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Ozzy

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Ozzy last won the day on September 2

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About Ozzy

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    Reynella, South Australia
  • Occupation
    Writer
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    Family history research, car restoration, travel...
    Welcome to my SDG page: the image at top is of Dubuque's Governor's Greys, which became Company 'I' of First Iowa Vol. Inf. Regt. (Uniform worn Battle of Wilson's Creek, 1861.)
    My book, Falling through the Hornet's Nest' (Martin Samuels) is now available at Amazon.com as ebook. My next book (focus on Henry Halleck 1861-62) entitled 'Shiloh was a Sham: the untold story of the iconic Civil War Battle,' will be available April 2016, on Amazon as e-book.

    I can be contacted at bzmax03@chariot.net.au by any SDG member so inclined.

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  1. Ozzy

    Who am I?

    A hint: If you were informed of the location of this Agent of the Confederate Government's action, you would find his identity in 30 seconds at wikipedia. As it happened, he may have encouraged one prominent individual to join the circus...
  2. Ozzy

    Who am I?

    A member of West Point Class of 1859, I joined Strawbridge's First Louisiana Infantry in 1861 and fought at Shiloh, where I was wounded. Later on the staff of Joseph Wheeler, I got caught while carrying despatches and was imprisoned at Johnson's Island in Lake Erie... but not for long. I made my escape by using a homemade ladder and stealing a skiff, and found safety in Canada, where I made my way to Montreal and renewed acquaintance with another Shiloh veteran, Jacob Thompson. Thompson was part of the Canadian Cabinet, conducting operations on behalf of the South, from the Great White North; and I volunteered to take part in one of his more notorious operations... Who am I?
  3. Ozzy

