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  1. Today
  2. Earliest News Report

    Have uncovered what I believe to be the earliest newspaper report of the Battle of Shiloh, published Monday morning 7 APR 1862 at New Orleans. Had searched for this using "Shiloh" and "Pittsburg Landing" as search terms, but without success (when the article is read, it is discovered "another name" was given to the battle.) Battle of Shiloh Report on page 1, column 1, top. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015753/1862-04-07/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1862&sort=date&rows=20&words=Beauregard&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=6&state=Louisiana&date2=1862&proxtext=Beauregard&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=5 New Orleans Daily Crescent for 7 April 1862 [provided by Library of Congress, Chronicling America.]
  3. Yesterday
  4. 12th Iowa Infantry diary

    Now I just need to find someone to buy this for me
  5. Name this man.

    I revisit this topic to remind everyone that Patton Anderson (who Braxton Bragg stated "was his best friend") was the original subject. But, there is more to reveal... Because, the Patton Anderson - Braxton Bragg connection was discovered while searching for "potential ghost writers approached to assist with construction of Braxton Bragg's Memoirs." So, without further ado, those three men: Kinloch Falconer (approached in about 1870) William Thomas Walthall (approached after 1870, but went on to assist Jefferson Davis with Rise & Fall of the Confederacy) Edward Turner Sykes (approached by Bragg after Kinloch Falconer, it appears E.T. Sykes, Adjutant for the 10th Mississippi at Shiloh and briefly on the Staff of Patton Anderson, was the man selected to "assist" with Bragg's Memoirs. Volumes of documents were provided to Major Sykes... but for some reason, nothing except a few "sketches" ever eventuated, one of which was posted a day or two ago on SDG as "The 10th Mississippi Story"). Always more to the story... Ozzy
  6. 12th Iowa Infantry diary

    Stan Congratulations on a truly significant discovery: Diary of Elijah Overocker, 18 years old from Manchester Iowa when mustered into service with the 12th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company F, on 16 SEP 1861. There are a number of diaries extant, initiated by soldiers of the 12th Iowa; but almost all commence from the date of capture at Shiloh (as most men left their diaries and letters at the campsite, and those materials were subsequently lost.) Private Overocker is the only 12th Iowa diarist known to have kept his diary with him (although one of the following men...) Anyway, what is most important about Overocker's diary is the story of the 12th Iowa prior to April 6th 1862 (details of rampant illness at Benton Barracks, where over seventy men of the regiment died; involvement in the Campaign against Fort Henry; involvement in the feint of 15 FEB against Fort Donelson.) Ability to compare Overocker's diary to others allows revelation of "what was most important" and verifies significant occurrences that did take place, and on the date indicated. As for other men of the 12th Iowa whose diaries are available (in complete transcription) for public viewing: Joseph B. Dorr, QM of the regiment, captured on April 6th and who escaped confinement by passing himself off as someone else during the Confederate Government release of all privates, which took place end of May 1862. [Complete prison diary extracts and two letters contained pages 92 - 109 of A Perfect Picture of Hell by Genoways & Genoways (2001) University of Iowa Press.] Luther Jackson, Lieutenant of Company H, who was held at Montgomery Cotton Shed Prison until end of May. Following the Confederate Government release of all privates, transferred to Camp Oglethorpe, Macon, Georgia where he succumbed to illness June 9th. [Complete prison diary contained in A Perfect Picture of Hell pages 65 - 86.] Frank Hancock, Corporal in Company B, from Allamakee County. Hancock left his diary behind in the camp, but it appears to have been sent safely to relatives back in Iowa. Meanwhile, Corporal Hancock commenced another journal of his prison experience, and included daily entries from capture on April 6th until release from confinement in October. At Camp Parole, Annapolis Maryland, succumbed to the effects of illness and malnutrition on October 27th. [Complete Diary from January - October 1862 available at iagenweb -- Allamakee County http://iagenweb.org/allamakee/history2/chap23.htm (scroll about 1/4 way down the page, under "Twelfth Iowa"). Every piece of the puzzle helps complete the picture... Ozzy
  7. 12th Iowa Infantry diary

    https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/62542337_civil-war-12th-iowa-pow-diary-of-private-elijah It is for sale at the site above. Would love to read the whole thing. Diary of Pvt. Elijah Overocker, Company F, 12th Iowa Infantry. He was captured at Shiloh and died while a Prisoner of War in Montgomery, Alabama. If anyone wants to buy this for me, well, that would be nice
  8. Cpl. George Ryan, Company B, 70th Ohio Infantry

  9. Last week
  10. 10th Mississippi Story

    Stan Good points... Memory "is affected" over time, with some elements forgotten, and other aspects enhanced. What is striking about the report of Captain Sykes: it was written only eleven years after the event (and before the Official Records of the Rebellion were available to the public (in 1880.) Regards Ozzy
  11. 10th Mississippi Story

