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Let's start with a question, IRT... tornadoes. Is the apparent increase in the number of tornadoes photographed, from one year to the next, mostly the result of an increase in the number of tornadoes; or are there more cameras in the hands of everyday citizens, which are then more readily available to be used to capture images, that would have been missed years ago?

 

I begin this post with a weather question, because I believe a similar query can be posed IRT 'the heroes' of Shiloh. Does the difficulty in determining a 'Hero of Shiloh' lie in the fact that  1) all of the potential selectees possess un-hero-like qualities (flaws) that detract from/negate their positive achievements, or  2)  we have over-examined potential heroes, and dug up flaws that would have been ignored/remained hidden in years past?

 

Two examples: one of my Civil War heroes is Joshua Chamberlain. Another is Adam Slemmer.  I am comfortable with their hero-status, and am hesitant to dig deeper into their stories, because I do not want to find out their hidden flaws. 

 

So... what about the Hero of Shiloh?

 

 

Ozzy

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I believe that there were too many HEROS of Shiloh, most of which we will never know of.  Among the many heroes, several local civilians should be included.  I might suggest General Albert S Johnston for launching his 2 pm attack that finally unhinged the union left flank and drove them north towards the landing.  I also would like to suggest the least known hero of Shiloh is the unknown woman who walked along the Purdy Road (I think it was the Purdy road) wearing an everyday dress and a sun bonnet completely forgetting the fighting on both sides of the road.    

 

There are heroes everywhere

 

Ron 

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I agree, Ron. There were many on the Confederate side who acted heroically, and I would include Albert Sidney Johnston, Adley Gladden, Withers, Chalmers, Jackson (and the men who followed them) among their number.

 

On the Union side, it seems to depend on the time of day:

  • 3am       Peabody     (for sending out that patrol)
  • 9am       Prentiss      (for rallying his 500 troops, after making a timely call for reinforcements)
  • 9:30       WHL Wallace, Hurlbut and McClernand     (for answering the call for reinforcements, and marching toward the sound of the guns)
  •               (Honorable Mention: Stuart, for maintaining his position; then conducting 'fighting retreat')
  • 3pm       Hurlbut       (withdrew most of his division safely; called in artillery support from the Navy; helped organize Grant's Last Line)
  • 3pm       Webster      (positioned cannon in Grant's Last Line)
  • 4pm       WHL Wallace     (shot down while attempting to withdraw his men to safety)
  • 5:30       Prentiss      (late surrender poses significant problems for CSA;  and delay facilitates completion of Grant's Last Line) 
  • 5-6pm    Grant          (decides:  NO retreat or surrender; continue the fight)
  • 5-7pm    Buell and Lew Wallace    (arrival, although late, enables Grant's decision to continue the fight).

 

Others deserving of mention:

  • the First Responders (Union and Confederate):  surgeons and volunteer nurses who attempted to save as many lives as possible, in the midst of overwhelming numbers, and unspeakable carnage;
  • the Medal of Honor selectees:  Private John McDonald, Private David Orbansky, Sergeant Edward Spalding, and Private Elwood Williams... for acting as representatives for all the Union soldiers who did not spend their First Day at Shiloh skulking under the riverbank.

 

But, the more I revisit this topic, the more convinced I am to lean towards one individual, who:

  • took notice of the 'uninvited guests' reviewing the April 5th parade of the 6th Division;
  • brought that fact to the attention of his superior officers;
  • accompanied the late afternoon patrol, seeking the truth;
  • upon return from that patrol, was unhappy with the outcome/report, and made his feelings known;
  • after discussion with Colonel Peabody (and others), agreed to conduct a clandestine patrol at 3am.

 

I believe this action -- encountering the Confederate force well in advance of his camp -- a force preparing, but not quite ready to commence the planned attack...

 

Bought the Time

  • that prevented Whitelaw Reid's 'bayonetted-in-bed' scenario from taking place;
  • allowed 'those that would listen' to prepare for the onslaught;
  • permitted everything that followed, its chance to occur.