    Confederate Generals

    It took a while for the news from Tennessee to reach southern Maryland; but the 17 April 1862 edition of the weekly St. Mary's Beacon contains a report of the Battle of Shiloh on page 2 columns 2 & 3. Maryland newspapers were peculiar during the Civil War in that they had reasonably good access to information, from the North, and from the South. The Battle of Pittsburg Landing report presented is a commendable effort to combine the Northern and Southern versions of the Shiloh Story into one account: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060119/1862-04-17/ed-1/seq-2/ "News: near Pittsburg Landing" in St. Mary's Beacon
  4. Had never seen this complete list in print before, but it is the Seniority List of Generals in the Provisional Confederate Army, just prior to Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). Of interest to SDG because of the many names associated with Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Siege of Corinth (and it is interesting to see a list of Confederate Generals without Albert Sidney Johnston's name near the top... but General Johnston was enroute from California when this list was printed in St. Mary's Beacon of Leonardtown, Maryland 18 July 1861.) https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060119/1861-06-13/ed-1/seq-2/ St. Mary's Beacon of 18 July 1861 page 2.
  5. Roger I had the same response as you when first trying to read SGT J.J. Little's letters: “Where are the transcripts?” And, when no transcripts came to hand, I resorted to “close scrutiny,” beginning with address and dates (known words to determine how letters such as a, e, i, m, n, r and s will appear in the cursive penmanship later in the document.) In Little's letters, “r” resembles n, “i” resembles e, “s” at the end of words is f, and ss is sf (as was commonly done in 18th Century). Thankfully, not many misspellings (buisy for busy, and “wheel bears” for wheel barrows.) Once I figured out all of the individual words, I read the letter from the beginning... for the real meaning and news that Little attempted to communicate to his parents in 1861 and 1862. A bit more time consuming than ideal, but sometimes “the best you can do” has to be good enough. Cheers Ozzy
  6. One of the remaining members of General Johnston's Staff, as yet unidentified: his Clerk. In the Battle Report submitted by Brigadier General Thomas Wood after Shiloh is an unusual inclusion: “A field desk was captured on the field by my division, containing the order of General Albert Sidney Johnston, commanding the Grand Army of the Mississippi, organizing his army for the late great battle. The order shows how grand and well organized was the attacking force, and bears evidence that the troops had been drawn from every available source. The desk also contained a copy of General Johnston's address to his army. The address, made on the eve of the march to the encounter, shows that the commander-in-chief sought to inflame the zeal and courage of his troops by the most incendiary appeal, as well as proves how momentous was the conflict through which our troops have so fortunately and honorably passed. A copy of the order and address is herewith submitted...” A few interesting elements: Wood's Division was a late arrival to the battle, with brigades belonging to Garfield and Wagner driving up the western side of Buell's Army; By Monday night, Thompson's Map (Day 2) [ in D.W. Reed's Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged] shows Wood's Division just south of Colonel Peabody's camp; The contents of the Field Desk only belonged to General A.S. Johnston; Some soldier (name and unit not recorded) of Wood's Division picked up the Field Desk from the battlefield and delivered it to his commander; From a close read of General Wood's report, it appears “he provided copies of the documents found inside the desk” [but kept the originals, and the desk?] Consider: the desk retrieved likely did not resemble a full-sized desk, but something more akin to: https://www.etsy.com/sg-en/listing/635442948/civil-war-officers-field-desk-rare [Scroll down to briefcase sized desk.] Is it possible the desk recovered by Wood's Division belonged to General A.S. Johnston or his Clerk, and was left behind when the body of General Johnston required immediate removal from the battlefield? Afterwards, is it not likely that a soldier from Wood's Division ran across the Field Desk while returning to Pittsburg Landing from his advanced position after Monday night? Yours to ponder... Reference: OR 10 page 379 [Shiloh Report of General Thomas Wood, dated 10 APR 1862.]
  7. The 33rd Alabama Infantry arrived at Corinth too late to take part in the Battle of Shiloh, but the regiment was present during the April/ May 1862 Siege of Corinth (Hawthorn's 5th Brigade of Hardee's Corps.) With companies arriving at Pensacola Florida in March 1862, the 33rd Alabama was organized by April 1st 1862 and assigned “defense” of Fort McRee (a coastal fortification across the pass from Union-held Fort Pickens, Rebel-held Fort McRee had been reduced to rubble during the November 1861 gunnery duel.) However, it was determined that several of the guns under the collapsed fort were worth salvaging, so when the decision was made by Major General Bragg to evacuate Pensacola and move his Army north to Corinth, the 33rd Alabama was responsible for removing the guns at Fort McRee and accompanying them to Mobile (where they were loaded aboard a train and sent to another stronghold, most likely Vicksburg or Fort Pillow.) The 33rd Alabama afterwards served at Stone's River, and was noted for action at Nashville in 1864. The regiment also had the misfortune of being involved in a train wreck near Cleveland, Tennessee on 4 NOV 1862 which killed 17 members of the 33rd Alabama and injured seventy (which is the main reason this post is here: I had no idea that there were over 500 wrecks and accidents involving Confederate railroads during the Civil War... until now.) References: http://files.usgwarchives.net/al/butler/newspapers/train33rd.txt Train wreck. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~alavols33rd/military/survivors.htm Victims of train wreck. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/railroad-accidents-kill-soldiers-during-civil-war.113583/ Train wreck discussion at civilwartalk. [Over 500 train wrecks and accidents occurred on Confederate lines during the Civil War. See http://www.csa-railroads.com/index.htm R.R. Accidents under "Essays and Documents" and scroll a little more than halfway down.] Note: The 16th Alabama, veterans of Shiloh, were aboard this same train, but occupied cars not affected by the derailment, and suffered no casualties.
  8. J.J. Little was a Private in the 10th Mississippi Infantry, Company H who fought at Shiloh (and wrote a Letter home, dated 13 April 1862.) He describes seeing the “2000 Union prisoners from Shiloh pass through Corinth” and indicates that he saw General Prentiss, too. The 4-page letter is one of five letters written by Sergeant Little, available at University of Mississippi Digital Collection. Available at http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/J.J. Little Collection/mode/exact .
  9. Ozzy

    Walke Found Guilty!