    I often wonder, would accounts such as this be THE SAME if they were written a few hours after the battle, a day or two after the battle, a month, or a year after the battle. Or did the aged veterans speak not of how they felt at the time, but spoke with the influence of time and reflection at hand to temper, and possibly alter, their remarks. That aside, great piece, neat read.
  12. 10th Mississippi Story

    Captain E. T. Sykes and the 10th Mississippi at Shiloh Edward Turner Sykes was born in 1838 in Alabama, but was living in Columbus Mississippi when the Secession Crisis broke out. Joining Doctor Lipscomb’s Southron Avengers early in 1861, that company was soon incorporated into Colonel Seaburne M. Phillip’s 10th Mississippi as Company E and in March arrived in Florida and placed under command of Major General Braxton Bragg (whose expanding force was soon to become known as the Army of Pensacola.) The 10th Mississippi Infantry took part in placing guns in a crescent around the north and west edge of Pensacola Bay, extending from the Navy Yard to Fort McRae; and the men of the regiment were trained in the operation of those artillery pieces (used during the November bombardment of Union-occupied Fort Pickens.) As well as being trained to operate artillery, the men of the 10th Mississippi took part in the October 8/9 Battle of Santa Rosa Island (a successful nighttime raid against Federal forces camped outside Fort Pickens, involving colonels Chalmers, Jackson and Anderson.) During service at Pensacola, Seaburne M. Phillips became incapacited due to illness (he died before October 1861) and 25-year-old Robert A. Smith was elected Colonel in his place. University-educated E. T. Sykes was installed as Adjutant, with the rank of Captain. The 10th Mississippi remained in vicinity of Fort Barrancas and Mobile until after the February 1862 Disaster at Fort Donelson, when the regiment was ordered, along with most of Bragg’s Army, north to Corinth Mississippi. At Corinth the original 12-month term of enlistment expired; and in March the “New” 10th Mississippi was mustered into service (but with only half the 840 men of the original regiment.) What follows is Edward Sykes’ 1873 recollection of his regiment’s part in the Battle of Shiloh: “Having organized his splendid troops, General Albert Sidney Johnston, with General PGT Beauregard as second in command, put in motion on the morning of the 3rd of April, 1862, the “Army of the Mississippi,” to offer battle to the invaders of our soil. The attack was to have been made on the 5th, before Buell, who was marching to the assistance of Grant, at Pittsburg Landing, could possibly reach him, but owing to the bad roads the Confederates were unable to reach the destined point in time. Resting for the night in order of battle, a short distance from the enemy’s camp, with only now and then a picket shot to relieve the suspense, we commenced to advance at early dawn, and by sunrise came fairly upon them. Hardie commanded the front line, with Gladden’s and Chalmer’s brigades of Bragg’s corps on his right; Bragg’s corps, less the two brigades above-mentioned, constituting the second line, followed about 400 yards distant. The corps of General Polk, following the second line at the distance of about 800 yards, in lines of brigades, deployed with their batteries in rear of each, protected by cavalry on their right. The reserves under General Breckinridge followed closely the third line in the same order, its right wing supported by cavalry. Well do I remember, being then Adjutant of the 10th Mississippi infantry, of Chalmer’s brigade, how all were spoiling for their maiden fight, in which, before they were through, they were willing to acknowledge that of choice, they would thereafter exhibit less of reckless anxiety, and more of prudent discretion. As the Tenth Mississippi (Colonel Robert A. Smith, commanding, and who was subsequently killed in the battle at Mumfordsville Kentucky, and than whom no braver spirit or better officer gave up his life during the war,) descended the last hill, in full view of the enemy’s camp, it was discovered by the position of “an Indiana regiment” standing behind an improvised breastwork of knapsacks, a little retired from the crest of the hill beyond, with “arms ready,” that we were too far to the left, and ordered to march by the right flank down the ravine, until our right opposed their extreme left. And now comes the strange part of this sketch: not a gun in our regiment was loaded. In the verdancy of our military career and ardour for fight, we had overlooked one of its most elemental precautions. I heard Colonel Smith, who was sitting upon his horse a few paces in front of his line, and from his elevated position, exposed to the enemy not fifty yards off, give the commands: “Order arms; Load; “Fix bayonets,” Shoulder arms.” Then followed this pertinent language: “Soldiers, we have been ordered to charge those fellows in blue (he pointed with his sword) and I want you when I give the order to forward, to advance steadily to the top of the hill, fire with deliberation, and then give them the bayonet.” “Forward, then,” was the next sound heard, and Smith’s orders, as always, were observed. Both parties fired about the same time with deadly effect, after which the enemy broke and fled in confusion. General Chalmers immediately rode up to Colonel Smith, and after remarking in my presence, that he deserved to be a Major General, commanded him not again to expose himself so recklessly; but it being a personal, and not strictly a military order, was not obeyed, until soon after Smith’s horse was shot from under him. Throughout that day, the right, under Bragg, did not sustain a reverse, but took position after position, in such quick succession as to justify the confident belief that the entire Federal army under General Grant would be annihilated before the close of the day. About 4 p.m., as we were halted in line of battle to reform, while a brigade of prisoners just captured were being escorted by our cavalry to the rear, and preparatory to our final attack on that day, General Bragg, who justly felt proud of his day’s work, was seen riding alone in front of his victorious lines, and rapidly approaching our front. As he reached us, General Chalmers, who was likewise exultant over the action of his brigade, raised up in his stirrups, and shouted, “Pensacola troops, three cheers for our beloved commander!” Recognizing the compliment, and feeling that he had troops to follow where he was prepared to lead, he reined up, faced the brigade, and with head uncovered, looked “the noblest Roman of them all.” The white-plumed Henry of Navarre never inspired his fiery Frenchmen with more ardent enthusiasm than did this scene of Bragg’s awaken the glow of patriotism in the breasts of his Pensacola boys. They – officers and private soldiers – mutually felt that the day’s victory beloged equally to both and all. Soon after this exhilarating scene, we were again put in motion to attack the enemy’s last stronghold, being twenty-two guns massed in a semi-circle on an elongated eminence protecting his center and left, and which proved a bulwark between us and their destruction or surrender. Amidst the confusion of orders, some to “advance,” some to “retreat,” occasioned by the general order of Beauregard to retire for the night, we were in a fated hour repulsed, never again to enjoy the pleasure of having them so near in our grasp. Time, such as Wellington prayed for on the plains of Waterloo, “Oh! For Blucher or for Night!” was given to them, and they profited thereby. Buell crossed the Tennessee, and the next morning, the 7th, was as disastrous to our arms as the day before had been propitious…”
  13. Axe about Abatis

