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Shiloh Discussion Group

Stan Hutson

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Posts posted by Stan Hutson


  1. Great photos.  I tell you, the history of the CCC at Shiloh is a history unto itself.  I truly do wish that something akin to the CCC was still active today, and active at Shiloh.  I know a few folks who would sign up in a heartbeat to do such work.  Amazing though, like this wall, how much of that work is now gone and/or fading away.

    • Like 1

  2. Well, haven't seen anyone post anything yet, so I figured I would give a very generic after action report of the anniversary events this year.  I myself arrived on Thursday, but I didn't partake of the 12 mile hike first tour.  Others may want to chime in on that.  Thursday evening the park staff got together and decided to cancel the big living history.  They were set to have 12 cannons, probably well over 100 infantry, plus cavalry.  It was decided that with the forecast calling for heavy rain having tons of vehicles moving in Duncan field would turn the field into a torn up muddy mess.  The decision to cancel was the correct one.  

    Everyone gathered in the visitor center before 5 on Friday morning.  The debate was made whether or not to cancel the hike and instead have a talk either inside the visitor center or at the picnic area pavilion.  Bjorn, being the stalwart that he is, said he was going on his hike regardless.  So, the event was on.  We gathered at the Peabody monument and made our way to Fraley field, with Bjorn giving an excellent tour and description of the dawn patrol and the ensuing fighting.  It was raining, but not heavily at this time.  The dawn patrol hike completed, many of us next took part in Bjorn's tour of the morning action by Prentiss, Peabody, and Miller.  We moved from tablet to tablet, with superb commentary of the fighting in each sector, even by the 16th Wisconsin Infantry (love ya Jim).  We first toured and discussed Peabody's brigade, then moved to Miller's sector.  I should insert that we had very respectable size crowds even though the weather was nasty.  Finishing the Prentiss line talk at the Prentiss headquarters camp marker, Bjorn announced that he was going to do something he had never done before, and invited others to join in.  From the Prentiss marker, we followed Prentiss' men and their line of retreat from their camps to their position in the Hornet's Nest.  Bjorn stated that in the past the Prentiss line talk ended there and voila picked up in the Hornet's Nest, so actually making the trek from the camps to the Hornet's nest sorta filled the gap in the story.  It was a very informative tour and talk, with everyone learning something new.  We had one gentleman working on Gladden's brigade, the 26th/50th Alabama Infantry in particular, so we spent time unraveling facts about Gladden's brigade after it was chewed up in Spain field.  We continued on, spent some time in Briar creek, talking about the terrain in that sector, and ended at the Hornet's Nest.  A number of us enjoyed a fine meal for lunch in Savannah at the Dae Break Cafe (where the old Whirly Bird was once located in Savannah, behind the A&W/Long John Silver's eatery), Dae Break is a great place to eat btw.  Making it back, the next tour was the Confederate left attacks by Pond, along with Wharton's Cavalry.  We also stopped in Glover field where Bjorn described the fighting between Brewer's Alabama Cavalry battalion and Birge's Western Sharpshooters.  We made our way down through Tilghman branch ravine.  With the rain, the trek through the ravine following the Louisiana boys was slippery and muddy to say the least.  The rain was at times very intense, while at other times just a heavy drizzle, all throughout the day.  Many people were thoroughly soaked to say the least, but most everyone stuck it out through the entire tour.  After cresting the ravine and discussing the fighting of Pond's brigade, we moved to Cavalry field and discussed Wharton's charge and repulse.  

    That evening, many of us enjoyed good food, good company, and good discussions at Hagy's Catfish Hotel.  It was a long day, and I think I speak for everyone in saying that everyone was bone tired by the end of the day, the rain adding to that tired feeling.  I tell you, walking around in heavy rain can take it out of you!

    The following morning, Saturday, many took part in the hike on Lew Wallace.  This writer skipped out on that, and hung out with the small contingent of reenactors that were on hand across from the visitor center.  Saturday afternoon brought about another great Bjorn hike discussing the fighting at the crossroads, in Review field, Woolf field, and the action of the 38th Tennessee Infantry near Shiloh Church, all on 7 April 1862.  I myself learned a great deal.  We discussed more brigades and regiments than I can write about.  The temperature on Saturday was cold to say the least.  We had heavy spitting snow for much of the hike. 

