Jump to content
Shiloh Discussion Group

hank

Member
  • Content Count

    51
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    31

hank last won the day on November 11

hank had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

89 Excellent

About hank

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Denver, CO
  • Occupation
    Retired
  • Interests
    58th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Recent Profile Visitors

918 profile views
  1. hank

    Walke Found Guilty!

    On January 10, 1861 the state of Florida became the third state to secede from the Union. One of the first items on the agenda was to send Florida state militia to seize the navy yard at Pensacola along with Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas and Fort Pickens. On January 9 the navy transported the command of Lt. Slemmer from Fort Barrancas to Fort Pickens due to the trouble brewing. On the big day, January 12, 1861, Commodore Walke was in command of a stores ship appropriately named Supply. He was anchored near Fort Pickens assisting Lt. Slemmer in delivering supplies and preparing to defend Fort Pickens. Walke was to proceed to the port of Vera Cruz, Mexicio after dropping supplies at Fort Pickens. The Wyandotte, armed with at least some guns was also nearby. The navy yard was under the command of Captain James Armstrong. The yard had a small force of marines, soldiers and civilian workers along with some of their families. There had been no pay received for several months. A Florida militia force of 600 to 800 men arrived at the fort and Armstrong capitulated without a fight. Armstrong was court martialed for “neglect of duty” and suspended from service for five years. The plight of the men and families in the navy yard was dire. They had no money and no way to subsist in what was now enemy territory. Of course, some of the individuals were Southern supporters and did not need a ride home. Walke steamed into the harbor the next day under a flag of truce to take aboard all persons wanting to return to the north. A total of 106 men, women and children boarded the Supply. Nineteen days later the Supply arrived at New York and Walke’s human cargo disembarked the ship. The passengers included the wife and child of Lt. Slemmer. Walke was promptly court-martialed for disobeying orders and leaving his station because he was supposed to go to Vera Cruz. Walke was found not guilty of leaving station since New York was a navy port but he was found guilty of disobeying orders. His punishment was a letter of admonishment from the Secretary of the Navy. On January 16 the Florida authorities demanded the surrender of Fort Pickens by Lt. Slemmer. He told them to pound sand and Fort Pickens remained in Union hands throughout the war. Everything I wrote here I just learned in the last couple days so I hope it is accurate. For those interested the story is related in the beginning of Walke’s Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War of the United States on the Southern and Western Waters. https://books.google.com/books?id=-SoOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq=Walker+naval+scenes+and+reminiscence&source=bl&ots=O2fr7_oYdp&sig=ACfU3U1RK16Y3Jhoxpq61jdGJtm5k3t_sw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGioShrr3kAhVLOK0KHVd9AI8Q6AEwFnoECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false Volume 4 of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies has a transcript of the court martial of James Armstrong which I found interesting but did not read the whole thing. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924051350837&view=1up&seq=111 Hank
  2. hank

    Slaughter Pen

    At Fort Henry the gunboat Essex took a shell through their middle boiler. The scalding steam trapped the two civilian pilots in the pilot house and killed them instantly. One pilot was found with his hand still on the wheel. The names were Marshall Ford and James McBride. At Fort Donelson, Foote’s flagship was the St. Louis. A shell penetrated the 1.5 inches of iron plate and 15 inches of oak timber sending deadly splinters along with shell fragments ricocheting throughout the pilot house. F. A. Riley, the pilot, died at the wheel. Foote was injured in his foot but was able to pry Riley’s dead fingers from the wheel and took over steering the boat. Foote thought his wound was not serious and he would be over it in a week. But it never healed and three months later he had to relinquish command of the gunboat fleet on the Mississippi. He died about a year later. The Carondelet stayed in the fight the longest at Fort Donelson. A 128-pound shell smashed into the pilot house and sent iron splinters and wood splinters into the two civilian pilots, mortally wounding one. His name was William Hinton. Later another shell hit the pilot house wounding another pilot. On board the Louisville, a pilot was wounded. The pilot house on the boats was a prime target for the enemy’s cannon. At Forts Henry and Donelson four civilian pilots were killed and at least three others wounded. Pilots were usually well-known on the rivers and served under dangerous conditions. At Forts Henry and Donelson the pilot houses on the gunboats were, indeed, a slaughter pen. This was a great question as I had never heard the term slaughter pen applied at Forts Henry and Fort Donelson. I tried a simple google search with forts Henry and Donelson and slaughter pen and the following book appeared: A History of the United States Navy, from 1775 to 1893, Volume 2 By Edgar Stanton Maclay. Page 330. Here is the link I found. It is long but when I tried to find a shorter one it was not the same book although it had the same title. https://books.google.com/books?id=UHWpn7IEuMoC&pg=PA330&lpg=PA330&dq=Slaughter+Pen+fort+donelson&source=bl&ots=gdumFKu_en&sig=ACfU3U2dvG_a0-xwGC8NzX_N401kgx69Jg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwid5Y3Y27jkAhUKM6wKHT5cDco4ChDoATAEegQIBxAB#v=onepage&q&f=false To verify what boat William Hinton was on I referred to Walke’s “The Western Flotilla at Fort Donelson, Island Number Ten, Fort Pillow and Memphis” in Battles and Leaders, Vol. 1 Hank
  3. hank

