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Found 7 results

  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. Captain E. T. Sykes and the 10th Mississippi at Shiloh Edward Turner Sykes was born in 1838 in Alabama, but was living in Columbus Mississippi when the Secession Crisis broke out. Joining Doctor Lipscomb’s Southron Avengers early in 1861, that company was soon incorporated into Colonel Seaburne M. Phillip’s 10th Mississippi as Company E and in March arrived in Florida and placed under command of Major General Braxton Bragg (whose expanding force was soon to become known as the Army of Pensacola.) The 10th Mississippi Infantry took part in placing guns in a crescent around the north and west edge of Pensacola Bay, extending from the Navy Yard to Fort McRae; and the men of the regiment were trained in the operation of those artillery pieces (used during the November bombardment of Union-occupied Fort Pickens.) As well as being trained to operate artillery, the men of the 10th Mississippi took part in the October 8/9 Battle of Santa Rosa Island (a successful nighttime raid against Federal forces camped outside Fort Pickens, involving colonels Chalmers, Jackson and Anderson.) During service at Pensacola, Seaburne M. Phillips became incapacited due to illness (he died before October 1861) and 25-year-old Robert A. Smith was elected Colonel in his place. University-educated E. T. Sykes was installed as Adjutant, with the rank of Captain. The 10th Mississippi remained in vicinity of Fort Barrancas and Mobile until after the February 1862 Disaster at Fort Donelson, when the regiment was ordered, along with most of Bragg’s Army, north to Corinth Mississippi. At Corinth the original 12-month term of enlistment expired; and in March the “New” 10th Mississippi was mustered into service (but with only half the 840 men of the original regiment.) What follows is Edward Sykes’ 1873 recollection of his regiment’s part in the Battle of Shiloh: “Having organized his splendid troops, General Albert Sidney Johnston, with General PGT Beauregard as second in command, put in motion on the morning of the 3rd of April, 1862, the “Army of the Mississippi,” to offer battle to the invaders of our soil. The attack was to have been made on the 5th, before Buell, who was marching to the assistance of Grant, at Pittsburg Landing, could possibly reach him, but owing to the bad roads the Confederates were unable to reach the destined point in time. Resting for the night in order of battle, a short distance from the enemy’s camp, with only now and then a picket shot to relieve the suspense, we commenced to advance at early dawn, and by sunrise came fairly upon them. Hardie commanded the front line, with Gladden’s and Chalmer’s brigades of Bragg’s corps on his right; Bragg’s corps, less the two brigades above-mentioned, constituting the second line, followed about 400 yards distant. The corps of General Polk, following the second line at the distance of about 800 yards, in lines of brigades, deployed with their batteries in rear of each, protected by cavalry on their right. The reserves under General Breckinridge followed closely the third line in the same order, its right wing supported by cavalry. Well do I remember, being then Adjutant of the 10th Mississippi infantry, of Chalmer’s brigade, how all were spoiling for their maiden fight, in which, before they were through, they were willing to acknowledge that of choice, they would thereafter exhibit less of reckless anxiety, and more of prudent discretion. As the Tenth Mississippi (Colonel Robert A. Smith, commanding, and who was subsequently killed in the battle at Mumfordsville Kentucky, and than whom no braver spirit or better officer gave up his life during the war,) descended the last hill, in full view of the enemy’s camp, it was discovered by the position of “an Indiana regiment” standing behind an improvised breastwork of knapsacks, a little retired from the crest of the hill beyond, with “arms ready,” that we were too far to the left, and ordered to march by the right flank down the ravine, until our right opposed their extreme left. And now comes the strange part of this sketch: not a gun in our regiment was loaded. In the verdancy of our military career and ardour for fight, we had overlooked one of its most elemental precautions. I heard Colonel Smith, who was sitting upon his horse a few paces in front of his line, and from his elevated position, exposed to the enemy not fifty yards off, give the commands: “Order arms; Load; “Fix bayonets,” Shoulder arms.” Then followed this pertinent language: “Soldiers, we have been ordered to charge those fellows in blue (he pointed with his sword) and I want you when I give the order to forward, to advance steadily to the top of the hill, fire with deliberation, and then give them the bayonet.” “Forward, then,” was the next sound heard, and Smith’s orders, as always, were observed. Both parties fired about the same time with deadly effect, after which the enemy broke and fled in confusion. General Chalmers immediately rode up to Colonel Smith, and after remarking in my presence, that he deserved to be a Major General, commanded him not again to expose himself so recklessly; but it being a personal, and not strictly a military order, was not obeyed, until soon after Smith’s horse was shot from under him. Throughout that day, the right, under Bragg, did not sustain a reverse, but took position after position, in such quick succession as to justify the confident belief that the entire Federal army under General Grant would be annihilated before the close of the day. About 4 p.m., as we were halted in line of battle to reform, while a brigade of prisoners just captured were being escorted by our