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  1. Yesterday
  2. We all think we know the meaning of the idiom, “to turn a fort,” but do we? A military phrase taken from the French (as was most 19th century military terms) the French equivalent appears to be “tournailler une fortification” (literally “to spin the position like a toy top,” but militarily “to isolate the position; render it ineffectual.”) In the same way “piquet” became picket, the unpronounceable “tournailler” became turn; but the intended meaning remained unchanged. Why is this important? The Confederate position at Fort Columbus, with its 140 guns manned by 13000 soldiers, sited on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River (where a stout barrier chain stretched across from Kentucky to Missouri, and that chain defended by torpedoes of proven ability) ...this position created and operated by Major General Polk was deemed “impregnable” in January 1862 by none other than Henry Halleck (who also labelled Fort Columbus as a “Gibraltar.”) It was acknowledged that any attempt to assault Fort Columbus directly would require tens of thousands of Federal troops. The position might be taken, but the resulting bloodbath would be deemed unacceptable by the people of the North. To slant the odds more in favor of the North, and to “soften” the position prior to launching an infantry assault, it was deemed a requirement for the U.S. Navy to bombard Fort Columbus with 13-inch mortars. Besides wreaking havoc, the shrapnel created by each bursting 200-pound shell would tend to drive Rebel defenders to cover. Over time (perhaps three days or a week) it was anticipated enough men would be killed, and survivors become so demoralized, that Federal infantry could take the position “easily” (with casualties, but not on a massive scale.) Problem was, the mortars did not arrive. So, another “method of attack” had to be substituted to “turn the fort” at Columbus. That other method was the assault on Fort Henry (and Fort Donelson) combined with destruction of the railroad bridge below Fort Henry. References: https://archive.org/details/frenchenglishmil00williala/page/326 French- English Military Terms. The Life of Andrew Hull Foote by J.M. Hoppin (1874) https://archive.org/details/lifeofandrewhull00hopprich/page/n8 SDG topic "Foote and Grant want to Seize Fort Henry" (all posts). SDG "Urgent offer to Bragg" post of 17 May 2018. SDG "Rebel Intelligence" post of 2 August 2016. SDG "Hey! Look over there..." post of 13 JAN 2016. SDG "FEB 14 1862: Fort Donelson attacked by Union Ironclads" posts of 12 JAN & 21 JAN 2016. SDG "Civil War Cannon live fire Video" post of 26 December 2015.
  3. Another excellent reference for French Military Technical Terms: https://archive.org/details/frenchenglishmil00williala/page/326
  4. Last week
  5. Grant put in his memoirs that on January 6 he wrote Halleck and asked permission to see Halleck in St. Louis. He did not actually visit Halleck at that time. Halleck gave him another assignment. In the ORs, vol. 7 page 534 is Grant’s letter to Halleck ending with “If it meets with the approval of the Gen. Comd.g the Department I would be pleased to visit Head Quarters on business connected with this command.” However, on the same day, January 6, Halleck sent Grant an order, (ORs, vol. 7, page 533). “I wish you to make a demonstration in force on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray. Forces from Paducah and Fort Holt should meet at Mayfield and threaten Camp Beauregard and Murray, letting it be understood that Dover (i. e. Fort Donelson) is the object of your attack.” Halleck told Grant to avoid a battle as they were not ready. Nowhere in this order is Fort Henry mentioned. Grant made preparations in response to the January 6 order from Halleck. Grant ordered a column from Cairo under BG John McClernand and a column from Paducah under BG C. F. Smith to make the demonstrations. In his instructions to C. F. Smith dated January 8, 1862 (Grant Papers, vol. 4, page 11) Grant wrote that he would send Smith a gunboat and Smith should send the gunboat and a transport carrying a section of Artillery and infantry up the Tennessee River. Grant made no mention of Fort Henry but thought it would aid in the deception and help prevent rebel reinforcements moving from Columbus to Bowling Green. On January 9, 1862, three days after Halleck ordered Grant to make the demonstration, Halleck wrote McClellan informing him that he had just received McClellan’s message from the third of January the previous evening. (ORs, vol. 7, page 539) Halleck did not receive McClellan’s so-called order from January 3 until the evening of January 8. By that time Halleck had already set Grant in motion to make the demonstrations. Halleck enclosed a copy of his orders to Grant for McClellan’s information. On January 10 Halleck again wrote McClellan about McClellan’s letter of January 3. (OR. Vol. 7, page 543) This time Halleck alluded that if he followed the “order” of January 3 it would cause the loss of Missouri and did McClellan really want to do that? McClellan replied to Halleck on January 13 that Halleck had not read the letter of January 3 “with much care.” McClellan declared “There is nothing in my letter that can reasonably be construed into an order…” McClellan claimed what he wanted from Halleck was his views on how to accomplish the stated goals. (ORs, vol. 7, page 547) On January 1, 1862 the commander-in-chief, President Abraham Lincoln, telegraphed Halleck that McClellan was sick and should not be disturbed with business. Halleck was ordered by the President to work directly with Buell at once. (ORs, vol. 7, page 526) Buell received the same admonitions from the President. He wrote a message to Halleck on January 3, 1862. (ORs, vol. 7, page 526). Buell declared that the power of the Confederacy is on the line from Columbus to Bowling Green and in the center the forts on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Buell wrote an attack on the flanks and center was of importance and should be done simultaneously so the Confederates could not move troops around. Buell stated that two gunboat expeditions should go the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. (hint, hint to Halleck). But Halleck did not have the troops for such expeditions and the ironclad gunboats were not ready for service. Buell pressured Halleck with; “whatever is to be done must be done in a few days.” Halleck apparently got the impression Buell was, finally, going to move against Bowling Green. He could not mount the river expeditions but he could send Grant out on the demonstrations in order to prevent rebel reinforcements being sent from Columbus to Bowling Green. In his January 6, 1862 order to Grant, Halleck told Grant that was the object of the demonstrations. (ORs, vol. 7, page 534) On January 6, 1862 Halleck sent a long synopsis to Lincoln and offered his opinion about an advance on Columbus while Buell moved on Bowling Green. It would be a repetition of the “strategic error which produced the disaster of Bull Run.” Halleck claimed such a plan would fail ninety-nine times out of hundred