    Yep, and it worked pretty well.
  14. Axe about Abatis

    Stan, "cutting down numerous trees and letting them fall helter skelter would effectively break up advancing lines of battle". Kinda sounds like Fallen Timbers, doncha think? Except, I believe nature did the felling at fallen timbers. Jim

    The Necessary Change to the Confederate Battle Flag (1861) [What follows is an article written by Carlton McCarthy and published in 1880, which details the cause behind the decision to change the flag.]
  16. Axe about Abatis

    It sounds like they were making the "red neck" version of abatis. Simply felling trees WITHOUT sharpening the ends or otherwise making a noticeable carved defensive object out of the trees. Either way, just cutting down numerous trees and letting them fall helter skelter would effectively break up advancing lines of battle. In fact, it could be argued that falling trees and letting them lay as they fell would be more effective than actually carving an abatis. As far as digging in. I still give credit to the Federals on the right flank at Shiloh who wanted to dig in. Too bad their pleas were ignored. But, numerous accounts exist of using bales of hay and bags of corn (at Shiloh), for constructing "earthworks" from which to fight behind. If the Federal army had put out any kind of obstruction in front of their camps at Shiloh, it would have been a different battle. But, "what if's" become cumbersome Stan
  17. Axe about Abatis

    In a Letter written from his HQ at Cairo on 7 October 1861, Brigadier General U. S. Grant provided his latest intelligence from Kentucky to Major General Fremont at St. Louis. Of interest: "The Confederates at Fort Columbus are said to have been reinforced to about 45,000 men... They talk boldly about making an attack upon Paducah by the 15th of this month." Turns out, Grant had received the above information from Brigadier General C. F. Smith, in command at Paducah. On 6 OCT 1861 Smith wrote to Grant: "The latest news from Columbus comes through the Roman Catholic priest here, tho' he does not wish it whispered. Columbus is in his division of duties. He was told that the attack on this place might be looked for on or by next Thursday, the 10th, getting this from both officers and soldiers. I give the information for what it is worth. The prevalent idea is to make a feint on the front, and attack on the flanks -- three columns of 7000 each. The trees all round are fast falling to our axes, rendering an advance by the roads a necessity." The above "defensive preparations" (felling of trees for abatis to slow, and redirect the advance of an enemy) took place before the Battle of Belmont; and these measures were taken in spite of the prevailing belief that "no attack on Paducah was seriously threatened." U. S. Grant states in his Memoirs, vol.1 (page 356) that, "At the time of the Battle of Shiloh, the pick and spade had been but little resorted to at the West." And yet, trenches were not the only defensive works available as options to Grant and his Army in the lead-up to Shiloh: the abatis and blinds were also of potential value, yet both were ignored, or actively discouraged... Still a mystery Ozzy References: Papers of US Grant, vol.3 pages 24 - 25. Grant's Memoirs vol.1 page 356.
  18. Puzzler

