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Ozzy

Shiloh Staff Ride 2003

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For anyone who has never read a Staff Ride Guidebook, this is your opportunity...

 

Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862, by LtCol Jeffrey Gudmens USA; Combat Studies Institute Press, Fort Leavenworth, KS [2003], 160 pages.

 

A no-nonsense description of the environment, leaders, troops and weapons involved in the Battle of Shiloh, designed for use by officers-in-training during a visit to the battlefield, experiencing in 3-D what it was like for the original participants. And providing a hands-on opportunity to second guess the leaders, or at least, better understand their actions.

 

Consisting of five sections, Section One describes the weapons used (in detail), troop numbers and organization, and tactics employed. Forty-two pages of interesting facts, with some unexpected gems, such as  this one: the development of the rifled musket was a better innovation than the development of the rifled cannon, although it would seem that 'rifling' would improve both types of weapon equally. The reason: the tactics employed. Infantrymen (especially defenders) were able to put their long-range accuracy to better use; while artillerymen still used Mexican War tactics that brought them into range of the rifled musket of the infantry. Also, the type of projectile used against infantry concentrations did not benefit by the addition of rifling groves in the cannon barrel.

 

Section Two (pages 43-57) provides an overview of the Shiloh Campaign, beginning with the crumbling of Johnston's Kentucky Line, and ending on the evening of April 5th. The Confederate goals, and the Federal determination to link Buell with Grant before pressing south to Corinth, are discussed. Concise biographies of the major players on both sides are presented.

 

Section Three is devoted to 'Suggested routes and vignettes,' offering twenty possible scenarios (called 'stands') for examination and discussion, on site. Included, are stands for Fraley Field; Peabody's Camps; Sherman's Second Line; Lew Wallace's march; Stuart's Brigade resistance; the Hornet's Nest...

 

Section Four, beginning page 133, talks about the need for students to read, study and prepare before embarking on a Staff Ride.

 

Section Five lays out logistics to consider, to enable a successful visit to the Military Park.

 

The Appendix includes 'Order of Battle' for USA and CSA; more biographical sketches; and a list/description of the Medal of Honor winners at Shiloh.

 

At least two dozen maps, most accompany the vignettes. And, even the most crusty Shiloh expert will discover at least one 'interesting fact' not encountered before. (For me, it was the revelation that the Federal standing Army was 16000 men, prior to the start of the war. Of that number, the Officers with Southern sympathies were allowed to resign; but the Enlisted men with Southern sympathies were not... Which begs the question...)

 

 http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/gudmens.pdf

 

 

Cheers

 

Ozzy

 

 

 

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Somebody, break out the smelling salts...

 

I can usually read 160 pages in about four hours; but this Staff Ride Guide required three days, and two pots of coffee; with some material required to be read twice, to pick up information missed the first time through.

 

I applaud your effort, Michele.

 

 

Ozzy

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Ozzy.....

 

Having worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at one point of my career and the fact I had read many books on the American Civil War before I read my first Staff Ride Guide (Gettysburg), I did not find them that tedious.  On the other hand, I found I was reaching for the "No Doze" when I read Carl Von Clausewitz's book on military strategy. 

 

THE MANASSAS BELLE

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Thanks for bringing this tome to our attention.  The only Staff Ride Handbook which I own was written for the Battle of Perryville, which is excellent.  Checking on the Amazon website, I see that the handbooks have been published for several other battles.  Guess I'll need to make a few acquisitions.

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One more thing about that link to 'warpig6'... if you click on some of the internal links in the 'Shiloh Staff Ride' report, you end up at a Gettysburg report which is eye-opening: in particular, the story about Joshua Chamberlain ordering his own brother forward, to fill a gap.

 

Ozzy

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