and was “condemned by every military authority I have [he had] ever read.” (ORs, vol. 7, page 533) On the same day that Halleck wrote Lincoln about how dumb an attack on Columbus would be Feis (William Feis, Grant's Secret Service) wants us to believe Grant wrote Halleck for a meeting to propose just such an undertaking. Feis wrote “Instead of going to St. Louis that January to propose a campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson, it is more probable that Grant hoped to convince Halleck that the time had come to eliminate Columbus.” (page 60 of Feis book) But Halleck had already pointedly stated that the true line of operations was to split the rebel defensive line in the center at the twin Forts Henry and Donelson. In late December Halleck had dinner with Sherman and Halleck’s aide, BG Cullom at the Planter’s House in St. Louis. Halleck laid a map on the table showing the rebel defensive line and asked his two guests where would be the best place to break it. They replied “in the center.” Halleck whole heartedly agreed and declared the true line of operations was to attack the rebel line on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. If Grant went to St. Louis to champion a movement against Columbus it is no wonder Halleck would toss him out. It seems to me that requesting permission from your superior officer to do something the superior officer had already condemned and told the President of the United States it would be a strategic error would not end well. Then Feis misleads us by claiming McClellan called for a demonstration against Columbus on January 3, 1862. In addition, McClellan wanted Halleck to send expeditions up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to freeze troops at Fort Donelson, Fort Henry and Clarksville. If that was not enough McClellan wanted Halleck to seize Columbus if the place seemed vulnerable. Feis wrote; “Then to accomplish this mission, Halleck ordered Grant to march east of Columbus toward Mayfield and Murray…” What is not stated is that Halleck had neither the men nor the gunboats to “accomplish this mission.” Halleck ordered Grant out with the demonstrations to keep any reinforcements moving from Columbus to Bowling Green. Feis then noted Halleck ordered Grant (Feis did not give the date but it was Jan. 6) to “make a demonstration in force on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray” using forces from Cairo and Paducah. Grant is to act like he is an advance guard of a larger force and after the demonstration is deemed finished the forces should slowly retreat back to a Paducah. Nowhere in Halleck’s instructions is there a mention of Fort Henry. Then Feis wrote “Halleck cautioned against engaging the enemy and conveniently neglected to mention McClellan’s instructions to take Columbus if the opportunity arose.” Since Halleck did not receive McClellan’s letter mentioning Columbus until the night of January 8 how could he have passed along McClellan’s instructions in an order he prepared for Grant on January 6? Feis did not explain how that would be possible. Feis also does not mention McClellan writing Halleck that only a pea-brained nincompoop would have considered McClellan’s letter of January 3 as instructions. (ORs, vol. 7, page 547) As of January 6, Halleck was not considering making any movements towards rebel strongholds until he had the situation in Missouri under control. Halleck estimated that would be around mid-February. Halleck wrote McClellan on January 20, just as Grant was returning to Cairo from the demonstration, and outlined his plan for future operations. (ORs, vol. 8, page 509)It did not include a direct assault on Columbus. He thought that was impracticable and “not a proper line of operations.” Halleck declared that a more feasible plan would be expeditions up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers towards Nashville. That would turn Columbus and cause the rebels to evacuate Bowling Green. Halleck noted he had thoroughly studied the defenses of Columbus and found them strong. Halleck wrote it would take a large siege train and a “terrible loss of life” to take Columbus. To send expeditions up the two rivers Halleck estimated it should not be attempted with no less than 60,000 men. There were only 15,000 troops available at Cairo and Paducah at that time and the gunboats were looking for crews. It has been noted that nowhere in Halleck’s order to Grant and Grant’s order to C. F. Smith is Fort Henry mentioned as a place to be threatened. The instructions from Halleck were to act as if Dover (Fort Donelson) was the target of the movement. Feis showed on page 61 of his book why one should always be skeptical of authors who are quoting short segments of reports with parts not included. Feis wants to present the idea that there was a lost opportunity to take Columbus according to McClernand’s report to Halleck of January 24. Feis wrote: “As Union troops neared Columbus during the operation, McClernand interpreted the “non-appearance” of any significant Confederate resistance to mean the enemy was “closely collected around camp fires within their entrenchments, and indisposed to take the field.” That moment, he later wrote, was perhaps the most “favorable time…for [a] successful attack and the capture of Columbus.” After observing the disappointment evinced by his men when the demonstration ended without an attempt to storm the stronghold, McClernand urged Halleck to launch an immediate attack while the enemy remained vulnerable.” (Feis book page 61) In the ORs, vol. 7, page 69 we find what McClernand wrote from which Feis cherry-picked quotations to make the claim of the “lost opportunity” to take Columbus by storm. “It was discovered that an abatis of fallen timber a half mile in width surrounded the enemy’s intrenchments. The rigor of the weather and the non-appearance of any considerable rebel force led to the belief that they were closely collected around camp fires within their intrenchments, and indisposed to take the field. It is believed that with suitable preparation on our part a favorable time was thus afforded for successful attack and the capture of Columbus.” Note Feis left out “It is believed that with suitable preparation on our part…” What McClernand noted was if the Union army had made suitable preparations they might have been able to make a successful attack on Columbus. But the army was conducting a demonstration against Columbus with no intention to attack it. Feis claimed that after McClernand stated the rebels were “indisposed to take the field” he later wrote that at that moment it was maybe the most “favorable time” to had made a successful attack. I guess technically that is true but the two referenced sentences are in the same report adjacent to each other so it was probably no more than 30 seconds. Next Feis told us that McClernand’s men were disappointed they were denied the opportunity to attack Columbus and that McClernand wanted Halleck to make an immediate attack while the rebels were vulnerable. But McClernand’s report does not say the men were disappointed they did not attack Columbus. They were disappointed