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Found 2 results

  1. 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.
  2. Ozzy

    Bragg's Memoirs

    Along with George H. Thomas and Henry Halleck, Braxton Bragg is one of the Civil War leaders whose memoirs -- and raisons d'Etat -- I would most like to read. Many are the reasons given why General Bragg never got around to those musings; and this post suggests one more possibility, and it involves a man named Kinloch Falconer. An 1860 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Kinloch Falconer joined the 9th Mississippi as a Private and accompanied his regiment to Pensacola, Florida in March 1861, and became part of Braxton Bragg's force there, occupying the former U.S. Navy Yard and all the pre-war fortifications... except Fort Pickens. The key to control of access to Pensacola Bay, Fort Pickens was a thorn in the side of General Bragg (who ordered Colonel Chalmers to attempt a night raid against that facility 8/9 October 1861.) A month later, on November 22nd a gunnery duel erupted, pitting Confederate batteries at Fort Barrancas and Fort McRee against Union-held Fort Pickens and a squadron of Federal warships in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the guns at Pickens and Barrancas were not designed to fire all the way across at each other -- about three miles -- neither of these forts suffered much damage. Fort McRee (sometimes spelled Fort McRae) was another matter: only one mile from fort Pickens, on the opposite spit of land controlling the entrance to Pensacola Bay, Fort McRee was the most exposed of the Confederate positions. And it was just outside that wing-shaped fort that the 9th Mississippi was dug in, assigned to guns designed to prevent a landing by Federal troops. (The 10th Mississippi, under command of Colonel J.B. Villepigue, operated the big guns inside Fort McRee.) Over the course of 36 hours, the entire vicinity of Fort McRee was blasted by guns from Fort Pickens and warships USS Richmond and USS Niagara. Fort McRee was reduced to a smoldering ruin; but Colonel Villepigue's spirited defense of the position won acclaim from Braxton Bragg, and he was promoted to Brigadier General. Kinloch Falconer -- who had spent time clerking for General Bragg -- came to the notice of newly-minted General Villepigue, and was assigned as his Assistant Adjutant General. The 9th Mississippi left Florida in early 1862, and went on to fight alongside the 10th Mississippi at Shiloh. But Kinloch Falconer did not accompany his regiment; instead, he was promoted to Captain and followed General Villepigue to his new assignment: defense of Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River. That position was evacuated just before the fall of Memphis (in June 1862) and John B. Villepigue (alumnus of The Citadel and 1854 graduate of West Point) next found himself assigned as Brigade commander (in Lovell's Division) Earl Van Dorn's Army of West Tennessee. Wounded during the October 3-5 Battle of Second Corinth, Villepigue succumbed to his wounds in November. And Captain Falconer found himself re-assigned to General Braxton Bragg, for whom he worked as AAG until early 1865... when he was again re-assigned, this time to the Staff of General Joseph E. Johnston. (When Johnston accepted terms offered by William Tecumseh Sherman on April 26th 1865 it was Major Falconer's signature that appeared on the Surrender Document.) Kinloch Falconer's war was over, but his usefulness was not. It was known that the AAG to several general officers had kept meticulous records -- and a diary -- during his years of service to the Confederacy. (One element of his diary, for the year 1865, is on file at Vanderbilt University at Nashville.) In the years after the war, General J.E. Johnston frequently contacted Falconer for precise details IRT Operations conducted during the War of the Rebellion. Braxton Bragg, too, contacted Falconer in 1870 with many questions IRT Bragg's military operations (which may indicate that Bragg was contemplating writing his memoirs, before his untimely death in 1876.) Kinloch Falconer, himself, met an untimely death in 1878. Then serving as Secretary of State for Mississippi, while on a visit to seriously ill relatives at Holly Springs he succumbed to the Yellow Fever epidemic then raging. His papers are now on file with the University of Mississippi. Ozzy References: http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/civil_war/id/2108/rec/8 Bragg's 1870 query to Falconer http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/00/08/56/93/00002/00067jc.pdf Falconer's involvement with Johnston's surrender 1865 http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/Kinloch Falconer Collection/mode/exact/page/1 Kinloch Falconer Collection http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bordenave_Villepigue General J. B. Villepigue at wikipedia N.B. Thanks to David (Ole Miss) for providing access to the Kinloch Falconer Collection.
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