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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/06/2019 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    There are two pieces of communication (one constructed on April 5th, and the other generated on April 6th 1862) both of which are important in their own way to explain “how the Battle of Shiloh unfolded.” And both documents have "issues." The first item is a telegram constructed at St. Louis and sent under signature of Major General Henry Halleck on Saturday 5 April 1862. Fitting Halleck’s style of issuing concise orders, the two-line telegram begins by listing the recently promoted Major Generals by order of seniority: Buell, Pope, McClernand, C.F. Smith, Wallace. The inclusion of John Pope is significant because Major General Pope would soon join the Advance on Corinth. And the place held by John McClernand (ahead of Charles Ferguson Smith) may have come as a surprise to Major General Ulysses S. Grant… but no matter, as the late formal notice of MGen McClernand’s seniority did not provide opportunity to ‘Provide him with benefits of seniority to which he was entitled” i.e., the Shell Game played by Generals Grant, Smith, Sherman and Captain McMichael had worked perfectly; and now, at this late hour, McClernand would be notified in due course of his official seniority (likely after U.S. Grant established his HQ at Pittsburg Landing… When McClernand operating as “acting commander” had odds somewhere between Slim and None.) The second line of Halleck’s telegram reads: “You will act in concert [with General Buell] but he will exercise his separate command, unless the enemy should attack you. In that case you are authorized to take the general command.” The wording of this second line, giving Grant emergency authority over Buell in case of attack by Rebels, has significant implications. And yet, when the conduct of Day Two at Shiloh is closely examined, there is nothing more significant in regard to General Grant exercising command, than, “You take the left; and I’ll take the right” during the advance of Monday morning (coordination at its most minimal.) Which leads one to ponder: When did General Grant receive this telegram from Henry Halleck? If it was sent by telegraph from St. Louis late morning of April 5th, it likely arrived at the Fort Henry telegraph office before noon. If a steamer picked up the mail and telegraph traffic at 1 p.m., (perhaps the Minnehaha) then the 5 April telegram would arrive about midnight… plenty of time for Grant to read and understand the contents. But, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 6th, where was this telegram from Halleck? The cool indifference shared between Grant and Buell (with Buell simply left at the waterfront, while Grant headed away west to take care of business) does not represent “someone in possession of an important telegram, giving them extraordinary authority.” Instead, it seems to indicate General Grant has not yet received the telegram; or he has seen it… but left it behind at the Cherry Mansion. The second communication was constructed on Sunday morning by Captain A.S. Baxter, the AQM for Grant’s Army, as he rode the steamer Tigress north to relay Grant’s orders (likely relayed from Grant, through Captain John Rawlins, to Baxter.) Finding the orders complex and difficult to remember in detail, Captain Algernon Baxter scanned the floor of the Ladies’ Cabin, found a soiled bit of paper, and wrote the orders (as he best remembered them) onto that scrap (later recorded as “containing a heel mark and tobacco stain.”) Upon arrival at Crump’s Landing, Captain Baxter found Lieutenant Ross – Aide to Major General Wallace – waiting. The two rode away west and reported to MGen Wallace at, or just before 11:30 a.m. Captain Baxter presented General Wallace with the impromptu order; Wallace asked why it was not signed. Baxter explained he “created the memorandum, himself, out of fear he would “forget some detail” unless he did so.” General Wallace passed the “written order” to his Staff, and asked Baxter about the current state of affairs [Baxter left Pittsburg Landing between 10 and 10:30.] Captain Baxter replied, “We are driving them.” General Wallace was satisfied; Wallace’s staff officers were satisfied. The order was accepted, and Captain Baxter took his departure within three minutes of arrival at Stony Lonesome. Captain Frederick Kneffler, Lew Wallace’s AAG, wound up with the “written order.” He tucked it under his sword belt… and subsequently lost it. Ever since, the loss of that written order, or memorandum, has been significant because it would provide tangible proof of what Major General Wallace had been ordered to do. And, it is not difficult to envision the memorandum, jiggling loose from Captain Kneffler’s sword belt, and blowing away… to be beaten by heavy rain that night; ultimately washed into the Snake River, then Tennessee River… lost forever. But, paper was in short supply, always. Letters by soldiers were often written making use of every millimetre of space, including margins and borders. As likely as the memorandum being lost forever, it was just as likely noticed, clinging to trampled stubble, by some soldier… one of thousands following behind Kneffler on his horse. This soldier would have snatched it up, and possibly sent it as souvenir with his own letter, a few days later. My point: there is every chance that the Lew Wallace memorandum from Baxter still exists, contained in a box of Civil War letters and paraphernalia, and the owners have no idea what they have in their possession. But, with all the other material being revealed on a weekly basis, one day this piece of history might just surprise everyone, and re-emerge.
