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Showing content with the highest reputation on 09/28/2019 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Ran across an excellent collection of letters, on file with the Minnesota Historical Society, and all forty available online: The Civil War Letters of Thomas Christie. Born in Ireland in 1843, Tom Christie settled in Wisconsin with his family. And shortly after the start of the Civil War, Thomas and his brother, William, enlisted in Munch's 1st Minnesota Battery of Light Artillery (which operated two 12-pounder Howitzers and four 6-pounder brass rifled guns.) The letters begin in December 1861, and continue until May 1865; they are letters from Thomas, written to his Father, his sister and another brother. And the letters are sent from Fort Snelling; Benton Barracks; Corinth; Vicksburg; on the march to Atlanta; Savannah, Georgia; Goldsboro; and New York City. (Unfortunately, there are no letters from Pittsburg Landing.) A letter written to his Father, and dated October 18th, 1862, I found especially interesting: Thomas describes his actions as Gunner Number One, during the October 3-4 Battle of Corinth. (All the letters are available in the original cursive hand-writing; or a transcript can be selected, for easier reading.) http://www.mnhs.org/library/christie/corinth.php Cheers Ozzy
  2. 1 point
    "How the Rebels went out, and We came In [to Nashville]" First of Nelson's force to enter; owner of the Flag flying over the State House. [From Gallipolis Journal of Ohio, 13 MAR 1862, page 2.]
  3. 1 point
    Why is the above information important? First, because it illustrates what happens to a Civil War battlefield if not properly protected (Dranesville, less than two miles east of Dulles International Airport, has been absorbed by suburban sprawl from Washington, D.C.) And second, if we accept that William T. Sherman, James B. McPherson, Philip Sheridan, EOC Ord, Grenville Dodge, and John Rawlins were members of Ulysses S. Grant's "Inner Circle" by 1864, then knowing when Grant first encountered these men, and became aware of the talents each one brought to his exclusive team is essential to understanding U.S. Grant, because Grant did not achieve greatness on his own. Like many capable leaders, U.S. Grant identified talent, and benefited from a willingness of the men comprising his Inner Circle to commit themselves to Grant and his vision for prosecuting the war. And with the exception of Grenville Dodge (who brought an intelligence collection network to Grant's team) all of the named men were known to General Grant by the time Henry Halleck departed Corinth for Washington, D.C.
  4. 1 point
    Had never seen this complete list in print before, but it is the Seniority List of Generals in the Provisional Confederate Army, just prior to Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). Of interest to SDG because of the many names associated with Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Siege of Corinth (and it is interesting to see a list of Confederate Generals without Albert Sidney Johnston's name near the top... but General Johnston was enroute from California when this list was printed in St. Mary's Beacon of Leonardtown, Maryland 18 July 1861.) https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060119/1861-06-13/ed-1/seq-2/ St. Mary's Beacon of 18 July 1861 page 2.
  5. 1 point
    It took a while for the news from Tennessee to reach southern Maryland; but the 17 April 1862 edition of the weekly St. Mary's Beacon contains a report of the Battle of Shiloh on page 2 columns 2 & 3. Maryland newspapers were peculiar during the Civil War in that they had reasonably good access to information, from the North, and from the South. The Battle of Pittsburg Landing report presented is a commendable effort to combine the Northern and Southern versions of the Shiloh Story into one account: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060119/1862-04-17/ed-1/seq-2/ "News: near Pittsburg Landing" in St. Mary's Beacon
  6. 1 point
    J.J. Little was a Private in the 10th Mississippi Infantry, Company H who fought at Shiloh (and wrote a Letter home, dated 13 April 1862.) He describes seeing the “2000 Union prisoners from Shiloh pass through Corinth” and indicates that he saw General Prentiss, too. The 4-page letter is one of five letters written by Sergeant Little, available at University of Mississippi Digital Collection. Available at http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/J.J. Little Collection/mode/exact .