 

My selection for the Hero of Shiloh:  Major James Edwin Powell of the 25th Missouri Volunteer Infantry.

 

 

Ozzy

 

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Ozzy,

 

What an interesting way to frame your question.  Take a look at this:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=tornadodata-ok-monthlyannual

 

Obviously, there are more tornadoes some years than others.  It stands to reason that an "up year" for storms means more opportunities for photographing to occur.  Pair that with the media sensationalization of storms and the seeming all-time high interest in witnessing/recording them and the results are an awful lot of tornado pictures and videos.  Plus, there has been continual refinement in predicting which conditions will likely spawn a tornado and in the tools used to track the developing storms.  Not only are more people interested in capturing pictures, but also they are more adept at getting into the position to do so.

 

So you're asking whether it's more difficult to identify a hero since we have so many "hero-spotters" out there and the means to "track" flaws that would have been missed in less research-savvy times?  If you think of the tornadoes as "flaws" in the landscape or natural condition, I guess logic would say they occur with destructive force whether or not they're sought out and brought onto our television and computer screens.  And the person who does not want to acknowledge their existence (or who might be hesitant to dig deeper) is almost at the mercy of those who are eager to track, capture, and share. 

 

Still, the storms are there . . . wreaking havoc in sometimes unnoticed--but often terrifyingly destructive--ways.  I guess you have to accept that that's the nature and power of such a storm . . . in much the same way that a person's faults and failings can alter the landscape of their life and legacy. 

 

post-559-0-29091900-1433055112_thumb.jpg

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Michele

 

Thank-you for the well-considered response... I must admit I was caught off guard by your scrutiny of my tornado analogy. But, the more I considered, the more I realized we were looking at the same information, and simply making use of it in different ways.

 

Your post indicated that tornadoes could be considered as 'flaws,' and their number subject to year-on-year fluctuations: sometimes increasing, sometimes decreasing. And the graphs attached to your post illustrate this fact.

 

My poorly-worded premise considers tornadoes as opportunities... for photographic immortality, and data collection. The earliest photograph I could find of a tornado was taken in 1884 in Howard, Dakota Territory (some sources say 1884 in Garnett, Kansas.) Assuming 1884 as our starting point, I believe that the number of photographs taken of tornadoes quickly increased to ten, twenty, one hundred per year... but then levelled off.  I seem to remember, while growing up in Illinois (circa 1968), that it was 'common knowledge' that of all the thousands of tornadoes photographed, not one sequence had yet been captured showing tornado formation 'from the beginning' -- threatening cloud -- developing bud -- funnel formation, extending towards earth. All the existing photographs displayed developed twisters. (I believe the first 'tornado creation sequence' was captured on film in 1976.) But then, all the mobile phones and tablets arrived... with their built-in cameras. Suddenly, anyone could become a 'tornado chaser.' 

 

As we have taken more photographs and films, and made use of weather radar and radio communications, we have captured more creation sequences... and amassed mountains of other data: barometric pressure tracks, wind speed soundings, temperature fluctuations... So much data, that now can be used in any number of ways:

  1. The general public can be more accurately warned of the approach of an actual tornado (or tornado-forming cloud) in a timely manner.
  2. Insurance companies can justify putting up rates for people who live in high-risk tornado areas.
  3. Universities can seek funding to gather, collate, and interpret tornado data.
  4. Some corporations may be able to make use of 'selective data,' and warn potential customers of the 'dire consequences from the obvious increase in frequency and severity of tornadoes'  --  But, if you buy our 'early warning package' -- [just $199, in two easy payments] -- you will be protected.

 

What I am attempting to illustrate: it is not the tornado; it is the accumulation of massive amounts of data... the use of which may be flawed.

 

 

So, to our potential heroes: have we over-examined them to the point where their heroic qualities are overwhelmed by their flaws?

 

 

Ozzy

 

 

N.B.  Have you got a favourite for 'Hero of Shiloh?'