    Returning to Henry Walke... The incident for which Commander Walke got into disciplinary trouble with the U.S. Navy occurred in January 1861. As commanding officer of USS Supply (a sail-powered collier and supply vessel running between Pensacola and Vera Cruz, delivering coal and provisions to the fleet) CDR Walke happened to be in Pensacola Bay when the State of Florida pressed for Federal arsenals and forts to be handed over; and before Commodore Armstrong turned over the Pensacola Navy Yard to Florida, he ordered CDR Walke “to sail USS Supply to Vera Cruz.” And Henry Walke did not follow those instructions, so he was obviously disobeying orders when he did not comply. The full truth, however, is convoluted: Commodore James Armstrong (some questioned his loyalty; others believed he was having a nervous breakdown). How valid were his orders? The situation at Pensacola was “fluid.” How does one “follow orders” when the orders may be illegal, or illegitimate? Commodore Armstrong received orders by telegram on 9 JAN 1861 ordering him to “cooperate with the Army in maintaining possession of the public property.” As part of this cooperation, Armstrong tasked Walke (and Supply) with delivering foodstuffs to Fort Pickens (where Army Lieutenant Slemmer had transferred his force of artillerists from Fort Barrancas.) Because the foodstuffs were not unloaded January 10th the USS Supply remained at Fort Pickens Wharf overnight. [Florida seceded from the Union January 10th.] Commodore Armstrong surrendered the Navy Yard at 1:30 p.m. on January 12th. Before surrendering “the property under his command,” USS Supply and USS Wyandotte were sent away: Supply to Vera Cruz; and Wyandotte to Cuba. [Neither vessel went more than a few miles south, before reversing course.] Both ships left Pensacola Bay and were “beyond Commodore Armstrong's control” when the Pensacola Navy Yard was surrendered. As result of the surrender, 34 Marines and fifty sailors (including Commodore Armstrong) were taken prisoner “by the State of Florida.” Many of these men had their families in Florida with them, living on base (as did the Army and Navy defenders still at Fort Pickens.) In all, over 100 Union citizens were in limbo after the surrender of January 12th. [CDR Walke's family was NOT in Florida, (for the sake of clarity).] On 16 JAN 1861, operating under flag of truce, CDR Walke sailed back inside Pensacola Bay and took the paroled prisoners aboard USS Supply. As well, the stranded wives and children, and civilian contractors (and their families) were taken aboard, removing all United States citizens who wished to evacuate. Outside Pensacola Bay, CDR Walke (the senior U.S. Government officer present) met with Lieutenant Berryman (USS Wyandotte) and Second Lieutenant Gilman (Slemmer's deputy) and confirmed that the Army would attempt to remain in possession of Fort Pickens. Then Walke tasked Berryman with remaining on station, to assist with defending Fort Pickens to the last (and evacuating the 82 men there, should that become necessary.) [The 81 men at Fort Pickens gained the service of a Hospital Steward.] Commander Walke sailed away, and reached New York Navy Yard nineteen days later (where he was charged, and his Court Martial took place in March 1861.) Issues What constitutes “valid orders?” What happens when the commander is no longer able to command, due to death, capture or incapacity; (when do his orders “die”)? Taking the initiative: “When disobeying orders, you had 'better be right.'” [Was Commander Henry Walke “right?”] Sometimes, things happen that cause “the plan” to be abandoned, by necessity. (You cannot plan for every situation; sometimes you must trust the judgment of trained junior officers and “acting” commanders.) [It is a common expression: “No military plan survives first contact with the enemy.” But, the plan then becomes a “framework” from which to operate and deviate.] “Better to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permission.” [Time and distance can have unanticipated impact. The leaders in Washington, reliant on the telegraph for relaying orders (and still-active Military officers, following the surrender of Commodore Armstrong, over-reliant on electronic guidance) all suddenly found themselves unable to communicate... which illustrates the need to develop Trust, and sound decision-making, in junior officers before the telegraph line is cut.] Just a few observations... Ozzy
  10. Ozzy

    Walke Found Guilty!