    Stan What summer? It is Winter in Australia, with record snow in the mountains north and east of Melbourne... As for your answers, I agree that Cleburne (favorable report by Hardee) and Forrest (favorable mention in reports of Wharton, Chadwick and Harrison) are more deserving of that third slot than my selection of Edward Ord. As for U.S. Grant: the public perception in the North was that General Grant was responsible for being surprised; demonstrated incompetence by not being with his Army when it was attacked; and was responsible for the unacceptable (outrageous) casualty figures. Henry Halleck did Grant a huge favor by temporarily removing him from command, shielding Grant from the Public and the Press, for a while. My own impression is that it was a year later, following on Grant's success at Vicksburg, that his reputation was rejuvenated. Shiloh was not Grant's "finest hour." Better to be lucky, than good... Ozzy References: OR 10 pages 570 (Cleburne), 546, 627 and 923-4 (Forrest). U.S. Grant (any number of Union soldier's letters in which gladness was expressed upon the arrival of Henry Halleck at Pittsburg Landing.) Mary Crowell Letter of 28/29 APR 1862 (in SDG "Mary Writes about Shiloh")
  19. Telegram of April 2nd 1862

    I think for Johnston, it was actually simple, and as pretty much stated in any Shiloh history book. He knew the Federal Army was fragmented. If he sat in Corinth and waited for an attack to come, the Federals would have the upper hand. Actually, I think Johnston had no choice in the matter. He had to attack, there was no other option. Plus, attacking what he thought to be a divided army, destroy it piecemeal and you have a chance at victory. Attack a smaller, or unsuspecting force, and destroy it and you even the odds. Otherwise, might as well raise the white flag. To be fair, I have never studied the in's and out's of the pre-battle tactics and strategy, and the actual "what happened that made Shiloh happen". It is very interesting, but I am mainly interested in the experiences of the lowly soldier in the ranks. I think about the letters I have read, and posted, and how very little the common soldier knew about what was going on just 3 days before the battle. With at least one instance where an educated regimental company line officer didn't even know his regimental numerical designation just days before the battle, it is amazing things went off so relatively smoothly as they basically did.
  20. Gaiters from Shiloh

  21. Puzzler

    Ozzy, looks like nobody is around to answer your question. I think people must be taking a summertime hiatus from SDG. I would say Grant, Forrest, and Cleburne. For each of them, it was the beginning stage of putting them on the path of how they are remembered today. I would say each earned his stardom after Shiloh, and Shiloh put the ball in motion.
  22. We Meet Again

    Here's an easy quiz question, involving William T. Sherman, Rodney Mason, James B. Fry, Alexander M. McCook, and John A. McClernand: "What experience do the above Union officers, all present at the Battle of Shiloh, have in common?"
  23. Puzzler

    Two out of three... I believe there is little doubt that the general officers who gained the most from their involvement in Battle of Shiloh -- because they actually were rewarded with promotions: William Tecumseh Sherman (advanced to Major General on May 1st) and Braxton Bragg (promoted to full General on April 12th, upon recommendation of President Jefferson Davis.) For Bragg it was recognition of a lifetime of military achievements. For Sherman, the promotion to Major General served as a sort of redemption (after his suspected "nervous breakdown" and removal from command of the Department of the Cumberland in November 1861.) The third candidate could be one of these: PGT Beauregard, who gained command of the Army of the Mississippi... except he was offered that overall command by Albert Sidney Johnston, and turned it down. And Beauregard was "tainted" after Shiloh, with many of his associates believing he was responsible for snatching defeat from the jaws of Victory; Henry Halleck, who through victories at Shiloh, Island No.10, Pea Ridge and the bloodless conquest of Fort Columbus demonstrated that "his part of the Grand Scheme" was coming together. All that remained was for Halleck's Army to crush Corinth (after Farragut, Porter and Butler subjugated Vicksburg) and the War in the West would be over... Of course, Vicksburg did not fall; and Halleck's acquisition of Corinth was perceived as hollow; George H. Thomas, although not a participant at Shiloh (arrived too late) he was none-the less rewarded with Command of the Right Wing during the March on Corinth; followed up by Command of the Post of Corinth. Therefore, my selection as "third general officer who benefited most from Battle of Shiloh" is Edward O. C. Ord. Plucked from obscurity, recently-promoted Major General Ord was called to the Western Theatre to replace the highly competent, but unwell Thomas Davies (who gained command of the Second Division, Army of West Tennessee upon the death of WHL Wallace.) Arriving too late to participate in the Operation against Corinth, Major General Ord was nonetheless given command of the Post of Corinth (replacing George Thomas on 22 June 1862.) Always ready to argue the point... Ozzy
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