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  1. In The Life of Albert Sidney Johnston, page 525, it is recorded: 'After the Battle of Pea Ridge, General Van Dorn was ordered to Corinth.' Bentonville, Arkansas is about 300 miles from Helena (on the Mississippi River), and the battle concluded on March 8, 1862. Calculating an easy pace of fifteen miles per day, Van Dorn's force could have reached Helena by March 28... taken steamers to Memphis, arriving by March 31st... then train ride on the Memphis & Charleston, arriving at Corinth April 2-4. So, why didn't they? Apparently, much of the 'Van Dorn was ordered to Corinth' (the claim appears in Beauregard's Military Biography, page 346, too)... is a sham. But, let's start at the beginning: the first letter sent to General Earl Van Dorn, requesting he 'join his force with General Beauregard's on the Mississippi River, if possible,' was sent via Governor Isham Harris on March 7, 1862 (while the Battle of Pea Ridge was underway.) [OR Serial 8, page 771] Van Dorn replied on March 16: 'Your letter did not reach me until just a few days ago, on my return from the battlefield. I will start in a day or two for Pocahontas, Arkansas.' (OR Serial 8, page 784) [No obvious sense of urgency, because no haste was requested -- Ozzy.] On March 25, Albert Sidney Johnston reported to President Davis: 'Van Dorn has offered to send his force north to assist in the defense of Island No. 10, but I ordered him to Memphis.' [OR Serial 11, page 361] Meanwhile, Van Dorn directed his Army of the West to assemble at Pocahontas... then Jacksonport... then Des Arc, Arkansas (a port on the White River.) By early April, the gathering of Van Dorn's force was underway; Earl Van Dorn issued 'Special Orders No. 41' on April 7, directing that Sterling Price's Division commence the steamboat ride to Memphis on the morning of April 8 (and Van Dorn made the trip to Memphis, himself, and arrived about April 8... in time to receive the first message that expressed any urgency: 'General Beauregard requests that you hurry forward your command.' [OR Serial 11, page 398: message from Captain John Adams, post of Memphis, dated April 8, 1862.] On April 9, General Beauregard telegraphed to General Cooper at Richmond: 'Van Dorn may join us in Corinth in a few days with 15.000 more troops.' [OR Serial 11, page 403] On April 12, Sterling Price told Van Dorn: 'I have sent Colonel Little's Brigade to Corinth, and General Rust's command to Fort Pillow, by order of General Beauregard.' [OR Serial 11, page 414] [What this indicates to me, is the effort to defend the Mississippi River was as important to General Beauregard as the assembly of Rebels at Corinth. And the 'slow movement' of Van Dorn east allowed an opportunity to re-direct Van Dorn north... but the opportunity for Van Dorn to join the build-up at Corinth in a timely manner (before the Battle of Shiloh) was lost -- Ozzy.] In effect, Van Dorn had no opportunity to join the Army of the Mississippi, prior to the Battle of Shiloh: he was not tardy; he was never told to hurry, until it was too late. Ozzy References: Life of Albert Sidney Johnston, by Preston Johnston The Military Operations of General Beauregard, by Alfred Roman OR Serials 8 and 11
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