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Sixteen hundred Federal prisoners commenced their slow march to Corinth on Monday morning, April 7th and soon began to realize things had not gone well militarily for their Southern captors. Many witnessed the body of General Albert Sidney Johnston (under escort of six officers) passing, enroute for the train to New Orleans via Memphis [Genoways p.56]. As the POWs trudged towards Corinth, there was no ignoring the makeshift hospitals -- one after another after another -- on both sides of the road, tending the Rebel wounded [Genoways p.96]. But the singular event that gave the captured men hope was the unexpected appearance of a squad of Confederate cavalry, obviously in a panic, that flew past -- heading South -- in the early afternoon [Genoways p.89 and 129]. Those mounted stragglers provided proof that their Federal comrades had reversed the tide of the battle; and offered hope that they would overtake the marching men before they reached Corinth, and re-capture them. Alas... not to be. Ozzy Reference: A Perfect Picture of Hell, Genoways & Genoways, University of Iowa Press (2001)
The “troublesome” Jessie Scouts As we know, two of the Jessie Scouts (Union army intelligence collectors, who did their work dressed in Confederate uniform) got caught up in General Grant’s Purge of March, just prior to Battle of Shiloh. And these two – Carpenter and Scott – were accused of horse theft, arrested and sent away to St. Louis on March 29th under escort of Grant’s aide, Captain William Hillyer. Curiously, Captain Charles Carpenter had been in similar straits only a month before. After completing a personal reconnaissance of Fort Henry about February 4th (said to have included a visit inside the Rebel stronghold) Carpenter returned to Union lines, made his report... and then was ordered “sent away, along with the other irresponsible Scouts” by direction of U.S. Grant. Captain Carpenter, IAW Field Orders No.60 was placed under arrest and sent away “never to return” on 10 February 1862. (Of interest, Captain Hillyer departed at the same time.) Obviously, “never to return” Carpenter was with Grant’s forces at Crump’s/Pittsburg, so what was really going on? It is known that communications during the Civil War could be conducted by courier or telegram (and both types could be encrypted.) With wire tappers and unscrupulous telegraph operators in existence, the most secure messages were not sent by telegraph; they were personally delivered (and best if they were verbal, so no chance of paper copy that could end up in the wrong hands.) If it is assumed that Captain Carpenter was “arrested” so that Captain Hillyer could accompany him north without raising suspicion of some other purpose, where could they go? And what message could be delivered? On February 10th, General Grant had made up his mind to launch the attack against Fort Donelson (Lew Wallace, present at the War Council next day, said “it seemed to him as if General Grant had already made up his mind.”) Hillyer and Carpenter went to Cairo, where General Cullum had signature authority to approve “all actions” on Major General Halleck’s behalf. (Hillyer is afterwards reported as present at Fort Donelson; and Captain Carpenter is said to have conducted a reconnaissance of Fort Donelson.) As regards the March 1862 arrest of Carpenter, that arrest was ordered on the 25th, but Captain Carpenter (under escort of Captain Hillyer) was not sent away til March 29th. What information or request could Hillyer have passed to General Halleck at St. Louis on Grant’s behalf ? (Captain Hillyer returned to Savannah aboard steamer Minnehaha evening of April 5th near midnight… so if any “instructions” came from St. Louis, they were overtaken by events.) And what of the “horse thief” Captain Carpenter? On April 11th, Lew Wallace wrote that, “Captain Carpenter has returned from scout of Purdy, Bethel and the country around, and brings information that Purdy was evacuated last Saturday and has not been occupied [since the late Battle.]” Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 351. Ozzy References: Papers of US Grant vol. 4 pages 153, 167, 174 – 5 and 421 – 2. http://www.pddoc.com/skedaddle/058/exploits_of_capt_carpenter_of.htm Exploits of Captain Charles C. Carpenter Jessie.docx