  7. 1 point
    The 33rd Alabama Infantry arrived at Corinth too late to take part in the Battle of Shiloh, but the regiment was present during the April/ May 1862 Siege of Corinth (Hawthorn's 5th Brigade of Hardee's Corps.) With companies arriving at Pensacola Florida in March 1862, the 33rd Alabama was organized by April 1st 1862 and assigned “defense” of Fort McRee (a coastal fortification across the pass from Union-held Fort Pickens, Rebel-held Fort McRee had been reduced to rubble during the November 1861 gunnery duel.) However, it was determined that several of the guns under the collapsed fort were worth salvaging, so when the decision was made by Major General Bragg to evacuate Pensacola and move his Army north to Corinth, the 33rd Alabama was responsible for removing the guns at Fort McRee and accompanying them to Mobile (where they were loaded aboard a train and sent to another stronghold, most likely Vicksburg or Fort Pillow.) The 33rd Alabama afterwards served at Stone's River, and was noted for action at Nashville in 1864. The regiment also had the misfortune of being involved in a train wreck near Cleveland, Tennessee on 4 NOV 1862 which killed 17 members of the 33rd Alabama and injured seventy (which is the main reason this post is here: I had no idea that there were over 500 wrecks and accidents involving Confederate railroads during the Civil War... until now.) References: http://files.usgwarchives.net/al/butler/newspapers/train33rd.txt Train wreck. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~alavols33rd/military/survivors.htm Victims of train wreck. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/railroad-accidents-kill-soldiers-during-civil-war.113583/ Train wreck discussion at civilwartalk. [Over 500 train wrecks and accidents occurred on Confederate lines during the Civil War. See http://www.csa-railroads.com/index.htm R.R. Accidents under "Essays and Documents" and scroll a little more than halfway down.] Note: The 16th Alabama, veterans of Shiloh, were aboard this same train, but occupied cars not affected by the derailment, and suffered no casualties.
  8. 1 point
    Returning to Henry Walke... The incident for which Commander Walke got into disciplinary trouble with the U.S. Navy occurred in January 1861. As commanding officer of USS Supply (a sail-powered collier and supply vessel running between Pensacola and Vera Cruz, delivering coal and provisions to the fleet) CDR Walke happened to be in Pensacola Bay when the State of Florida pressed for Federal arsenals and forts to be handed over; and before Commodore Armstrong turned over the Pensacola Navy Yard to Florida, he ordered CDR Walke “to sail USS Supply to Vera Cruz.” And Henry Walke did not follow those instructions, so he was obviously disobeying orders when he did not comply. The full truth, however, is convoluted: Commodore James Armstrong (some questioned his loyalty; others believed he was having a nervous breakdown). How valid were his orders? The situation at Pensacola was “fluid.” How does one “follow orders” when the orders may be illegal, or illegitimate? Commodore Armstrong received orders by telegram on 9 JAN 1861 ordering him to “cooperate with the Army in maintaining possession of the public property.” As part of this cooperation, Armstrong tasked Walke (and Supply) with delivering foodstuffs to Fort Pickens (where Army Lieutenant Slemmer had transferred his force of artillerists from Fort Barrancas.) Because the foodstuffs were not unloaded January 10th the USS Supply remained at Fort Pickens Wharf overnight. [Florida seceded from the Union January 10th.] Commodore Armstrong surrendered the Navy Yard at 1:30 p.m. on January 12th. Before surrendering “the property under his command,” USS Supply and USS Wyandotte were sent away: Supply to Vera Cruz; and Wyandotte to Cuba. [Neither vessel went more than a few miles south, before reversing course.] Both ships left Pensacola Bay and were “beyond Commodore Armstrong's control” when the Pensacola Navy Yard was surrendered. As result of the surrender, 34 Marines and fifty sailors (including Commodore Armstrong) were taken prisoner “by the State of Florida.” Many of these men had their families in Florida with them, living on base (as did the Army and Navy defenders still at Fort Pickens.) In all, over 100 Union citizens were in limbo after the surrender of January 12th. [CDR Walke's family was NOT in Florida, (for the sake of clarity).] On 16 JAN 1861, operating under flag of truce, CDR Walke sailed back inside Pensacola Bay and took the paroled prisoners aboard USS Supply. As well, the stranded wives and children, and civilian contractors (and their families) were taken aboard, removing all United States citizens who wished to evacuate. Outside Pensacola Bay, CDR