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Richard P. Derickson was a First Lieutenant in the 16th Wisconsin Infantry, Company K, at the time the Battle of Shiloh erupted. On that fateful Sunday of 6 APR 1862, he was at his duty station aboard "wharf boat" Iatan, acting in capacity of AQM for the Sixth Division (a position he had occupied since April 3rd, assigned by BGen Prentiss.) Part of Lieutenant Derickson's duties involved him creating and maintaining precise records, accounting for possession and distribution of Government stores... Kevin Getchell made use of Lieutenant Derickson's records in constructing his 2013 work, Scapegoat of Shiloh: the distortion of Lew Wallace's record by U. S. Grant. The author indicates that he "encountered the Derickson Papers at an auction, and purchased them." Exact copies of several of the documents created by LT Derickson are contained in Scapegoat of Shiloh. These records are valuable for determining activities of the embryonic Sixth Division in the days leading up to that contact in Fraley Field. Less well known: Kevin Getchell made copies of the original documents, and left those on file with Shiloh NMP https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/2015/04/02/shiloh-battlefield-commemorate-rd-battle-anniversary/70862666/ Jacksun Sun of 2 APR 2015.
The 16th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment arrived at Savannah Tennessee on 19 March, having completed a major portion of the trip aboard the steamer, Planet. On March 20th, the 16th Wisconsin accomplished the final nine miles of the voyage, debarked at Pittsburg Landing (with 1065 men, having left sick men behind at Mound City General Hospital) and went into camp... with John McArthur's 2nd Brigade of Smith's Second Division. After about a week (about March 30th) the 16th Wisconsin was detached from McArthur (who is now a Brigadier General, and under arrest) and re-assigned to a new division being formed. But, all that existed at the end of March 1862 was a single brigade, commanded by Everett Peabody, consisting of a handful of infantry, including the 25th Missouri, 12th Michigan and 16th Wisconsin. The embryonic Division Number Six does not even have a division commander: Colonel Peabody fills that role, too; and establishes camp three miles south-southwest of Pittsburg Landing (IAW instructions received directly from General Grant.) On April 1st the man "selected" for command of the New Sixth Division arrived (not Grant's choice, as he wants John Pope Cook, who on April 1st is at Cairo Illinois, awaiting transport south.) But the man who arrived at Savannah on this day was selected by Henry Halleck: Benjamin Prentiss, who likely arrived aboard steamer Iatan (which is loaded with tons of ammunition and black powder for use of Grant's Army.) But, there exists "bad blood" between Benjamin Prentiss and Ulysses Grant, stemming from Prentiss "stealing" command and recognition "rightfully" belonging to Grant, which resulted in two direct confrontations, only resolved when the Commander in Missouri separated the two antagonists. General Prentiss was sent west, and General Grant was sent east; and so the matter rested... until now. Now, here was Brigadier General Prentiss reporting for duty to Major General Grant (no chance of "not knowing who was senior, this time.") How could "that meeting" between Grant and Prentiss have progressed? [My guess: official. Very official.] Tension so thick it could be scraped off the walls of the Cherry Mansion... Did Prentiss even get a chance to say anything, besides, "reporting for duty, General" and initiating the salute? Probably, after Grant acknowledged the official greeting. And then demanded to know, "Where have you been, General Prentiss?" (Because Grant knows that Prentiss detached from duty in Missouri on March 15th, and arrived at Cairo on March 23rd.) And General Grant used that knowledge to "assign" Benjamin Prentiss to Command of the Sixth Division through Special Orders No.36 -- dated March 26th. A command, without its commander... Maybe, with a bit of luck, Grant can charge Prentiss with "Unauthorized Absence," and place him under arrest (and remove him from command of the Sixth Division.) Benjamin Prentiss was likely able to talk his way out of difficulty, by revealing the "special assignments" he had carried out for General Grant's boss, Henry Halleck. Perhaps Grant was disappointed, losing the chance to arrest Prentiss, remove him from command, and "resolve their festering dispute, once and for all" ...especially with John Pope Cook so close at hand. But, no matter: there was still a chance, if Prentiss did anything to upset the operation of the Camp at Pittsburg Landing (such as, "not follow the orders issued by Brigadier General W.T. Sherman, acting commander" during the temporary absence of C.F. Smith, who was just upstairs, recuperating from an injured leg.) In particular, Brigadier General Prentiss would be advised to "be aware of new orders, issued daily" (and carry them out); "do not send away sick men from this command without permission." Do not send anyone away without express permission from this Headquarters. "Buell is on his way; once he arrives, we will commence our march to Corinth and engage the enemy." There are known to be battalions of Rebel cavalry hovering in vicinity of the Camp at Pittsburg Landing: they are not a threat, and are of no concern to us. What is of concern, is a directive sent from Henry Halleck: "Do nothing to bring on a General Engagement." Grant probably finished with: "Do you have any concerns that will prevent you from carrying out these instructions, General Prentiss?" Having no concerns worth mentioning, General Prentiss takes his leave, with a salute. That same day (definitely no later than April 2nd) Prentiss met Everett Peabody. And Grant issued General Orders No.33 assigning artillery and cavalry to Prentiss (by name.) On April 3rd, Benjamin Prentiss selected Lieutenant Richard Derickson of 16th Wisconsin, just returned from "special duties" (retrieving the now-healthy men from Mound City General Hospital, for duty at Pittsburg Landing), to be Sixth Division Quartermaster. On April 4th, Captain A.S. Baxter (Grant's QM) assigned steamer Iatan to serve as Commissary and Quartermaster Boat for the Sixth Division; and acknowledged assignment of Lieutenant Derickson as AAQM for the Sixth Division. [The Iatan was the boat Lieutenant Derickson rode to Savannah on April 1st; the same boat General Prentiss (likely) arrived aboard... and the (likely) place Prentiss met Derickson (and knew to appoint him as Division QM when the time arose.) Again, jus supposin'... Ozzy References: Quiner's Scrapbooks, volume 5, pages 210 - 240. [On file Wisconsin Historical Society] Kevin Getchell's Scapegoat of Shiloh (2013) for Derickson and Baxter documents. OR 11 pp. 87 - 88. SDG (various) but especially "Sherman's Shiloh Map" (for location of camp of 16th Wisconsin in March 1862.)