    Seth Ledyard Phelps I hate to admit it, but a few years ago I “drank the Kool-aid” and subscribed to the sanitized biographies available, concerning Foote and Walke and Phelps. But these biographies were written after 1862, AFTER meritorious service had been recorded (and previous “anomalies” scrubbed from their records.) So, what was the real story of Seth Ledyard Phelps? Growing up in Ohio on the shore of Lake Erie, Seth Phelps decided at an early age to “have a life on the sea,” and left home aged 17 to enlist. Although experiencing seasickness during his first sea assignment, he worked through it, overcame the seasickness, and pushed himself to become educated and experienced in all things nautical. His tendency to volunteer for assignments no one else wanted (and excel, and afterwards be rewarded with plum positions) stirred resentment among his peers, who sought to undermine now-Midshipman Phelps. Somehow, Phelps avoided the “white ants,” and saw service aboard USS Bonita and USS Jamestown during the Mexican War. But, his observations of how military and naval duties were conducted during the war (and being too outspoken in his belief “things could be done better”) led to removal from sea service after the Mexican War, instead assigned to one shore posting after another. [This was at a time when duty at sea, and especially command at sea was difficult for aspiring captains to acquire, “senior officers” kept in those roles while aged in their 60s and 70s .] Finally, in 1857 Lieutenant Phelps returned to sea aboard USS Susquehanna, his first at-sea assignment in ten years. Duty was performed in the Mediterranean, briefly; and then the side-wheel steamer was tasked with helping lay the transatlantic telegraph cable between Ireland and Newfoundland. But after laying 275 miles of cable, the cable broke. Efforts to recover the end were unsuccessful; and the Susquehanna was ordered to Plymouth to “await further orders.” In 1858, the end of the cable was recovered, spliced to a new spool, and the effort resumed (and completed in August 1858.) But Phelp's ship (under command of Captain Sands) was no longer involved in the cable project, instead ordered to new assignment off Central America (where the filibuster, William Walker, was active). While on station south of Aspinwall in 1858, much of the crew of Susquehanna (including Lieutenant Isaac Newton Brown) came down with a tropical fever. With over one hundred members of the crew down with, “the black vomit,” Captain Sands turned his ship east and headed for the closest naval hospital (a Royal Navy Hospital in Jamaica). After removing the sick men, it was decided the “best course of action was to get the Susquehanna out of the tropics because tropical diseases tended not to persist in Northern climes.” So Captain Sands made for New York; and during the voyage from Jamaica 75 more men came down with the disease. (Seth Phelps later marvelled that he somehow avoided it; and he was one of the few officers able to stand watch and navigate the ship north.) New York was reached 15 April 1858 and everyone aboard went to hospital, or into quarantine. [Not knowing that mosquitoes were responsible for yellow fever, the Susquehanna was emptied and “disinfected through cooling.” Tons of ice were loaded aboard and the ship was sealed; and special pumps “drew out the contaminated air” and discharged it, well away from New York City. ] While awaiting the end of the disinfecting process, Lieutenant Phelps was assigned temporary duty in Washington, D.C. But before the end of 1858 he received orders to the Pacific coast of Panama, to meet USS St. Mary. Phelps and the eighty men with him arrived November 1858, but St. Mary was not due to arrive until February 1859. When February came and went, Phelps and the men with him booked passage aboard another ship and went in search of the St. Mary (and found her in Acapulco.) The crews were exchanged, and Phelps commenced duty aboard USS St. Mary... but only briefly. New orders arrived, and Phelps was assigned to USS Cyane. Not long after reporting aboard Cyane, new orders came, rescinding the earlier orders: Lieutenant Phelps was directed to return to USS St. Mary (but until that vessel returned to Panama, Phelps was assigned aboard USS Saranac.) The Captain of Saranac had no need for Lieutenant Phelps, so he was “detached,” and after a few months Lieutenant Phelps found assignment aboard the mail steamer, Washington, bound for San Francisco, as her Captain. [S.S. Washington was a “spare” steamer kept at Panama in case of emergency and the emergency arrived when the scheduled mail steamer, J. L. Stevens, was disabled in transit.] Five hundred passengers were put aboard the Washington, and Phelps “babied” the leaking ship with poorly functioning boilers to San Francisco, arriving there in October 1860. After a few days in California, Seth Phelps booked passage to Panama, and upon arrival found orders to return to Washington, D.C. He booked passage on another steamer from Aspinwall to New York, and arrived in Washington in January 1861. So, what was it Lieutenant Seth Phelps did to deserve “banishment to the western rivers?” In 1855, during ten years of shore duty, Phelps had been assigned to a “Fitness and Competency Board,” tasked with scrutinizing senior Naval Officers and their performance. Upon completion, 170 senior officers were found “unfit for continued service.” Orders were issued removing those Commanders and Captains to the Retired List. Naturally, some of those retired officers fought their removal from active service. And in process of appeal, the records kept by the Fitness and Competency Board were determined to have been “misplaced,” never to be found. And every officer who appealed his retirement was returned to active service. And the names of the members of the Board were made known. With those “restored” Captains and Commanders back in charge of ships of the line and major shore installations, Lieutenant Phelps found his career in the deepwater Navy in jeopardy. In March 1861, while “awaiting orders,” Lieutenant Phelps wrote directly to new Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, explaining his situation. And in May, Welles assigned Lieutenant Seth Phelps to duty with Commander John Rodgers at Cincinnati, where a trio of wooden river gunboats was being constructed. And after frequent trips from Cincinnati to Pittsburg Pennsylvania (where the naval artillery was acquired) and testing the seaworthiness of the new timberclads, Phelps was assigned command of USS Conestoga. References: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uva.x001866812&view=1up&seq=159 The Union Army: a history of military affairs during the War of 1861 - 1865 vol.7 "The Navy" (published 1908 in Wisconsin by Federal Publications Company) pp.159 - 165. Seth Ledyard Phelps: Ironclad Captain by Jay Slagle (1997) Kent State University Press, Ohio.
  11. Ozzy