    Something in Common

    Knowing that Wickliffe and Hardcastle were part of the party that crossed the desert from California with Albert Sidney Johnston it appeared that was the connection. A simple search of the other two revealed they also were part of Johnston's entourage. Brewer showed up on the SNMP facebook page. Ridley survived the war and lived till 1909 but Brewer was killed in Virginia in 1864. Hank
  4. Grant put in his memoirs that on January 6 he wrote Halleck and asked permission to see Halleck in St. Louis. He did not actually visit Halleck at that time. Halleck gave him another assignment. In the ORs, vol. 7 page 534 is Grant’s letter to Halleck ending with “If it meets with the approval of the Gen. Comd.g the Department I would be pleased to visit Head Quarters on business connected with this command.” However, on the same day, January 6, Halleck sent Grant an order, (ORs, vol. 7, page 533). “I wish you to make a demonstration in force on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray. Forces from Paducah and Fort Holt should meet at Mayfield and threaten Camp Beauregard and Murray, letting it be understood that Dover (i. e. Fort Donelson) is the object of your attack.” Halleck told Grant to avoid a battle as they were not ready. Nowhere in this order is Fort Henry mentioned. Grant made preparations in response to the January 6 order from Halleck. Grant ordered a column from Cairo under BG John McClernand and a column from Paducah under BG C. F. Smith to make the demonstrations. In his instructions to C. F. Smith dated January 8, 1862 (Grant Papers, vol. 4, page 11) Grant wrote that he would send Smith a gunboat and Smith should send the gunboat and a transport carrying a section of Artillery and infantry up the Tennessee River. Grant made no mention of Fort Henry but thought it would aid in the deception and help prevent rebel reinforcements moving from Columbus to Bowling Green. On January 9, 1862, three days after Halleck ordered Grant to make the demonstration, Halleck wrote McClellan informing him that he had just received McClellan’s message from the third of January the previous evening. (ORs, vol. 7, page 539) Halleck did not receive McClellan’s so-called order from January 3 until the evening of January 8. By that time Halleck had already set Grant in motion to make the demonstrations. Halleck enclosed a copy of his orders to Grant for McClellan’s information. On January 10 Halleck again wrote McClellan about McClellan’s letter of January 3. (OR. Vol. 7, page 543) This time Halleck alluded that if he followed the “order” of January 3 it would cause the loss of Missouri and did McClellan really want to do that? McClellan replied to Halleck on January 13 that Halleck had not read the letter of January 3 “with much care.” McClellan declared “There is nothing in my letter that can reasonably be construed into an order…” McClellan claimed what he wanted from Halleck was his views on how to accomplish the stated goals. (ORs, vol. 7, page 547) On January 1, 1862 the commander-in-chief, President Abraham Lincoln, telegraphed Halleck that McClellan was sick and should not be disturbed with business. Halleck was ordered by the President to work directly with Buell at once. (ORs, vol. 7, page 526) Buell received the same admonitions from the President. He wrote a message to Halleck on January 3, 1862. (ORs, vol. 7, page 526). Buell declared that the power of the Confederacy is on the line from Columbus to Bowling Green and in the center the forts on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Buell wrote an attack on the flanks and center was of importance and should be done simultaneously so the Confederates could not move troops around. Buell stated that two gunboat expeditions should go the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. (hint, hint to Halleck). But Halleck did not have the troops for such expeditions and the ironclad gunboats were not ready for service. Buell pressured Halleck with; “whatever is to be done must be done in a few days.” Halleck apparently got the impression Buell was, finally, going to move against Bowling Green. He could not mount the river expeditions but he could send Grant out on the demonstrations in order to prevent rebel reinforcements being sent from Columbus to Bowling Green. In his January 6, 1862 order to Grant, Halleck told Grant that was the object of the demonstrations. (ORs, vol. 7, page 534) On January 6, 1862 Halleck sent a long synopsis to Lincoln and offered his opinion about an advance on Columbus while Buell moved on Bowling Green. It would be a repetition of the “strategic error which produced the disaster of Bull Run.” Halleck claimed such a plan would fail ninety-nine times out of hundred and was “condemned by every military authority I have [he had] ever read.” (ORs, vol. 7, page 533) On the same day that Halleck wrote Lincoln about how dumb an attack on Columbus would be Feis (William Feis, Grant's Secret Service) wants us to believe Grant wrote Halleck for a meeting to propose just such an undertaking. Feis wrote “Instead of going to St. Louis that January to propose a campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson, it is more probable that Grant hoped to convince Halleck that the time had come to eliminate Columbus.” (page 60 of Feis book) But Halleck had already pointedly stated that the true line of operations was to split the rebel defensive line in the center at the twin Forts Henry and Donelson. In late December Halleck had dinner with Sherman and Halleck’s aide, BG Cullom at the Planter’s House in St. Louis. Halleck laid a map on the table showing the rebel defensive line and asked his two guests where would be the best place to break it. They replied “in the center.” Halleck whole heartedly agreed and declared the true line of operations was to attack the rebel line on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. If Grant went to St. Louis to champion a movement against Columbus it is no wonder Halleck would toss him out. It seems to me that requesting permission from your superior officer to do something the superior officer had already condemned and told the President of the United States it would be a strategic error would not end well. Then Feis misleads us by claiming McClellan called for a demonstration against Columbus on January 3, 1862. In addition, McClellan wanted Halleck to send expeditions up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to freeze troops at Fort Donelson, Fort Henry and Clarksville. If that was not enough McClellan wanted Halleck to seize Columbus if the place seemed vulnerable. Feis wrote; “Then to accomplish this mission, Halleck ordered Grant to march east of Columbus toward Mayfield and Murray…” What is not stated is that Halleck had neither the men nor the gunboats to “accomplish this mission.” Halleck ordered Grant out with the demonstrations to keep any reinforcements moving from Columbus to Bowling Green. Feis then noted Halleck ordered Grant (Feis did not give the date but it was Jan. 6) to “make a demonstration in force on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray” using forces from Cairo and Paducah. Grant is to act like he is an advance guard of a larger force and after the demonstration is deemed finished the forces should slowly retreat back to a Paducah. Nowhere in Halleck’s instructions is there a mention of Fort Henry. Then Feis wrote “Halleck cautioned against engaging the enemy and conveniently neglected to mention McClellan’s instructions to take Columbus if the opportunity arose.” Since Halleck did not receive McClellan’s letter mentioning Columbus until the night of January 8 how could he have passed along McClellan’s instructions in an order he prepared for Grant on January 6? Feis did not explain how that would be possible. Feis also does not mention McClellan writing Halleck that only a pea-brained nincompoop would have considered McClellan’s letter of January 3 as instructions. (ORs, vol. 7, page 547) As of January 6, Halleck was not considering making any movements towards rebel strongholds until he had the situation in Missouri under control. Halleck estimated that would be around mid-February. Halleck wrote McClellan on January 20, just as Grant was returning to Cairo from the demonstration, and outlined his plan for future operations. (ORs, vol. 8, page 509)It did not include a direct assault on Columbus. He thought that was impracticable and “not a proper line of operations.” Halleck declared that a more feasible plan would be expeditions up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers towards Nashville. That would turn Columbus and cause the rebels to evacuate Bowling Green. Halleck noted he had thoroughly studied the defenses of Columbus and found them strong. Halleck wrote it would take a large siege train and a “terrible loss of life” to take Columbus. To send expeditions up the two rivers Halleck estimated it should not be attempted with no less than 60,000 men. There were only 15,000 troops available at Cairo and Paducah at that time and the gunboats were looking for crews. It has been noted that nowhere in Halleck’s order to Grant and Grant’s order to C. F. Smith is Fort Henry mentioned as a place to be threatened. The instructions from Halleck were to act as if Dover (Fort Donelson) was the target of the movement. Feis showed on page 61 of his book why one should always be skeptical of authors who are quoting short segments of reports with parts not included. Feis wants to present the idea that there was a lost opportunity to take Columbus according to McClernand’s report to Halleck of January 24. Feis wrote: “As Union troops neared Columbus during the operation, McClernand interpreted the “non-appearance” of any significant Confederate resistance to mean the enemy was “closely collected around camp fires within their entrenchments, and indisposed to take the field.” That moment, he later wrote, was perhaps the most “favorable time…for [a] successful attack and the capture of Columbus.” After observing the disappointment evinced by his men when the demonstration ended without an attempt to storm the stronghold, McClernand urged Halleck to launch an immediate attack while the enemy remained vulnerable.” (Feis book page 61) In the ORs, vol. 7, page 69 we find what McClernand wrote from which Feis cherry-picked quotations to make the claim of the “lost opportunity” to take Columbus by storm. “It was discovered that an abatis of fallen timber a half mile in width surrounded the enemy’s intrenchments. The rigor of the weather and the non-appearance of any considerable rebel force led to the belief that they were closely collected around camp fires within their intrenchments, and indisposed to take the field. It is believed that with suitable preparation on our part a favorable time was thus afforded for successful attack and the capture of Columbus.” Note Feis left out “It is believed that with suitable preparation on our part…” What McClernand noted was if the Union army had made suitable preparations they might have been able to make a successful attack on Columbus. But the army was conducting a demonstration against Columbus with no intention to attack it. Feis claimed that after McClernand stated the rebels were “indisposed to take the field” he later wrote that at that moment it was maybe the most “favorable time” to had made a successful attack. I guess technically that is true but the two referenced sentences are in the same report adjacent to each other so it was probably no more than 30 seconds. Next Feis told us that McClernand’s men were disappointed they were denied the opportunity to attack Columbus and that McClernand wanted Halleck to make an immediate attack while the rebels were vulnerable. But McClernand’s report does not say the men were disappointed they did not attack Columbus. They were disappointed that they were recalled to Cairo. I doubt the men were disappointed they were not allowed to attack through a half mile of abatis during terrible weather against intrenchments manned by an unknown number of Confederates. McClernand wrote that the advance by the Union forces was welcomed by Unionists in the area. With the withdrawal from the area McClernand was concerned of the reprisals that might be visited on the Unionists. McClernand wrote: “This consideration, with others having great weight with me, prompts me in conclusion to presume upon your indulgence so far as to urgently recommend a renewed advance of our forces, if not immediately upon Columbus, at least so far as to regain the ground we recently occupied.” McClernand went on to describe a scenario where the army could lay siege to Columbus avoiding the need to actually attempt to carry the works. The Union army did not lose an opportunity to take Columbus during the demonstrations because that was never the intent and they were not prepared to do so. Feis next lets us know that “Grant also lamented the lost opportunity. “My orders were such and the force with me also so small,” he complained, “that no attack [upon Columbus] was allowable.” This was a letter to his sister. (Grant Papers, vol. 4, page 96) Feis put [upon Columbus] into the quotation. Grant did not mention a specific location where he was not allowed to attack. The “no attack” order was placed on both McClernand and C. F. Smith. Grant’s orders to not attack applied to the whole area of the demonstrations. Halleck cobbled together as many troops as he could for the demonstration but the force was too small to attack Columbus. In Grant’s memoirs he wrote that Smith reported he thought it practicable to capture Fort Heiman. Smith sent two letters to Grant, one dated Jan. 21 and the other Jan. 22. The letters were forwarded to Halleck in St. Louis on January 23. (Grant papers, vol. 4, page 