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Ron

Structure of Ruggles' Line of Artillery

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I wish to make this a new topic and not part of the topic "New Markers in the Park". I enjoyed that post but want to expand about the "Ruggles Line of Artillery"

Origins of line;

General Beauregard assumed the command of the confederate army following the death of General Albert S Johnston at 3 pm. He immediately moved to restart the rebel attack which had become stalled. The several assaults against the union sunken road positions had failed and the union forces were standing firm. Beauregard directed General Ruggles to take command on the rebel left and General Bragg to command on the confederate right and take command of the brigades previously commanded by General Johnston. Ruggles moved to establish a concentration of guns to fire on the union line on the northeast side of the Duncan field, along the sunken road. Staff officers were dispatched to bring any guns they could find, up to the concentration on the western side on the Duncan field, in the tree line.

Structure of the line,

Northern Group Ruggles staff officers located some guns on the western side of the battlefield and sent them east to join the guns already in position on the west side of the Duncan field. These units were a section of two guns of Ketchum's Battery which had been guarding the bridge over the Owl Creek, and also Bankhead's (6 guns)and Stanford's (6 guns) batteries both of which had been fighting in the woods between the Jones field and the Duncan field. They were soon joined by Hodgson's (6 guns), Robertson's (4 guns) and Rutledge's (6 guns) batteries. Hodgson had been fighting in the woods below the Jones field in McClernand's union division camps. Both Robertson's and Rutledge's batteries were found to the east of the Eastern Corinth road supporting the fighting in the lower Sarah Bell Cotton field. They moved to the west and joined the line of guns on the west side of the Duncan Field. These 5 batteries and one section had 30 guns and were assigned to the tacticial command of Captain Smith Bankhead, the artillery commander of the First Corps.

Southern Group The artillery commander of the Third Corps, Major Francis Shoup was in the vicinity of the Review field and the woods east of the field. He had been assigned the duty of removing the captured union cannon using stragglers to preform the work. He next moved into the woods on the southwest side of the Duncan field and noticed the union positions in the northeast side of the field still holding and fighting. In his article "How we went to Shiloh" published in the Confederate Veteran (volume 2, May 1894) he mentions the possibility of firing into the union positions with flanking fire and he moved to bring up guns to his position. The batteries of Roberts (4 guns), Triggs (4 guns), Swett's (6 guns), a section of Hubbard's battery (2 guns), Brynes' (7 guns), and finally Trabue's Kentucky battery. This last is the unit that was mistaken for a section of 2 guns of Cobb's Kentucky battery. This southern group of guns was commanded by Major Francis Shoup, the artillery commander of the Third Corps and had 25 guns in position. Of this group, the batteries came from the Review field area of the battlefield where they had been resting and reforming while Brynes battery and Cobb's section came from the area near the Woolf field.

The fact that most of the units of the southern group came from the same area of the battlefield tends to indicate that Major Shoup formed his group independent of the northern group, in fact, he claims he did not know of the other group of guns and that General Ruggles was only seen as a spectator.

These two groups of guns contained five 6 gun batteries, three 4 gun batteries, one 7 gun battery and three 2 gun sections for 55 guns. The firing of the guns began about 3:30 pm close to the time the union forces were moving about rearranging their positions some, both infantry and artillery were withdrawing. These movements made the confederates believe the barrage was having effect when actually, it did not have the results they thought. This mistake led to inflated stories of a great confederate barrage. The confederate artillery barrage at the Battle of Gettysburg suffered the same results as many of the rounds fired were over shot impacting the union rear. The lack of effect of the rebel artillery at Shiloh is illustrated when the National Park Service conducted tests of the ground for shells and fragments using metal detectors. They found only a few, much too few when the sunken road was the major impact area of the barrage. .

Notice that the artillery commander of the Second Corps, Major James Hallonquist, is not mentioned. His location is unknown and he appears hardly at all during the fighting. His contributions to the rebels during the battle were very little to none and his later raise in rank, duty and rssponsibilites is hard to explain except that he was one of General Bragg';s favorites.

