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Eyewitness Accounts - General JAmes Birdseye McPerson, Army of Tennessee

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(From Battle of Shiloh on the Sandusky County Scrapbook website at http://www.sanduskey-county-scrapbook.net

"Hd. Qrs Army of Tennessee Field of "Shiloh" April 30th 1862.

My Dear Friend Clemmy,

I have been trying ever since the receipt of your most welcome letter to find time to answer it and assure you, and the rest of my friends at the Springs that I am perfectly safe and well.  The battle was indeed a terrible one, and on Sunday particularly a very desperate one for our cause as with 35,000 men we fought from about 7 o'clock in the morning until sunset against 75,000 of the best rebel troops led by their favorite Generals--But thanks to the bravery and energy with which our troops maintained their ground (with some exceptions) the rebels were prevented from breaking our lines or getting to the River thereby endangering our transports when night closed the contest.  Sunday night we received reinforcements which placed us in something like an Equality in point of numbers with The Enemy & he was driven back some distance beyond where the fighting commenced Sunday morning, by four o'clock Monday afternoon.  There have been so many misrepresentations in the newspapers about the Battle that I am perfectly disgusted.  They all start out by assuming that we were perfectly surprised which is all a mistake.  Time may correct the errors but it is all wrong for the newspapers and people generally away from the scene to condemn our Generals without knowing the facts.  Public Confidence in them weakened, and aid and comfort given to the rebels.  I was very sorry to lose my Horse, for he was a splendid animal & carried me through safely at Forts Henry & Donelson.  He was shot through & through, the ball passing about three inches in rear of my legs.  How I felt during the Battle I cannot pretend to say.  The truth is I was so much occupied that I had not time to think of myself.  Only once do I remember my thoughts & then I was sitting on my Horse talking to Gen'l Grant with my back in the direction from which the bullets were coming and thought it best to turn around so that if I was hit, I would not be hit in the back.

My love to all Ever Your friend

James"

 

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Guest 23rd tenn

oh how I wish he was correct about the 75,000 troops, I don't think his letter would have read the same.

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Thanks to Manassas Belle for posting one of the very few available Letters from James Birdseye McPherson: an extraordinary man and gifted Union officer. I stumbled upon a recent video that acts as solid Biography of McPherson, and this looks to be a good place to post it.

As we know, James Birdseye McPherson eventually rose to the rank of Major General and became one of U.S. Grant’s most trusted and most valuable officers, contributing mightily to the success at Vicksburg in 1863. Prior to Vicksburg, McPherson played a couple of interesting roles at Pittsburg Landing. But McPherson commenced his active Civil War career as Lieutenant Colonel, assigned to the Staff of Henry Halleck at St. Louis. Before the Campaign against Fort Henry, LtCol McPherson joined Brigadier General Grant’s embryonic army… and never left. McPherson rose to eventual command of the Army of the Tennessee (after Sherman, and before Logan, Howard, Logan.)

The link below is to a c-span video discussing the Military Career of James B. McPherson, conducted by Steven E. Woodworth. The introduction is provided by a Civil War reenactor, playing the role of another Shiloh participant, Andrew Hickenlooper. And the most important segments of the video run from the 9 minute 30 second mark (McPherson joins Halleck at St. Louis) to the 28 minute mark (conclusion of Battle of Shiloh.)

https://www.c-span.org/video/?320621-1/discussion-james-b-mcpherson-army-tennessee   Presented at Clyde, Ohio July 2014 (150 years after death of McPherson.)

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