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William McMichael David W. Reed made a valiant attempt to get to the facts in compiling his history of Shiloh; and he incorporated those facts into his written work, The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged (manuscript completed 1900), and in marking out important sites on the Shiloh NMP with definitive tablets. Unfortunately, even the cautious, precise Major Reed, got his facts wrong on occasion… which leads to the biography of this man: William McMichael. Born in Philadelphia in 1841, during the Civil War William McMichael became one of the “Fighting McMichaels” (his brothers Clayton, and Morton, Jr., fought at Gettysburg). Their father, Morton McMichael Sr., was a prominent Philadelphia newspaper publisher, active in politics, and important supporter of President Lincoln and the Union War Effort. Prior to March 1862, the graduate of University of Pennsylvania, William McMichael, was promoted to Captain, and installed as AAG to Brigadier General Charles F. Smith (who had ties to Pennsylvania.) Captain McMichael accompanied BGen Smith on the Tennessee River Expedition; and Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Lew Wallace reported to Smith on a number of occasions, through AAG McMichael [OR 10 pp.9, 10, 22 & 25 and OR 11 p.53]. A close read of the above communications is important, especially BGen Sherman’s report dated 20 MAR 1862 and found OR 11 page 53, because on that date the injured and ill General Smith was recuperating aboard Hiawatha; Captain McMichael “acted on Smith’s behalf” at Pittsburg Landing; and Colonel Jacob Lauman was “Acting Commander of the Second Division.” Fast forward to 2 APR 1862: Captain McMichael was still at Pittsburg Landing; Jacob Lauman was removed from the Second Division (and reported to Hurlbut’s Fourth Division); and new Brigadier General WHL Wallace was assigned “temporary command of the Second Division, during the absence of Major General C.F. Smith.” (According to a letter written by Wallace on April 3rd, he did not physically remove himself to the Second Division until April 4th, where he would have found Captain McMichael already operating as AAG of the Division.) Whose Assistant Adjutant General was William McMichael? Technically, he was the AAG to Major General Smith, in command of the Second Division. He remained at Pittsburg Landing while C.F. Smith was “absent, ill,” first aboard Hiawatha, and then upstairs in the Cherry House. He was never AAG to Jacob Lauman; and he was never AAG to WHL Wallace (although it would be reasonable to assume that he acted as AAG for those officers, in their temporary status while attached to the Second Division.) On the morning of April 6th1862, Captain McMichael accompanied BGen Wallace during his efforts to alert General Grant at Savannah (and may have been the messenger sent by Wallace aboard the steamer John Warner… which would explain why that steamer rounded to and returned to Pittsburg Landing – enabling McMichael to further assist WHL Wallace [still looking for evidence of this – Ozzy].) Captain McMichael acted on the battlefield as courier and AAG for BGen Wallace, up until the time General Wallace was shot from his horse. It was McMichael who reported that sad news to General Benjamin Prentiss; and Prentiss records that, “Captain McMichael, assistant adjutant-general,attached to the division commanded by General Wallace, joined me upon the field when his gallant leader fell. He is entitled to special mention for his conduct while so serving” [Shiloh Report of BGen Prentiss]. In addition, McMichael gains mention in the “unofficial” Shiloh report of General Grant: “Captain William McMichael is missing; probably taken prisoner” [OR 10 page 110]. And General Grant was correct: William McMichael was indeed taken prisoner (although he managed to return North after May 1862, due to a “special exchange” arranged through his father, Morton McMichael, and implemented by Major General Halleck through negotiations conducted by MGen John Pope with General Beauregard on 27 May 1862 [OR Series 2, vol.3 No.116 – Prisoners of War, pages 600 – 1].) Afterwards, McMichael was promoted to Major, and then Lieutenant Colonel, and is reported to have served on the staff of Generals Halleck and Rosecrans. He was mustered out in March 1866, and returned to Philadelphia, where he established a Law practice. He served in President Grant’s Administration as Assistant Attorney General. William McMichael, brevet-Colonel, died in New York City in April 1893 and was buried in Philadelphia. Cheers Ozzy References: http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/46715015/william-mcmichael BVT- Colonel William McMichael http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/consolidation-act-of-1854/10422_166616/ Mayor of Philadelphia (1866 - 69) Morton McMichael David W. Reed, The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged (1909) pages 25 and 38. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92053945/1893-04-21/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=1893&index=0&rows=20&words=Mc+McMichael+Michael&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=Illinois&date2=1893&proxtext=McMichael&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1 Rock Island Argus 21 APR 1893 page 4 col.4 "Death of Colonel McMichael" OR 10, 11 and 116
The result of much research has determined there was "bad blood" between Don Carlos Buell and Ulysses S. Grant. This may have been the result of Grant sending wounded Confederate soldiers to Hospitals in Buell's jurisdiction after Fort Donelson. Or it may have resulted from Grant sending Nelson to take possession of Nashville (just hours ahead of Buell.) Possibly, there was some pre-war animosity that simply festered, exacerbated by the above incidents... One thing that becomes evident upon a close read of the Official Records and Papers of US Grant vol.4: when Buell began the march of his Army of the Ohio from Nashville on March 15th, he believed he was to go to the support of Charles F. Smith [see OR 11 pages 38 and 44.] Upon Buell's arrival at Savannah (where he was told by Halleck that Smith was established) Brigadier General Smith would have been junior to Major General Buell... so Buell would assume de facto command of the operation (pending the arrival of Major General Halleck.) Buell was aware of the removal from "command in the field" of Major General U. S. Grant: as late as March 14th, Buell received a telegram from Grant -- sent from Fort Henry -- in which Grant requested a gunboat on the Cumberland River be sent to him [see Papers of US Grant vol.4 page 361.] And Halleck kept up the deception -- as late as March 17th -- directing Buell: "Move on as ordered, to re enforce Smith." [Grant had been restored to command on March 15th and arrived at Savannah March 17th -- OR 11 page 44 and 38.] In Shiloh Revisited, page 490, Buell expresses dissatisfaction with the arrangement: "US Grant was restored to command, and arrived at Savannah March 17th, and he converted the encampment of Pittsburg Landing into the point of rendezvous." It is obvious that Buell felt the sting of the "bait and switch" pulled on him: he was expecting Smith; but sometime after the march commenced, he found out that Grant was in command. This could help explain: the excessive delay of Buell's arrival at Savannah; the attempt by Buell to camp his Army at Waynesboro (and await the arrival of Halleck at Savannah) the convenient delay Sunday, April 6th to make his way to Pittsburg Landing (by whatever means necessary). But most unsettling: a close read of Buell and Grant's interactions, beginning Sunday afternoon and continuing through April 7th, are not especially inspiring. In fact, the only real coordination between Grant and Buell appears to be, "You take the left, and I'll take the right." The important, "We'll move forward in the morning," seems to have been unspoken, merely assumed. No way to run a railroad... Ozzy