Hope you enjoy this note

Ron

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real good report Ron ,have you seen anything on the captured union guns and were they were during this time ,and the report on 62guns did that come from Ruggles ,D.W.Reed or somewere else,i have to say i think the confederate artillery bombardment had a real good affect mayb a lot of shells didnt find their mark but they did a real good job on the mind of those people defending the nest kinda like them gunboats in the tn river most of them shells didnt find their mark either but they did a real good job on the mind of those attacking confederates for they sure feared those yankee gunboats

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Hello Perry,

In response to your inquiry,

As to the captured union guns, some were still standing on the battlefield, some had been removed to the rear and at least 4 had been exchanged by confederates for their old style 6 pounders.

As to the number of 62 cannon in Ruggles' line of artillery. General Ruggles does not mention a number of guns in his "Official Report" written on April 25, 1862, nor does he mention a number in his amended "Official Report" written on April 21, 1863 supported by four officers who amended their reports as requested by General Ruggles. The Shiloh Shiloh National Battlefield Commission and Major David Reed seems to get the credit for the number of 62 guns in the line of artillery and this figure was accepted for a long time until Cunningham questioned this number in his book "Shiloh and the Western Campaign" on page 289-290. Sadily, Cunningham also does not give for the number for the guns in the line of artillery. McDonough in his book "Shiloh, in Hell before Night" gives the figure of 62 guns in Ruggles line but goes on to suggest that other rebel batteries joined in the firing from the rebel right (page 164). This is unlikely because the location of the confederate batteries at this time are known with a degree of good accuracy (1). Sword remains with the first estimate of 62 guns while Daniel gives the number as 53 guns. An estimate of 51 guns appears in Cunningham's book after it was edited by Gary Joiner and Tim Smith and appears on page 290 appears to be far too low to be accurate. A mention is made in the Official Reports that there was 10 batteries and 2 sections present in the line and if the authorized numbers of guns are added up would indicate 64 guns being in the line. Deduct 2 guns possibily known to not have been there and we have 62 guns. This appears to be the method used to get a number of guns. This estimate was repeated by later authors. In summary, we have

Official Records ? guns

Major Reed 62 guns

Cunningham ? guns

McDonough 62 guns

Sword 62 guns

Ron Black 55 guns

Daniel 53 guns

New Shiloh NBP marker 53 guns

Cunningham (edited) 51 guns Edited by Gary Joiner and Tim Smith

I believe that the number of guns of 51 to 55 were made by using more analysis and the higher numbers were made or accepted with little research.

You mention in a previous post that you thought the rebels would have used some of the captured guns in Ruggles line of artillery but that would not have been possible. These captured guns were missing ammunition and tools to operate the guns. They were only guns, and all that was required to use them was not there. Further, the rebels did not have time to reorganize the captured guns into their batteries in time to join Ruggles line of artillery. The few that were exchanged into a rebel battery came later.

Note 1. Original research by myself

Enjoy

Ron

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Good information Ron, and some food for thought.

I had thought there was a fairly involved discussion about Ruggles Battery that we'd had a while back, and that others had mentioned, but the link below seems to be the closest I can find...

Here's another good discussion about the number of troops at Shiloh, and Ron's take on the number of batteries present during the battle...

If you type in "Ruggles Battery" in the search box, in the upper-right of the main screen, you'll get several hits that could keep you reading for a while. You can also search inside of individual topics the same way.

Perry

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real good report Ron and thanks Perry for looking up that info,im still thinking though some of those captured guns were used in the line up though and it seems nobody can put a for sure number on the guns Maj. Reed was there so his number would have as much creditably as any one elses to me so after all this time with no for sure number i can not understand why the park is so bent on saying 53 and even going to the point of putting up a sign saying so

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Thanks for the interesting post Ron - The more I know about artillery the more I like it. I am going to ask Santa for a M 1857 light twelve pounder for Christmas. We recently had our spring artillery training at the park - oh do I love firing that bronze gun!

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