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Found 1 result

  1. Ozzy

    Odd Interlude

    The above image, to be found on the back page of Harper's Weekly for 26 April 1862, is presented to illustrate the confused state of affairs, perceived in the North in April 1862. With unexpected delight, Northern newspaper readers awoke to news that "Fort Henry is Ours!" followed in quick succession by great news from Fort Donelson (indicated by the Lincoln figure, at left in above image tallying the score), the capture of Clarksville and Nashville, and the Occupation of the Gibraltar of the West (Fort Columbus). So certain that "the Southern Confederacy was running out of steam in the West," anticipation ran high among the Northern civilian leaders, Northern generals (including Halleck and Grant) and the reading public that "the Rebels were on the ropes." It was only a matter of time before things wound up in the West... allowing the focus to shift on Virginia and South Carolina. People became impatient with the slow progress after Pope captured New Madrid in March 1862; and were relieved when news of the pre-ordained Capture of Island No.10 hit the headlines of Northern papers (marked as "Island X" in above image.) But, note what is missing from the above image: any mention of Shiloh... on 26 April 1862. General Beauregard, associated with Battle of Shiloh, was also overall commander of Rebel defences along the Mississippi River (and hence, associated with Loss of Island No.10). Everyone knew that a "great concentration" was taking place near Savannah Tennessee; and everyone knew that the object of that concentration of force was Corinth Mississippi, the important railroad junction, where the outmatched Rebels under Johnston and Beauregard were anticipated (by Northerners) to make a futile Last Stand... but the fight did not take place at Corinth but at a place most people could not find on a map, called Pittsburg Landing. And, although Northern leaders "claimed" Victory, so did Southern leaders. And every day, the casualties reported were even greater -- and more shocking -- than the day before. No two reports from that Battlefield were the same, with one reporting "early captures, and bayoneting in bed of sleeping Union soldiers," another proclaiming that a Union General "got lost within six miles of the battlefield," and yet another reporting that "General Grant was not even with his Army when the battle began." The smell of impropriety and incompetence were so strong, that Northern readers (especially those with family members in Grant's Army) could not come to grips with a Victory that resulted at such great cost. Was it a Victory? The creator of the above image was apparently undecided, on April 26th 1862.
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