90) Neither of these letters mentioned Fort Heiman. The Confederates did not start serious work on Fort Heiman until around January 15. A citizen alerted Sidney Johnston of that fact and he telegraphed Tilghman to immediately intrench at Fort Heiman and work all night. (Johnston biography by Johnston, page 423) Fort Heiman was not finished and no cannon were in place when Smith did his demonstration. The attack plan used by Grant put no emphasis upon seizing Fort Heiman before attacking Fort Henry. Grant is not always correct in his memoirs and this could be an example of his memory not quite getting it right. It is Smith’s letter of Jan. 22 where he described his approach to Fort Henry and how easy it would be to take it with just two gunboats. It should also be noted that Smith decided to take a look at Fort Henry because he had a day to kill as the troops unloaded a steamer full of supplies 20 miles north of Fort Henry. On page 62 of his book Feis claimed that because Grant declared the mission a success before receiving a report from Smith proves that Grant was fixated on Columbus. Fort Henry and Donelson were secondary. On January 18 Grant sent a letter to McClernand starting with “The object of the expedition having been accomplished all the forces will now be withdrawn…” Grant informed Halleck the day before that he had heard from Columbus and no forces had left there for several days. That was the object of the mission – to prevent any troops from moving from Columbus to Bowling Green. On January 20 Grant wrote Halleck upon Grant’s return to Cairo the same day. Grant wrote he would prepare a report of the expedition but if Halleck would allow him to visit headquarters he would make the report in person. Grant mentioned he had not received anything official from C. F. Smith but he had information that Camp Beauregard had been destroyed (it was, by the rebels) and that the small expedition that had gone up the Tennessee River had landed two and a half miles below Fort Henry. Feis wants us to believe that since Grant requested a face-to-face meeting with Halleck before having a report from Smith that meant Grant had Columbus foremost on his mind as opposed to Forts Henry and Donelson. What Feis does not tell us is that, while Grant did not have a report from Smith, he had a report from Lt. Phelps detailing how Phelps had feigned an attack on Fort Henry on January 17 with two gunboats and a steamer with 500 infantry aboard under the orders of Smith. (ORs of the navy, page 507) The premise that Grant asked for a meeting with Halleck without any information about Smith’s foray up the Tennessee is false because Phelps made a foray up the Tennessee and he made a report on it. Feis argued that Grant was fixated on Columbus and one of his reasons stated was “the lack of attention paid to the rivers before January.” That statement would come as a surprise to Flag-Officer Foote and Lt. Phelps. Here is a list showing the number of times the Navy sent a gunboat up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to “pay attention” to what was going on at Forts Henry and Donelson. This list is based on reports in the Official Records of the Navy. There could have been other trips. September 8, 1861 – (ORs, vol. 4, page 404). Right after Grant occupied Paducah a Lincoln gunboat was reported to have been seen on the Tennessee River 30 miles below Fort Henry. Grant left two gunboats at Paducah. Early on gunboat captains were warned to proceed cautiously up the rivers lest they encounter rebel masked batteries. October 19, 1861 – (ORN, vol. 22, page 374) – Lt. Phelps steamed the Conestoga up the Cumberland to Eddyville where low water prevented him from going further. October 27, 1861 – (page 379) – Lt. Phelps returned to Eddyville with a steamer transporting 300 infantry to attack a rebel camp near Eddyville. C. F. Smith (page 380) also wrote a report. October 30, 1861 – (page 396) – Commander Porter took the New Era up the Cumberland River to Ingram’s Shoals where the Confederates had blocked the river with sunken barges. Ingram Shoals was approximately 30 miles below Dover. Porter was to pick up volunteers who wanted to join the US army. Porter wrote he heard about Fort Henry and that with his boat they could take it. November 6, 1861 – (page 394) Lt. Phelps managed to get his boat over Ingram Shoals and proceeded to within three miles of Fort Donelson. Phelps returned to Paducah, made his report and noted he was leaving again, immediately, to the same location to try to stop the trading going on. On page 427 of the ORN is a report by C. F. Smith of November 8, 1861 giving details of the forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Smith noted that Lt. Phelps is constantly moving his vessel up and down the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. November 17, 1861 – (page 435) – Lt. Phelps wrote a long report about his trip up the Cumberland River to as close to Fort Donelson he could get. He noted that he had done this several times already. On page 451 is a report by Foote dated December 5 noting that four gunboats have arrived and he needs men to man them. As soon as he gets them he wants to go up the Tennessee River and destroy rebel boats and a battery. December 8, 1861 – (page 457) – Lt. Phelps again steamed up the Cumberland to Fort Donelson and wrote a long report about his trip. December 10, 1861 – (page 461) – Lt. Phelps returned to Paducah and then immediately turned around and went back up the Cumberland to pick up refugees. He, again, made it close to Fort Donelson. January 6, 1862 – (Page 486) – Low water hampered operations on the rivers. Lt. Phelps wrote a long report about his close visit to Fort Henry. He added more information on Fort Donelson. He did this report on the same day Halleck wrote the order to Grant to make the demonstrations. I guess what constitutes “lack of attention” is in the eyes of the beholder. It took Halleck two days to approve Grant’s visit to St. Louis. He sent a telegram to Grant on January 22. C. F. Smith wrote letters about his undertakings on January 21 and 22. The January 21 letter spoke of the lousy road conditions. The January 22 letter is the one Smith mentioned that Fort Henry could be taken with two gunboats. Both of these letters were forwarded to Halleck on January 23. Grant made plans to leave for St. Louis the night of the January 23. Grant did not have Smith’s letters when he made the request for a visit to Halleck but he had them when he left for St. Louis. The idea that Feis put forth about Grant being a Johnny-come-lately to the idea that the true line of operations should be up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers is contradicted by Col. John W. Emerson in a series of stories in the Jan-Apr-June issues of The Midland Monthly. The title is “Grant’s Life in the West.” Starting on pages 114-119, continued on 219-221, Emerson recounts the circumstances of how Grant, in August of 1861, identified the true line of operations for Federal advance to be the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant laid out a plan and through his benefactor, Elihu Washburne, submitted it to President Lincoln. Of interest on pages 409-411 is an account of Grant’s meeting with Halleck in St. Louis. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011958785&view=1up&seq=6 Emerson referenced an account by John Thayer in McClure’s magazine, Vol. V, June to Nov. 1895, “Grant at Pilot Knob,” 433-437. Thayer wrote about Grant having plans about a campaign up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers while he was at Pilot Knob in August 1861. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015030656162&view=1up&seq=7 Luckily, I had a copy of Bruce Catton’s. Grant Moves South. Catton discusses the Emerson and Thayer articles. (pages 28-30) Catton points out some inconsistencies but does not downright reject these accounts as these are men who were there. However, there are some aspects in the accounts which are new to me and I had not heard them before so a little more digging is required. The point is that Grant, like many others, recognized the military significance of expeditions up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant also discussed attacks on Columbus from early on. Grant wrote in his memoirs that on January 6 he wanted to meet with Halleck and present a plan for expeditions up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. The idea that he was going to convince Halleck to let him move against Columbus makes no sense. There were about 13,000 men at Columbus behind fortifications and abatis. On January 6 Halleck wrote the President and informed him that he had 15,000 men at Cairo, Fort Holt and Paducah. Leaving guards at those places meant his available force was around 10,000 which is about the number he ordered out on the demonstrations. As Halleck wrote it would be madness to try to do anything significant (like attack Columbus) with such a small number. Grant asked for a meeting with Halleck in a letter dated Jan. 20. That does not mean he was going to take off for St. Louis without having heard from C. F. Smith. He wanted to give Halleck a report of the demonstrations in person. Grant made his departure after he received Smith’s letters. Grant has the sequence wrong in his memoirs because he did ask for the meeting before reading Smith’s letter which confirmed his view. Feis’s claim that Grant was fixated on Columbus and only changed his direction later is an analysis too contrived for me. When you factor in all the mistakes Feis made in his book and other evidence not included his conclusion fails. For instance, Feis wrote on page 63 that Smith found the roads horrible and that Grant, therefore, “knew that any reinforcements sent from Columbus to aid Fort Henry would be unable to get there very fast.” But any infantry going from Columbus to Fort Henry could have taken the railroad from Columbus to Danville on the Tennessee River where Tilghman, commander at Fort Henry, could have sent a couple steamboats to pick up the troops and take them to Fort Henry. Grant and Foote formed a tag team to hound Halleck to let them move against Fort Henry. But Foote claimed that Grant originally wanted to go up the Cumberland against Fort Donelson. Early reports had Fort Donelson as weaker than Fort Henry. Foote wrote in a report (ORN, page 314) to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, November 13, 1862, that when four of the ironclads were ready Foote proposed to Grant to take the boats and 6,000 troops and attack Fort Henry. Foote wrote that Grant preferred to attack Fort Donelson on the Cumberland. Foote claimed he convinced Grant to attack Fort Henry if Halleck’s agreement could be obtained. No dates are given but I assume this occurred before Grant went to see Halleck in St. Louis. Grant returned to Cairo after his rebuff from Halleck the morning of Jan. 28. Perhaps it is on his return that Foote convinced Grant to get Halleck to agree to let them attack Fort Henry for it is on Jan. 28 that both Grant and Foote sent telegrams to Halleck to let them take Fort Henry. (Grant Papers, vol. 4, page 99) Grant followed through with another telegram on Jan. 29 and Halleck, finally, gave his consent on Jan. 30. Halleck’s time frame had him ordering an advance in mid-February. What convinced him to go now was not the telegrams from Foote and Grant. But those telegrams showed Halleck that those two were ready and itching to attack the rebels now. On Jan. 29 Halleck received a short telegram from McClellan (ORs, vol. 7, page 571) passing along information from a deserter that Beauregard was ordered to Kentucky to assist Johnston and that he was coming with 15 regiments. Of course, it wasn’t true but Halleck acted as if it was. He sent McClellan a telegram on January 30 (ORs, vol. 7, page 571) telling him that his telegram had been received and that Grant and Foote would be immediately ordered to attack Fort Henry so as to take possession before Beauregard showed up. As further confirmation that it was the Beauregard news that prompted Halleck to act on February 6 Halleck telegraphed McClellan and ended with the sentence “I was not ready to move, but deemed best to anticipate the arrival of Beauregard’s forces.” I have searched in vain for any reaction from Halleck to the fact he sent out the demonstrations in early January based on his belief Buell was about to move against Bowling Green and that never happened. Then Halleck ordered the advance on Fort Henry because McClellan told him Beauregard was coming west with 15 regiments and that never happened either. When Grant wrote his memoirs it was 20 years after the events. He has some details wrong but his remembrance that when he requested to meet with Halleck in January of 1862 to propose a movement up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers because that was the true line of operations is not fiction. Sure, Grant was interested in taking Columbus but in early January there were more Confederates at Columbus behind fortifications and abatis than Grant could muster against them. Anyway, Halleck was calling the shots, not Grant, and Halleck had no intention of sending a force against Columbus. The movement against the center of Johnston’s defensive line was an obvious military objective. The idea was put forth by many people so no one is given the credit for thinking of it. Grant noted this when he wrote to his benefactor, Elihu Washburne, on March 22, 1862. From Bruce Catton’s, Grant Moves South, page 29; “Grant wrote to Washburne saying that it was idle to give credit for the move up the Tennessee to any specific general; the strategic soundness of the plan was obvious, he said—‘General Halleck no doubt thought of this route long ago, and I am shure I did.’” Hank
  5. hank