    Walke Found Guilty!

    Bravo Zulu, Hank! Answer correct, and excellent summary of the January 1861 “situation” at Pensacola, provided for extra credit. For everyone else wondering, “What does Florida have to do with the Battle of Shiloh?” a reminder: Twenty percent of the Confederate participants at Shiloh had been members of Bragg's Army of Pensacola. Notable senior officers Withers, Jackson, Anderson, Ruggles, Gladden, Chalmers (and perhaps SAM Wood) all had experience in Pensacola/ Mobile. The regiments trained by Bragg at Pensacola were sent from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana. But the situation in regard to U.S. Navy officers sent west following outbreak of war in April 1861 is not generally considered: Andrew Hull Foote entered military service in 1822 and at the outbreak of the Secession Crisis was second-in-command at Brooklyn Navy Yard, biding his time, with retirement from the Navy in 1862 his likely future. Henry Walke “ruined” his Naval career with the Atlantic Squadron as result of being Court Martialed for “failure to follow orders.” Instead of continuing service with the deepwater Navy, Walke was “sent away west” and took command of USS Tyler (one of the early “stop-gap” gunboats, derisively termed “timberclads” (before the contracted ironclads were ready for service.) The point: "Did the U.S. Navy send their A - Team?" [From results achieved, one would claim, "YES!" ...however, surviving documents indicate otherwise.] Yours to ponder... Ozzy
  12. Ozzy