Hello everybody, I have a question about the actions of the 16th Wisconsin on the morning of 6 April. Now I think the general consensus is that one of its companies, Company A led by Capt. Edward Saxe, was returning from its picket station at the same time that Col. Moore was leading the relief column forward to assist Powell, and that on Moore's orders Saxe's company fell in with his relief column, Saxe being given the choice of falling in on the right or left, with Saxe choosing the right. When the combined force advanced across Seay Field and was fired upon, the initial volley killing Capt. Saxe and Sgt. John Williams of Company A, a skirmish developed but once the shooting petered out and it was felt that the skirmish was over Powell's patrol as well as Company A/16th Wisc. withdrew carrying the bodies of Saxe and Williams in gum blankets. All that is pretty much agreed upon. Now is where things get complicated. According to the after-action report of Col. Benjamin Allen, commander of the 16th Wisconsin, he was alerted at his tent by Prentiss who ordered him to get his regiment in line, and he did so and they moved forward 80 rods (~440 yds.) to the front of their camp and waited there in a thicket in line of battle. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0010;node=waro0010%3A2;view=image;seq=303;size=100;page=root The problem is that according to Lt. Col. Woodyard's report (replacing the wounded Col. Moore) when his 21st Missouri was in position facing the rebels by itself temporarily, after the withdrawal of Saxe's company and Powell's patrol, he was soon joined by four companies of the 16th Wisconsin, which he says arrived without their field officers. He specifically mentions there being four companies of that regiment that arrived to assist him after his regiment had been left by itself, not the whole regiment coming up at once and falling in beside him. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0010;node=waro0010%3A2;view=image;seq=301;size=100;page=root For his part, Col. Allen makes no mention of four of his companies already having gone forward when he assembled (the balance of) his regiment on Prentiss's orders. Reading his report gives one the impression his entire regiment was assembled and then went forward as a whole. He doesn't say this in so many words but he neglects to mention four companies being already in line before he was aware of it, probably (in my opinion) an omission due to not wanting to admit that four of his companies were already up in line ready to fight before he was even aware of it. That would be kind of embarrassing I suppose. Nevertheless it distorts the picture by making it seem like his whole regiment was assembled and brought forward at the same time. Apparently four of his companies were already assisting Woodyard, and my guess would be that it was the four companies of the 16th Wisconsin which had been assigned picket duty that morning (one of which was Saxe's Company A). What follows is, according to the best I can figure, what most likely occurred with the 16th Wisconsin that morning. This is not carved in stone, this is just the best that I can come up with for what the 16th Wisconsin was doing. 1.) Capt. Saxe's Company A joins Moore's relief column, fights alongside it until it appears the skirmish is over then withdraws carrying the bodies of Saxe and Williams; Companies B, C and D (I think) were the other three companies on picket that morning but apparently they must have come back to camp by a slightly different route than Saxe's company because just about all accounts have only Company A/16th Wisc. spotting Moore's column and falling in with it. Anyway while Company A was going back to the front with Moore's column Companies B, C and D were going back to camp. 2.) The four companies (including the late Saxe's Company A) were back in camp eating breakfast when alerted to the (larger) danger of a larger attack than just a skirmish, and those four companies, including the late Saxe's Company A, are the four companies which Woodyard reported as coming up to assist him. According to the War Papers Read Before the Commandery of the State of Wisconsin, Loyal Legion of the United States it says on pg. 54 that it was Capt. Fox of Company B, 16th Wisc. who came running into camp and alerted the other companies which had been on picket but were now eating breakfast. https://books.google.com/books?id=5-ASAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=D.+Lloyd+Jones+The+Battle+of+Shiloh+Reminiscences+of+D.+Lloyd+Jones&source=bl&ots=qLOHYrCYUC&sig=N8IACawCUYQZnr4Ux5H2pi0r67U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwii_aiE_tvPAhVJ2yYKHX93BvkQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q&f=false 3.) As these four companies head to the front to assist Woodyard Prentiss finds Col. Benjamin Allen at his tent and orders him to get (the balance of) his regiment in the line. 4.) Allen brings the remaining companies of the 16th Wisconsin forward and the four companies that had been in picket then on line earlier reunite with the balance of the regiment about 80 rods in front of their camp where Allen says his regiment formed in line of battle to await their enemy's appearance. Does that sound right to you all? The only problem with this version of events is Capt. Fox of Company B yelling "Company A is fighting and we must go and help them!" which makes me wonder what time this was happening, since Company A returned to camp with the bodies of Saxe and Williams and was eating breakfast along with the other three companies that had been on picket as near as I can tell, rather than still being in the line. This version doesn't account for the withdrawal of Saxe's Company A and then Company A as well as B, C and D then coming forward to assist Woodyard. Fox made it sound like Company A was still in the line. Not sure. What do you folks think?