    Who was Sans Peur?

    Randolph. He was not a slave because Johnston had manumitted him when Johnston went to the west coast. Randolph, or Ran, went with Johnston to California as a free man and received wages for his services as cook. Johnston also wrote that Ran was a good with the mules. (Source: Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston by Colonel William Preston Johnston)
  6. I offer a couple of additions. On page 152 of my signed Wiley Sword’s 2001 edition is the following concerning the confrontation between Prentiss and Peabody in the camp of the 25th Missouri; “Reining his horse in front of Peabody, who was just preparing to mount, Prentiss angrily demanded to know if he had provoked an attack by sending out a force without orders. Peabody answered that he had sent out a reconnaissance patrol after attempting to notify Prentiss of his intention. (Bold added by me) The first puzzle piece here is that Peabody states he sent out a reconnaissance patrol. Prentiss had given Peabody and Powell permission to send out reconnaissance patrols so there was “no defiance of orders” when Peabody ordered Powell to take a reconnaissance patrol to the front. However, they were not to bring on a “general engagement.” But Prentiss had heard a lot of firing; Prentiss knew that the war god Colonel David Moore had gone forward with the entire 21st Missouri to “lick them.” And when he rode into Peabody’s camp he found the long roll had been sounded in the camp of the 25th Missouri and Peabody had his regiment toeing the line in preparation of moving forward. This is why he demanded to know from Peabody if he had sent out a force without orders. The eye-catching phrase is that Peabody tried to inform Prentiss of his intention to send out a patrol but had failed to let Prentiss know due to his messenger not being able to find Prentiss. None of the other major Shiloh books mention that Peabody attempted to inform Prentiss that he was sending out Major Powell at 3 a. m. There are several varying accounts of the confrontation between Prentiss and Peabody and what was said. I was curious where Wiley Sword had gotten the account he used in his book. His reference notes referred to Shea which led to John Gilmary Shea in the bibliography to Shea’s The American Nation. Shea seems to have been a prolific author with many books about Americans and patriotism. The American Nation was a compilation of men who gave their all for Union. Included in the book are chapters on Major General William Hervey Lamm Wallace, Colonel Julius Raith and Colonel Everett Peabody. The chapter on Colonel Everett Peabody gives many details on his life and then goes into an account of the battle of Shiloh commencing on April 5, 1862. The author covers Peabody with praise and gives an account of the activities concerning Peabody sending out Powell’s patrol. Shea wrote “Few officers have fallen during the war, whose services were so valuable to the country, or whose prospects of honorable distinction were so brilliant, as those of Colonel Everett Peabody.” The amazing thing about this book as relates to the efforts to learn the truth about Shiloh is that the book, containing full praise to Peabody for saving the army at Shiloh, was published in 1862 while Prentiss was still a prisoner in the south. The story of Peabody at Shiloh was published in a book yet historians wrote about the battle of Shiloh ignorant of what Peabody had done. Except for William Swinton in his Twelve Decisive Battles of the War. I did not type up the whole chapter on Peabody, only the part on Shiloh. The book is pretty rare and I could not see that it has been digitized. I located a microfilm copy in a library near Kansas City. “On the 5th of April there seemed to be a kind of presentiment in General Grant’s army of the terrible battle impending. A visitor to the field, immediately after the battle, was assured that the desire being to avoid a collision with the enemy at that moment, the generals were instructed not to throw out pickets. The strategy reminds one of the old fable of the ostrich, who hid his head and then imagined himself safe from the hunter. That evening several soldiers and civilians were collected in Colonel Peabody’s tent, and the colonel expressed his opinion that the rebels were near in force and the army in great danger for want of pickets. Finally, he exclaimed, “I can bear this no longer. I must know whether we are in the arms of the enemy, or whether we are out of danger,” and he immediately sent an orderly to General Prentiss, asking leave to send out a scouting party. The orderly did not find General Prentiss, and Colonel P. then resolved to send it out without permission. From one to three o’clock, that night, he strolled about the camp talking with his officers and men, and at three o’clock sent out the party,--four hundred men of his own regiment,--under Major Powell, a cool and experienced officer. It is hard to overestimate the importance of this reconnaissance. Our army was encamped in a semicircle, Colonel Peabody in the centre. Beauregard had planned for three columns to attack our right, left, and centre, simultaneously at daybreak; and if he had succeeded in this, General Grant’s army would have been annihilated. His plan was frustrated by Colonel Peabody’s detachment, which, came into collision before the time, with the centre column. The rattle of musketry gave the alarm to our army, and gave the centre nearly time enough, and the flanks ample time to get under arms. Early that morning (Sunday, April 6th), Colonel Peabody sat at breakfast with Mr. B., a visitor, when the firing was heard. The colonel said to Mr. B., “Don’t disturb yourself; but I must go and see to things.” He ordered the long roll sounded, and mounting his horse rode forward to where the line was forming. Major Powell and his men soon appeared, swept on by an immense column of rebels, but skirmishing bravely as they retreated. At this instant General Prentiss rode up to Colonel Peabody and exclaimed: “Did you provoke this attack by sending out a force without orders!” “I did send out a reconnaissance, after sending you notice of my intention.” “You have brought on this attack before we were prepared; and I shall hold you responsible for it.” With our present knowledge of the battle, it seems as if General Prentiss could hardly have framed a statement more damaging to himself, or more honorable to Colonel Peabody. It sounds like a confession of perfect blindness as to the position and plans of the rebels, and an admission of want of preparation to receive an attack which the rebels had been preparing for two weeks—a confession that West Point strategists were wrong, and the colonel of volunteers, right. But Colonel Peabody knew nothing of all this. He only knew that he had taken a dangerous responsibility, and in consequence was arraigned by his superior as the cause of an impending defeat; and this thought must have made his last hour on earth one of great mental suffering. In this state of mind, it is easy to conceive with what grief and indignation he must have seen his brigade swept slowly back by the rebels, in spite of its stern resistance. The correspondent of a western paper says: “Colonel Peabody would not retreat. He seemed infatuated, and was soon left almost alone, vainly trying to rally his men. Presently he fell shot through the jaw.” The gentleman, who was breakfasting with him, saw him riding along the line urging his men with voice and gesture, to “Stand to it yet;” then saw him throw his arms up, reel, and fall from his horse, the rebels rapidly passing over the spot. On Monday evening, after the rebels were driven back, his body was found where he fell. It was pierced by five bullets: one in the head, one in the neck, one in the body, one in the thigh, and one in the hand. Thus, after “one glorious hour of crowded life,” fell a brave soldier and chivalrous gentleman. His officers buried him in a gun-box, placing at his head a board with his name, and below it the couplet: A braver man ne’er died upon the field; A warmer heart never to death did yield. His body afterwards carried to Boston, where the funeral arrangements were taken in charge of by the governor of Massachusetts. Thence to Springfield, where, in presence of an immense concourse, he was laid beside his mother, in the beautiful cemetery of that town. Few officers have fallen during the war, whose services were so valuable to the country, or whose prospects of honorable distinction were so brilliant, as those of Colonel Everett Peabody. His talents were of a high order, and were united to such practical energy, that whatever he undertook to do, was sure to be done quickly and well. Thus, when he was only twenty-two years old, Hon. James Guthrie said of him, that “he was as good a field-engineer as there was in the western country.” At twenty-three he was a chief. The same element of character gave him immediate success in the new field to which the breaking out of the great rebellion called him. He was one born to command; and his proud and chivalrous spirit, his scorn of danger, his absolute ignorance of fear, filled his men with an enthusiastic faith in him, so that he could lead them anywhere, and do any thing with them. His most striking characteristic was a high contempt for meanness or dishonesty of any kind. This trait won him respect wherever he went; but it was carried so far as to make him lack even that excusable selfishness which enables a man to take proper care of his own. His table and purse were always open, not to friends only, but even to mere acquaintances; and in money-matters he was careless to an excess,--a fault often found in large and noble natures. In the flower of his age, in the performance of a great act of service, he fell—dying as a chivalrous gentleman would wish to die, and singularly fulfilling the prediction expressed years before in a song which he composed for a military organization: And if the army of a foe invade our native land, Or rank disunion gather up its lawless, faithless band; Then the arm upon our ancient shield shall wield his blade of might, And we’ll show our worthy brethren that gentlemen can fight. The American Nation carries a copyright date of 1862. It is possible it went to print after Prentiss was released. It is one of those pieces of the puzzle as to why was the actions of Peabody not recognized by historians if there was a book published in 1862 that described what he had done. In Shiloh – The Battle That Changed the Civil War Larry Daniel has an error-prone synopsis of the opening of the battle. He based part of his opening battle remarks on a convoluted and disappointing newspaper article that was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer by a reporter of the name of Bentley. Bentley was in the camp of the 25th Missouri on the morning of April 6th and related his observations. Bentley’s description of the fight is so disorganized he convinced Larry Daniel that Prentiss actually accosted Peabody twice on the morning of April 6th. Nevertheless you can gloom some tidbits from the article and here is a link which should get you to a website that has the newspaper digitized. https://newspaperarchive.com/philadelphia-inquirer-apr-18-1862-p-2/ You are on your own to work with this site. I could not find a site that had the Philadelphia Inquirer digitized and you did not need to pay for it. Somehow I was able to print a copy of the newspaper on a single 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper and I use a magnifying glass to read it. One of the puzzle pieces is the relationship between Prentiss and Peabody. Recently Ozzy had a thread which discussed what day did Prentiss actually arrive at Pittsburg Landing. Prentiss stated in his 1882 speech he arrived on March 29, 1862, roughly one week before the battle. What is missing from the record is any account of an interaction between Prentiss and Peabody that supports a claim they did not get along prior to April 5th. Here is the entire letter Peabody wrote on March 31, 1862, his last letter. You have probably seen snippets of the letter but here is the entire letter. To whom it was addressed was kept secret in The American Nation but it was sent to his brother Frank. Dear -------, In camp again, with a good regiment and well equipped. We are in General Prentiss’s division (eleven regiments), and I command the leading brigade. As we are the left centre division, we expect rough work. I have a fine brigade. My own regiment at the right; the Twelfth Michigan, Sixteenth Wisconsin, and Eighteenth Missouri forming the balance. We arrived here on the 28th, and have a very pleasant camp,--the boys as lively as crickets, and every thing working smoothly, It is funny to be called general, but the boys are all delighted, and, I think, will do good service at the proper time. The enemy is supposed to be about eighteen miles from us. We have an immense army, how large I have no means of knowing; they say, however, one hundred and twenty odd regiments, and they are arriving at the rate of two or three a day. As I wrote you before leaving, I have left my contract with Judge Krum of St. Louis. In case I go under, my old assistants, Kilby and John Severance, can give you all the necessary information in regard to the property involved. Say to them all at home, that if I have good luck, I shall win my spurs. Love to all. Yours, Ev Unfortunately Colonel Everett Peabody did not have good luck but he won his spurs and was instrumental in giving the army the opportunity to save itself. He mentions General Prentiss with no hint of animosity or ill-feeling. “Every thing working smoothly” certainly does not support the mantra that Prentiss hated Peabody’s guts. Another mantra is that Peabody had a presentiment of his own death at Shiloh. But you can read in his last letter that he states “In case I go under” and then informed his brother whom to contact about some of his property. Peabody might have had a presentiment of his death in battle months earlier but he gave no such indication in his last letter home from Shiloh that he sensed he was going to be killed on the field. We had a discussion as to who ordered out Colonel Moore with five companies to go to the aid of Major Powell. I remarked I had just read an account that stated Moore was sent out by Prentiss but could not remember where. Well, I discovered it was on page 61 in the following staff ride handbook. https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/educational-services/staff-rides/StaffRideHB_Shiloh.pdf Now just looking at Daniel’s book and on page 147 he states the same thing. No wonder the puzzle is so hard to complete. I added this because Bjorn stated the same thing on his hike and we were wondering where that could come from since David Moore specifically stated it was Peabody who ordered him forward. In preparing this posting I came across another occasion when Prentiss described the opening of the battle and mentioned how it was Colonel David Moore who was responsible. From Confederate Veteran, Volume 3, April, 1895 there is an article on the veteran’s reunion at Shiloh in that year. On page 104 is found the following: “He (Prentiss) reported his anxiety about the situation in front of the General (Sherman) commanding in the field, but his fears of an attack were not heeded, the General sending back word “I will guard your front.” He sent, however, Col. Moore of his division, with part of his regiment, who encountering Johnston’s army, sent a report of it back to Prentiss, adding, “If you will send the balance of my regiment to me, by thunder, I will lick them!” Here it is 1895 and Prentiss attributed the opening of the battle to Colonel David Moore. So far I have found no account where Prentiss himself displayed any knowledge of Powell’s patrol. You can find copies of the Confederate Veteran at the following link. Go to Volume 3, page 104 to find the article on the veteran reunion at Shiloh in April of 1895. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=confedvet The record indicates that Major Powell took out a patrol after noticing “butternuts” observing the division’s review in Spain Field. Then, probably after Powell had returned, Moore took out his patrol and returned with his information concerning the evidence of Rebel cavalrymen. This seemed to have piqued Powell’s interest and he took out the late night patrol as detailed in the account of Private D. K. Baker where Baker related that Powell told them that they were going out to find some Rebel cavalrymen and “bring them in out of the wet.” That mission was aborted upon finding more Rebels than expected and Powell organized another patrol to go out at 3 am on April 6th. Sergeant Gordon of company A, 57th Ohio was on picket duty when Powell approached him with his patrol and told him that they were going out to “catch some rebels for breakfast.” That is a total of four patrols going out from Peabody’s camp. The idea that Powell’s 3 am patrol was sent out in violation of orders does not stand up because all of these patrols had been granted permission from Prentiss to make reconnaissance in front of Peabody’s camp. What Prentiss did not know was the timing of these patrols. Wm. J. Hahn, 1st Lt., Co. H., 25th Missouri, who was there, wrote on April 12, 1914 – “With the assistance of Colonel Everitt Peabody commanding the 1st Brigade of the 6th Division, Major Powell finally got General Prentiss’s permission to reconnoiter Sunday morning, but under no circumstances to bring on a general engagement. Major Powell explained these points to me at 10 P.M. Saturday, April 5th and directed me to visit every tent of Co. H and instruct the men to be fully dressed and be ready to march at 3 A.M. Sunday, April 6th……If ever a man deserved a monument it is our brave Major Powell…..” Hahn’s statement contains an admission that Powell had permission from Prentiss for the 3 am patrol but that “under no circumstances to bring on a general engagement.” When Prentiss rode into Peabody’s camp on the morning of April 6th he knew that Colonel David Moore had gone forward with his entire regiment and that Colonel Peabody was about to do the same with the 25th Missouri. It looked to Prentiss as if the situation had gone beyond reconnaissance patrols to approaching a general engagement and that is why he accused Peabody of bringing on an engagement and that Peabody would be held responsible. The State Historical Society of Missouri has a collection of papers of Lt. Col. Robert Van Horn of the 25th Missouri. Overall the collection is a disappointment concerning the battle of Shiloh except for a yellowed copy of a newspaper account by William A. Morton dated April 7, 1908 in the Hamiltonian newspaper from Hamilton, Missouri. William Morton was one of the four Morton brothers enrolled in the 25th Missouri. We are familiar with Charles Morton from his two accounts of the battle of Shiloh, Boy at Shiloh and Opening of the Battle of Shiloh. Brother Mark Morton served as an aide to Colonel Peabody at Shiloh. The Morton brothers were there and close to the scene. For the astute observers one might notice the date of the article being 1908 and contained in the papers of Robert Van Horn and wonder how that could be. The answer is that Robert Van Horn lived to be 92 years of age and died in 1916. I selected to include in this post the introduction in the newspaper to the article and a portion of the article concerning William Morton’s account of what they found when they returned to their demolished camp on April 7, 1862. William Morton, who was there, wondered why historians never gave credit to Peabody for what he did and that the excited Prentiss really was not aware of what actually happened. Morton also commented on the fact that Peabody took action without informing Prentiss and that was a mystery because Peabody was always respectful to fellow officers. BATTLE OF SHILOH. – W. A. MORTON – OMAHA, APRIL 7, 1908 Gen. Charles Morton Commemorates the Event Each Year A Shiloh dinner was given by Gen. Charles Morton at Omaha on April 7, this year. For many years past the General has celebrated the anniversary of the battle in a formal manner, or otherwise, and on this occasion he invited a number of the survivors of the battle to join him in commemorating the event. Five persons were present, all of whom were requested to present a written statement of personal experience in the great open field fight, giving special prominence to recollections of the opening events, as the question whether the Union army was surprised or not has never been satisfactorily settled by historians. W. A. Morton, of Little Rock, Ark., a brother of Gen. Chas. Morton, was in Hamilton last Thursday and Friday on his way home from attending the Shiloh dinner where he gave the following narrative of the battle, in which he desires to make clear the point that the First brigade of Prentiss’ division, commanded by Col. Peabody of the Missouri 25th, was not surprised. This narrative, we believe, will be read with interest by our patrons as its author was the founder of the HAMILTONIAN and he and a number of others of the same company serving in the war enlisted from this locality. Personal Experiences in the Battle of Shiloh (By W. A. Morton, late of Co. I, 25th Inft. Mo. Vols.) * * * * * * * * * * * * We marched back to camp, arriving between the hours of 1 and 2 Monday April 7th. Our camp was the very picture of the “havoc of war and the battle’s confusion.” Tents were rent by bullets and shells, and the ground was strewn with broken muskets, limbs of trees, knapsacks, etc: and the trees were splintered by cannon shot, and dead Confederates lay scattered by. A few of the tents were burnt, while those remaining all contained one or more wounded or dead Confederates. The tent which Sergeant Singleton and I had occupied contained two dead men, who were members of an Arkansas regiment. Everything of value which we left in our tents when we retreated the morning before was gone. Blankets, knapsacks and clothing, etc., and for three or four weeks we had no change of clothing. Blankets were issued soon after the battle, but we drew no clothing until early in May, when we were in the trenches near Corinth. After hastily surveying our camp the next thing in order was dinner. Some of the boys had hardtack, others had canned goods found at a demolished Sutler’s tent, and one had a chicken which he had picked up at a farm house. The meal would have been a gloomy one but for the fact that all of the boys (there were 21 of them) had a thrilling experience to relate, besides the occasion was enlivened with the thought that we had regained our camp and that the Confederates were skedaddling for Corinth. But when we entered our tents at night even the thoughts of victory could not dissipate the air of gloom. The following day our camp was thronged with visitors, who came to view our dead Colonel; there were newspaper correspondents and army officers among whom, General Garfield, who commanded a brigade of Woods Division. Buell’s army. It happened that the first person General Garfield met on entering our camp was my brother, Mark, to whom he said: “I am looking for the camp of the Missouri 25th.” Mark replied, this is the camp of the 25th. “After a few remarks concerning Col. Peabody the General inquired if there were any boys of the name of, Morton, in the regiment. Mark said, “Yes, sir, my name is Morton, and I have three brothers in the regiment.” He then conducted the General to our company and introduced Charley and myself, but John N. required no introduction as the General recognized him at sight as a former neighbor farm boy and playmate. The General praised Colonel Peabody highly for his bravery and intelligent efforts to prevent the entire army from being surprised. All the officers who visited our camp were lavish with eulogies of Col. Peabody and the officers of the first brigade, and it was current opinion that their vigilance alone saved the army from surprise. I have often wondered why historians have not given Colonel Peabody the credit which newspaper correspondents and army officers accorded him immediately after the battle, when the facts were fresh in memory. It is certain the first shot was fired by Colonel Peabody’s brigade and that if that shot had not been fired when it was, the entire army would have been unprepared for attack. Colonel Peabody was awake all the night preceding the battle, receiving information from scouts and consulting the regimental commanders in his brigade (so it was reported for days after the battle) consequently his plans for attack were made deliberately. It was the general opinion that Prentiss knew nothing of these plans and was not even aware that the enemy’s outposts were attacked until firing on the skirmish line had progressed an hour or more, for when he appeared at Colonel Peabody’s tent at 6 o’clock, and asked what that firing meant at the front, and the cause was explained, he was not only surprised but very indignant. It is said he charged Colonel Peabody with having violated orders and brought on an engagement prematurely. Lieutenant Claxton, then Commissary Sergeant, says Prentiss’ language was violent. He told Peabody he would put him under arrest, but for the reason he wanted him to bear his share of the engagement he had precipitated. Why Col. Peabody took the steps he did, without reporting to Prentiss, is a mystery. It could not have been on account of ignorance nor lack of respect to a superior officer, for he was a man of fine intelligence and was ever courteous to both inferior and superior officers, besides every inch a soldier. My brother Mark, who was Col. Peabody’s orderly, corroborates what Lieutenant Claxton says regarding the reproval Prentiss administered to Peabody for his aggressive movement. It was therefore due to Col. Peabody’s enterprise and generalship that the entire army was not surprised. To present the history of the battle in truthful and interesting form the historian should say the regimental and division commanders of the Union army were all, except Peabody’s brigade, if not surprised, caught unprepared, but displayed great ability and heroism in staying a crushing defeat. * * * * * * * * * * * * William Morton’s account of the encounter between Prentiss and Peabody comports somewhat with the account given by F. C. Nichols in a letter to the nephew of Everett Peabody dated Feb. 27, 1902. Larry Daniel in Shiloh – The Battle That Changed the Civil War attributed Nichols’ account as the most accurate because Nichols was “within hearing distance.” (page 350 in the “notes” section). Daniel quoted just a sentence of Nichols’ account but there is more quoted in Joseph Rich’s The Battle of Shiloh. Here is what is in Rich’s book. F. C. Nichols, senior Captain of the 25thMissouri at Shiloh, to F. E. Peabody, Feb. 27, 1902. “At early morn before breakfast the line of Battle was formed, with the right of Brigade resting on the right of our regimental color line. My company was on the right of Brigade. A few minutes after the line was formed, General Prentiss rode up near Colonel Peabody, who was mounted and in front of my company, about the center of the first platoon and said to him, “Colonel Peabody, I hold you responsible for bringing on this fight.” Saluting, Colonel Peabody said: ‘If I brought on the fight I am able to lead the van.’ General Prentiss ordered him to take his best regiment….the next words I heard were: 25thMissouri forward.’” In Nichols’ account and William Morton’s account we find corroboration that Prentiss, despite his anger at the moment, gave Colonel Everett Peabody the respect to lead the 25th Missouri regiment forward and gave him the opportunity to “lead the van” “to bear his share of the engagement he had precipitated.” I like that version best. Hank
  7. Of course Ozzy’s observation is correct. I heard this somewhere else recently that Prentiss sent out David Moore to reinforce Powell and wondered where that could possibly come from. One is left to surmise how anybody could arrive at that conclusion when Moore clearly stated in his report that it was an order from Colonel Peabody that sent Moore and five companies of the 21st Missouri to Powell’s aid. But it was interesting to note that Lt. Col. Woodyard did indeed put in his report; “I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 6th of April, before sunrise, General Prentiss ordered Colonel Moore, with five companies of our regiment, to sustain the pickets of the Twelfth Michigan Infantry.” Woodyard’s comment reinforced the fact that the situation was so chaotic that Woodyard did not even know it was Peabody that sent Moore out with the first five companies and that it was done to “sustain the pickets of the Twelfth Michigan Infantry.” I kept an eye out for a confirmation of Moore’s report concerning who ordered him out with five companies to reinforce Powell. I finally found it in the following letter written in 1883 by William French, who was there. Not only was he there but he was Moore’s adjutant. His short letter contains other interesting points that blow holes in the Shiloh revisionist ship that will aid in sending that ship down to the deep where it belongs. William French’s letter was published on April 12, 1883 in the National Tribune. Copies of the National Tribune are available online. Just google National Tribune and it should show up. It is a short letter so I typed it up and here it is. One Regiment that was Not Surprised. To the Editor National Tribune: “As the manner in which the battle of Shiloh was fought is now under discussion, I would like, with your permission, to relate what I know about it. There was at least one regiment, the Twenty-first Missouri, commanded by Colonel David Moore, which was not surprised. On Saturday morning, April 5th, the day before the battle, General Prentiss, commanding the division to which we belonged, held a review, and at that time some rebel cavalry were seen in the vicinity. In the afternoon he ordered Colonel Moore to take five companies of his regiment and reconnoiter on our front. We went out about a mile and found numerous traces of the presence of rebel cavalry. The inmates of a house which we visited told