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  1. Nothing was more surprising for me than to realize the strong connection between soldiers engaged at the Battle of Shiloh and the early Rebel occupation of Pensacola Florida: it was as if the Battle for Pensacola was fought on 6 April 1862 in Tennessee. Of the regiments of infantry, artillery and cavalry Braxton Bragg brought north, twelve had significant exposure on the Gulf Coast (Mobile to Pensacola) in MGen Bragg’s area of responsibility. Of the senior commanders and leaders engaged on the Confederate side at Shiloh, at least a dozen had served under Bragg during the previous year. And when it is accepted that five of Bragg’s officers had gained significant night-fighting experience during service in Florida, the potential for “continuing the contest of Sunday, April 6th past sundown” is revealed as very real, with likely outcome “undetermined.” It could have been General Beauregard who was responsible for not finding out the result of a night action at Shiloh; it could have been the introduction of the Federal gunboats; it could have been the tardy resupply of ammunition to the Confederate front line… But, having not been tested, we will never know. What we do know: on May 9th 1862 the public buildings, fortifications, and “everything of potential use to Federal invaders” were put to the torch on Pensacola Bay, in conjunction with Confederate evacuation. Braxton Bragg had lost the Battle for Pensacola in Tennessee and abandoned that strategically essential deepwater port, forever. More Shiloh connections, as well as the importance of Fort Pickens and Pensacola are detailed in my new book: “The Struggle for Pensacola, 1860 – 1862.” Available on Amazon.com since 8 October 2020.
  2. 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?
  3. Had not given much thought to this, until I was in the chat room with Manassas Belle and Perry. There was more of a Pensacola connection to the Battle of Shiloh than I realized... Will start with the attached link, a concise description of the Battle of Santa Rosa Island. (Note some of the names involved: Chalmers, Jackson, Patton Anderson... but the battle commander, BGen Richard Anderson went east, instead of following Bragg to Corinth.) http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/santarosa.html Cheers Ozzy
  4. Unless you know what to look for, you could be excused for believing Florida contributed only marginally to the Confederate effort at the Battle of Shiloh. The 1st Florida Battalion (T. McDowell, commanding) is one of only two units recorded with 'Florida' in its name. The 1st Florida Infantry Regiment was raised in vicinity of Chattahoochee Arsenal early in 1861, under leadership of Patton Anderson. By April 12th, the regiment had arrived at Pensacola: one hundred eighty men of this unit were engaged in the October 8/9 Battle of Santa Rosa Island. In process of moving from Pensacola to Corinth, the veterans of this regiment re-enlisted... and their unit was re-named '1st Florida Battalion.' The 1st Florida was assigned to the First Division (Ruggles), Second Brigade (Patton Anderson), of Bragg's 2nd Army Corps. Depending on the resource, 'Robertson's-Dent's Florida Battery' is recorded as the 'Alabama/Florida Battery,' or further simplified to 'Robertson's Alabama Battery.' It was organized at Pensacola in November 1861, with about sixty members from Florida, and sixty from Alabama. Felix Robertson was a West Point alumnus from Texas; Staunton H. Dent's pedigree is TBA (still to be determined.) The battery participated in the November 1861 and January 1862 artillery duels vs Fort Pickens. At the Battle of Shiloh, the Alabama/Florida Battery operated four 12-pounder Napoleons, and was assigned to the 2nd Division (Withers), 1st Brigade (Gladden), and is believed to have fired the shot that ended the career of Myer's 13th Ohio Battery (attached to Hurlbut.) The remaining units (and personnel) with a Florida connection were Florida-trained: they were organized outside the State, but gained experience via the dynamic situation evolving at Pensacola. These include: Ketchum's Alabama BatteryStrawbridge's 1st Louisiana Infantry (Adams)Fant's 5th Mississippi InfantryRankin's 9th Mississippi Infantry (experience at Santa Rosa Island)Robert Smith's 10th Mississippi Infantry (experience at Santa Rosa Island)Fariss' 17th Alabama Infantry (arrived Pensacola