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It was commonly understood during the 19th Century, that in the absence of orders, "a commander was expected to rush to the sound of the guns of battle." In Lew Wallace's Autobiography, page 459, he indicates his strong belief, early on Sunday, April 6th that he was hearing a roar and rumble that was unmistakeable. "My Staff officers joined me, and there was no disagreement: it was a battle." Major General Lew Wallace sent the appropriate orders; staged and prepared his Third Division to march... and then waited aboard his commissary boat (Jesse K. Bell) for General Grant "to drop by and give him orders." Yet, in Wallace's mind, he knew there was only one route open: the Shunpike. And he had communicated a recommendation to Brigadier General WHL Wallace, just the previous day, "that in the event of attack, at either Landing, one Wallace would come to the aid of the other, via the Shunpike." So, the question: "Why did Lew Wallace not simply march his Third Division away down the Shunpike -- in accordance with accepted practice -- and let the chips fall where they might, once the dust had settled?" Yours to ponder... Ozzy Reference No.1: http://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/010/0189 OR 10 pages 189 - 191. Reference No.2: http://digital.library.msstate.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/USG_volume/id/17403/rec/7 Papers of US Grant vol 4 pages 402 - 3. Reference No.3: http://archive.org/stream/lewwallaceanaut02wallgoog#page/n479/mode/2up Autobiography of Lew Wallace, pages 459 - 461. Reference No.4 http://archive.org/stream/artwar00mendgoog#page/n76/mode/2up/search/tactics The Art of War by Jomini (pages 70, 72-3 (taking the initiative), 132-3 (use of reserves), 144 (re-taking the initiative from an enemy), 176, 184-5 (operation of reserve force of Army-on-Defense in wresting initiative from the Attacker.) Reference No.5 "In the absence of any other orders, always march to the sound of the guns" -- Napoleon.
It's not often you find an eyewitness account of "that march" conducted by Lew Wallace on Sunday, April 6th... Johann Stuber migrated with his parents and siblings from Switzerland in 1854, and settled in Cincinnati. In October 1861, the 23 year old, trained as a typesetter, joined the 58th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company A, and was soon promoted to Corporal. First seeing action at Fort Donelson, the 58th Ohio remained with Lew Wallace's Third Division; and when that division was sent to Crump's Landing in March 1862, the 2nd Brigade (Colonel John Thayer) comprising the 58th OVI, 68th OVI, 23rd Indiana and 1st Nebraska, established its brigade camp in vicinity of Stony Lonesome, midway between Adamsville and Crump's Landing. Corporal Stuber's report for April 6th 1862: "In the morning we heard from the vicinity of Pittsburg Landing a heavy cannonade, which soon developed into an unbroken roar, which persisted as the morning wore on. From the Landing (where our provisions were kept), there came a "rabbit-footed messenger," who had arrived by boat. He loudly reported that he was a member of the 57th Ohio, and that upon being aroused from his sleep by the noise of battle, raced for the Landing and took a boat to Crump's, to deliver the news: but not for us to hurry to help, but to flee for our lives downriver. Knowing that our Army had 50,000 troops at Pittsburg, confirmed by Captain Markgraff during his recent visit, we refused to believe this refugee's report. "About midday, we received the orders preparatory to marching: ammunition was distributed, and we packed necessities and rations for ten days. After about an hour, we began to march south with our heavy knapsacks (instead of taking the boats, as we believed we would). It was dreadfully hot, and the soldiers of the regiments ahead of us threw away their blankets and excess clothing during the march, so that a carpet of clothing lined both sides of the road. We had hiked about seven miles, and were about one mile from our destination, when a report came that we were going the wrong way. We were turned around, and told to take another road -- which caused us to go double the distance in order to arrive where we were wanted. "It was during twilight that my regiment reached a dark woods, at the edge of a swamp, and were told to wait. And while we waited, we were not allowed to do anything -- no pipes or cigars -- because we were told the Rebels could be on the other side of the swamp, only 500 yards away. Finally, we passed through that swamp and reaching the other side, were told we had arrived. We continued marching, and the gunboats were firing, supposedly in the direction of the Rebels. We had gone about a mile when we entered a Union camp, totally abandoned by its owners, but with the tents filled with wounded, who all seemed to be moaning and crying from their wounds. We continued past this camp, and entered a dark woods, where we halted and attempted to rest beneath the boughs of the trees. But the gunboats continued firing; and it started to rain... a thunderstorm, no less. As bad as it was for us, we could not help feeling pity for the wounded, caught in the open with no shelter. We could hear them, away out there, somewhere, in the darkness, calling for help, and for water. And we could not help them. The pickets were not far from us; and the enemy's pickets were not far from our pickets. During the night, firing occurred between the lines of pickets, so heavy at times it seemed the Battle had resumed..." [Above record translated and edited; entry from "The Diary of Johann Stuber" for 6 April 1862.] Ozzy Reference: http://archive.org/stream/meintagebuchuber00stub#page/22/mode/2up