us that the rebels were in large force, and that we would be attacked the following morning. Colonel Moore reported this fact to Colonel Peabody, who commanded the brigade, and also to General Prentiss, but no notice was taken of it, except that the pickets were strengthened. The next morning found us up early and ready for orders, and presently Colonel Peabody’s adjutant arrived with instructions for Colonel Moore to take out five companies. The pickets had been fired on in the meanwhile, and the Colonel met them falling back. They reported a heavy force in front of them, and the Colonel sent back to camp for the remaining five companies, and taking the pickets with him marched to the front. We had gone about a mile, and were in sight of the house where we heard the afternoon before that we were to be attacked, when the rebels fired on us. Colonel Moore was shot twice. He dismounted and told me to take care of him and keep a sharp lookout. He formed his regiment in line of battle and the boys began to deliver a very rapid fire. At this time an orderly arrived from Colonel Peabody and wished to know whether Colonel Moore could hold his position until he could re-enforce him. Colonel Moore sent back word that he would; but no re-enforcements came, however, and for about an hour we held the ground alone. The Twenty-first Missouri never did better shooting than on that Sunday morning. It was on that field that Colonel Moore was wounded for the third time. A minie ball broke his leg below the knee, and he was taken back to the camp, and afterwards placed on a gunboat on the river, If, after all the fighting we went through that Sunday morning, any of our boys were shot down near their tents, I, for one, don’t pity them. They had plenty of warning. Colonel Moore held his ground faithfully and bravely, and justice indeed has never been done him for the part he took in the battle of Shiloh.” William French Athens, Mo. Co. F, 21stMo. Wiley Sword wrote in his book on page 138; “About 7 P. M. Moore advised Prentiss that the results of his reconnaissance were negative.” That is not what Prentiss wrote in his report nor is it what William French wrote in this letter. William French wrote that they found evidence of Rebel cavalry and were told by citizens that they would be attacked in the morning. Colonel Moore reported this information to both Colonel Everett Peabody and Brigadier General Benjamin Prentiss. The Shiloh revisionists want you to believe that Moore reported nothing to the front of the camps and that Moore’s report is why General Prentiss did nothing as Peabody harangued him about Rebels to the front of his brigade. But the record clearly shows that Moore reported the presence of cavalry and the reaction by Prentiss was to send out additional pickets to strengthen the picket line and authorize additional patrols that eventually culminated in the 3 a. m. patrol by Major James E. Powell and ordered by Peabody. While Prentiss authorized reconnaissance patrols he was unaware as to the timing of those patrols. I have found nothing to indicate that Prentiss was at Peabody’s camp on the night of April 5th. Peabody, Powell and others were taking their case to Prentiss at his headquarters. As it got later on the night of April 5th Peabody continued to receive reports that heightened his alarm and increased his anxiety to know just what was in front of his brigade. But Prentiss was not there and did not have the latest information that Peabody had. It is bewildering to hear revisionists claim that Moore reported that he found nothing actionable. Moore wrote in his report; “In pursuance of the order of Brig. Gen. B. M. Prentiss, commanding Sixth Division, Army of the West Tennessee, I on Saturday proceeded to a reconnaissance on the front of the line of General Prentiss’ division and on the front of General Sherman’s division. My command consisted of three companies from the Twenty-first Missouri Regiment—companies commanded by Captains Cox, Harle, and Pearce. A thorough reconnaissance over the extent of 3 miles failed to discover the enemy. Being unsuccessful, as stated, I returned to my encampment about 7 o’clock p. m. What Moore is referring to is that he did not find any Rebels that he could shoot. Moore does not relate that he found evidence of rebel cavalry but Prentiss wrote that in his report and acted on it by strengthening the picket line. Prentiss wrote “At about 7 o’clock the same evening Colonel Moore returned, reporting some activity in the front—an evident reconnaissance by cavalry. This information received, I proceeded to strengthen the guard stationed on the Corinth road, extending the picket lines to the front a distance of a mile and a half, at the same time extending and doubling the lines of the grand guard.” It should be noted that Moore is pretty specific about the afternoon patrol he took out. He even gave us the names of the commanders of the three companies he took out on the patrol. He makes no mention of going on patrol joined by Major James E. Powell as claimed by Wiley Sword in his book. The idea of a patrol going out with both Moore and Powell just makes no sense and is not backed up by any account that I can find. It is simply one of the figments of Sword’s imagination that has found its way into the narrative and gets repeated by other historians who just repeat another historian’s work without scrutiny. But Prentiss confuses the issue with his report because he gets events out of sequence. Prentiss wrote in his second paragraph: “Saturday evening, pursuant to instructions received when I was assigned to duty with the Army of West Tennessee, the usual advance guard was posted, and in view of information received from the commandant there of, I sent forward five companies of the Twenty-fifth Missouri and five companies of the Twenty-first Missouri Infantry, under command of Col. David Moore, Twenty-first Missouri. I also, after consultation with Col. David Stuart, commanding a brigade of General Sherman’s division, sent to the left one company of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Infantry, under command of Captain Fisk. At about 7 o’clock the same evening Colonel Moore returned, reporting some activity in the front—an evident reconnaissance by cavalry. This information received, I proceeded to strengthen the guard stationed on the Corinth road, extending the picket lines to the front a distance of a mile and a half, at the same time extending and doubling the lines of the grand guard.” The way Prentiss composed these paragraphs gives the impression that Moore returned at 7 o’clock p. m. from a patrol consisting of five companies of the Twenty-first Missouri and five companies of the Twenty-fifth Missouri. But that makes no sense and does not fit the timing given by Moore in his report. Moore clearly wrote that he returned to camp at 7 p. m. after leading the three-company patrol he took out 3 miles. It makes no sense that at dusk with night approaching Prentiss would order a huge patrol of ten companies to go mashing around through the woods in the dark. My view is when Prentiss stated “I sent forward five companies of the Twenty-fifth Missouri and five companies of the Twenty-first Missouri Infantry, under command of Col. David Moore, Twenty-first Missouri” he is not describing a patrol but rather he sent Moore forward with ten companies to strengthen the picket line. Prentiss stated years later that these troops were sent forward with the order to stay through the night and try to capture some Rebels if they could. At some point on the evening of April 5th communication ceased between Prentiss at his headquarters and what was occurring in front of Peabody’s brigade. Prentiss felt he had responded to information received by sending out additional pickets. When Prentiss retired to his tent he believed that the war god David Moore was out on the picket line with ten companies of troops. However, apparently the pickets returned to camp at some point. When Powell’s patrol moved forward at 3 a. m. Prentiss was unaware of that fact. When Peabody heard pretty heavy firing and wounded men came into camp informing him that Powell could use some help Peabody sent his adjutant to Colonel Moore and told him to go to Powell’s aid with five companies. Moore did so and encountered the retreating Powell on the road east of Seay Field. Moore believed the Rebels were just a patrol and that they could be beaten back if Moore had the other five companies of the 21st Missouri. Moore sent an orderly back to camp to have the other five companies of the 21st Missouri sent to him. But the orderly did not follow the command chain. The orderly did not go to Peabody but instead went all the way to Prentiss at his headquarters. Prentiss described the arrival of the orderly in a speech in 1882; “Early in the morning, on the 6th of April, 1862, it was my duty, from what I had learned, to feel the enemy. I had been admonished on the Friday evening before that battle that an enemy of some force was in our front. Not at 3 o’clock, but on the evening of Saturday, before the sun had set, the details were made, and the order given throughout my division to advance the pickets and strengthen them with additional numbers. I did send to the front the gallant Moore, with five of his companies—three at first, and doubting their ability to meet the enemy, I sent two more on my right. On my left two companies of the 18thWisconsin were advanced one mile to the front. In the center, one company of the 61st Illinois and one of the 18th Missouri were sent forward as extra pickets, with instructions to remain until daylight and see if they could not capture some of the marauders that had been engaged in committing depredations immediately in our vicinity. Early on that Sabbath morning, before (while seated at my breakfast news came to me from the gallant Moore) I had heard the musketry fired in front, and heard the skirmishing, an orderly came galloping into camp and said: “General, the compliments of Gen. Moore. He requests me to say to you that he has met the enemy. Send his other five companies and he will lick them.” That is the language that came to me. Gen. Prentiss sent those other five companies of his regiment to him.” The work “admonish” had a different meaning back in the 1800s. The meaning was more close to “informed” as nowadays it is deemed more critical to be “admonished.” Here it is 20 years after the battle of Shiloh and Prentiss related what he believed happened. Note Prentiss remembered sending “to the front the gallant Moore” “to advance the pickets and strengthen them with additional numbers.” Prentiss had no clue as to Powell’s patrol on the morning of April 6th and the available record, including his 1882 speech shows that Prentiss had no clue as to Powell’s patrol when they placed him in his casket in February of 1901. He never mentioned Powell’s patrol and Peabody’s involvement because he never knew. Prentiss believed that Colonel David Moore was at the front with five companies and when he got a messenger from Moore wanting the rest of his regiment that just reinforced Prentiss’s belief that Moore had been involved with the start of the fighting. Back to French’s short letter and the wealth of information it contains for our consideration. 1. 1. French described how Prentiss ordered Moore to take out an afternoon patrol. French wrote five companies but Moore stated just three in his report. French reported they found numerous traces of Rebel cavalry. This contradicts the revisionist claim that Moore found nothing. 2. 2. French described how they were informed by citizens that the Rebels had a large force and that the Union camp would be attacked in the morning. French wrote that Moore passed this information on to both Prentiss and Peabody but that no serious note was taken except to strengthen the pickets. Here is a first indication that French was unaware of Powell’s patrol. It is also the only source I have seen that informs us that not only did Moore alert Prentiss but also Peabody. 3. 3. French confirmed the fact that Moore received an order from Peabody to take out five companies and move to the front. French gave the reason for this order is that the pickets had been fired upon. A second indication that French was unaware of Powell’s patrol. In addition this observation supports Moore report that it was Peabody that ordered him forward. Both Colonel David Moore and his adjutant, William French, say Peabody ordered Moore forward with five companies and they were there. 4. 4. French wrote that Moore met the pickets falling back and stopped them while sending back for the other five companies of the 21st Missouri. This is the third indication that French was unaware of Powell’s patrol and concluded that the men they encountered had been on picket duty instead of a five company patrol that Peabody had ordered to the front. French made no comment but it has been noted that the orderly Moore sent back for the other five companies went to Prentiss and not Peabody. 5. 5. French described the location of their fight as the house they had visited the day before during their reconnaissance which is at Seay Field. Seay Field is not three miles from the camp of the 21st Missouri. Based on Moore’s description that he moved in front of Sherman’s division it appears that he advanced beyond Seay Field but where Moore actually went is open to question. 6. 6. French wrote of Peabody sending an orderly to ask if Colonel Moore could hold his position until Peabody could reinforce him. I have not seen that referenced anywhere else. Finally French declaimed that “Colonel Moore held his ground faithfully and bravely, and justice indeed has never been done him for the part he took in the battle of Shiloh.” Of that French is totally correct. Rather than receiving justice for his role in the battle of Shiloh Colonel David Moore now receives ridicule and mockery at the hands of the Shiloh revisionists. He is depicted as a liar and a buffoon who could not find his way through the trees in front of Peabody’s camp without losing his way. There is no better example of how Shiloh revisionism has adversely affected the modern history of the battle of Shiloh than reading about the opening of the fight in Keven Getchell’s Scapegoat of Shiloh. What a shame that readers of that book who are not familiar with the battle of Shiloh will believe any of what Getchell wrote concerning the opening of the fight. Getchell did Moore and Prentiss a severe injustice in his book because he followed the Shiloh revisionist mantra. With that I close this posting even though I have so much more to tell. But tomorrow is another day and how it came to be that Colonel David Moore has been falsely depicted as a liar and a buffoon will be revealed in an upcoming posting. Hank