November 1861)Wheeler's 19th Alabama Infantry (briefly at Pensacola, December 1861)Girardey's Georgia Battery (Girardy, or Girardi) Key personnel with a Pensacola connection include: Daniel Ruggles Commander, 1st Division Briefly commanded a brigade at Pensacola (see Gladden)Patton Anderson Cdr, 2nd Brig, 1st Div Living in Florida at start of war; led a brigade at Battle of Santa Rosa IslandJames Withers Commander, 2nd Division First colonel of 3rd Alabama Inf; in command at Mobile, when Bragg absorbed his area of responsibility.Adley Gladden Cdr, 1st Brig, 2nd Div First colonel of 1st Louisiana Inf; replaced Ruggles at Pensacola as brigade commander; briefly commanded Army of Pensacola; involved in training of Alabama troops near Mobile: the 'Brigade of Discipline'James Chalmers 2nd Brig, 2nd Div First colonel of 9th Mississippi; led a brigade at Battle of Santa Rosa Island; 'High Pressure Brigade'John K. Jackson 3rd Brig, 2nd Div First colonel of 5th Georgia Inf; led a brigade at Battle of Santa Rosa Island Braxton Bragg haled from North Carolina, and graduated West Point Class of 1837, specializing in Artillery. He served in Florida (including at Pensacola in 1842) and was a participant in the Mexican War: his actions at Buena Vista earned him high acclaim. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was living in Louisiana, owner of a 1600-acre sugar plantation; but also a Colonel in the Louisiana Militia. He took the surrender of Baton Rouge Arsenal on January 11th, 1861, and assumed ever more responsible roles within the Confederate Army, until arriving at Pensacola March/April 1861. (Pensacola was the scene of unrest since January: similar to what was occurring in Charleston, South Carolina.) Troops from Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama converged on Pensacola, eventually numbering over eight thousand men, and General Bragg saw it as his duty to 'train them.' During Bragg's time on the Gulf Coast, his forces took part in the October Battle of Santa Rosa Island; and gunnery duels versus Fort Pickens in November 1861, and January 1862. His Army of Pensacola was established October 1861, and Bragg was promoted to Major General about the same time. When the Army of Pensacola (recognized as containing some of the best disciplined troops in the Confederacy) was discontinued in March 1862, it became Bragg's 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi. The remaining group of Florida-experienced men can be found among Bragg's Staff: many followed him from Pensacola, including: Major George G. Gardner (or Garner ) Bragg's Assistant Adjutant GeneralCaptain H. W. Walter Assistant Adjutant GeneralLT Towson Ellis Aide-de-Camp (and brother of Bragg's wife)LtCol W. K. Beard Acting Inspector General (and originally a member of 1st Fla Inf). When Judah Benjamin ordered Pensacola evacuated February 1862, he directed that ' no serviceable equipment' be left behind for the use of Federal Forces. LtCol Beard was the agent of the 'scorched earth' program, burning lumber mills, brick works and turpentine distilleries on the outskirts of Pensacola.Surgeon A. J. Foard Medical Director (originally from Georgia)Captain Hypolite Oladowski Chief of Ordnance. Of Polish descent, Captain Oladowski was the subject of some of the earliest 'Polish jokes,' including: the rumor he fled the field at Shiloh, carrying away all of Bragg's uniforms (not true); that he was 'captured' at Pensacola, when Bragg's forces occupied Fort Barrancas (Oladowski was living in Louisiana before the war).Major James H. Hallonquist Chief of Artillery. Originally from South Carolina, Major Hallonquist graduated West Point in 1858, and spent a year in the Dakota Territory. He resigned from the U.S. Army January 1st, 1861, and joined the Provisional Confederate States Army soon afterwards. Present at the Bombardment of Fort Sumter, he commanded the 'Enfilade Battery' (firing over 1800 rounds.) Sent to Pensacola, he is recorded as taking part in the Battle of Santa Rosa Island: in charge of an 'Independent Company,' his fifty men (armed with pistols and knives) followed the three infantry brigades and were tasked with spiking enemy guns and burning enemy camps. This record is the result of seven days of research, but has probably missed someone, or some unit. Feel free to advise me of any inadvertent omissions. Cheers Ozzy
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