A disturbing trend is encountered when examining in detail PGT Beauregard's military preparations and operations that (along with untimely illness) may prove to have been that General's Achilles heel: over-reliance upon intelligence and third-party reports. Consider: April 8, 1861 Word arrived at Charleston, South Carolina -- via Robert S. Chew, officer of U.S. State Department -- announcing intention of Lincoln Government to resupply Fort Sumter "peaceably, if possible; but forcibly, if need be." General Beauregard uses the information to his advantage, to prepare for and execute attack on Fort Sumter before expected arrival of Chew's resupply flotilla. Result: Stalemate in Charleston Harbor ends with decisive conquest of Fort Sumter by Southern forces; and PGT Beauregard gains recognition for his role in that success [Roman page 33.] 16-17 July Word arrives from Confederate agent, Rose Greenhow (via her handler, Thomas Jordan) warning of the intended cutting of the Winchester Railroad by Federal forces; and advising the impending advance of McDowell. Result: Confederate forces are not surprised by Federal move. Reinforcements avoid the questionable section of Winchester Railroad, and Confederates throw panicked Federal troops back to Washington. Confederate victory is seen as further enhancing Beauregard's reputation [Greenhow page 11; Roman page 90]. August 13 Following on Beauregard's promotion to Full General (effective July 21st), Southern newspapers report the public and leading politicians are advocating for their new Hero, suggesting "Beauregard for President in 1867." Result: a swelled head may have led to unnecessary conflict between Jefferson Davis and his most successful General [Roman page 132; Varina Davis page 165.] October 1861 After intelligence from Washington warns of "a possible move by McClellan," new information indicates "no further Federal offensive operations are anticipated until Spring (in vicinity Richmond/Washington)." Result: Beauregard offers to go West and take advantage of the Eastern winter standdown to bolster defences of New Orleans. That offer is declined by Richmond. Beauregard opts for throat surgery during the lull in offensive actions [Roman pages 152- 5 (especially page 153)]. February 1862 After accepting the opportunity to transfer to the West -- Department No.2 under Albert Sidney Johnston -- General Beauregard's health suffers a setback, probably due complications from throat surgery. Beauregard increasingly relies upon others (trusted aides) to keep him informed of developments within the Department. Result: report of Thomas Jordan verifies and supports the General's bias against Fort Columbus; the garrison there is not just reduced, but ordered totally evacuated. Unknown to General Beauregard, Federal possession of Fort Columbus was the signal for Farragut to launch his attack on the Mississippi River forts below New Orleans [Roman page 233; and SDG "Taken by Surprise"]. Feb 17 - Mar 25 Holed up in his HQ at Jackson Tennessee -- and still recuperating from impaired health -- Beauregard relied on intelligence and reports from all corners of his Department to keep abreast of developments. Result: Lacking personal inspection of facilities within his department, aspects of defences at Island No.10 are flawed (New Madrid garrison and artillery placement.) And inadequate scouting and mapping in vicinity Pittsburg Landing accomplished [Roman pages 224, 234- 5 and 247]. April 2 Reliance on flawed intelligence leads to Advance on Pittsburg Landing [Roman page 270; and SDG "Telegram of April 2nd"]. April 6 Intelligence from Colonel Helm -- incorrectly indicating Buell is headed for Decatur -- may have persuaded Beauregard that he could "mop up a vanquished US Grant in the morning" [Roman page 306]. April 6 Trust in the Helm telegram may have persuaded Beauregard to discount Human Intelligence -- collected from General Prentiss, a prisoner in custody -- indicating "Buell would arrive before morning." April 6/7 Trust in the Helm telegram may have persuaded subordinates of General Beauregard not to disturb the Confederate Commander with intelligence reports from Colonel NB Forrest... indicating Buell's Army of the Ohio was arriving [Roman page 307]. Trust, but verify. Ozzy References: OR 5, 10 and 11 SDG posts (as sited above) http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/the-wild-rose-of-washington/?_r=0 NY Times: The Wild Rose Greenhow http://archive.org/stream/militaryoperatio01roma#page/154/mode/2up Roman's Military Ops of General Beauregard http://archive.org/stream/myimprisonmentfi00gree#page/214/mode/2up Rose Greenhow "My Imprisonment" http://archive.org/stream/jeffersondavisex02davi#page/164/mode/2up Varina Davis "Life of Jefferson Davis"