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There are two pieces of communication (one constructed on April 5th, and the other generated on April 6th 1862) both of which are important in their own way to explain “how the Battle of Shiloh unfolded.” And both documents have "issues." The first item is a telegram constructed at St. Louis and sent under signature of Major General Henry Halleck on Saturday 5 April 1862. Fitting Halleck’s style of issuing concise orders, the two-line telegram begins by listing the recently promoted Major Generals by order of seniority: Buell, Pope, McClernand, C.F. Smith, Wallace. The inclusion of John Pope is significant because Major General Pope would soon join the Advance on Corinth. And the place held by John McClernand (ahead of Charles Ferguson Smith) may have come as a surprise to Major General Ulysses S. Grant… but no matter, as the late formal notice of MGen McClernand’s seniority did not provide opportunity to ‘Provide him with benefits of seniority to which he was entitled” i.e., the Shell Game played by Generals Grant, Smith, Sherman and Captain McMichael had worked perfectly; and now, at this late hour, McClernand would be notified in due course of his official seniority (likely after U.S. Grant established his HQ at Pittsburg Landing… When McClernand operating as “acting commander” had odds somewhere between Slim and None.) The second line of Halleck’s telegram reads: “You will act in concert [with General Buell] but he will exercise his separate command, unless the enemy should attack you. In that case you are authorized to take the general command.” The wording of this second line, giving Grant emergency authority over Buell in case of attack by Rebels, has significant implications. And yet, when the conduct of Day Two at Shiloh is closely examined, there is nothing more significant in regard to General Grant exercising command, than, “You take the left; and I’ll take the right” during the advance of Monday morning (coordination at its most minimal.) Which leads one to ponder: When did General Grant receive this telegram from Henry Halleck? If it was sent by telegraph from St. Louis late morning of April 5th, it likely arrived at the Fort Henry telegraph office before noon. If a steamer picked up the mail and telegraph traffic at 1 p.m., (perhaps the Minnehaha) then the 5 April telegram would arrive about midnight… plenty of time for Grant to read and understand the contents. But, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 6th, where was this telegram from Halleck? The cool indifference shared between Grant and Buell (with Buell simply left at the waterfront, while Grant headed away west to take care of business) does not represent “someone in possession of an important telegram, giving them extraordinary authority.” Instead, it seems to indicate General Grant has not yet received the telegram; or he has seen it… but left it behind at the Cherry Mansion. The second communication was constructed on Sunday morning by Captain A.S. Baxter, the AQM for Grant’s Army, as he rode the steamer Tigress north to relay Grant’s orders (likely relayed from Grant, through Captain John Rawlins, to Baxter.) Finding the orders complex and difficult to remember in detail, Captain Algernon Baxter scanned the floor of the Ladies’ Cabin, found a soiled bit of paper, and wrote the orders (as he best remembered them) onto that scrap (later recorded as “containing a heel mark and tobacco stain.”) Upon arrival at Crump’s Landing, Captain Baxter found Lieutenant Ross – Aide to Major General Wallace – waiting. The two rode away west and reported to MGen Wallace at, or just before 11:30 a.m. Captain Baxter presented General Wallace with the impromptu order; Wallace asked why it was not signed. Baxter explained he “created the memorandum, himself, out of fear he would “forget some detail” unless he did so.” General Wallace passed the “written order” to his Staff, and asked Baxter about the current state of affairs [Baxter left Pittsburg Landing between 10 and 10:30.] Captain Baxter replied, “We are driving them.” General Wallace was satisfied; Wallace’s staff officers were satisfied. The order was accepted, and Captain Baxter took his departure within three minutes of arrival at Stony Lonesome. Captain Frederick Kneffler, Lew Wallace’s AAG, wound up with the “written order.” He tucked it under his sword belt… and subsequently lost it. Ever since, the loss of that written order, or memorandum, has been significant because it would provide tangible proof of what Major General Wallace had been ordered to do. And, it is not difficult to envision the memorandum, jiggling loose from Captain Kneffler’s sword belt, and blowing away… to be beaten by heavy rain that night; ultimately washed into the Snake River, then Tennessee River… lost forever. But, paper was in short supply, always. Letters by soldiers were often written making use of every millimetre of space, including margins and borders. As likely as the memorandum being lost forever, it was just as likely noticed, clinging to trampled stubble, by some soldier… one of thousands following behind Kneffler on his horse. This soldier would have snatched it up, and possibly sent it as souvenir with his own letter, a few days later. My point: there is every chance that the Lew Wallace memorandum from Baxter still exists, contained in a box of Civil War letters and paraphernalia, and the owners have no idea what they have in their possession. But, with all the other material being revealed on a weekly basis, one day this piece of history might just surprise everyone, and re-emerge.
