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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/02/2018 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Thanks for putting this series together. The general feeling now is that the wounded were very badly handled at Shiloh (and many, many were) yet there were also experienced surgeons who worked tirelessly to do the best they could. Doctors of that era were strong anatomists and some, with that knowledge plus experience coupled with dexterity, did save lives with tourniquets and amputations. If only Pasteur and Lister had come a decade or so earlier. A.S. Johnson almost certainly could have been saved with a simple tourniquet if he had not sent his surgeon away to treat others. Surgeon General William A. Hammond made a valiant attempt to enforce the ancient edict of "first do no harm" by removing calomel and tartar emetic from the Army formulary (May 6, 1863). But that was a year after Shiloh. The resulting "Calomel War" was part of the reason for Hammond's short tenure. Dr. Letterman's ambulance groups were a huge innovation.
  2. 1 point
    In November, under the auspices of this August Group, Dr Tim Smith, a history professor at University of Tennessee - Martin and former Shiloh NMP ranger, will lead his annual Epic Hike with Tim Smith. In 2016, his hike was at Fort Donelson (he released a book on this battle at about that time), and this past year he lead a hike / car caravan following Lew Wallace's march from Crump's landing to the battlefield and the actions of Wallace's Third Division on April 7. I don't have any idea what the topic might be this year. Dr Smith is excellent. The Epic Hike is held on a Saturday. If the battlefield gods are kind, and the hike is in the vicinity of Shiloh, I will lead a Not-So-Epic hike on the day following the Epic Hike, covering the actions of Trabue's Brigade of Breckinridge's Reserve Corps on the First Day of the battle (I just can't quite remember where most of Trabue's regiments came from <wink> <wink>). I don't know of any other hikes which are regularly scheduled, other than the Anniversary Hikes. On November 11, 2017, the same day as the Epic Hike, the Park Service had Dr Jeff Gentsch led a reprise of his April 7, 2017 hike Shiloh and the Civil War in Regards to the First World War: A Comparative Hike (as I recall, the United States declared war on Imperial Germany on April 7, 1917). Since we are observing the Centennial of the World War I, I would not be surprised if the Park Service has him reprise his 2018 anniversary hike Battle of Shiloh: Battlefield Actions of Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry with Comparisons to the Great War on the Veteran's Day weekend. If you are planning to visit the battlefield, you should get a copy of the Battlefield America: Shiloh map. It is a topographic map showing the location of all of the monuments and tablets. It is available at the Shiloh Bookstore (at the Visitor's Center) or direct from the publisher (www.trailheadgraphics.com). The tablets are particularly important - they were placed by David W. Reed who fought with the 12th Iowa at Shiloh and who was secretary and later chairman of the Shiloh National Military Park Commission and was also its historian. Tim Smith wrote "Whenever there is a question about Shiloh that is not easily answerable, the staff looks to see what the various tablets and monuments on the battlefield say. These markers represent troop movements and were placed on the battlefield at the turn of the century when veterans of the battle were establishing the Shiloh National Military Park. Reed wrote the text for the approximately four hundred iron tablets, and he approved the text for the monuments produced by state commissions. Thus, Reed had his hand in telling the story of Shiloh “in letters of iron” on the battlefield itself. These markers are extremely important today because they offer a connection of both time and space to the veterans themselves and to the units they represent. There is a wealth of specific information on these markers, and anyone performing serious research into Shiloh must use them as a seminal source." The tablets face in the direction which the unit being described was facing at the time depicted and are located at the center of its position. They are considered to be very accurately placed for the most part. The regimental monuments are placed at the location of the unit's most important service during the battle and face in the direction it was facing then. Reed also controlled the placement of the monuments (with one notable exception). You can follow a link on the Shiloh National Military Park website to a non-NPS website which has photographs of the tablets, so you can learn what each says when preparing for your intended park visits. I regret to inform you that there are no Kentucky regimental monuments on the field and that the Kentucky State "monument" is a disgrace to the Commonwealth. On the other hand, Trabue's Brigade has ten tablets.
  3. 1 point
    Dr Jeff Gentsch, a military history professor at the University of West Alabama, is leading the hike on the 5th. Many of us enjoy Dr Gentsch, who revels in his outspokenness. I don't know the itinerary but at 12 miles it seems likely that the hike will cover most of the Park. I expect him to go off road and will be very surprised if we don't cross the Dill Branch Ravine.