that they were recalled to Cairo. I doubt the men were disappointed they were not allowed to attack through a half mile of abatis during terrible weather against intrenchments manned by an unknown number of Confederates. McClernand wrote that the advance by the Union forces was welcomed by Unionists in the area. With the withdrawal from the area McClernand was concerned of the reprisals that might be visited on the Unionists. McClernand wrote: “This consideration, with others having great weight with me, prompts me in conclusion to presume upon your indulgence so far as to urgently recommend a renewed advance of our forces, if not immediately upon Columbus, at least so far as to regain the ground we recently occupied.” McClernand went on to describe a scenario where the army could lay siege to Columbus avoiding the need to actually attempt to carry the works. The Union army did not lose an opportunity to take Columbus during the demonstrations because that was never the intent and they were not prepared to do so. Feis next lets us know that “Grant also lamented the lost opportunity. “My orders were such and the force with me also so small,” he complained, “that no attack [upon Columbus] was allowable.” This was a letter to his sister. (Grant Papers, vol. 4, page 96) Feis put [upon Columbus] into the quotation. Grant did not mention a specific location where he was not allowed to attack. The “no attack” order was placed on both McClernand and C. F. Smith. Grant’s orders to not attack applied to the whole area of the demonstrations. Halleck cobbled together as many troops as he could for the demonstration but the force was too small to attack Columbus. In Grant’s memoirs he wrote that Smith reported he thought it practicable to capture Fort Heiman. Smith sent two letters to Grant, one dated Jan. 21 and the other Jan. 22. The letters were forwarded to Halleck in St. Louis on January 23. (Grant papers, vol. 4, page 90) Neither of these letters mentioned Fort Heiman. The Confederates did not start serious work on Fort Heiman until around January 15. A citizen alerted Sidney Johnston of that fact and he telegraphed Tilghman to immediately intrench at Fort Heiman and work all night. (Johnston biography by Johnston, page 423) Fort Heiman was not finished and no cannon were in place when Smith did his demonstration. The attack plan used by Grant put no emphasis upon seizing Fort Heiman before attacking Fort Henry. Grant is not always correct in his memoirs and this could be an example of his memory not quite getting it right. It is Smith’s letter of Jan. 22 where he described his approach to Fort Henry and how easy it would be to take it with just two gunboats. It should also be noted that Smith decided to take a look at Fort Henry because he had a day to kill as the troops unloaded a steamer full of supplies 20 miles north of Fort Henry. On page 62 of his book Feis claimed that because Grant declared the mission a success before receiving a report from Smith proves that Grant was fixated on Columbus. Fort Henry and Donelson were secondary. On January 18 Grant sent a letter to McClernand starting with “The object of the expedition having been accomplished all the forces will now be withdrawn…” Grant informed Halleck the day before that he had heard from Columbus and no forces had left there for several days. That was the object of the mission – to prevent any troops from moving from Columbus to Bowling Green. On January 20 Grant wrote Halleck upon Grant’s return to Cairo the same day. Grant wrote he would prepare a report of the expedition but if Halleck would allow him to visit headquarters he would make the report in person. Grant mentioned he had not received anything official from C. F. Smith but he had information that Camp Beauregard had been destroyed (it was, by the rebels) and that the small expedition that had gone up the Tennessee River had landed two and a half miles below Fort Henry. Feis wants us to believe that since Grant requested a face-to-face meeting with Halleck before having a report from Smith that meant Grant had Columbus foremost on his mind as opposed to Forts Henry and Donelson. What Feis does not tell us is that, while Grant did not have a report from Smith, he had a report from Lt. Phelps detailing how Phelps had feigned an attack on Fort Henry on January 17 with two gunboats and a steamer with 500 infantry aboard under the orders of Smith. (ORs of the navy, page 507) The premise that Grant asked for a meeting with Halleck without any information about Smith’s foray up the Tennessee is false because Phelps made a foray up the Tennessee and he made a report on it. Feis argued that Grant was fixated on Columbus and one of his reasons stated was “the lack of attention paid to the rivers before January.” That statement would come as a surprise to Flag-Officer Foote and Lt. Phelps. Here is a list showing the number of times the Navy sent a gunboat up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to “pay attention” to what was going on at Forts Henry and Donelson. This list is based on reports in the Official Records of the Navy. There could have been other trips. September 8, 1861 – (ORs, vol. 4, page 404). Right after Grant occupied Paducah a Lincoln gunboat was reported to have been seen on the Tennessee River 30 miles below Fort Henry. Grant left two gunboats at Paducah. Early on gunboat captains were warned to proceed cautiously up the rivers lest they encounter rebel masked batteries. October 19, 1861 – (ORN, vol. 22, page 374) – Lt. Phelps steamed the Conestoga up the Cumberland to Eddyville where low water prevented him from going further. October 27, 1861 – (page 379) – Lt. Phelps returned to Eddyville with a steamer transporting 300 infantry to attack a rebel camp near Eddyville. C. F. Smith (page 380) also wrote a report. October 30, 1861 – (page 396) – Commander Porter took the New Era up the Cumberland River to Ingram’s Shoals where the Confederates had blocked the river with sunken barges. Ingram Shoals was approximately 30 miles below Dover. Porter was to pick up volunteers who wanted to join the US army. Porter wrote he heard about Fort Henry and that with his boat they could take it. November 6, 1861 – (page 394) Lt. Phelps managed to get his boat over Ingram Shoals and proceeded to within three miles of Fort Donelson. Phelps returned to Paducah, made his report and noted he was leaving again, immediately, to the same location to try to stop the trading going on. On page 427 of the ORN is a report by C. F. Smith of November 8, 1861 giving details of the forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Smith noted that Lt. Phelps is constantly moving his vessel up and down the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. November 17, 1861 – (page 435) – Lt. Phelps wrote a long report about his trip up the Cumberland River to as close to Fort Donelson he could get. He noted that he had done this several times already. On page 451 is a report by Foote dated December 5 noting that four gunboats have arrived and he needs men to man them. As soon as he gets them he wants to go up the Tennessee River and destroy rebel