    Tony decided to head for home that evening, but we were joined by Mike Talplacido for Saturday, but Mike went in search of pictures on Sunday morning.  Once again on Saturday evening, many of us went out to eat at Top of the River.  Sunday morning we met up at the visitor center for the Fallen Timbers car caravan tour.  It was still chilly, but the sun was out.  We first stopped at Ed Shaw's for discussion.  We then proceeded to the Johnston bivouac site of 5 April 1862.  We then proceeded on to Fallen Timbers, where Bjorn colorfully described the fighting there.  We proceeded on to Pebble Hill where we ended the tour.  

    Many of us proceeded back to the visitor center, where most of us parted ways.  I did not take part in the evening tour of the Hamburg road discussion on Sunday.  There were other tours going on, naturally, and others may want to chime in on those tours.

    Like most fun events, it flew by too quickly.  The Friends of Shiloh table was set up inside the visitor center as it was just too cold to have it set up outside.  For those on the hikes, we withstood heavy rain, followed by nasty cold weather and snow, but in the end I think everyone had a great time.

    Ideas for future tours were also discussed, but I will leave that a surprise in case they come to fruition so others can have something to look forward to.  I was glad to see everyone, and we wished others could be there.  Shiloh, we all love that place, glad we got to spend time together there.  Looking forward to the next time!

    Stan  

     

    • Like 3

  3. 11 hours ago, Ozzy said:

    Stan

    Impressive effort. Provides a real feel for the heavily wooded expanse, cut by the occasional 20 - 40 acre field, that is Shiloh Battlefield. And, from the visual cues, I would estimate the altitude (AGL) of the light aircraft is 1500 feet. That altitude provides a visual "horizon" of 47 miles (clear air, less than 30% humidity.)

    Imagine the possibilities, if General U. S. Grant had been furnished with an observation balloon. Of course, Civil War balloons remained tethered, and only ascended to 500 feet AGL. But from that elevation, the visual horizon is 27 miles (easy to see Corinth from 500 feet above Pittsburg Bluff, on a clear day.)

    As it turns out, a balloon and pilot were sent west by General George McClellan in February 1862. After arriving at Cairo, Professor John Steiner telegraphed his availability to Henry Halleck at St Louis... but Halleck could not see the use of a balloon (he also could not see the need for a Signal Corps; and only just saw the need for General Grant.) Halleck was perfectly satisfied with the railroad; the steamboat; the telegraph; and the mounted courier. Every other "new idea" was just hard work, that cost lots of money (a fully equipt balloon operation cost over $20,000 per month, all up.) So Halleck told Professor Steiner, "Thanks. But, no thanks." And then offered the balloon to Flag-Officer Andrew Foote. The Navy saw application for the balloon at Island No.10, so Steiner and his Eagle were loaded aboard a barge, and towed to Island No.8 (where the Navy was anchored, above Island No.10.) In late March 1862, John Steiner made several ascents (with a passenger or two) and reported the "effectiveness of 13-inch mortar shells." Found out, the mortars were firing "long." So, the range was adjusted; and Rebel gunners had to seek better shelter from more frequent shell fragments. 

    From all reports, April 5th was blessed with beautiful weather at Pittsburg Landing. A perfect day for a balloon ascent (if one had been available.)

    Just a thought

    Ozzy

     

    Reference: Shiloh was a Sham: the untold story of the iconic Battle of the Civil War, by Mike Maxwell (2016) Martin Samuels P/L

     

    N.B. "AGL" is "above ground level."

     

    Or imagine if Johnston had a balloon at his disposal.  I imagine he would have been more skeptical about launching an attack.

    • Like 2

  4. 1 hour ago, mona said:

    Stan..this is very impressive...it looks "diiferent ' from the air as compared to the trailhead map...and much larger.