    Slaughter Pen

    As Hank pointed out, the pilots who steered the gunboats safely and professionally from the elevated (and exposed) pilot house were civilians. At first blush, this seems incongruous, to have civilians “commanding” a Navy vessel... except the “expert knowledge” possessed by these men, acquired over many years, led to them having a corner on the market (and earning $400 per month was not uncommon, when making $400 per year in 1860 was seen as “good earnings,” and a Brigadier General made $315 per month.) Balloon pilots were another “specialist profession” and so were telegraph operators: it cost $20000 per month to operate a balloon during the war; and a good telegraph operator earned $50 - $100 per month, with telegraph station supervisors paid $1500 per year. Today, the “specialist knowledge” used by the Military resides with surgeons and doctors (how much experience and training is required to rebuild war-damaged bodies?) and computer/ IT specialists (most work done by civilian contractors.) Just for perspective...
  13. Along with Flag-Officer Andrew Foote and Lieutenant Seth Phelps, Commander Henry Walke is one of the under-appreciated Naval heroes whose early service on western waters supported Army victories at Belmont, Fort Henry and Fort Donelson (and Commander Walke's performance with USS Carondelet in running the gauntlet at Island No.10 is the stuff of legends.) Little known: before Henry Walke was assigned to service on the Western Waters, he was involved in an incident during the Secession Crisis, for which he was Court-Martialed (and found guilty of one charge.) What was the action taken by Commander Henry Walke that resulted in his Court-Martial?
  14. Ozzy

    Slaughter Pen

    Hank, Well Done! The Civil War is responsible for a number of words and phrases that made their way into common usage: deadline, French leave, corn dodger, ironclad, shooting gallery, caisson, cartridge, greenback, graybacks, copperhead, true blue, green troops, veteran troops, goober pea, torpedo, mortar, hand-grenade, land mine, lever-action repeating rifle, magazine, rifle-musket, half-cocked, lock & load, parole, shoddy, pontoon bridge, “spike a gun,” bellyache, bummer, euchre, sortie, rocket, homestead, free soil, know-nothing, fire-eater, stereoscope, CDV, “Tennessee volunteer,” “Tennessee foxtrot,” Texas Ranger, guerrilla, partisan ranger, red-legs, jay-hawker, blockade runner, commerce raider, skedaddle, “open the ball,” forlorn hope, “the whole shebang” ...and slaughter pen. Ran across “slaughter pen” as I was reading through Henry Walke's Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War (1877). Commander Walke was in charge of wooden gunboat USS Tyler in the Western Theatre through Battle of Belmont; and when ironclad USS Carondelet was completed, Walke took command of her (prior to Fort Henry). He makes the comment on page 22, “the necessarily high point on the gunboat was the pilot-house, from which position the pilot could safely navigate the vessel. Unfortunately, the pilot-house became the target of enemy gunners, because by killing the pilot, the vessel was effectively put out of action. Therefore, the pilot-house (the most dangerous part of the vessel) became known as the slaughter pen.” https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433008496394&view=1up&seq=48 Henry Walke's Reminiscences (pages 22 and 30 - 55 most important). Cheers Ozzy
  15. Ozzy

    Slaughter Pen

    As we know, the Civil War antagonists made use of the same words and terms to describe events and locations at widely separated locations: “Gibraltar” was used to describe Fort Columbus, Fort Smith Arkansas, and Vicksburg; “Manassas” described the battlefield of First Manassas, Second Manassas, and at least one ironclad steamer on the western waters. Other terms recycled include Peach Orchard, sunken road and Pea Ridge... and Slaughter Pen. There was Slaughter Pen Farm at Fredericksburg; the Slaughter Pen at Round Top (Gettysburg) and the Slaughter Pen at Stone's River. At Shiloh, there was no Slaughter Pen identified on post-battle maps: “Hell's Hollow” (the site just north of the Sunken Road, encompassing the camp of the 3rd Iowa) had the greatest opportunity to become a slaughter pen, if Federal forces had prolonged the demand to surrender to the Rebels that surrounded them on the afternoon of April 6th. Even still, the term “Slaughter Pen” was used at Forts Henry and Donelson. To what tactical situation did it refer?
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