  2. 1 point
    From the Union standpoint, the Battle of Shiloh was not supposed to happen. Federal troops were sent south, under command of Brigadier General C.F. Smith, with intention of cutting rail lines and disrupting Rebel communications (between Fort Columbus and Corinth; and between Florence and Corinth.) Abundant Spring rain and effective Rebel defences (and M & O R.R. repair crews) curtailed railroad track disruption. Although an initial base of operations was sited at Union-friendly Savannah, Tennessee, the intention was to establish the Federal base much further south (between Hamburg and Florence) but the grossly swollen Tennessee River turned those prospective campgrounds into sodden, mosquito-infested marshes; and Pittsburg Landing was selected, by default (selected by Brigadier General William T. Sherman, and approved by General Smith.) The high plateau stretching west of the towering bluff overlooking – and out of reach of – the Tennessee River being the primary feature favouring selection of the site. It is said, “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution.” Major General U.S. Grant arrived at Savannah on March 17th 1862 and inspected the de facto campgrounds at Crump’s and Pittsburg established by his predecessor, and pronounced them sound. [Part two] With so many operations on his plate, Major General Henry Halleck did not have manpower or war materials in sufficient quantity to permit combat operations to take place concurrently. Priorities had to be determined from among operations taking place in Northern Missouri (Prentiss), SW Missouri (Curtis), SE Missouri (Pope), Island No.10 (Foote) and Savannah/ Pittsburg (Smith, replaced by Grant.) With North Missouri deemed “under control,” followed by Battle of Pea Ridge securing southern Missouri, manpower and ammunition was freed to be sent elsewhere. (Additional manpower was of no use at Island No.10 so those extra regiments went to General Grant, instead.) And with Henry Halleck’s elevation to Commander, Department of the Mississippi, another source of manpower eventuated: Buell’s Army of the Ohio, based in vicinity of Nashville. But, before U.S. Grant’s operation (with passage of time, confirmed to focus on Corinth) would be permitted to commence, the joint operation (Pope, at New Madrid and Foote, approaching Island No.10 from the north) would be given every opportunity to reach a successful conclusion. And General Grant was ordered, “Do nothing to bring on a general engagement.” References: SDG “Do you know Bragg?” post of 18 May 2018: Confederate Daniel Ruggles assigned to Post of Corinth on 9 March 1862 and begins construction of defences soon after. SDG “Jackson HQ” post of 5 May 2017: General Albert Sidney Johnston arrived at Corinth on March 24th, with concentration of Confederate troops (to this time strewn along the M & C R.R. and the M & O R.R.) gaining pace, and most everyone moves to Corinth. OR 10 (part 2) pages 11 – 12: Henry Halleck has information on March 6th that, “Beauregard has 20,000 men at Corinth.” Sherman reports similar concentration at “Eastport and Corinth” that same day. SDG “Not just pictures…” post of 5 July 2017: Report of Agate (Whitelaw Reid) dateline Savannah Tennessee on 1 April 1862, “There are rumors that General Halleck will take the field here, in person, soon as the Island No.10 agony is over. And there will be four or five corps [marching to Corinth] commanded by Major Generals Grant, Smith, Wallace, Buell and McClernand.”