  4. 1 point
    Derrick I envy you: I have never been to Shiloh NMP, but hope -- one day -- to make the visit. [In the meantime, I have concocted a Route that I would follow, if I had the opportunity to take family members, so they would get an appreciation for the vast expanse of Shiloh Park.] During the drive up, I would provide details of the units we were going to focus on (in my case, five family members of the 12th Iowa Infantry, Co.H). I would bring pictures, stories, make them "as real and alive" as possible. (Your ability to "dress in costume" and have other props, is good idea.) On arrival: my focus changes. "Here we are, at Pittsburg Landing. A big expanse of woodland, cut by a few isolated farms. And it was just a big camp ground, from here, all the way to the river: both sides of the road. Big, white canvass tents, each one holding ten men; over 3000 tents scattered in small clusters, from here, to the river: it looks like a circus, or carnival, but on a grand scale. Men can be seen marching; some are playing baseball; on rainy days, they stay in their tents and write letters, play cribbage or euchre or chess. And there were not just men here: some of the men brought their wives. And, there were wagons full of supplies, and food and ammunition; there were big artillery pieces -- (just point at any random gun you happen to pass) -- and there were horses... four horses to pull each wagon; 12 horses to pull each gun. And all the senior officers rode horses; and hundreds of cavalrymen rode horses... Hundreds of horses, perhaps thousands of horses, here to service over 35,000 men." First stop: the bluff overlooking the Tennessee River (ignore the visitor center until the end.) "The men who setup their tents in that camp ground we've just driven across arrived by boat, from over 200 miles away, in that direction (north). In early April 1862, there were a dozen steamboats here, every day: some coming, some going, a few that stayed (one for each of the five Union divisions here, and these acted as "floating warehouses," full of ammunition, supplies and food.) Also on the river was the U.S. Navy: two, and sometimes three, armored steamers, bristling with guns. Here to protect the steamers full of men making the voyage from St. Louis and Cairo and Paducah. Up that way, to the north, is where General Grant, commander of the Federal Army here, had his headquarters: Savannah, about eight miles away. Also five or six miles away was another camp of Federal soldiers, at Crump's Landing. Lew Wallace and his division of 7000 troops (you may have heard of Lew Wallace, and how he got lost. We can talk more about that, later.) Across the river, another big Union Army, belonging to Don Carlos Buell, was marching over 130 miles from Nashville, along mud-affected roads, and delayed by burned bridges that had to be rebuilt. That eastern bank of the Tennessee River was a swamp in 1862, five miles wide. Buell's Army had to wade through that swamp, to get to steamers; climb aboard those steamers and ferry across... to here, the Landing, just below the bluff. And, once Buell joined his 30,000 soldiers to Grant's 35,000 soldiers, they were all going to march 20 miles that way. southwest to Corinth Mississippi, and engage the Confederate Army commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston and PGT Beauregard. And they expected to fight the battle -- there, at Corinth -- that would end the War in the West." Still near the first stop, but if possible, reveal the Dill Branch Ravine. What can be said, about this ground we are standing on? [High... elevated... can see for miles (when the trees don't block your view)... and this Dill Branch Ravine (and another one, not quite as deep, called Tilghman Branch, just off to the west)... All of these features made this Bluff a strong position. If the Confederate Army was going to win the Battle of Shiloh on April 6th, they had to knock the Union Army off this bluff (and the Rebel plan was to push the Federal soldiers west, into swampy ground adjacent to Owl Creek and Snake Creek, and destroy the Union army, there.) On the drive: if possible, drive slowly to reveal the extent of Grant's Last Line (and explain "this came later," and point out Tilghman Branch Ravine.) Perhaps indicate the general directions that the five Union division commanders had their camps, as you proceed "to where it all began," Fraley Field. Fraley Field: the first shots of Battle of Shiloh occurred here, pre-dawn April 6th 1862. The Confederate Army had camped just a mile or two to the south -- most without tents, and most went to bed April 5th hungry, having run out of food during the march from Corinth. Albert Sidney Johnston had planned to launch his attack on April 5th, but nuisance rain made the road muddy. And soldiers had to help push and pull wagons and artillery pieces through the muddy bottoms, through waist-deep mud. The plan: Johnston (and Beauregard) wanted to attack Grant's Army before Don Carlos Buell completed his march from Nashville (because it is a lot easier to defeat a force of 35,000 green troops, than it is to defeat an army of 65.000). And the size of the Confederate Army is estimated at 35,000 men. And they hoped that by fighting on their ground, familiar to many; and by taking Grant's Army by surprise, they could overwhelm and Defeat Grant's Army. And then confront Buell (possibly run him back to Nashville.) But, here at Fraley Field, it came unstuck. An unsuspected patrol sent out by Colonel Peabody, 25th Missouri (now acting as Brigade Commander in General Prentiss's Sixth Division) had encountered Rebel troops, and the fight was on... while General A.S. Johnston was still in process of readying his men to make their attack. The Federals under Peabody and Moore and Prentiss, believed they were just engaging a Rebel Patrol, not the whole Confederate Army. So as A.S. Johnston completed his preparations, and sent his Army forward, the Federals added more and more troops from the Sixth Division... but 4000 Federals were never going to defeat an Army of 35,000. Peabody was killed; and Prentiss was pushed away to the north... but before he left the vicinity of his Camp, General Prentiss did the most important thing he could have done: he asked for help. He sent a messenger north to General Hurlbut, to ask for help from his Fourth Division; and he sent a messenger, asking for help from the Second Division; and he let Colonel Stuart know (Stuart was in command of a Brigade belonging to Sherman, away to the East, on the left side of Prentiss's Camp). Prentiss sent a messenger to tell Stuart that he was under attack. So, what do we see? The surprise that General Johnston was hoping for evaporated pretty quickly." Now, drive to Cloud Field, and continue your lesson. And follow your "Regiment of interest" in its moves during the course of the day. Finish: if following a Confederate regiment, end on the south side of Dill Branch Ravine (or west side of Tilghman Branch Ravine). Because these natural barriers, with Federal troops lined along the north of Dill and east of Tilghman, are what the Rebel soldiers had to overcome to win the Battle. Finish: if following a Union regiment, end on the north side of Dill Branch (or east of Tilghman Branch, where Sherman had his Final Line aligned north/south, protecting Snake Creek Bridge). Visitor Centre: now go inside, view the movie, have a look at artifacts and buy souvenirs. (By conducting your tour in this order, the movie is used to reinforce what you explained during course of your lesson.) More than happy to answer any questions... Ozzy
  5. 1 point
    Been about 4 years since I've been to an anniversary hike, and almost 3 since I've been to the Park itself. Is it wrong that I'm perfectly content with waiting for Tony's video uploads at this point? Of course, it is always very gracious & kind of him to perform such a service for many of us each year, and am always truly appreciative of his generosity. -Paul
  6. 1 point
    the ones schedul;ed for the 8th will good good also.
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