From the Union standpoint, the Battle of Shiloh was not supposed to happen. Federal troops were sent south, under command of Brigadier General C.F. Smith, with intention of cutting rail lines and disrupting Rebel communications (between Fort Columbus and Corinth; and between Florence and Corinth.) Abundant Spring rain and effective Rebel defences (and M & O R.R. repair crews) curtailed railroad track disruption. Although an initial base of operations was sited at Union-friendly Savannah, Tennessee, the intention was to establish the Federal base much further south (between Hamburg and Florence) but the grossly swollen Tennessee River turned those prospective campgrounds into sodden, mosquito-infested marshes; and Pittsburg Landing was selected, by default (selected by Brigadier General William T. Sherman, and approved by General Smith.) The high plateau stretching west of the towering bluff overlooking – and out of reach of – the Tennessee River being the primary feature favouring selection of the site. It is said, “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution.” Major General U.S. Grant arrived at Savannah on March 17th 1862 and inspected the de facto campgrounds at Crump’s and Pittsburg established by his predecessor, and pronounced them sound. [Part two] With so many operations on his plate, Major General Henry Halleck did not have manpower or war materials in sufficient quantity to permit combat operations to take place concurrently. Priorities had to be determined from among operations taking place in Northern Missouri (Prentiss), SW Missouri (Curtis), SE Missouri (Pope), Island No.10 (Foote) and Savannah/ Pittsburg (Smith, replaced by Grant.) With North Missouri deemed “under control,” followed by Battle of Pea Ridge securing southern Missouri, manpower and ammunition was freed to be sent elsewhere. (Additional manpower was of no use at Island No.10 so those extra regiments went to General Grant, instead.) And with Henry Halleck’s elevation to Commander, Department of the Mississippi, another source of manpower eventuated: Buell’s Army of the Ohio, based in vicinity of Nashville. But, before U.S. Grant’s operation (with passage of time, confirmed to focus on Corinth) would be permitted to commence, the joint operation (Pope, at New Madrid and Foote, approaching Island No.10 from the north) would be given every opportunity to reach a successful conclusion. And General Grant was ordered, “Do nothing to bring on a general engagement.” References: SDG “Do you know Bragg?” post of 18 May 2018: Confederate Daniel Ruggles assigned to Post of Corinth on 9 March 1862 and begins construction of defences soon after. SDG “Jackson HQ” post of 5 May 2017: General Albert Sidney Johnston arrived at Corinth on March 24th, with concentration of Confederate troops (to this time strewn along the M & C R.R. and the M & O R.R.) gaining pace, and most everyone moves to Corinth. OR 10 (part 2) pages 11 – 12: Henry Halleck has information on March 6th that, “Beauregard has 20,000 men at Corinth.” Sherman reports similar concentration at “Eastport and Corinth” that same day. SDG “Not just pictures…” post of 5 July 2017: Report of Agate (Whitelaw Reid) dateline Savannah Tennessee on 1 April 1862, “There are rumors that General Halleck will take the field here, in person, soon as the Island No.10 agony is over. And there will be four or five corps [marching to Corinth] commanded by Major Generals Grant, Smith, Wallace, Buell and McClernand.”