  3. 1 point
    [Part three of Corinth, interrupted] Grant’s operation, with HQ at Savannah was kept on the back burner: just active enough to keep Rebel commanders guessing, but not sufficiently robust to allow General Grant to take the reins pre-emptively. The first benefit to Grant from success further west was assignment of Benjamin Prentiss to command of the newly created Sixth Division (although Halleck tasked Brigadier General Prentiss with other duties enroute, delaying his ultimate arrival at Pittsburg Landing.) In addition, Grant was aware that Don Carlos Buell was marching south and west to effect a join at Savannah (but Grant was frustrated by the slow pace of the Army of the Ohio.) Still, these troop additions were approved by Halleck, and were part of the overall plan to initiate the Operation against Corinth, in the proper sequence… after Victory at Island No.10 (when another source of manpower (Pope), as well as ammunition and abundant supplies would be made available.) References: SDG topics “Just supposin’ begun 26 FEB 2018 and “Full Hospitals” begun 30 JAN 2018 for Prentiss tasks enroute to Savannah Tennessee. SDG topic “Grant’s six divisions” begun 1 DEC 2018 details growth of Pittsburg force. OR 8 pages 633 – 4 telegram (23 MAR 1862) in which Henry Halleck lays out his “Programme” for SecWar Stanton, which includes, “Pope’s progress is necessarily slow,” and, “I have directed General Grant to make no move until Buell’s column (now at Columbia) can form junction with him.” Also, Halleck asserts, “We must take Corinth in order to seriously injure Rebel communications.” [And Halleck proposes possible moves for T.W. Sherman (the other Sherman) and Benjamin Butler which “might take advantage of [Bragg’s Army] leaving Florida and Alabama.”] OR 8 page 631 communication of 21 MAR 1862 from MGen Halleck to F/O Foote: “Everything is progressing well on the Tennessee River towards opening your way down the Mississippi.” [Illustrates the “connected” nature of Halleck’s operations, and alludes to the “proper sequence” of those operations.] OR 8 page 643 telegram from Army AG Thomas to MGen Halleck of 25 MAR 1862: “BGen Thomas Davies has been assigned duty in Department of the Mississippi.” [In preparation for conduct of operations after success at Island No.10 Halleck has called for more trained general officers to assist, as part of Halleck’s program. General Thomas Davies will be assigned command of Second Division, following deaths of WHL Wallace… and C.F. Smith.] OR 8 page 649 telegram SecWar Stanton to MGen Halleck of 29 MAR 1862: “You will report without delay the strength and distribution of your command.” [Halleck’s response 30 March: “Buell 101,000 in KY and Tenn; Grant 75,000 in Tennessee; Pope 25000 at New Madrid; Curtis 23000 in Arkansas; Strong 9000 District of Cairo; Steele 6000 in Arkansas; Schofield 15000 District of St. Louis (including new regiments at Benton Barracks); Totten 4000 in Central Missouri; Loan 2000 in Northern Missouri; about 10000 men in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.”] And follows telegram of Halleck to Stanton of 28 MAR 1862 revealing “elevated level of sickness experienced by men on Tennessee River expedition” (and lays blame on brigade and regimental surgeons of volunteers.) One-in-three reported sick, and is of concern because Halleck intends to make use of Grant’s Army… soon. OR 8 page 660 communication MGen Halleck to F/O Andrew Foote of 5 APR 1862: “I shall want a gunboat at Cairo ready to go up the Tennessee River in the early part of next week.” [With the successful run of USS Carondelet past the guns of Island No.10 on April 4th, Halleck knows it is “a matter of days” before Pope crosses his army and forces the trapped Rebels to surrender (in rear of Island No.10).] OR 8 page 661 communication Halleck to MGen Samuel Curtis (Army of the Southwest) on April 5th 1862: “Price and Van Dorn will soon leave your front [and the great battle of the war is to be fought on the Tennessee River.]” OR 8 page 672 telegram Halleck to Stanton of 7 APR 1862: “Buell’s advance force has reached Grant; entire force will connect in two or three days” [sent before news arrived at St. Louis IRT Battle of Shiloh initiated early 6 APR 1862.] OR 8 page 676 communication of 8 APR 1862 from Assistant Secretary of War Thomas Scott to Henry Halleck, alluding to “sequence of events” after Surrender of Island No.10.