     

    Mona you are right.  Hard to take good images from a small plane, but from the air the battlefield looks massive.  


  5. Post Marked May 9, 1862 

    My dear sister
     
    I have already made you an explaination why I wrote you so seldom. I know you will not feel hurt with me although my letters to you have been so few yet yours to me very precious (but--I always burn them). Warren says I have written you but once. That is a mistake. I have written you at least three or four times. The mails are so confoundly irregular. I do not know who to write upon my word I don't. You learn something about Corinth I expect, it is a dirty little place some 1000 souls in real times if it were not for the Memphis & Chattanooga R.R. S & Mobile & Ohio it would never have been noticed. In and around Corinth prevails a great deal of sickness. Corinth itself is Charnel house an intense and sickening odor pervades the whole town especially near the Depot where the dead and dying and wounded often lie for hours waiting to be taken off, it is overpowering. Soon after the battle I went through one of the large hospitals for the wounded and I had to hold my breath. If I had not I believe I should have vomited. I saw some men burying a leg right out in the street. The Doctors say we will lose more men in Corinth from sickness than if we were to attack the enemy and have a bloody battle. We are now some 15 miles from Shiloh in a straight line. There are deer and turkeys--plenty of them in a half a mile of us but it is very hard to get permission to hunt. One of Capt. Stokes men wounded a gobbler and sent it down for a treat. He would weigh about 17 lbs. I do not feel like writing anything worth reading, my dear sister. I feel well and have nothing about which to write. The less said about New Orleans the better. I expect and as for Shiloh we who were there know what Monday's fight was. The report is and has not been contridicted that two companies of Forrest-Rangers were utterly cut-up and taken prisoner two days since between Monterey and Meekey's. W. is a pity, they were gallant fellows. Nothing saved us. I think was the fact that our horses were so poor we were sent down here to keep them from starvation. Milton Brown has repeated many tales to tell you and Arthur about Montgomery. Tell Russ to study tactics hard and learn to shoot a rifle and if the war lasts long enough he will make somebody if he gets into a tight sort of regiment. Brookford is ready. Tell John too, to practice with a rifle or pistol. In your last you said if I could write to Cousin Rosalie you thought she would be pleased. I will my dear sister after awhile but now her grief is so great that I could offer no comfort in a week or two a letter now and then will distract her attention for a time from the sad misfortune which has befallen her and her sisters. I do sympathize 

    so deeply with Thomas family and if possible love Cousin Rosalie more. Does Cousin Elmore seem much cast down? I hope not for someone should keep up their spirits. Where is John F. --K and John T. Elmore and are the Yankees taking the town from you. It seems so far from what I can hear from the hospital and prisoners' guard. Lt. McDowell goes today and will carry this. He is a noble fellow South Carolinian hard as steel too much so that if the Jury in Montgomery troubles him they ought to be hung. Tell Mother opened her tray this morning was much obliged and that the Ginger Cakes pleased me more than all else (I have not been well). The next time she has an opportunity to send a couple bottles of Brandy for Medicine and get Father to get them he is a fine Judge. For Medicine & nothing but Medicine. Make the boys write too. 

    Your brother, 

    V. M. Elmore 

    Link to V. M. Elmore letters:

    V. M. Elmore letters 

    http://acumen.lib.ua.edu/u0003/0001954/0000005/0001/?page=1&limit=40

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    • Like 1

  6.  

    Thursday,

    Corinth, Miss, April 3rd 1862,

    Dear Parents, Brothers and Sisters,

    We are preparing to leave, I know not where we are going or what direction we will start—the wagons are now here ready to be loaded but we have only three wagons for the regiment so it will be but very little we can carry—we only carry two tents to each company—they are for those that may get sick while we are out---we will be out five days I reckon for we were ordered to cook five days rations---my opinion is that we will go out to wards the river for I understood yesterday that our force out there was too weak and that they had sent to Gen. Gladden for reinforcments and I also understand that they were fighting a little out there so if that be true we will probably get a chance to try our hand.  Our Batt. (battalion) is now filled out to a regiment but  I do not know its number—our field officers were appointed—Mr. Coltart from Huntsville is our Colonel—Maj. Chadick our Liet. Colonel—Mr. Gwin our Major. 