cavalry to the rear, and preparatory to our final attack on that day, General Bragg, who justly felt proud of his day’s work, was seen riding alone in front of his victorious lines, and rapidly approaching our front. As he reached us, General Chalmers, who was likewise exultant over the action of his brigade, raised up in his stirrups, and shouted, “Pensacola troops, three cheers for our beloved commander!” Recognizing the compliment, and feeling that he had troops to follow where he was prepared to lead, he reined up, faced the brigade, and with head uncovered, looked “the noblest Roman of them all.” The white-plumed Henry of Navarre never inspired his fiery Frenchmen with more ardent enthusiasm than did this scene of Bragg’s awaken the glow of patriotism in the breasts of his Pensacola boys. They – officers and private soldiers – mutually felt that the day’s victory beloged equally to both and all. Soon after this exhilarating scene, we were again put in motion to attack the enemy’s last stronghold, being twenty-two guns massed in a semi-circle on an elongated eminence protecting his center and left, and which proved a bulwark between us and their destruction or surrender. Amidst the confusion of orders, some to “advance,” some to “retreat,” occasioned by the general order of Beauregard to retire for the night, we were in a fated hour repulsed, never again to enjoy the pleasure of having them so near in our grasp. Time, such as Wellington prayed for on the plains of Waterloo, “Oh! For Blucher or for Night!” was given to them, and they profited thereby. Buell crossed the Tennessee, and the next morning, the 7th, was as disastrous to our arms as the day before had been propitious…”
  3. Away from Pittsburg Landing/Corinth there were operations taking place, concurrently, that affected the build-up of opposing forces... the Battle of Shiloh... the Siege of Corinth. The impact was felt in the availability of men and resources; effect on timing; and 'progress' of the Grand Strategy. The following five questions relate to some of those peripheral operations: 1) The first canal dug by the Union in an attempt to bypass a strong Confederate position on the Mississippi River was a success: Federal steamers made use of this canal to facilitate transport of Union troops into a strong attacking position. Where was this canal? 2) That other canal, across from Vicksburg, was not started by U.S. Grant, either. Who was the General that began digging 'Grant's Canal?' 3) During the advance of Federal Navy gunboats down the Mississippi River towards anticipated capture of Memphis, the Confederate Navy launched an attack that sank two Union ironclads. What was the name given to this naval action? 4) There was a Confederate General so popular with his men that it was widely accepted, 'they would follow him anywhere... even into Hell.' The death of this General (and quick loss of two successors) at the Battle of Pea Ridge helped curtail Rebel success... and probably affected the availability of Van Dorn's Army of the West to join with Albert Sidney Johnston's attacking force at Corinth, prior to the Battle of Shiloh. Who was this General? 5) Following the Capture of New Orleans, end of April 1862, it was anticipated that this General, in command of eighteen thousand Federal troops, would quickly secure the roads leading into the South's largest city; then move his Army north to Jackson and effect a join with Halleck's Army of the Mississippi. But, due to a number of factors (misinterpretation of priorities given in his orders; removal of General McClellan; 'lack of cooperation' by the people of New Orleans) this officer never made it to Jackson. Who was this General? Cheers Ozzy
  4. 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?
  5. 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
  6. It was one of the most secret and daring preliminary acts performed by the Federal Government prior to commencement of the Civil War: and only President Lincoln, Secretary of State Seward, Army Captain Montgomery Meigs, and Navy Lieutenant David D. Porter knew its full dimensions... the mission to resupply Fort Pickens at Pensacola, Florida. Needing to stop the "stripping down for extensive maintenance" being conducted on a warship at New York Navy Yard, the above four conspirators brought in a fifth member; but revealed only that information acting-Commandant of the Navy Yard, Commander Andrew Hull Foote, was required to know: "That USS Powhatan was urgently required. She needed to be returned to a seaworthy condition, and her steam propulsion plant reassembled, as expeditiously as possible. And contact "with agencies outside New York Navy Yard" was strictly controlled, especially in regard to the true, intended use of the powerful steam frigate; Commander Foote was directed to communicate only with other members of the conspiracy IRT progress of readying Powhatan for sea: even the Secretary of the Navy (Gideon Welles) was to be kept in the dark" [Porter's Naval History of the Civil War, pages 99-103.] On April 6th 1861 USS Powhatan entered the Atlantic Ocean, under command of Lieutenant David D. Porter, in loose company with the chartered Collins Company steamer, Atlantic, carrying stores, equipment and 450 troops commanded by Colonel Harvey Brown. Due to a storm, the vessels became separated; but by April 17th the Atlantic and USS Powhatan arrived off Fort Pickens. The troops and supplies were landed. And Fort Pickens would remain in Federal control during the entirety of the Civil War. The newspapers of the day said, "it was all due to Lieutenant Adam Slemmer," the young Army officer who had the courage and the foresight to put his ad hoc team of eighty soldiers and sailors to use, in expeditiously