  4. 1 point
    and found in the area of this high ground were numerous springs...good water..army is fueled by coffee. unlike what was to be had in Corinth later...
  5. 1 point
    Grant’s Little Jokes For the past year or two, every instance of a joke or funny story attributed to U.S. Grant has been recorded as it was encountered; not as productive a venture as might be supposed, because General Grant projected an image, a presence, of “serious, no-nonsense gravitas.” Grant appeared “too busy to be funny; too seriously engaged to allow humor to color his simply-business, deadly serious professional conduct.” While preparing this discussion paper, the following assertion of Grant’s humor emerged: https://warstoriescast.com/2017/10/24/library-conversation-with-dr-john-marszalek/ Worth a read to get someone else’s take on the subject. Meanwhile, here are jokes and funny stories attributed to Ulysses S. Grant: · “You can’t march through that swamp, Jacob Ammen. I will send transports for you next week [to ferry you across from Hamburg Landing to Hamburg, after you and your men complete a 12-mile march.]” · “There is a water battery. Study it well.” – Said to Surgeon John Brinton during trip up Cumberland River aboard towboat W.H.B. in response to Brinton’s question, “What is a water battery?” And smacks of “Get me a left-handed monkey wrench.” · Allowing Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman to persist in calling his force “the First Division,” knowing that conduct would irritate Brigadier General John McClernand, in command of the original First Division. · The initiation and continuance of “the Shell Game” at Pittsburg Landing (claiming General C.F. Smith was still “at Pittsburg Landing,” but “just temporarily absent due to illness” in order to install W.T. Sherman as “acting commander of the campground.”) The joke was at the expense of John McClernand… again. · “General Grant intends to give you the opportunity to be shot in every important move” – Grant to Lew Wallace, via aide William Hillyer, following the success (at the cost of Wallace disregarding orders) at Fort Donelson. · In Missouri in 1861, General Grant advanced his troops and in process, heard about a local woman, Mrs. Selvidge, renowned for her home cooking. But when Grant fronted up to the cook’s home, he was told by her that, “She could not prepare a meal for the General because a squad of his cavalry had visited earlier, and cleaned her out – ate everything she had, except for a pie.” The General had a look at the pie, handed Mrs. Selvidge fifty cents, and turned to depart. “Aren’t you going to take your pie?” asked the cook. “Oh, no. Hold onto it for me.” And General Grant mounted his horse and took his departure. At his new headquarters, Grant determined the identity of the cavalry unit, and sent its commander the following order, just before midnight: “Having visited Mrs. Selvidge and eaten almost everything she had, except for one pie, you will depart immediately for Mrs. Selvidge’s and eat that pie, too.” · After enjoying success at Fort Donelson, Grant “knew” that the next logical step was occupation of Nashville. And he was disheartened by delay and procrastination, most revealed by Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell, who asserted, “The Rebels may have departed, but they have every intention of returning to Nashville” – a claim that newly minted Major General Grant did not believe. But, in “showing his acceptance of Buell’s claim,” Grant pressed upon Buell the offer of BGen C.F. Smith’s division, in order to secure Union possession of Nashville… and he had Buell put that request in writing… and then sent Smith from Clarksville to Nashville. Rbn3 in a post of 3 MAR 2017 offers the following: “Undistinguished and often shabby in appearance, Ulysses S. Grant did not recommend himself to strangers by looks. He once entered the Desoto House at Galena, Illinois, on a stormy winter's night. A number of lawyers, in town for a court session, were clustered around the fire. One looked up as Grant appeared and said, "Here's a stranger, gentlemen, and by the looks of him he's travelled through hell itself to get here." "That's right," said Grant cheerfully. "And how did you find things down there?" "Just like here," replied Grant, "lawyers all closest to the fire."
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