boats and a battery. December 8, 1861 – (page 457) – Lt. Phelps again steamed up the Cumberland to Fort Donelson and wrote a long report about his trip. December 10, 1861 – (page 461) – Lt. Phelps returned to Paducah and then immediately turned around and went back up the Cumberland to pick up refugees. He, again, made it close to Fort Donelson. January 6, 1862 – (Page 486) – Low water hampered operations on the rivers. Lt. Phelps wrote a long report about his close visit to Fort Henry. He added more information on Fort Donelson. He did this report on the same day Halleck wrote the order to Grant to make the demonstrations. I guess what constitutes “lack of attention” is in the eyes of the beholder. It took Halleck two days to approve Grant’s visit to St. Louis. He sent a telegram to Grant on January 22. C. F. Smith wrote letters about his undertakings on January 21 and 22. The January 21 letter spoke of the lousy road conditions. The January 22 letter is the one Smith mentioned that Fort Henry could be taken with two gunboats. Both of these letters were forwarded to Halleck on January 23. Grant made plans to leave for St. Louis the night of the January 23. Grant did not have Smith’s letters when he made the request for a visit to Halleck but he had them when he left for St. Louis. The idea that Feis put forth about Grant being a Johnny-come-lately to the idea that the true line of operations should be up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers is contradicted by Col. John W. Emerson in a series of stories in the Jan-Apr-June issues of The Midland Monthly. The title is “Grant’s Life in the West.” Starting on pages 114-119, continued on 219-221, Emerson recounts the circumstances of how Grant, in August of 1861, identified the true line of operations for Federal advance to be the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant laid out a plan and through his benefactor, Elihu Washburne, submitted it to President Lincoln. Of interest on pages 409-411 is an account of Grant’s meeting with Halleck in St. Louis. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011958785&view=1up&seq=6 Emerson referenced an account by John Thayer in McClure’s magazine, Vol. V, June to Nov. 1895, “Grant at Pilot Knob,” 433-437. Thayer wrote about Grant having plans about a campaign up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers while he was at Pilot Knob in August 1861. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015030656162&view=1up&seq=7 Luckily, I had a copy of Bruce Catton’s. Grant Moves South. Catton discusses the Emerson and Thayer articles. (pages 28-30) Catton points out some inconsistencies but does not downright reject these accounts as these are men who were there. However, there are some aspects in the accounts which are new to me and I had not heard them before so a little more digging is required. The point is that Grant, like many others, recognized the military significance of expeditions up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant also discussed attacks on Columbus from early on. Grant wrote in his memoirs that on January 6 he wanted to meet with Halleck and present a plan for expeditions up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. The idea that he was going to convince Halleck to let him move against Columbus makes no sense. There were about 13,000 men at Columbus behind fortifications and abatis. On January 6 Halleck wrote the President and informed him that he had 15,000 men at Cairo, Fort Holt and Paducah. Leaving guards at those places meant his available force was around 10,000 which is about the number he ordered out on the demonstrations. As Halleck wrote it would be madness to try to do anything significant (like attack Columbus) with such a small number. Grant asked for a meeting with Halleck in a letter dated Jan. 20. That does not mean he was going to take off for St. Louis without having heard from C. F. Smith. He wanted to give Halleck a report of the demonstrations in person. Grant made his departure after he received Smith’s letters. Grant has the sequence wrong in his memoirs because he did ask for the meeting before reading Smith’s letter which confirmed his view. Feis’s claim that Grant was fixated on Columbus and only changed his direction later is an analysis too contrived for me. When you factor in all the mistakes Feis made in his book and other evidence not included his conclusion fails. For instance, Feis wrote on page 63 that Smith found the roads horrible and that Grant, therefore, “knew that any reinforcements sent from Columbus to aid Fort Henry would be unable to get there very fast.” But any infantry going from Columbus to Fort Henry could have taken the railroad from Columbus to Danville on the Tennessee River where Tilghman, commander at Fort Henry, could have sent a couple steamboats to pick up the troops and take them to Fort Henry. Grant and Foote formed a tag team to hound Halleck to let them move against Fort Henry. But Foote claimed that Grant originally wanted to go up the Cumberland against Fort Donelson. Early reports had Fort Donelson as weaker than Fort Henry. Foote wrote in a report (ORN, page 314) to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, November 13, 1862, that when four of the ironclads were ready Foote proposed to Grant to take the boats and 6,000 troops and attack Fort Henry. Foote wrote that Grant preferred to attack Fort Donelson on the Cumberland. Foote claimed he convinced Grant to attack Fort Henry if Halleck’s agreement could be obtained. No dates are given but I assume this occurred before Grant went to see Halleck in St. Louis. Grant returned to Cairo after his rebuff from Halleck the morning of Jan. 28. Perhaps it is on his return that Foote convinced Grant to get Halleck to agree to let them attack Fort Henry for it is on Jan. 28 that both Grant and Foote sent telegrams to Halleck to let them take Fort Henry. (Grant Papers, vol. 4, page 99) Grant followed through with another telegram on Jan. 29 and Halleck, finally, gave his consent on Jan. 30. Halleck’s time frame had him ordering an advance in mid-February. What convinced him to go now was not the telegrams from Foote and Grant. But those telegrams showed Halleck that those two were ready and itching to attack the rebels now. On Jan. 29 Halleck received a short telegram from McClellan (ORs, vol. 7, page 571) passing along information from a deserter that Beauregard was ordered to Kentucky to assist Johnston and that he was coming with 15 regiments. Of course, it wasn’t true but Halleck acted as if it was. He sent McClellan a telegram on January 30 (ORs, vol. 7, page 571) telling him that his telegram had been received and that Grant and Foote would be immediately ordered to attack Fort Henry so as to take possession before Beauregard showed up. As further confirmation that it was the Beauregard news that prompted Halleck to act on February 6 Halleck telegraphed McClellan and ended with the sentence “I was not ready to move, but deemed best to anticipate the arrival of Beauregard’s forces.” I have searched in vain for any reaction from Halleck to the fact he sent out