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Sometimes, facts hide in plain sight... While re-reading the history of events that took place from just after midnight (in the wee hours of April 6th 1862) it occurred to me: General Prentiss in his Shiloh report records sending notice of the attack in progress to Commanders of the 2nd Division and 4th Division, and to Colonel Stuart; and requests for assistance from the 2nd and 4th Divisions. But, Prentiss does not indicate that he informed the Acting Campground Commander (W. T. Sherman) of the Confederate attack. Why not? In General Sherman's Shiloh report, he admits to requesting reinforcement from McClernand (1st Division) and to "alerting Hurlbut to the need to reinforce Prentiss" ...and to General Prentiss, "alerting him that the enemy was in our front, in force." As Prentiss's Sixth Division was obviously under attack for some time before Sherman's own 5th Division felt the sting, this "sending of alert to Prentiss" smacks of mild rebuke, "for not informing the Campground Commander -- acting, of what was taking place." The question: "Why did not Prentiss notify Sherman?"
Did you know William Tecumseh Sherman was a diarist? Over at University of Notre Dame (Archives) are to be found diaries kept by Sherman from 1843 - 1861 and 1866 - 1890. Where are the diaries William Tecumseh Sherman kept during the Civil War? [Still looking, but they may be at Library of Congress, or some University Library.] But, W. T. Sherman also wrote a lot of letters... http://archives.nd.edu/findaids/ead/xml/shr.xml William T. Sherman Family Papers (Letters, telegrams, diaries and other documents). [Click on above link, and scroll down: everything in "blue" is online; mostly copies of handwritten documents (which can be hard to read) but also many typed transcripts]: 13 NOV 1861 Special Orders No.305 relieving Sherman of command and replacing him with BGen D. C. Buell. 24 NOV 1861 Special Orders No.8, by which BGen Sherman is assigned duty as Inspector in Department of the Missouri. DEC 1861 Letter, in which Sherman indicates, "he has met Halleck in St. Louis, and will press for a command." JAN 1862 Letter to wife, Ellen (from Benton Barracks) indicates, "There is something in the works for Tennessee (including a feint on Columbus from Cairo)." 12 FEB 1862 Letter to Ellen (from Benton Barracks) "General Halleck plans to go to Paducah..." 1 MAR 1862 Letter from Paducah to Ellen: "I have been busy sending away Prisoners from Fort Donelson." 3 MAR 1862 Letter from Cairo to Ellen: "I am getting ready to be part of an expedition; and the Rebels are abandoning Columbus, because of Genl Grant's victory." 3 APR 1863 Letter from Pittsburg Landing to Ellen: "Buell's forces are expected at Savannah about Monday (April 8th). Bragg is at Corinth, 18 miles away with 80 regiments... and I am satisfied they will await our coming. The weather is warm and Springlike: apples and peaches in blossom, and trees beginning to leaf." And much, much more... Ozzy
I first heard of Mary Bickerdyke via the excellent Civil War by Ken Burns. The story that ends with Sherman's comment, 'She ranks me,' is one of those highlights that has stayed with me, to this day. But, I did not realize that Mrs. Bickerdyke had a connection with the Battle of Shiloh; (I thought she first made her appearance during the Vicksburg Campaign.) Cyclone in Calico: the story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, by Nina Brown Baker; published by Little, Brown & Co. at Boston in 1952, attempts to introduce the life of this remarkable woman in an engaging, often entertaining way. After gravitating to 'work in the field' at Fort Donelson, she continued to serve, 'where she was most needed,' --- Shiloh, Corinth, Memphis, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta. Along the way, she was amazed at the conflict that erupted between U.S. Government agencies, and the civilian-established Sanitary Commissions. Even more disturbing: the open conflict between and among the U.S. Sanitary Commission, the Western Sanitary Commission, and the Christian Commission. (Not to mention, the resistance, bordering on hatred, of the U.S. Army to female nurses.) You are left wondering if anyone realized, they were all on the same side. Mother Bickerdyke succeeded in spite of the petty grievances, as did some other notable, non-military personalities, discussed in the course of the book: Mary Livermore, a socialite from 'Boston and Chicago,' whose organizational skills, and contacts among the Upper Echelon, allowed the U.S. Sanitary Commission (NW Branch) to thrive; Eliza Porter, a slight, under-whelming lady, yet possessing remarkable abilities; her contributions mirrored those of her mentor, Mary Bickerdyke. Mary Safford, remembered by many sick and wounded soldiers at Shiloh because of her 'angelic appearance;' she worked herself to exhaustion during the weeks following the battle, often going days without sleep. She suffered 'a collapse' in her health in May 1862, and was forced to retire. (She was replaced by Eliza Porter, who remained with Mother Bickerdyke til the end of the war.) Annie Wittenmyer, known in the Midwest as founder of Homes for Soldiers' Orphans; Dorothea Dix, working 'back East,' she organized the female Nurse Corps. Mary Bickerdyke's favorite officers get more than a mention: Grant, Sherman, and Colonel John Logan. All of whom received her highest compliment: 'You'd never know they was officers.' (Also discussed are Mary's interactions with Benjamin Prentiss, Stephen Hurlbut, and 'those Army doctors.') Which leads me to the 'stories and anecdotes,' best described as folk tales from the Civil War. They add a poignancy, raw and uncensored, of what life during those times was really like. (My favorite is the story of the poisoned peaches.) Thoroughly researched and referenced, with an extensive bibliography; the only real failing being '1952,' the date the book was written. So much information has become available since then, that the few 'errors' encountered could be easily corrected without any obvious impact on the overall story. Cyclone in Calico. Worthwhile reading by anyone interested in how the Union Army operated, during the 90 percent of time it was not fighting. Available online (free) <https://archive.org/stream/cycloneincalico001060mbp> (The Library of Congress archives site.) Ozzy
Greetings from Down Under I'll start by wishing everyone a memorable visit to Shiloh NMP this 150th Anniversary of the 'Turnover at Liverpool' ...the completion of the Voyage of CSS Shenandoah, in November 1865. I was thinking of starting a discussion on a topic of interest, perhaps in a week or two, once the dust settles on the debrief of events from this latest Park Visit. Some of my ideas: US Grant and migraines: did he get them? If so, is it possible that he was suffering from a 'sick headache' at Shiloh?The movements of the 58th Illinois Infantry, April 6th 1862: just where were they, really?'Parole Camps: necessary, or evil?Oh, and a new historical novel will be out this month: Book Cover.pdf All the best Ozzy