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Ozzy

Jackson HQ

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General Beauregard arrived at Jackson, Tennessee on February 17th and established his Headquarters there for Army of the Mississippi. Why Jackson? In 1862 it was a sizable town with workshops for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. That rail line -- on mostly new track -- extended north all the way through Humboldt to Fort Columbus in Kentucky, allowing rapid movement of troops by rail; and the adjoining telegraph line permitted instantaneous electronic communications from Fort Columbus to Mobile... and beyond. And the Central of Mississippi Railroad terminated at Jackson: that line connected to the Memphis & Charleston at Grand Junction (where Beauregard ordered a large force of troops in process of organizing the Army of the Mississippi) and the existence of the Central of Mississippi allowed "alternative routing of troops and supplies" in the event the M & O R.R. was cut.

From Jackson, General Beauregard made use of the telegraph (and trusted couriers, such as Colonel Thomas Jordan) to communicate with his subordinate generals and order Bragg to Corinth and Polk to Humboldt. Other forces were ordered to Iuka, Biernsville (Burnsville), and Bethel. But equally important: the less-than-fit Beauregard could use Jackson as a "retreat" and attempt to rest and recover from his recent throat surgery, out of sight of prying eyes. Firing off orders via telegraph and courier permitted the General to "stay in close contact" without the need to expose his personal appearance to scrutiny (which could have been disconcerting if "the jaundiced appearance" became too widely known.) PGT Beauregard continued his Headquarters at Jackson (at the home of Judge Milton Brown) until March 27th, when he removed permanently to Corinth.

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 7 pages 899-901 and OR 11 page 301

http://shilohdiscussiongroup.com/index.php?/topic/1792-the-railroads-part-3/#comment-12045   Railroads at Jackson, Tennessee

http://www.nytimes.com/1862/03/25/news/nrws-tenneesee-concentration-rebels-corinth-beauregard-jackson-building-rebel.html   March 24th 1862 article in New York Times indicating Northern knowledge of General Beauregard's presence at Jackson, Tennessee (and assistance given by Judge Milton Brown, Superintendent of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.)

 

N.B.  Also, the first contact with General Van Dorn suggesting joint operations in the Mississippi River Valley was made by Beauregard on February 21st from his HQ at Jackson [OR 7 pages 899-901].

 

 

 

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The reason I find this information of interest...

From my readings, I was of the opinion that the bulk of Confederate forces collected at Corinth in March 1862, and conducted a fair amount of training before marching north towards destiny at Shiloh. I now find that only Bragg had a force of any size at Corinth: Polk was at Humboldt; Beauregard was at Jackson, Bethel and Grand Junction (and at Corinth from New Orleans, Ruggles); Crittenden was a late replacement by Breckinridge with forces at Iuka and Biernsville. And General A. S. Johnston only arrived at Corinth end of March; and his force marched out April 3rd. With such a scattering of forces (and the Commander (until A.S. Johnston arrived March 24th) in seclusion at Jackson, Tennessee) doesn't seem like much opportunity for training... or coordination of forces.

Just an observation...

Ozzy

 

N.B.  And somebody was responsible for initiating those elaborate earthworks at Corinth, instead of training.

 

 

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This post reminded me of why studying the Civil War can get so confusing. The Army of Mississippi (CSA) is often referred to as The Army of the Mississippi, which is easy to confuse with the Union's Army of the Mississippi.

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Ozzy,

To help relieve any possible of confusion by the readers, remember that the army organization established four corps early in the forming of the rebel army.  The four corps were Polk's gathering at Jackson and Humboldt with troops at Union City to the north, a gathering at Lexington to watch the Tennessee River banks, Bragg's Corps at Corinth, Iuka and Grand Junction.  Detachments were spread through the area, one of which was a small unit at Pittsburg Landing, another at Burnsville Mississippi and others.  Bragg's units watched the Tennessee River banks to observe the movements of the federal troops and naval units.  There were many smaller confederate units spread through the countryside to observe the enemy, a detachment at Eastport on the river, Cheatham's division was at Purdy and Chalmer's brigade was in the vicinity of Hamburg and Monterey.  Mixed in with these infantry units were the detachments of cavalry scouts who were observing the union boats and their movements on the river.  During this time, the retreat through central Tennessee was still moving south and then west to Burnsville, Iuka and finally Corinth.  These troops were Hardee's troops from Bowling Green KY and Crittenden's troops from Somerset KY, after their defeat at Mill Springs and their retreat from Eastern Kentucky to Nashville.  

