebels in force and we, the 4th Division, were ordered out to support them, after standing in ranks about 15 minutes we received orders to move on, accordingly, we started forward the other Regt’s of our brigade soon joining after we left camp the whole division was soon moving until after going about one mile we were halted, there waited about 20 minutes when the order was countermanded, Gen Hurlburt came along about that time and gave the particulars of the case Gen Sherman had been attacked
but not in force, by a strong reconnoitering party, he had driven them back at a loss of 11 killed and several wounded among the killed was a Major and Capt the Rebels loss was 27 killed and 12 prisoners, number of wounded not known, it appears that we were ordered out thorough mistake of messenger sent from Sherman to Hurlburt, Sherman sent orders to have him to hold his Division in readiness to march out, thus it ended for the present, though probably before another week rolls around we will have one of the hardest battles of the war, how it will terminate God only knows, we think however that we can clean them out, but as the issue is near at hand I shall not brag, but I feel now as though I could stand up to the rack “fodder or no fodder.”
You asked me if we wanted any more help. I can’t say, but I rather think that we have got plenty of help, and I would advise you not to come at present, if at all, though of course use your own judgment, but I must say, John [Pvt. John F. Clark, Co. A, 12th IL Cavalry] was very foolish to go, a man who has got a family has no business here, I thank you for your kindness in sending those stamps, although I had plenty for present use, there is no way of getting them here, and I should have been obliged to go without when they were gone, as they cannot be bought here for love or money.
I enclose you some Tennessee script, which I got of[f] a live secesh at Fort Donelson I should have sent a more interesting memento if I had been able to but there was no opportunity to send things from there
Look to hear from me soon again and remember me as ever
your true friend
Henry S. Clark, from Lysander, IL, enlisted in Company C, 15th IL Infantry as a private on May 24, 1861. The 15th Ill. Inf. lost severely at Shiloh as a part of Veatch’s Brigade in the Hornets’ Nest on April 6, suffering about 250 casualties, including 42 dead. Clark survived the Battle of Shiloh and went on with his regiment which also participated in the Siege of Corinth, MS and the last phase of the Vicksburg Campaign. Clark mustered out on May 25, 1864