the demonstrations in early January based on his belief Buell was about to move against Bowling Green and that never happened. Then Halleck ordered the advance on Fort Henry because McClellan told him Beauregard was coming west with 15 regiments and that never happened either. When Grant wrote his memoirs it was 20 years after the events. He has some details wrong but his remembrance that when he requested to meet with Halleck in January of 1862 to propose a movement up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers because that was the true line of operations is not fiction. Sure, Grant was interested in taking Columbus but in early January there were more Confederates at Columbus behind fortifications and abatis than Grant could muster against them. Anyway, Halleck was calling the shots, not Grant, and Halleck had no intention of sending a force against Columbus. The movement against the center of Johnston’s defensive line was an obvious military objective. The idea was put forth by many people so no one is given the credit for thinking of it. Grant noted this when he wrote to his benefactor, Elihu Washburne, on March 22, 1862. From Bruce Catton’s, Grant Moves South, page 29; “Grant wrote to Washburne saying that it was idle to give credit for the move up the Tennessee to any specific general; the strategic soundness of the plan was obvious, he said—‘General Halleck no doubt thought of this route long ago, and I am shure I did.’” Hank
  6. Ozzy

    Crump wharf

    General Grant's Bodyguard at Savannah It has been discovered that Major General Grant had, acting as his bodyguard at Savannah, a detachment of cavalry under command of Captain Ned Osband, from Dickey's 4th Illinois Cavalry. Including Captain Osband, this detachment was likely six or eight men (and if any of these made the Sunday morning voyage aboard Tigress with General Grant, they likely took their horses along.) Reference: Shiloh Report of Frank W. Reilly https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-04-14/ed-1/seq-1/ in Chicago Daily Tribune of 14 APR 1862 page one.
  7. Earlier
  8. Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball Was poking around on the internet and stumbled upon the link for the above sports organization: apparently, there have been at least two games of Vintage Base Ball played at Shiloh NMP in 2019 (scroll down for teams and results.) Good to see America's Game returned to Pittsburg Landing. http://tennesseevintagebaseball.com/calendar/2019-regular-season/ Base Ball at Shiloh NMP on 6 APR 1019.
  9. Ozzy

    Who was Sans Peur?

    Well Done, Hank! Came across mention of this man as I was attempting to find the remaining names of men acknowledged as members of General Johnston's staff (posted in SDG “Albert Sidney Johnston's Staff.”) And you are right about The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston: this “fearless man” is indicated as Randolph only a couple of times, and usually as “Ran.” And he experienced a unique perspective of General Johnston that would be worthwhile in tracking down (should he have sent any letters, or told his story...) It is recorded that 28 year old Randolph was manumitted by Albert Sidney Johnston in 1860 and that he then accompanied the General on the sea voyage from New York to Aspinwall, crossed the Isthmus and continued by sea to San Francisco, where General Johnston took up his last Federal post, as Commander of the Pacific Department on 15 JAN 1861. General Johnston learned of the secession of his state, Texas, by Pony Express and submitted his Letter of Resignation, dated 10 April 1861, to the War Department in Washington. And he maintained the Pacific Department, and acted in good faith to his employer, the U.S. Government, until General E. V. Sumner arrived from the east and relieved him on 25 April. (It is recorded that the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, received the Letter from Johnston, but did not act on it until 6 May; General Johnston's resignation was accepted, and back-dated to 3 May 1861.) Due to “intelligence” received indicating Federal authorities would arrest him at Port of New York if he attempted to return east by steamer, A.S. Johnston decided to ride east from Los Angeles: the overland route, much of which was across barren wastes and desert, during the heat of Summer. Members of the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles volunteered to accompany General Johnston on his journey (and some sources record Randolph Hughes as belonging to that organization, while others indicate, “he was a civilian, driving the General's carriage and cooking his meals.” Regardless, it is obvious from letters written that General Johnston enjoyed the man's company and appreciated Ran's contribution to the success of the trek. The party of 36 men reached Texas in July and disbanded. General Johnston (and Randolph) continued on to the Confederate Capital of Richmond, arriving there early September. Johnston was assigned to command of Department No.2 and took up Headquarters at Bowling Green (now possible due Major General Polk's occupation of Columbus, Kentucky.) And it is likely that Randolph Hughes went in company with General Johnston. Colonel William Preston Johnston records that, “Ran accompanied the General to the Battlefield of Shiloh, acting as body-servant and cook.” There is no more record of Randolph, except Colonel Johnston indicates after the death of General Johnston, “Ran remained in the Confederate Army until the close of the war.” References: The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston (especially pages 171, 248 & 279). Albert Sidney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics by Charles P. Roland, Uni Press of KY (2001) page 242. http://www.militarymuseum.org/LosAngelesMountedRifles2.html Los Angeles Mounted Rifles.
  10. Randolph Hughes – body servant and personal cook to General Johnston. A “civilian” acting on behalf of Albert Sidney Johnston whose likely duty involved driving the General's carriage and setting up and maintaining the General's camp.
  11. hank

    Who was Sans Peur?

    Randolph. He was not a slave because Johnston had manumitted him when Johnston went to the west coast. Randolph, or Ran, went with Johnston to California as a free man and received wages for his services as cook. Johnston also wrote that Ran was a good with the mules. (Source: Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston by Colonel William Preston Johnston)
  12. Besides staff officers, there was another man present who accompanied General A.S. Johnston from Corinth to the Battlefield of Shiloh. This man had also ridden across the desert with Johnston in June/ July 1861 from California to Texas (one of the thirty-five stalwarts, along with Ridley, Frazee, Wickliffe and Hardcastle) and General Johnston described this man in a letter to his wife as, “sans peur – without fear.” But, because this man's name is often abbreviated, or misspelled, he often gets missed in official records (and there is no record of him on this SDG site, until now.) What was this man's name? Bonus: What was his role? [Hint: not a slave.]
