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Perry Cuskey

Spain Field Ravine & Gladden's Wounding

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If you've ever visited Spain Field, you've seen the monument to General Gladden, placed about where he was supposed to have been mortally wounded by part of an artillery shell fired from a nearby Union battery early on April 6th. The monument's location always struck me as being incredibly close to the two Union batteries, Munch & Hickenlooper, supporting Miller's line, and I wondered if perhaps the monument and position markers were in fact a bit too close together. Here's a picture I took last week of the monument as seen from Munch's battery position along the Eastern Corinth Road. Spain Field is through the trees to your left....

<a href=" title="P4040014 by wrap10, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7206/6930639894_ae47d3d66e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P4040014"></a>

As you can see, you could pretty much throw a rock from one to the other and hit it. Not that I did this, mind you, and not that I suggest someone try it. :) Just saying that they're that close together. I asked Bjorn about this a few years back, and as I recall the conversation, he seemed to think that Gladden was probably wounded farther to the south, on land that is currently outside the park. This makes more sense to me than where the monument is located. And in fact, it's possible - possible - that Reed placed the monument where it is because to place it closer to the actual wounding site would have put it outside the newly created park, on land that they were not able to acquire.

I don't know this, of course. It's a guess. But as Bjorn pointed out at the time, the monument is almost literally right inside the park's southern boundary along Spain Field. So I do think it's possible that Reed compromised here by placing the monument as close to the likely wounding spot as he could, while also locating it within the park. Although the wording on the monument does say he was wounded "here," and not farther to the south.

Gladden's men approaching Spain Field along the east side of the Eastern Corinth Road had to cross a small ravine before reaching the field, and would have been subjected to a deadly fire when they reached the other side of the ravine. Miller's initial line, in fact, appears to have been set up to overlook this ravine.

You can see the ravine quite well if you walk along the fence on the south side of Spain Field, but from the road it can be difficult to spot. Especially if you're driving. And the road itself does not really cross through the ravine, which appears to end shortly before reaching the road. So on the road itself, you don't really get a good sense of what Gladden's men were up against.

I took a couple of pictures of the ravine from Spain Field, but they really didn't turn out very well. So here's a couple that I took from the Eastern Corinth Road, zoomed in some, and looking mostly along the ravine from west to east. In this first picture, the Confederates were approaching from the right, and crossing the ravine to attack Miller's brigade in Spain Field, which is to your left and somewhat behind you....

<a href=" title="P4040021 by wrap10, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5328/6930644668_c955309be1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P4040021"></a>

The ravine is, or at least was, on private land outside the park. The property appears to be abandoned now, but I don't know the story behind that. Hopefully someone else can help there.

Here's another shot of the ravine, taken from near the same spot as above, but not zoomed in as close....

<a href=" title="P4040020 by wrap10, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7258/6930640576_631a1cfc48.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P4040020"></a>

You can see how hard it is to spot from the road, if you're not looking for it. Speaking of which, in this next picture, you're basically looking straight down the ravine. Or at least you would be, if you could see it....

<a href=" title="P4040018 by wrap10, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5349/7076717707_835ecb2f77.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P4040018"></a>

So if you're on the road and don't already know that ravine is there, you probably won't ever see it. As for where Gladden was likely wounded, assuming it was in fact outside the park, a good possibility would seem to be around that ravine, and perhaps along or near the road. Here's a shot looking south along the road from Gladden's monument.....

<a href=" title="P4040024 by wrap10, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7128/7076718599_bf980cec40.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P4040024"></a>

My best wild-guess is that Gladden may have been struck near where you see the road curving back toward the left, near the far end of the picture, which is also about where the ravine is located relative to the road. That would still have placed him awfully close to those Union cannons. But not basically right on top of them, as his monument seems to suggest.

He may in fact have been hit right where the monument is located. It depends a lot on when he was hit, in fact, or at least to me it seems that way. But I suspect he was probably hit outside the park's current boundary. Either way, it was an awful experience for him that morning, and for the men he commanded, as they came up out of that little ravine and faced a line of men ready and waiting for them. It was, in fact, an awful morning for everyone there, on both sides.

Perry

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I suspect that you are correect about the placement of the monument. Since they couldn't put it outside the park, they just put it close to the correct spot. Now, what about other instances where signs and monuments were placed because of convienence, and are only in the area of the actual locations. I suspect that some of the signs along hwy 22 outside the park are placed for convienence, and may not be real close to the actual positions indicated.

Grandpa

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I've read that Gladden's Brigade was having trouble with the swampy area around the Locust Grove Branch that forced them more westward than they meant to be and is why they also slammed into the 16th WI, which Prentiss had do a right flank movement so as to face Shaver, which put it in danger from Gladden.

Jim

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Jim,

I believe that Gladden's Brigade had adequate room to deploy against Miller's Brigade. If Miller deployed in the same area but on the north edge of Spain field, then Gladden could deply on the south edge of the same field. Gladden was deployed slightly west of Miller's right flank because he was next in line to Shaver's brigade. If any confederate brigade was to have a space problem, it would have been Chalmers' Brigade as he was on the east end of the Spain field. Jackson's Brigade was also in the woods right of Chalmers' Brigade and he would have been the rebel brigade with space problems. I have been in the Spain field to the tree line on the present day east edge of the woods and space did not appear to be a problem for Gladden and possibly for Chalmers. The ravine below the Spain field may have caused a problem but no mention is made of a shift of the brigade to the west. Please remember that it was the 16th Wisconsin that was the unit ordered to shift to its left to maintain a link between Peabody's and Miller's Brigades. This move placed the 16th in a bad position and its further movements and fighting were more related to Miller's Brigade,

Ron

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Ron, if you read the tablet near Gladden's Mon.:

post-24-0-79059600-1334494841_thumb.jpg

It lists the order of attack. I'll have to hunt for the reference, but what I understand is that the 1st LA ran into trouble due to the swampy land and shifted from the right of the Brigade to the west, putting it in front of the 16th. I've never found any reference to shifting the 16th to the east to tie in with Miller. Prentiss didn't seemed to mind gaps in his line.

Jim

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Oops, my bad. Dang oldtimersdisease got me again. I got it backwards. According to the 26th AL Lt Col William Chadick's report in the OR, while crossing a marshy area, a regiment on their left got in before them, causing the 26th to move to the right side of the brigade. I'll bet my Grandpa felt there were to many Reb regiments in the neighborhood, too.

Jim

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Shiloh on the brain with the anniversary coming up.  Going through old posts.  Saw this one.  I wonder what the chances are that the ARTILLERY position is actually incorrectly marked?  Could the artillery have been in a different position from where the cannon are now placed?  Perhaps the cannon were further back than were they are now?  

I would bet that the 26th Alabama getting squeezed out of line by the 1st Louisiana is what got Gladden killed.  Reason being, I would bet Gladden would have been more in the "middle" of the advancing battle line, but would have shifted to the left to untangle the mess taking place on his left between the 26th and the 1st.

 

 

 

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