The concentration of the confederate forces came from all directions, each with their own time factors, and supply needs.  They had poor transportation when that was available.  This concentration took place over two weeks considering that some units had a long march over poor roads and suffered with the bad weather.  The rain made for muddy roads that soon deteriorated into horrible mud ruts and the rain water flooded what was left.  The full confederation of forces did not occur until later, at different times (days) and units were spread out the country side in a larger radius from Corinth that many are not aware of.  In point of fact, when the army marched out of Corinth on April 3rd, some of the units were still not concentrated with the entire army, such as Cheatham's division came from Purdy and Breckinridge's entire Reserve Corps came from Iuka MS and Tuscumbia AL.  Polk's Corps still had units moving to Corinth along the railroads but these units did arrive in Corinth to organize into brigades.  Small detachments of the Second Corps under Ruggles and later Bragg, were still moving to the main concentration at Corinth. 

For a better understanding of the movements of the confederate forces, and there were many of varying size, you must consider the time factors, weather including the rain, the condition of the roads and many normal factors of a military factor. Also, remember that General Orders #8 issued by Colonel Thomas Jordan caused confusion among the commanders and delayed their movements.  Col. Jordan was guided in writing the march orders by using a copy of Napoleon's orders issued for the Battle of Waterloo.  I believe that this last is a example of what not to do. 

Enjoyed your posts

Ron           

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Jim

While investigating the rift that developed between President Jefferson Davis and General PGT Beauregard,  it might have been "a step in the right direction" for Beauregard to name his new organization in the Western Theatre, the "Army of Mississippi" (with Davis being from Mississippi, and proudly so.)

However, Beauregard was from New Orleans Louisiana, and proudly so; and went west to get away from "undue influence and toxic conflict" that had developed in his personal and professional relations IRT President Davis. And when he named "his" army, Beauregard titled it, "Army of the Mississippi" (with a nod towards New Orleans and other important points in the Mississippi River Valley.) In just about every communication sent by General Beauregard from Jackson [to be found in OR 7 and OR 11, and in the below "Summary of Operations in Tennessee"] the General labels his Command as "Headquarters, Army of the Mississippi, Jackson, Tennessee" [page 69 of Summary]. Polk [page 34] and Bragg [page 69] also labelled themselves as "Grand Divisions" of the Army of the Mississippi.

Cheers

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 7 and OR 11

http://www.artcirclelibrary.info/Reference/civilwar/1862-03.pdf  Summary of Operations in Tennessee March 1862, pages 34 and 69

 

N.B.   Also of interest, General U.S. Grant briefly established Headquarters at Jackson Tennessee, and stayed at Duke House (while Beauregard had his Headquarters at Judge Milton Brown's home during his stay in Jackson.)

 

 

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Ron

Thanks for summarizing where all the forces that ultimately comprised the Confederate Army of the Mississippi arrived from. The information I was attempting to relay is the following: most references condense the formation of the Confederate force as "taking place at Corinth" (yet that assembly only truly began to occur with the arrival of General A.S. Johnston on March 24th, in my opinion.) In the weeks prior to Johnston's arrival, 15,000 troops were gathered at Corinth; but over 21,000 troops were dispersed "everywhere else" [see page 11 of below reference.] Therefore, the Confederate force was not "gathering at Corinth."  It was being collected in a crescent that extended along railroad lines from Humboldt, south through Grand Junction, east through Corinth to Iuka and Biernsville. That collection was assembled into an attacking force at Corinth, beginning March 24th.

And the importance of this:  it is difficult to conduct "joint operation training" as brigades and divisions, with those units so widely dispersed. Probably a lot of company drill and regimental drill took place; but there was not much opportunity for large-scale training during the brief time the Confederate attacking force was assembled at Corinth.

You fight the way you train...

Ozzy

 

Reference:  http://www.artcirclelibrary.info/Reference/civilwar/1862-03.pdf  Summary of Ops in Tennessee March 1862

 

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