Available on the Internet since 2011, over 1000 pages of documents briefly describing over 700 Court Martial proceedings in Major General Henry Halleck's Department of the Missouri during 1861, 1862 and 1863 ...nearly one per day, beginning December 1861 and includes accused men (officers and enlisted) from 8th Illinois, 2nd Iowa, 35th Illinois, 18th Indiana, 23rd Indiana, 6th Iowa, 8th Missouri, 41st Illinois, 11th Indiana, 40th Illinois, 1st Nebraska, 17th Illinois, 77th OVI, 25th Missouri (and many other regiments ultimately connected with Army of the Tennessee.) The Military Court proceedings were conducted in St. Louis; in the field in Missouri; at Paducah; and elsewhere. Some of the names you may recognize (acting as President of the Court) include Colonel James Tuttle (2nd Iowa); Colonel Morgan Smith (8th Missouri); Brigadier General Ben Loan (replaced Benjamin Prentiss in District of Northern Missouri in March 1862); Colonel E. P. Wood (17th Illinois); and Colonel David Stuart (55th Illinois). The offences charged are varied, and include: disobeying orders; assaulting an officer; falling asleep on guard duty; horse theft; theft of civilian property (often pigs and chickens, but sometimes more valuable items); absent-without-leave; desertion. Surprisingly, many civilians were caught up in the Military Justice System (members of unrecognized guerrilla bands; assisting the Rebel Cause, without belonging to a recognized Rebel fighting unit; Violating Oath of Allegiance). Punishment (for those found guilty) included forfeiture of pay and reduction in rank; dismissal from the service. If confinement was awarded, the sentence (from six months to "duration of the War") was served at Military Prison, Alton, Illinois. It appears Courts Martial consisted of three or four members (officers, of equal or higher rank than the accused.) But, in a capital case, the minimum was five members. The General Court Martial Orders from the HQ of Department of the Missouri, 1861 - 1863 is arranged chronologically; and there is no index (so it requires approximate knowledge of date of offense in order to find it in this resource.) The main case I was hoping to uncover -- details of the March/April 1862 Court Martial at Savannah Tennessee of Colonel David Moore, 21st Missouri -- I have yet to find. But if it is included, I will attach the page numbers in a later post. A resource with a difference... Ozzy http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/lawlib/law0001/2012/20120020399879A/20120020399879A.pdf Record of Courts Martial, DEPT of MO, from Library of Congress http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2012/11/civil-war-military-trials/ Civil War courts martial records from other Departments
Major General Grant had only just returned to Fort Donelson (from Nashville, late on February 28th), when he received: [from Sherman's Memoirs, page 224.] A bit tongue-in-cheek, because there were no orders to Shiloh; and the above directive to MGen U.S. Grant (a telegram sent from Halleck at St. Louis on March 1st 1862) does not contain an "Orders Number." Yet, this is the communication that started it all, and it reads more as "a collection of thoughts," than an actual set of orders (perhaps sent to alert General Grant to what General Halleck intended Grant to do next -- a sort of "pre-orders orders" -- which may be why the telegram does not contain an Orders Number.) The March 1st "directive" could not have come at a worse time: Sherman, in his Memoirs (page 224) indicates that, "the telegraph line was rickety" and may have resulted in a February 25th telegram from Halleck not being received. [The 25 FEB 1862 telegram directed General Grant to move across from Fort Donelson to Fort Henry and establish his HQ ...