  13. Ozzy

    Crump wharf

    Orderly Napoleon Trambly (likely passenger) When General Earl Van Dorn made his daring raid upon Holly Springs, Mississippi morning of December 20th 1862 he destroyed the Supply Depot (valued at $400,000) and took 1500 men of the garrison prisoner. Not recognized by many: at the time of Van Dorn's raid, General U.S. Grant was at his headquarters at Oxford Mississippi, 30 miles south of Holly Springs. General Grant returned north to Holly Springs on 22 DEC 1862 and somewhere along the way his orderlies were captured. On 31 DEC 1862 U.S. Grant sent the following communication by flag of truce: “To Commanding Officer, Southern Forces at Grenada Sir: Lieut Gile of the 4th Illinois Cavalry as bearer of flag of truce goes to the lines of the Confederate Army in charge of the seven paroled prisoners of war, who I propose to exchange for an equal number of Federal prisoners [the names of which] towit: Private W. H. Hessan 78th Ohio Private Napoleon Trembly 1st Illinois Artillery Private F. E. Lovejoy 4th Illinois Cavalry Private Jno. Farrar 4th Illinois Cavalry Private Chas. Water 4th Illinois Cavalry Private D. N. Johnson 1st Kansas Private A. Remington 10th Iowa Very Respectfully and etc. U S Grant Maj Gen” Why is this information here? Because in trying to track down names of men who rode aboard Tigress with General Grant on Sunday morning 6 April, the fact there were “several orderlies” mentioned as being in company (and who likely were needed to help the swollen-ankle Grant aboard his horse) led to investigate their names. On the above list, it is known that Napoleon Trambly (also spelled Trembly and Trembley) was in service as Orderly with General Grant at Savannah Tennessee, and likely rode with Grant aboard Tigress. Remington and Johnson were late additions to Grant's staff; but one or more of the others listed could have been on duty as orderlies prior to Battle of Shiloh. Looking for confirmation... References: Papers of US Grant vol.7 page 147 (and pages 80 - 85 for more information IRT Van Dorn's raid) https://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/acm/cav004-a.html Illinois Civil War records and muster rolls (4th Ill Cav Co.A) https://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/acm/art-1c.html 1st Illinois Light Artillery Battery C (Napoleon Trambly) https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112047586026&view=1up&seq=400 78th OVI records, listing Captain W. H. Hessin, who was enlisted as Private in Company I in December 1861 and promoted to Second Lieutenant (and assigned to Co.A) in 1863. Promoted to 1st Lt in Co.A and promoted to Captain in January 1865 and returned to command Co.I of 78th OVI (name also spelled "Hessan").
  14. mona

    John Rea Farm

    i dont know..have not ever heard of a location in shiloh area know as bagwell...but will ask around.
  15. Created by the Confederate States Government in 1862, this Ordnance Manual is of value because it acts as a basic primer for ANYONE unfamiliar with artillery, the names and function of different types of cannon and mortars, their component parts, and basics of their operation. Included: - pages 5 - 6 Names of parts of an artillery piece; - pp.22 - 24 Types of projectiles; - pp.26 - 28 Parts of gun carriages and limber; - page 30 The travelling forge; - page 31 The mountain howitzer; - pp.35 - 42 Equipment required for operation of artillery piece; - pp.43 - 47 Equipment required for horses; - pp.60 - 62 Cleaning and maintenance of ordnance; - pp.72 - 80 Gunpowder and gun powder charge; - pp.81 - 82 Fuse (and fuze) and timers for shells; - pp.90 - 93 Ammunition chest (ammunition storage and transport) - page 97 Limber chest contents; - page 101 Smithy tools; - pp.142 - 3 Josiah Gorgas, Colonel CSA, Ordnance (the likely producer of this manual.) https://archive.org/details/fieldmanualforus00conf/page/n1 Field Manual for Use of the Officers on Ordnance Duty. [If you ever had a question about artillery and cannon, but were unwilling to embarrass yourself and ask, you will likely find the answer, here.] N.B. In response to a question posed some time ago, "What were cannon balls coated with to prevent them from rusting?" The answer: coal-tar.
  16. 67th Tigers Thanks for providing clarity and documentation supporting Confederate troop numbers and identity of units assigned to Fort Donelson before the surrender of 16 FEB 1862. Another source of information: Prisoner of War records. The approximately 12000 Rebel prisoners were progressively shipped north after February 16th to Camp Douglas, Illinois (about 8000 men), Camp Morton, Indiana (3000) and Camp Chase, Ohio (800). These records are accessible at Family Search via the link https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1916234. [Click on "Browse through 51108 images" for record access. Free account with Family Search required for access to their records -- takes two minutes.] In addition, it appears one unit was assigned to Fort Donelson, but for some reason was posted opposite the fort, on the east bank of the Cumberland River. Scott's Louisiana Regiment (of cavalry) may have been kept on the other side of the river, on the orders of General Buckner, due to a recent outbreak of measles in the regiment. The location proved fortuitous, because the regiment was not surrendered; after February 16th Scott's Louisiana made its way east, passed through Nashville, and is next reported ahead of Buell's Army of the Ohio in March, likely responsible for destroying the bridge over Duck River near Columbia. Cheers Ozzy
  17. This was, of course, a fiction on Grant's behalf. As Feis has pointed out, Grant was obsessed with Columbus and resisted moving against Fort Henry etc. In fact, the movement against Fort Henry was part of McClellan's 3rd January order to Halleck, and was designated as a feint attack. The main effort would be on the Cumberland against Dover (i.e. Ft Donelson). However, the rebels gave up the fort, and hence it was occupied. Grant doesn't appear to get on board with the idea of a Ft Henry attack until after CF Smith returns after the 25th January.
