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I am working on a biography of Dr. Patrick Gregg of Rock Island, Illinois. He was Captain of K Company of the 58th Illinois and was captured with Prentiss. His post POW career was with the 23rd Illinois as its Surgeon. The attached file is an attempt to give context to Gregg's Shiloh's personal experience there. Critique and corrections are welcome. Biography of Patrick Gregg p1-9 Context.pdf
Captain Patrick Gregg of the 58th Illinois was one of the two hundred members of his regiment, taken prisoner at Shiloh. Along with the other 2200 Federal prisoners, he experienced the deprivations of 'half-rations,' inadequate shelter, and abundant vermin (lice). Before the end of April 1862, men began to die in the Southern prisons, due to lack of proper care. While confined as a prisoner at Selma, Alabama, Captain Gregg was appointed to a committee, with the authority to correspond with General Beauregard, in order to advocate for a 'special exchange,' of Shiloh prisoners for Fort Donelson prisoners. The correspondence was successful: General Beauregard authorized a 3-man commission, to be sent north via Richmond to Washington, D.C. to negotiate the special exchange. Patrick Gregg was one of the three selected to go. As Captain John Stibbs of the 12th Iowa noted in his diary: 'Time passed. Those of us at Selma were moved to a new prison at Madison, Georgia. We began to believe the mission had been fruitless.' Meanwhile, the commissioners were attempting to negotiate the special exchange, without luck. It is acknowledged, however, that these three men helped bring about the general program of prisoner exchange, known as the Dix-Hill Cartel of July 1862. Believing this outcome to be the best they could do, two commissioners ceased their efforts, and accepted their own 'special' exchanges. Captain Gregg pressed ahead, and eventually met President Lincoln, face to face. He told his story, and explained that he was acting on behalf of others; and demanded that he be allowed to 'complete his mission.' The President sent him on his way, with one month's pay, for every officer in captivity, and a safe-conduct pass. As Captain Stibbs relates: 'One day, we espied the tall form of Captain Gregg, marching up to our prison gate; [he was in possession of] a bag of gold, and boxes filled with clothing. God bless old Captain Gregg!' Patrick Gregg remained in custody until the general release of Shiloh prisoners, in October 1862. From the book: A Perfect Picture of Hell: eyewitness accounts by Civil War Prisoners from the 12th Iowa, edited by Ted Genoways and Hugh H. Genoways, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 2001, pp. 113-115.
As described in the 'Record of CSA Prisoners,' identities of the Confederate prisoners taken at Shiloh, and held at Camp Douglas, Chicago can be viewed, following the instructions provided on that post. For Union prisoner information, the best site I have encountered on the Internet is <www.civilwarprisoners.com> In your favorite search engine, type 'Civil War Prisoners' [enter] Select the option 'Civil War Prisons <www.civilwarprisoners.com> [enter] On the new webpage, titled 'Civil War Prisons,' from the column on the left, select Cahaba Prison [enter] New page is titled 'Search for records from Cahaba Prison,' and has three empty boxes, allowing you to conduct your search. For example, I type: G McKinnis 12th Iowa [search], and the result comes back on a new page. If you are interested in all the men taken from one regiment, complete only the third box, for example: 12th Iowa [search] and the result returns over 350 men recorded as captured. There are two failings to this site: not every prisoner is recorded (officers seem to be missing); and the last name must be spelled 'correctly,' as recorded on their data base. '0 results found' is returned until the 'correct' spelling is used. (This can be overcome by searching only for the regiment, and scanning through the results.) Although Cahaba Prison is the access point, the results return information for prisoners held at any site, except Andersonville. For Andersonville, a separate access point is provided. Also, all of the 2200 men involved in the Sultana disaster are listed. Cheers Ozzy http://www.civilwarprisoners.com/
On April 5th, 1862 Colonel R. P. Buckland, commander of the 4th Brigade, sent a daily report concerning the activity of his pickets, to his boss, General W. T. Sherman. In it, he confirmed that, 'Lieutenant Geer, my acting aide, is missing...' Beyond the Lines, or a Yankee prisoner loose in Dixie, by Captain J. J. Geer, published by J. W. Daughaday of Philadelphia, 1863. The true story of what happened to the 'acting aide,' after he was captured while investigating an attack on Union pickets, on April 4th, 1862. Taken straight away to Confederate Headquarters, Geer recounts meeting, in succession, General Bragg, General Hardee, and General Beauregard, all of whom are intent on getting him to reveal all he knows concerning Grant's strength and unit locations. After battle commenced, and no longer of potential use for intelligence, the prisoner was sent to the rear, to Corinth; where he remained until just before the arrival of General Prentiss and his 2200 fellow captives. Lieutenant Geer was sent south on the Mobile and Ohio to a brief incarceration at Columbus, Mississippi. From there, he was sent even further south, to Mobile. Eventually, six hundred captives taken at Hell's Hollow were incarcerated in a disused cotton shed in Montgomery, Alabama. J. J. Geer joined them there in late April, in time to witness 'the first reported war crime' of the Rebellion: the shooting of Lieutenant William S. Bliss, 1st Michigan Light Artillery, Company B (sometimes indicated as 'Battery B' and Ross' Battery.) Sent next to Camp Oglethorpe, 28-year-old Geer stayed only briefly, before he made his escape; he remained in hiding in Georgia swamps for three weeks, until recaptured, and sent to join General Prentiss and the other 200 Federal officers, held as prisoners at Madison, Georgia. Here he remained, along with hundreds of political prisoners from East Tennessee; and witnessed the return of Captain Patrick Gregg from his errand as commissioner to Washington, D.C. Finally, in October 1862, the general exchange was approved; and the prisons at Madison and Macon were emptied, Lieutenant Geer was sent north with the other prisoners, and continued to record his experiences: the stop at Libby Prison in Richmond; the first view in six months of 'that Glorious Flag' as they boarded the flag-of-truce boat at Aiken's Landing; the eventual arrival (of the officers) in Washington, D.C. (The enlisted men were incarcerated at Annapolis, Maryland.) John J. Geer's experience, (recorded as this book, and published June 1863), was deemed to have been of such value, that he was promoted to Captain, and sent on a 'lecture and recruiting tour' of the United States, in company with William Pittenger, one of the Medal of Honor winners from Andrew's Raid into Georgia, Beyond the Lines: a Yankee prisoner loose in Dixie is available on the internet. The Library of Congress website offers free access <archive.org/details/beyondlinesory00geer> (Sometimes, this man's name is misspelled 'Greer') Alternatively, all 300 pages of the book are again available in print, since 2010, from Kessinger Legacy Reprints, Whitefish, Montana. Ozzy http://archive.org/details/beyondlinesory00geer