(notice where the March 1st telegram is sent to).] General Halleck was in process of the delicate negotiation to expand his Department (and absorb Don Carlos Buell into that new Department; while remaining on cordial terms with Buell.) [If Buell complained or raised a fuss (as he did about "Rebel wounded from Fort Donelson being dumped in his hospitals"), or suddenly decided to "take care of that pesky East Tennessee Problem that President Lincoln so urgently desired," it could have upset Halleck's Grand Plan.] Shortly after sending the telegram of March 1st, General Halleck discovered, "something unusual had taken place at Nashville." First came word that C.F. Smith had gone over there [and Halleck ordered him back.] Then, Halleck learned that U.S. Grant, himself, had gone over there -- to Nashville -- and General Halleck knew that he had sent a directive (via what Halleck considered to be a reliable telegraph line) on February 25th, ordering Grant to set up HQ at Fort Henry. Soon as Grant's unauthorized visit to Nashville became apparent, the ball was set in motion for Grant "to set up those HQ at Fort Henry, and stay there." And C.F. Smith (also mentioned in the March 1st telegram) was directed to take command of the Tennessee River Expedition. Provided for a bit of clarity... Ozzy References: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=yale.39002009162026;view=1up;seq=230 Sherman's Memoirs N.B. The 1 MAR 1862 telegram, Halleck to Grant, is also to be found OR 7 page 674 and Papers of US Grant, vol.4, page 310 (note at bottom of page.) "Danville" was the site of the MC & L Railroad Bridge, a few miles south of Fort Henry, destroyed by Curtis Horse Federal cavalry in February 1862.
It pains me to suggest this -- after all, I had relatives fighting at the Battle of Shiloh -- but... What if Shiloh wasn't the main event we assume it to be? Could it be, that the concentration of Union Forces in vicinity of Pittsburg Landing, initiated by intent to 'cut the Memphis & Charleston Railroad' had evolved... into a diversion ? Consider these points: the 'slowness' of Buell to complete his march from Nashville;the 'abundantly clear directive,' overriding everything else: Do not bring on an engagement;the almost criminal neglect of intelligence/reconnaissance/area surveillance by the on-scene Union Commander;the focus, by that same Commander, on minutia... (a Purge; pursuing and punishing minor infractions with vigor);the reluctance to send desperately sick soldiers 'out of area,' (despite no medicines and insufficient facilities), merely to 'keep the number of troops present' at a maximum [my belief].So, if the Siege of Corinth (and its build-up) wasn't the main game, what was? Opening the Mississippi River to Federal control, and thereby cutting the Confederacy in two. By late March 1862, Halleck found himself in a fortuitous position: the Rebels were fleeing towards Corinth from every direction, seemingly in response to the Federal build-up at Pittsburg [eventually that 'flight' had structure and purpose];the Gibraltar of the West -- Fort Columbus -- had been simply abandoned;Curtis' Army of the Southwest had secured Halleck's base in Missouri by driving the main Confederate threat south, into Arkansas (Battle of Pea Ridge, March 6-7);Halleck's Department had been expanded to include Buell's Army of the Cumberland and Mitchel's Army of the Ohio (aka 3rd Division);Flag-Officer Foote had finally received his armored barges -- all sixteen of them -- carrying 13-inch mortars that fired 215 pound shells;and Halleck was given the services of John Steiner, flying the 'Eagle.'In order to open the Mississippi south from now-Union Columbus, Kentucky, Halleck's force (commanded by General John Pope, in conjunction with Flag-Officer Andrew Foote) had to reduce, in order: New Madrid (done March 14)Island Number 10Fort PillowFort RandolphFort Harris......leaving Memphis, a site important for manufacturing Confederate gunboats and torpedoes; and a key Southern distribution center -- open to attack. By 'encouraging' Confederate forces to consolidate at Corinth, those forces were not available to fight Pope and Foote as they pushed south. And, once a significant portion of the work was done (perhaps the reduction of Island No. 10), Halleck could move his headquarters to Pittsburg Landing, put in place the pontoon bridge that arrived there April 5th, join Buell's Army to Grant's, take the build-up of forces off the back burner, and march on Corinth. And accomplish 'that final engagement that crushed out the Rebellion.' Of course, Albert Sidney Johnston's move in early April wasn't part of the plan... Just a thought Ozzy