  8. Hi Perry. I know you are funning me because Prentiss made no statements in his official report about Peabody’s conduct in the battle and his role in alerting the army of the presence of the enemy prior to the attack. I would expound on that to clarify that there had been encounters with the Rebels prior to the morning of April 6, particularly the skirmish Buckland had that ended up facing Hardee’s infantry and even artillery at Micky’s on April 4. Prentiss was aware of a presence of enemy in the front and responded by ordering increased pickets forward on the night of April 5. But, as Prentiss admitted later, he had absolutely no idea that a full-scale attack from Johnston’s entire army was about to come down on his head. Colonel Peabody sent Major Powell out on the morning of April 6 and Powell found the entire Rebel army poised to strike the Union camps. The Colonel’s actions alerted the army to the presence of the entire Rebel army. I know you are aware of my views on Prentiss but others might not be so I take the liberty to refer to the following articles published in the Quincy Herald-Whig and on the website of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County. These articles were slightly edited from what I wrote without my input. They are slightly different but the gist is the same. http://www.whig.com/article/20160710/ARTICLE/307109929# https://hsqac.org/major-general-benjamin-mayberry-prentiss-quincys-slandered-hero-shiloh-hank-koopman/ On my last research visit to the Shiloh National Military Park I was reminded the degree to which the unwarranted, and unsubstantiated, vilification of Prentiss has permeated the Shiloh story. I was minding my own business at the research desk leafing through files with only one of the Shiloh volunteers in presence. I had made no references to Prentiss when out of the blue the Shiloh volunteer said to me “You know Prentiss took credit for sending out the Powell patrol.” The volunteer was surprised when I calmly replied “That is not true.” I got back “That is what all the books say.” My calm reply was “Those books are wrong.” Of all people to make the untrue statement that Prentiss took credit for sending out Powell’s patrol I am not the one. The incident reinforced my objection to the fact that I cannot even visit the park without someone trying to make me dislike Prentiss by spouting out things I know are not true. Perry, although you did not ask my view as to why Prentiss makes no mention of what Peabody did during the battle I am going to give it. Ozzy has made some recent posts that are relevant to the subject as to why is there no mention of Peabody’s actions before and during the battle in Prentiss’s report? In the forum “April 7” thread “Value of the POWs” Ozzy broached the subject of Prentiss’s official report with the following: Prentiss, Prisoners and Prognosticating Nature abhors a vacuum... and I have attempted over the past several months to determine, "Why was General Prentiss' Report of Battle of Shiloh in error, as regards the roles of Peabody and Powell ?" (Errors of omission, as in, "no credit given for the early morning reconnaissance ordered by Colonel Peabody and performed by Major Powell.") The death of Peabody was not discovered until the 25th Missouri regained their camp on April 7. Early newspaper accounts listed Peabody as wounded. Peabody’s brother made the trip from Massachusetts with the understanding that Everett Peabody had been severely wounded. When the brother arrived at Shiloh he discovered his brother had been placed in a wood crate and he took him back home to Massachusetts for burial and thus removing Colonel Peabody far away from western theater of battle. Meanwhile the last time Prentiss saw Peabody was in the camp of the 25th Missouri when they had their altercation and Prentiss told Peabody that he was responsible for bringing on the engagement. Prentiss never saw Peabody again and could not very well write about Peabody’s actions during the fight when he had no idea what Peabody had done. Prentiss included observations on Madison Miller, Jacob Tindall and Colonel C. S. Albans because they were with Prentiss during the fight and he could vouch for their actions. Prentiss was on his way to Memphis along with a couple thousand other prisoners by the time Peabody was confirmed killed. The only way Prentiss could learn of Peabody’s death is if someone told him but all the prisoners were sent off the battlefield on the night of April 6. During his imprisonment Prentiss might have read some smuggled newspapers but otherwise what Prentiss was hearing was how he and his men had surrendered first thing. Prentiss was finally released from prison and arrived in Washington DC on October 17, 1862. He spent a busy day visiting Lincoln and relating how the prisoners had been mistreated and it was going to take a big effort to bring the south to heel. That night Prentiss was serenaded and gave a speech and immediately left for Quincy, Illinois with a group of five or six other officers. He was given a 30-day leave. He passed through Chicago where he was serenaded again and he gave a speech along with several of the other officers. Prentiss then traveled home to Quincy, Illinois. The trip was a whirlwind of activity. By this time it was over six months after Shiloh and the war had moved on. During this journey the only way Prentiss would have known of the death of Peabody is if someone told him. There is no reasonable expectation that someone would have told Prentiss what Peabody had done during the battle so he could include it in his report. Prentiss did not return to an existing division where he could get information about the battle from a staff. He returned alone to Quincy. The usual sequence for an official report by a senior commander was that he would wait to receive the reports of his underlings to aid in the preparation of his report. Prentiss had no such advantage. He had never read or had in his possession the reports of the members of his division. Prentiss was writing blind using just his memory and understanding of what had happened. Prentiss had not a clue as to what had transpired concerning Peabody ordering out Powell’s patrol. This is evident in his report when he attributed the start of the fighting to the combative Colonel David Moore. One missing puzzle piece for me was to confirm that there were no officers of the 25th Missouri among the officer prisoners captured along with Prentiss. Ozzy posted the link he found to a list of officers captured at Shiloh. The list has no officer from the 25th Missouri who might have been able to tell Prentiss what transpired in their camp concerning the actions of Peabody and Powell. The date of November 17, 1862 shows that Prentiss procrastinated the writing of his report. Prentiss felt no need to get his story out as quickly as possible. He waited until the last day of his leave to finally write it. The report was not Prentiss’s top priority as other events were taking place in Quincy at that time. The papers are full of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln after the September battle at Antietam. Prentiss was busy as he was invited to give speeches relating to the very important mid-term elections. In November Prentiss married a 24-year old woman to be his second wife. That surely cut into the time he had to write a report about Shiloh. It is surmised by some that the reason Prentiss did not mention more about Peabody and his death on the battlefield is that he hated Peabody. If that is the criteria than Peabody must have been the most hated man in the brigade. Of the five official reports submitted by regimental officers of Peabody’s brigade only one lists the death of Peabody. (Col. Francis Quinn of the 12th Michigan). Lt. Col. Robert Van Horn of the 25th Missouri must have really hated Peabody because he did not mention the death of Peabody in his report. The big difference between those officers and Prentiss is that they knew Peabody had been killed but Prentiss did not. General Grant was so impressed with Peabody (and Julius Raith) that he did not mention him in his report either. But we did learn all about Sherman’s boo-boo to his hand from Grant. Prentiss did not note the deaths of Colonel Tindall of the 23rd Missouri and Colonel Albans of the 18th Wisconsin in his report but he did mention their outstanding service which he witnessed. I guess Prentiss hated them too. My view is that had Prentiss known of the deaths of Tindal and Albans he would have mentioned their sacrifice in his hastily written report. If Prentiss did not know of the deaths of Tindal and Albans it is logical to conclude he did not know of the death of Peabody either when he wrote his report. But why is there no mention of the part played in the opening of the fight by Major Powell? Because Prentiss did not know the fight was initiated by Powell’s patrol. Prentiss believed that the fight was initiated with the troops under the command of Colonel David Moore. Then that brought up the question as to when did Prentiss finally learn that the fight was initiated by Major Powell’s patrol? I set to work on this myself (just a retired engineer doing the type of Shiloh research that Shiloh revisionist historians just won’t do) and through luck and lots of hours in archives I found out that every time I found a report, letter, speech and a newspaper account where Prentiss described the opening of the fight he always attributed it to Colonel David Moore. I have found nothing in which Prentiss gave any indication he knew of Powell’s patrol. Therefore, my view is that the answer to when Brigadier General Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss learned of the early morning patrol by Major James E. Powell is – NEVER. Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss went to his grave never knowing of Major Powell’s patrol and how the battle of Shiloh truly started. The idea that Benjamin Prentiss deliberately dissed Colonel Peabody by not acknowledging Peabody’s role in sending out Major Powell’s patrol that ended up alerting the army and gave it time to defend itself fails to scrutiny. Prentiss can hardly be expected to have credited Peabody with doing something of which Prentiss was unaware. The good General is doing just fine. He sleeps well and I appreciate the opportunity to explain why. There is a lot more to be told. Hank
  9. Greetings to all, I missed the anniversary hikes but this video of Bjorn’s hike describing the spirited defense of their camps put up by the Sixth Division and their commanding general is really quite good. Many thanks to Tony for posting it and to Bjorn for the extensive preparation showing that the Sixth Division put the hurt to the Rebels even if, eventually, they were overwhelmed and lost their camps. The final walk was made from the camp of the 18th Wisconsin to Prentiss’s Headquarters. Bjorn related the order Prentiss gave to his division to fall back fighting. How many men did fall back fighting is impossible to know but there are a couple accounts I found which described the fighting in this area of the battlefield as the men of the 6th Division fell back from their camps. The intrepid Captain Andrew Hickenlooper described his battery’s fall back from Spain Field to the color line of his camp where Union troops tried to rally and form a new line. Hickenlooper’s camp was just west of Prentiss’s headquarters so the action he described occurred between Prentiss’s headquarters and the camps of Colonel Madison’s brigade. Hickenlooper’s account of the battle of Shiloh can be found in Sketches of War History 1861-1865, Vol. V. Hopefully this link will get you there. https://archive.org/details/sketcheswarhist00unkngoog On page 414 we find Hickenlooper’s claim of providing a warning to the rest of the army. It was thus the Fifth Battery met and assisted in checking the first determined onslaught of the enemy, giving nearly two precious hours’ notice of approaching danger to the still slumbering army far to the rear. On page 416 Hickenlooper described the backward movement from Spain field to their color line at their camp. Barely in time to escape the touch of bayonets, over ditches, between trees, through underbrush, over logs, every rider lashing his team, we gain an opening, when the bugle’s “Battery, halt,” again brings order out of apparent confusion, and the shattered battery has a chance to breathe for the first time since early morning. It seems an age, and yet but two, or at most three, hours had elapsed since we passed to the front with all the pomp and pride of conscious power. Slowly we moved backward, saving ourselves from capture only by bringing the remaining sections alternately into action, until we reached the color-line of our camps, upon which an effort was being made to reform our disorganized forces. On page 422 Hickenlooper noted his last conversation with Brigadier General Benjamin Prentiss as the Hornets’ Nest collapsed. It was then General Prentiss informed me that he feared it was too late for him to make the attempt to withdraw his infantry, but that I must pull out, and, if possible, reach the reserves, or forces forming in the rear. I bade the General--as brave a little man as ever lived—good-by, and, under whip and spur, the remnant of our battery dashed down the road, barely escaping capture. Near the end of the hike a participant brought up the Shiloh novel by Shelby Foote in which she said the Mississippi and Alabama troops gave full credit to the men of the 6th Division for the fighting they did to slow the Confederate “avalanche.” I have not read Foote’s novel on Shiloh but for a Confederate view of a man who was there I refer those interested to an article written in 1901 by Isaac Ulmer and titled “A Glimpse of Johnston Through the Smoke of Shiloh” and published in The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 – April 1907. Isaac had a front row seat in the attack on the 6th Division because he was a member of Company C of Wirt Adams cavalry. On the morning of April 5th, 1862 Ulmer’s company was ordered to report to General Albert Sidney Johnston to serve as his cavalry escort for the coming fight. As you read Isaac’s account he is describing mostly the attack on Prentiss’s camps because we know that Johnston was directing the movements on the Rebel right flank. Eventually Isaac refers to the fighting even further to the right as the Rebel attack moved against Stuart’s brigade. Isaac gave no definite locations in his descriptions because he probably did not know exactly where he was but if you have an understanding of the fighting for Prentiss’s camps and the attacks on Stuart and then McArthur you can get a good idea of what Isaac is describing and where it is. Following is a segment from Isaac’s article relating to the attack on Prentiss’s camps. I assume he is referring to the camps of the 2nd brigade under Colonel Madison Miller. “I remember about this time of day, say 10 or 11 o’clock, or perhaps a little earlier, we rode into the enemy’s encampment, from which our infantry had previously swept them. The tents were pitched in company formation and full of the impediments of a field force. Evidently they had been interrupted at an early breakfast. At some of the camp fires the breakfast was untouched, and some of the men partly undressed, lay dead in the tents, and yet they say no surprise was acknowledged by Genl. Grant. I do not know how this was, but they fought stubbornly from position to position. (Some of our after experience of surprisals make us think of occasions, when we knew that surprised Yankees could and would fight.) I will not notice further this controversy, but I here add my testimony to the gallant stand made hour after hour that day by this Federal Army. The carnage of this field was terrible. Nearly one man in three being either killed or wounded. Battery after battery was knocked to pieces, and their brave dead lay silently attesting how bravely they had fought.’ Near the end of the article Isaac gave his opinion of General Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss when he wrote: But enough; the gallant Prentiss with the large part of his brigade had been captured some time in the evening, numerous other prisoners had been sent to the rear,… “The gallant Prentiss;” a tribute from a Confederate who was there. Surprisingly even with my rudimentary internet skills I astonished myself by finding a link to the full article published in The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association. Hopefully the link works as I am not sure I could do it again. The link gets you into the magazine and you scroll the pages. Here is the link https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/317/ I found a copy of Isaac’s article in the folder for the 3rd Alabama Cavalry at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. There were some slight changes between the article I found versus what was published in the quarterly. I thought the description in the article I found was better than that published so the paragraph I included came from the article I found. You can compare what I wrote with the published article to see the differences. Somewhere in my research materials I have an account by a member of the 18th Missouri. Unfortunately I could not find the original documentation but wanted to pass along my recollection of what this soldier said as it relates to the retreat of the 18th Missouri through the very area of the battlefield covered by Bjorn’s hike. If I find the account in my files I will edit this posting. Hopefully my memory is sufficient to get the point across. The 18th Missouri soldier related how, around 1895, he and a group of other 18th Missouri soldiers walked the battlefield with David Wilson Reed and pointed out to him locations where they had made a “stand” as they retreated from their camp to the Hornets’ Nest area. What stood out was that they identified five locations where they thought Reed should put in a tablet depicting where they had turned around and stood their ground for a while and then retreated further. (I say five but it might have been four, maybe three) Reed did not put in that many tablets. He just put in one for the position held by the 18th Missouri from 8:30 am to 9:00 am. This was the second position taken by the regiment after they retreated from their first position. It was near their camp. The reason to point this out is that it reveals how units made a fighting retreat through the woods and fields even if those positions are not recognized with tablets. The final item of interest I will point out is what Captain E B. Whitman wrote to Major General J. L. Donaldson on March 26, 1866 concerning Whitman’s efforts to locate the bodies of buried soldiers, Union and Confederate, on the Shiloh battlefield. Union soldiers were reinterred in the new national cemetery which graces the hill above the landing today. Whitman was tasked with finding bodies of Union soldiers throughout the area around Pittsburg Landing. General Donaldson was the Chief Quartermaster of the Military Division of the Tennessee. I obtained a typed transcript of Whitman’s letter from the Shiloh National Military Park. To make sure that copy was correct I followed up with a trip to the National Archives in Washington DC to read the original handwritten document that Whitman sent to Donaldson. Except for a minor error that referred to the Bay field in the typed document when Whitman wrote the Ray field the typed copy matched what Whitman had written. Whitman’s R was mistaken for a B. I have included only that part of Whitman’s letter that related to Shiloh and his observations as to where the heaviest fighting occurred. Captain Whitman started his March 26, 1866 communication with General Donaldson with the opening sentence: “Having completed the exploration of the Battleground of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing, I hasten to communicate briefly the results of my labors since the last report.” Following is Captain Whitman’s description of his efforts at locating the bodies of the fallen at Shiloh. “I come now to the most important and interesting portion of my work of this section – an inspection of the battlefield of Pittsburg Landing or Shiloh Church. Seven days of uninterrupted labor of the entire party have been devoted to the work; and, I flatter myself, with a good degree of success. A space of territory containing about twelve square miles has been examined minutely. An aggregate of about four hundred linual miles of travel have been accomplished on the grounds. The field has been swept by the entire party, deployed in manner of skirmish line, at such distances from each other as to leave the intervening space within easy observation. In this manner we passed over the entire battlefield back and forth, the outer man scoring the trees as he went, to guide on the return. Every grave, group of graves and trench have been carefully noted and the location recorded by point of compass and distance from some prominent point or object easy of recognition. The separate graves have been counted and each lot and group recorded by itself. Every legible name, number, and inscription has been copied. Plans of the road, fields, houses, etc., will be prepared, and in addition to a written description, the location of the larger group of graves will be noted on the place. The result of the exploration has been the discovery and localizing of the burial places of eighteen hundred and seventy four union dead. Six hundred and twenty have been identified by headboards and inscriptions, and the inscriptions copied. Of all these, sixty five (65) are solitary graves situated here and there over the entire field. There are eighty nine groups of separate graves containing more than two in the group. Twenty one trenches containing at the most moderate estimate, two hundred and fifty four bodies – probably more – have been notices. All of these solitary graves, groups and trenches occupying no less than one hundred and seventy eight different localities scattered from the bank of the river to the extreme exterior line, and from the extreme right of the right wing to the extreme left of the left wing covering all the fighting ground of that memorable and bloody contest.” The above two paragraphs show the extent of the work that Captain Whitman and his force performed in locating bodies on the Shiloh battlefield approximately four years after the fight The next paragraph and one sentence of the following paragraph are for those interested in knowing the truth about Shiloh. The following words of Captain Whitman are quintessential in deriving that truth. “The haste of the graves of the Union dead, as well as the trenches and mounds covering the rebel dead, marks most distinctly the progress of the fight, and the points where each party suffered most severely. The appearance of the very woods themselves indicated the points at which the fight raged most fiercely. On our left, covering the ground over which General Prentiss was driven from the Ray and Spain lands across the Barnes and George farms to the Bell field where he was finally captured, the slaughter of the Federal troops seems by the number of graves to have been terrible. (Bold added) At one point N.E. of the Widow Bell’s house where an Indiana Battery is said to have been stationed, the brush and small trees are mown off as with a scythe, and the number of rebel dead is greater than at any other point. The ground is now white with their bones. On our right also the rebels seem to have suffered most severely, while in the center there seems to have been less fighting as fewer graves are found.” Captain E. B. Whitman, who was physically on the Shiloh battlefield just four years after the battle when the evidence of the fighting was still fairly fresh mentioned just one general officer in his report and where that officer fought “the slaughter of the Federal troops seems by the number of graves to have been terrible.” That officer is Brigadier General Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss. It is not Sherman, it is not McClernand, it is not Hurlbut and it is not WHL Wallace. It is Prentiss. Because Bjorn’s hike covered the spirited defense of their camps by the 6th Division and their route of retreat to the Hornets’ Nest I thought this thread would be a good place to add some information that corroborates Bjorn’s hike and would be of interest “The ground is now white with their bones” could very well be the area of the battlefield where Johnston sustained his mortal wound. I believe the Indiana battery erroneously referred to by Whitman was Willard’s battery. Hank
  10. “The Devil is in the Details.” As part of understanding what happened at Shiloh even the smaller details become of interest. The question as to when heroes Brigadier General Prentiss and Colonel Everett Peabody reached Pittsburg Landing is of consequence when trying to analyze what really was the relationship between these two men. When did they first meet? Prentiss had probably heard of Peabody in Missouri but I have not found anything to indicate they had actually met before Shiloh. Based on my research I wrote the following paragraph in a longer document I am working on concerning what really happened at Shiloh: “The 25th Missouri left St. Louis on the steamer Continental on March 26th bound for Pittsburg Landing. En route they were joined by Prentiss and his meager staff at Paducah so that gave Prentiss and Peabody an opportunity to become acquainted. They reached Pittsburg landing the night of March 28th and disembarked the next day.” The source of this information is Major General Charles Morton. Charles Morton was a boy of 16 at Shiloh. After the war he went to West Point and then served out west fighting Indians. In the forum “25th Missouri at Shiloh” Ozzy introduced Charles Morton and gave the following link for his paper “A Boy at Shiloh.” On page 56 is the statement about picking up Prentiss at Paducah. http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?num=52&u=1&seq=96&view=image&size=100&id=wu.89065903692&q1=Loyal+Legion Charles Morton wrote another paper “Opening of the Battle of Shiloh.” Pages 8 and 9 describe the boat ride to Pittsburg Landing and names the steamer “Continental.” Here is a link to Morton’s paper. https://archive.org/details/openingofbattleo00mort I put the two accounts together to come up with the paragraph listing the name of the steamer and that Prentiss joined the 25th Missouri aboard the Continental at Paducah. All four Morton brothers survived the war but a brother-in-law was killed at Shiloh defending the camp of the 25th Missouri. In his later years Charles Morton would host a dinner every April 6th and invite participants and they would discuss what they remembered about the battle. Hank
  11. I can hardly wait. I look forward to it. In the mean time here is Jack Nicholson impersonating me when it comes to Shiloh revisionists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXoNE14U_zM Hank
  12. I needed a break from my continuing and relentless efforts to crush the Shiloh revisionism malarkey of the last forty years or so and decided to see if I could answer this quiz. 1. The man of many talents, Lew Wallace, sat on the Military Tribunal that tried Booth’s accomplices in 1865. 2. Ulysses S. Grant was fortunate his wife did not like Lincoln’s wife and she had no desire to accompany the Lincolns to Ford’s Theatre on the night of April 14, 1865. Lincoln’s so called security detail failed him miserably but Grant also traveled with a security detail and had he went with Lincoln that night history would be different. 3. My trusted copy of The Bold Cavaliers revealed the name of this officer and the same picture. The man is Thomas Henry Hines and the picture was credited to the Filson Club in Louisville, Kentucky. 4. Hines studied law in Toronto with none other than the former vice-president of the United States, John C. Breckinridge. (Source – Wikipedia) 5. The staff officer was an aide to P.G.T. Beauregard at Shiloh. His name is Jacob Thompson and he served in the cabinet of President Buchanan along with the notoriously inept Rebel General John B. Floyd. (I just searched on Google with the clues given and found his name) 6. Vincent Price would have made a superb Dr. Luke Blackburn as the story was told of his attempts to introduce Yellow Fever to Northern cities. Interesting to find that despite the attempt at biological warfare Blackburn was elected governor of Kentucky in the 1870s. Anyway, searching Google I eventually found a page of a book which was the biography of John C. Breckinridge and in it was described Dr. Blackburn attending to Breckinridge. They were both Kentuckians so it made sense. It is a little tricky to have John C. Breckinridge the answer to two disparate questions but the search for these answers was, as always, beneficial and informative in learning additional facts about the battle of Shiloh. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Hank
  13. I have my reservation in Savannah and plan to be there as scheduled. Since the research I have done over the years involves Prentiss, Peabody, Powell, the opening of the fight and the Sunken Road and Hornets’ Nest I invite anybody from this group and any others who have an interest to meet me at 9 AM on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the Prentiss headquarters monument where I will share information on Prentiss. Then I plan to visit Peabody’s monument to have a discussion of what happened in the opening of the fight. After that we will make a trip to the Hornets’ Nest to discuss the action there and along the Sunken Road. Other details like the amount of walking and time frame will be worked out once we get started. I have no fixed time for ending but figure on continuing as long as there is an interest to do so. I was going to offer to do this after the morning Trabue hike but since those plans have changed I adjusted to start Sunday morning. Hank
  14. David Reed’s brother was Corporal Milton Reed and died of disease in Jackson, Tennessee on February 2, 1863 at age 19 and was originally buried there. His body was moved to the Corinth National Cemetery after the war where it is marked with a headstone. The name is misspelled as Milton T. Roed instead of Reed. Tim Smith wrote an article on Reed published in The Annals of Iowa, vol. 62, no. 3, ccin 2003 that relates the story. Find a Grave has a picture of the headstone. Hank
  15. I go with the Corinth Road at the south end of the park.
×
×
  • Create New...