Walke (the senior U.S. Government officer present) met with Lieutenant Berryman (USS Wyandotte) and Second Lieutenant Gilman (Slemmer's deputy) and confirmed that the Army would attempt to remain in possession of Fort Pickens. Then Walke tasked Berryman with remaining on station, to assist with defending Fort Pickens to the last (and evacuating the 82 men there, should that become necessary.) [The 81 men at Fort Pickens gained the service of a Hospital Steward.] Commander Walke sailed away, and reached New York Navy Yard nineteen days later (where he was charged, and his Court Martial took place in March 1861.) Issues What constitutes “valid orders?” What happens when the commander is no longer able to command, due to death, capture or incapacity; (when do his orders “die”)? Taking the initiative: “When disobeying orders, you had 'better be right.'” [Was Commander Henry Walke “right?”] Sometimes, things happen that cause “the plan” to be abandoned, by necessity. (You cannot plan for every situation; sometimes you must trust the judgment of trained junior officers and “acting” commanders.) [It is a common expression: “No military plan survives first contact with the enemy.” But, the plan then becomes a “framework” from which to operate and deviate.] “Better to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permission.” [Time and distance can have unanticipated impact. The leaders in Washington, reliant on the telegraph for relaying orders (and still-active Military officers, following the surrender of Commodore Armstrong, over-reliant on electronic guidance) all suddenly found themselves unable to communicate... which illustrates the need to develop Trust, and sound decision-making, in junior officers before the telegraph line is cut.] Just a few observations... Ozzy
  9. 1 point
    Bravo Zulu, Hank! Answer correct, and excellent summary of the January 1861 “situation” at Pensacola, provided for extra credit. For everyone else wondering, “What does Florida have to do with the Battle of Shiloh?” a reminder: Twenty percent of the Confederate participants at Shiloh had been members of Bragg's Army of Pensacola. Notable senior officers Withers, Jackson, Anderson, Ruggles, Gladden, Chalmers (and perhaps SAM Wood) all had experience in Pensacola/ Mobile. The regiments trained by Bragg at Pensacola were sent from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana. But the situation in regard to U.S. Navy officers sent west following outbreak of war in April 1861 is not generally considered: Andrew Hull Foote entered military service in 1822 and at the outbreak of the Secession Crisis was second-in-command at Brooklyn Navy Yard, biding his time, with retirement from the Navy in 1862 his likely future. Henry Walke “ruined” his Naval career with the Atlantic Squadron as result of being Court Martialed for “failure to follow orders.” Instead of continuing service with the deepwater Navy, Walke was “sent away west” and took command of USS Tyler (one of the early “stop-gap” gunboats, derisively termed “timberclads” (before the contracted ironclads were ready for service.) The point: "Did the U.S. Navy send their A - Team?" [From results achieved, one would claim, "YES!" ...however, surviving documents indicate otherwise.] Yours to ponder... Ozzy
  10. 1 point
    Brother of Mine. The Civil War Letters of Thomas & William Christie edited by Hampton Smith. This is an excellent book that not only has Tom's letters but his brother Bill as well. Lots of background context as well. A few years ago I based my anniversary walking/driving tours on following the activities of the 1st Minn., Munch's Battery, through the battle of Corinth. The Minnesota Historical society sent me a few newspaper articles written by Tom Christie and one included this which took place on October 3 on the Memphis Road : " A funny thing took place here. The German Captain of a Missouri battery [Capt. Henry Richardson] brought up his fine 20-pound Parrotts, and took position near us. A drink or two of 'commissary' had filled him with something more than 'Dutch courage:' he pranced back and forth on his horse shouting: 'Vere are dose tam rebels? Vere are dey?' Our Lieutenant (now Maj. Clayton of Bangor, Me.) who had charge of us all the way from Chewalla, said to him: 'There they are, Captain, coming up thru that hollow; you had better turn your guns in that direction and give them canister.' Unfortunatly, Clayton had been promoted only recently, and so was wearing the chevrons of an Orderly Sergeant. Also, he was black with powder smoke. The Captain glared at him. 'Go pack to your gun, sir! I don't take orders from a tam Sergeant!'" This little gem is found in the National Tribune, November 26, 1914. Tom
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