  18. Most people reference Gott's book when giving Confederate strength at Fort Donelson. Gott mostly uses the "tabular statement" compiled at the time: He then proceeds to make a few imputations for units not included above. Investigation has shown that every unit he imputed is already in this list. They are: Culbertson's Battery of 300; these were the men manning the water battery, but were detachments from units in the list. The battery was manned by Maury's (Ross') battery, Coy A of 30th TN and Coy A of 50th TN. These units are on the list, and Gott double counts them. Melton's scouts are listed in the table as having 15 men. Gott gives them 58. Major Fielding Gowan's Tennessee cavalry squadron is listed on the table as having 60. Gott estimates 170. The Kentucky cavalry coys were attached to Forrest's regiment, and are included in it (see the returns below). Gott doesn't list sources, but gives Huey's coy an incredible 112. Also, for no reason Gott added 150 surrendered to the 48th TN. Finally, there is an addition error in his artillery table. We also have the returns for the formations a mere two weeks prior to Fort Donelson: Of these formations, the majority of the 4th Division, the whole of Floyd's "division" and Clark's brigades, and the artillery and 7 regiments of Buckner's division were at Donelson. Fortunately Buckner broke down the regiments strengths in his report and it is close to 7/12ths of his January return, and can be accepted. The PFD at Donelson can be (over)estimated thus: Thus the estimate of 13,000 given by the likes of Pillow seems accurate. Note that the highest figure given by any confederate is by Preston Johnston, but he double counted Clark's and Floyd's brigades. Removing the double counts give 15,000, which is consistent with the returns.
  19. Regular and volunteer rank are different, and were set separately. The regular army clearing out was published as GO64 of 1861, and it made Halleck a MG in the regular army dated 19th August 1861, and hence 4th ranking general in the whole army (after Scott, McClellan and Fremont). GO62 related to the volunteer force, and BG(V) seniority was based on regular army seniority. If you look at the list, all currently serving officers are first, in order of seniority. WT Sherman as Col of the 13th Inf, and hence was very high up the list. Buell was a regular Lt Col, and so listed below the Cols (2 below Sherman). The most junior serving officer to be made BG(V) was Capt Pope. Then came all ex-regulars, with seniority equal to their rank. Grant had left as a capt, and so his seniority placed him below the likes of Lt Col Hooker and Maj Kearny. After the ex-regulars came the pure volunteers, and it looks like those who had Federalised militia commissions came first, and finally those who were direct appointees, such as BG(V) McClernand. All the Commissions awarded by the time the Senate confirmed appointments en masse in early August were dated to 17th May '61. Those whose Commission was confirmed after this date were added with the date of confirmation, and regular rank was not counted. Hence Thomas and CF Smith, whose BG(V) ranks were awarded later were low on the list. Regulars in a rank were always senior to the volunteers, regardless of dates. Volunteer rank could be revoked at any time by the Secretary of War, even if confirmed (as he did to Stone). Regular rank could only be removed by a court martial.
  20. One of the leaders in the Confederate Army of the Mississippi that we think we know enough about, but fail to fully appreciate (perhaps because he was a late entry, put in charge of the Reserve Corps after General Crittenden was removed): John C. Breckinridge. As everyone knows, Breckinridge was VP under Buchanan; but he was Senator from Kentucky when war broke out in April 1861... How did that come about? Born in Lexington Kentucky into a political family, Breckinridge studied law and graduated from Transylvania College in 1841, aged 20. Moving to Iowa Territory, John Breckinridge set up a Law Office at Burlington; but returned home to Kentucky to visit relatives Summer of 1843, and met and married a cousin of his law partner, Mary Cyrene Burch. The Burlington Law Office was closed, and the young couple settled in Georgetown Kentucky. The Mexican War erupted in 1846, and John Breckinridge attempted to join a Kentucky regiment, but was disallowed. So, instead of serving in Mexico, Breckenridge built up his law practice (now established in Lexington) until the decision preventing him from serving in the Army was reversed. In August 1847, the 3rd Kentucky Volunteers, along with Major Breckinridge, set off for the war; and arrived in time to help garrison newly captured Mexico City. [There is dispute whether John Breckinridge became a member of the prestigious Aztec Club, as his name is not listed among the Original Members. However, a grandson, James C. Breckinridge, became a Hereditary Member in 1887 and this was only possible if Major Breckinridge was eligible.] One fallout from duty in Mexico was the Gideon Pillow case, resulting in Court-Martial in 1848. Major Breckinridge acted as Defence for Brigadier General Pillow, with the result of No Verdict. A subsequent Court of Inquiry exonerated General Pillow (but he was never made a Member of the Aztec Club.) John Breckinridge entered politics and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1850, was reelected in 1852 and served until 1855. He was subsequently installed on the ticket as James Buchanan's running mate during the 1856 election, and subsequently served as Vice President until March 4th 1861 (when Hannibal Hamlin was sworn in as VP under President Lincoln.) When Vice President Hamlin swore in newly elected Senators a few days later, John Breckinridge was sworn in as Senator from Kentucky (filling a vacancy.) [And while serving as VP John Breckinridge was on the ballot as Southern Democrat candidate for President in the 1860 election. As result of the NOV 1860 election, Breckinridge gained the second highest number of electoral votes in the 4-way race, and lost to Republican Abraham Lincoln.] Senator Breckinridge managed to hold onto his seat, and vote on crucial measures, until December 1861, when a vote of the Senate declared him a Traitor, and expelled him. (Breckinridge had joined the Confederate Army in November. His expulsion followed those of ten other Southern Senators expelled in July.) Commissioned Brigadier General with effect from 2 NOV 1861, two weeks later he was given command of the 1st Kentucky Brigade, under overall command of General Albert Sidney Johnston, and organized that collection of Kentucky units at Bowling Green. With the loss of Fort Donelson in FEB 1862 Breckinridge led his brigade south through Nashville and eventually took up the line of the Memphis & Charleston R.R. west to Corinth. With the removal of Brigadier General George Crittenden end of March 1862, John Breckinridge gained elevation to command of the Reserve Corps, just in time for Shiloh. Following the Battle of Shiloh, General Breckinridge was Mentioned in Despatches by General PGT Beauregard and is noted for his impressive rear-guard action during Confederate withdrawal to Corinth. During the Siege of Corinth Major General Breckinridge continued in command of the Reserve Corps; he continued to serve in the field (Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and New Market most noteworthy) and in 1865 was called from active duty and installed as the last Confederate Secretary of War. With the pending loss of the Capital at Richmond in April 1865, John Breckinridge fled south with President Davis and the Cabinet; and Breckinridge was one of the few to evade capture, reaching safety in Canada. References: https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2011/novemberdecember/feature/the-man-who-came-in-second John C. Breckinridge https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024738/1862-05-10/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1862&sort=relevance&rows=20&words=Peyton&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=19&state=Virginia&date2=1862&proxtext=Peyton&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=6 The Daily Dispatch (Richmond Virginia) 10 MAY 1862 page 2 col. 5 "Shiloh Report of General Beauregard" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GGmFkl-bzw [Just an interesting John C. Breckinridge relic or two...]