relocating from Barrancas Barracks to Fort Pickens on that fateful day in January 1861, depriving Florida State authorities the opportunity to simply seize control of the mostly unoccupied ring of fortifications. But, Adam Slemmer saw it differently: "I have only to say that Lieutenant Gilman and I stood side by side during the whole affair; and if any credit is due for the course pursued he is entitled equally with myself" [OR 1 Report No.3, pages 333-342.] Lieutenant Gilman? Who was he? Jeremiah H. Gilman was born in Knox County, Maine in 1831 and received an appointment to West Point in 1852. Graduated in the middle of his Class of 1856, he was assigned to the Artillery; and after initial service in Texas and Rhode Island, was posted to Barrancas Barracks, Pensacola in 1858... where he was by-default second-in-command (due absence on leave of the senior two Army officers at the Barrancas -- Fort Pickens -- Fort McRae complex.) On January 10th 1861, under pressure from Florida State authorities, the acting-Commander, Lieutenant Slemmer, determined not to surrender Federal control of Pensacola Harbor; and with Lieutenant Gilman's assistance, an Army - Navy force of about 80 men moved guns, ammunition, supplies and food from Fort Barrancas (on the mainland) to the much more strategically valuable Fort Pickens, securely tucked away on the western tip of the Santa Rosa Barrier Island. From early January, Slemmer and Gilman supervised and participated in mounting artillery pieces, sealing off embrasures, standing picket duty, and otherwise preparing for an attack that might come from a numerically superior Rebel force at any moment. The Pickens Truce of January 28th offered some respite (a Rebel guarantee to not attack Fort Pickens, provided the U.S. Navy ships hovering nearby in the Gulf of Mexico did not land and resupply that fortification.) In meantime, Braxton Bragg arrived at Pensacola and began strengthening the Rebel-occupied forts; and mounting the heaviest guns available all along the shore of Pensacola Bay, from the Navy Yard northeast of Fort Pickens, along to the west, just across the inlet to Pensacola Bay, where Fort McRae laid claim to the closest Rebel guns, about 2000 yards away. War started on April 12th at Fort Sumter. The stalemate at Pensacola ended with the landing of Colonel Harvey Brown's force (along with the forces that had been barracked aboard the many warships, just south of Fort Pickens, since the Buchanan Administration.) With the replacement force numbering in excess of one thousand men, the exhausted "first responders," defenders of Fort Pickens since January 10th (and many suffering scurvy) were permitted to steam away... aboard the steamer Philadelphia. Slemmer's party arrived at New York May 26th; and the rag-tag force that saved Fort Pickens was broken up: the sailors returned to the Navy; the soldiers mostly joined the garrison at Fort Hamilton (guarding the Port of New York). Adam Slemmer was promoted to Captain ( 19th U.S. Infantry Regiment) and sent to Chicago on recruiting duty. Jeremiah Gilman was initially assigned to recruiting duty, and then sent to Kentucky for a series of different duties, mostly involving organization and inspection of artillery assigned to the Army of the Ohio. Ultimately, he was appointed to the Staff of General Buell, and served as Inspector, and Acting Chief of Artillery. It was in this capacity that he served during Day Two at Shiloh, rushing from one Army of the Ohio battery to another, to ensure the most advantageous employment of Terrill, Goodspeed, Mendenhall and Bartlett. For "gallant and meritorious service at Shiloh," then-Captain Gilman was awarded brevet promotion to Major; and participated in Halleck's Crawl to Corinth; the Battle of Perryville; Stone's River. And in January 1863, Major Gilman was assigned to the Subsistence Department (primarily working out of Baltimore) until war's end. Gilman remained in the Army, remained attached to the Commissary Department, and served in Missouri, the Dakotas, and Washington, D.C. until he retired, aged 64, in 1895. Colonel Jeremiah H. Gilman (Ret.) died August 1909 at Manhattan Beach, New York. As far as can be determined, he is the only Federal officer to have a direct connection to "the Fort Pickens Situation" and the Battle of Shiloh. Ozzy References: OR 1 pages 333-342 and 365, 366. New York Tribune, 1861 editions for April 6, 8, 9; May 2; and June 1 (page 8: Slemmer article). New York Herald, 27 May 1861 (page 8: reports arrival of Slemmer's party from Fort Pickens). http://archive.org/details/cu31924032779385 D. D. Porter's Naval History of the Civil War (1886) pages 99-103.
  7. To better understand why Florida (and Pensacola in particular) were important, have a look at the attached link. Of interest, the names: Buchanan (wasn't he before Lincoln?), John H. Winder, Commodore Armstrong, Adam Slemmer (one of my heroes), Bragg, USS Powhatan, Colonel Harvey Brown (USA commander, Battle of Santa Rosa Island). When I was studying the Civil War in High School (what century was that?)... I'm pretty sure Pensacola got a mention... but was quickly forgotten: nothing happened there, far as I could tell. And where was Pensacola, anyway? (If it didn't produce oranges, or shoot off rockets, or host Spring Break parties, what good was it?) It was only because of an accidental visit... and then doing some research... and then visiting again... Anyway, I'm only just putting together the Pensacola/Shiloh connection, and will title that 'Pensacola connection, part 3.' Ozzy http://www.mikalac.com/civ/fl.html (US Civil War in Florida) And this is a good link, too: http://www.pensapedia.com/wiki/Civil_War (Actions of Adam Slemmer)
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