    As we are merely going out with so little equipage I reckon we will return here before a great while---you can direct your letters to Corinth until you hear from us again as I am in a hurry and every thing in confusion I can’t write but very little and I cannot  (unreadable) you but little satisfaction---when we settled I will write you again.  Write soon and often.  No more at present, Farewell, B. J. Gaston.

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    Pvt. Benjamin Jordan Gaston, Company G, 10th Alabama Infantry or 50th Ala Inf.jpeg

    • Like 2

  7. Shiloh on the brain with the anniversary coming up.  Going through old posts.  Saw this one.  I wonder what the chances are that the ARTILLERY position is actually incorrectly marked?  Could the artillery have been in a different position from where the cannon are now placed?  Perhaps the cannon were further back than were they are now?  

    I would bet that the 26th Alabama getting squeezed out of line by the 1st Louisiana is what got Gladden killed.  Reason being, I would bet Gladden would have been more in the "middle" of the advancing battle line, but would have shifted to the left to untangle the mess taking place on his left between the 26th and the 1st.

     

     

     

    • Like 1

  8. Tim and myself agree, with regiment X going up against regiment X, the types of firearms they were carrying would have made a huge difference.  Thanks for the input!  

    I think Ozzy hits a good point.  The physical health of the men would have been a huge factor too, given the terrain.  And Mona, yeah, can't imagine being handed a musket and only firing it for the first time while in combat!

    Stan


  9. All,

    I am sure many of you know Timothy Arnold, he worked at Shiloh and is now at Corinth.  I know he has been slowly trying to compile the "best list possible" of weapons used by individual units at Shiloh.  It is a slow work in progress, but I am not sure how much progress he has made on it as of late.

    But, one thing that comes to mind.  We talk of tactics, movements, etc., etc.  But what I wonder is how did weaponry at Shiloh, if at all, influence combat in certain sectors of the battlefield.  Tim and myself have speculated on a point, roughly this:  Just say that Gladden's Brigade, say the 22nd Alabama, they were at least partially armed with Mississippi rifles if I have not totally lost my mind.  But, say they were going up against Miller's Brigade in Spain Field.  Say that Miller's men were armed with Belgian muskets (not sure off the top of my head what Miller's men were armed with during the battle).  Would the difference in weaponry make any difference in the outcome of that "battle within a battle".  I wonder if that weaponry difference played a part in the results of the fighting.

    In the Peach Orchard, some Confederates had Enfields, where as their Federal counterparts were firing buck and ball smoothbores.  Confederates standing upright firing Enfields may indeed NOT have the upper hand on Federals firing buck and ball from the prone position.  So, in some instances, what would be considered an inferior weapon could actually do more damage and be of better use in that regard.  On the flip side, standing upright in a slug fest in the middle of a field, troops with Enfields or other rifled muskets could more easily push back an enemy firing buck and ball, especially at long range.

    Not sure if anyone has speculated on this topic before.

    So, fire away, pun intended.

    Stan

     

    • Like 1

  10. 7 hours ago, mona said:

    stan..have you heard when they will begin? you'll need to check the pile of dirt before the use it as fill...no telling what will be found in the roadbed...

    I think it will be a few years out yet.  Not sure, haven't heard any solid word, but would love to, they WILL find tons of relics in the front yards of those houses for sure, as that is basically half of the Slaughter Pen.  

    On 3/18/2018 at 8:55 PM, mtalplacido said:

    I wish I would had more time there last summer.

    Yeah Mike, if you ever manage to get back this way, it will have changed even more since then.  I hate to see the 4 lane going in on the edge of the battlefield, but it is a done deal.  It is going to be a terrible eyesore.  


  11. 23 hours ago, mtalplacido said:

    I wish I would had more time there last summer.

    Yeah Mike, if you ever manage to get back this way, it will have changed even more since then.  I hate to see the 4 lane going in on the edge of the battlefield, but it is a done deal.  It is going to be a terrible eyesore.  

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