  21. Jefferson Davis at West Point Stumbled upon this reference while searching for something else... but it piqued my curiosity due to the fact so many West Point-trained men occupied senior positions during the War of the Rebellion, and especially after reading that, “no change was made to the entrance conditions [to gain admission to the United States Military Academy] until 1866.” Besides courses on offer, the style of uniform and description of military training, and conditions endured at the time, significant personalities mentioned include Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Major W. I. Worth, Ormsby Mitchel, Leonidas Polk, Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, John B. McGruder, Albert Sidney Johnston, Crafts Wright, Henry Clay, Jr. Some already mentioned, but USMA alumni J. Davis (USMA 1828) due to presence of three classes above and three classes below, would have known at West Point: Class of 1825 Daniel Donelson (Fort Donelson) and Robert Anderson (Fort Sumter); Class of 1826 Albert Sidney Johnston; Class of 1827 William Maynadier (Island No.10) Napoleon Buford (Island No.10) Leonidas Polk, Thomas Worthington; Class of 1828 George Chase (Pensacola fortifications) Crafts J. Wright (13th Missouri Infantry at Shiloh); Class of 1829 Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, Ormsby M. Mitchel, Thomas Davies; Class of 1830 John B. McGruder, Robert Buchanan (officer responsible for ending US Grant's Army career); Class of 1831 Jacob Ammen, Thomas McKean, Lucius Northrop and Samuel Curtis (Battle of Pea Ridge.) This reference is provided for background information, as a means to help understand the conditions and training endured by cadets during four years at West Point. And for those with greater interest in the Military Academy of the early 19th Century, there are a dozen additional references listed, at the bottom of pages of the text. Jefferson Davis at West Point by Walter L. Fleming (first published in Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society) this copy published at Baton Rouge by LSU in 1910. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044020445540&view=1up&seq=5 J. Davis at West Point made available by HathiTrust.
  22. Mona Hope you are able to find what you are looking for. For possible assistance, the attached link is for Family Search, the Mormon Church ancestry search site provided free on the internet ( but requires two minutes to establish an account.) I've used Family Search with great success for the past ten years. https://www.familysearch.org/en/
  23. thanks... i think i found a distant relative in clanton's..my father always told of a distant relative that was killed at stones river...i am going to research..wm allen and sydney allen and robert allen..thanks
  24. VeaBug

    John Rea Farm

    My 2nd great-grandfather obituary stated, "Mr. Matthews was born March 15, 1847, on what is known as the John Rea farm, near Bagnell". Is this the same place mention in the obituary statement?
  25. My 2nd great-grandfather obituary stated, "Mr. Matthews was born March 15, 1847, on what is known as the John Rea farm, near Bagnell". Is this the same place mention in the obituary statement?
  26. Finally having acquired my copy of “Grant Under Fire” by Joseph Rose, it may be of value to provide a brief examination of how the Battle of Fort Donelson is presented: It was heartening to find mention of mortars and Flag-Officer Foote's desire to have those weapons available (yet Foote went ahead and attempted his assault against Fort Donelson without them.) Rose addresses the curious fact of General Grant NOT leaving an officer in temporary command when he departed the vicinity of Fort Donelson to visit a wounded Flag-Officer Foote. And McArthur's brigade, borrowed from General Smith and positioned on the Union right, is mentioned for its role in fighting a losing battle to hold back the Confederate break-out of February 15th. Otherwise, the Fort Donelson operation is faithfully and predictably described, beginning with Colonel Forrest's unsuccessful effort to slow the Federal advance; the disposition of Grant's forces in a semi-circle just west of the Confederate stronghold; the addition of Lew Wallace's brigade (increased on site to Division strength) and Wallace's dilemma in responding to McClernand's request for assistance (with General Grant absent, and no one acting as his agent.) The attempted Rebel break-out, rolled back in the afternoon due to incompetence, and Federal reinforcements. And C.F. Smith, Jacob Lauman and James Tuttle share credit for advancing against the Confederate right, breaching the outer works, rendering Rebel possession of the fort untenable (with subsequent surrender next morning.) Grant Under Fire. If acquired solely for its accurate depiction of the Fort Donelson operation, it is worth the purchase. Ozzy
  27. Lewis is from CO.I, 49IL. According to written accounts from his brother Cpl. Levi I Stewart CO. K, 49IL “...got kiled in the first charge...he was shot in the Breast and was kiled instantly Dead....he Was Just Buried in his Solgiers close Without any coffin rite on the Battle field...” Lewis’ remains are unaccounted for.
  28. Although similar to the first post of this topic, here is the recollection of Dabney Herndon Maury (USMA 1846): "In the Corps of Cadets [during my time there] were many besides McClellan and 'Stonewall' Jackson who have become famous. There was Grant, a very good and kindly fellow (USMA 1843) whom everybody liked. He was proficient in mathematics, but did not try to excel at anything except horsemanship. In the Riding School he was very daring. When his turn came to leap the bar, he would make the dragoons lift it from the trestles and raise it as high as their heads, when he would drive his horse over it, clearing at least six feet." https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nc01.ark:/13960/t7mp6536s&view=1up&seq=42 Recollections by D. H. Maury (1894).
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