 

 

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Ozzy: "9am Prentiss (for rallying his 500 troops, after making a timely call for reinforcements)"

At 9AM, Prentiss, on his horse, rode into the 16th WI camp (their 3rd battle site), ordered them to fall back into the trees, fighting as they go. The last the 16th saw of him until he joined them in the Hornets Nest was the south end of his horse heading north. Not exactly the stuff of heroes, IMO.

Jim

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Ozzy.......

 

I know exactly what you are saying with your analogy.  A prime example, while not a Shiloh participant, is General James Longstreet. Having been a member of The Longstreet Society, I know only too well, that certain authors and historians (without mentioning any names) magnify Longstreet's flaws and refuse to see his virtues.

 

THE MANASSAS BELLE

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Jim 

 

I agree that it took awhile for 'the light to come on' for Benjamin Prentiss. And I am conducting research, attempting to discover why that was the case. But, I believe that while Prentiss was flailing around during the waking hours of April 6th, attempting to come to grips with what was happening, his most important decision was to call for reinforcements from CF Smith and Hurlbut. (I do not believe he realized that his friend, WHL Wallace, was in command of the 2nd Division until Wallace appeared, in person, at their Sunken Road position.)

 

Many officers and men ran to the rear, all the way to the riverbank at Pittsburg Landing, in the early hours of that Sunday... but Prentiss was not one of them. Perhaps he was accompanied by Major Powell, or his new acquaintances from the 12th Michigan (met during their voyage together on the steamer, Meteor, to Pittsburg Landing.) But, before he reached the Sunken Road, Benjamin Prentiss recovered himself; brought his fear, panic and uncertainty under control; put the past few hours behind him, and 'began a-new.'  Not an easy thing for anyone to accomplish, yet I believe Prentiss pulled it off.

 

I do not condone Prentiss' performance IRT Everett Peabody; and I believe lives were lost unnecessarily while the General was getting his bearings. Those facts cannot be altered. But I also believe that credit must be accorded Prentiss' good decisions... most of which happened in combination with Hurlbut and Wallace. But the call for reinforcements was made from his campsite. And it was crucial, to the survival of Grant's Army.

 

 

Ozzy

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Belle

 

Thank you for the timely support. I believe that there are few 'black and white' certainties, IRT reputation. And, often it seems to come down to emphasis, and what the researcher declares is relevant. Unfortunately, in the case of many potential heroes, there is one day of remarkable deeds, to be weighed against an entire life of experiences and decisions. And, it seems as if, the more you find out, the less impressive anyone appears... until you are left with no heroes.

 

Regards

 

Ozzy

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And one more time... with feeling   :rolleyes:

 

Who is your selection for 'The Hero of Shiloh?'

 

(No right or wrong answer... it depends on your 'emphasis' and 'context.')

 

 

Cheers

 

Ozzy

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I suppose, Ozzy, that I should not attempt to dissect analogies at 2am. :) But your post caught my attention as an Oklahoma girl who lives in a family of storm chasers . . . one semi-professional, one not, both semi-crazy. ;)

So, yes, I see where you were going now. The ready and ever-increasing accumulation of data--while it provides many positives--also lends itself to misinterpretation or misuse. And when you can examine the whole spectrum of a life from many perspectives and through various lenses, there is an abundance of detail to consider. Plus, it's easier than ever to connect with others--and other communities--who hold their own opinions and who may want to advance their own agendas.

To your question . . . As a newbie around here, I'm still very much in the early learning phase. I have had an opportunity to hear about Everett Peabody and would easily consider him as a hero of Shiloh. Certainly, his initiative (or insubordination) was one of those little hinges upon which the doors of the battle--perhaps even the doors of history--swung.

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Michele

 

Growing up in the Midwest, with frequent 'tornado alerts' and 'tornado warnings' (complete with wailing sirens), I never saw a tornado until I went to Florida... and was told 'thas jus' a water spout... happin awl time.'    :)

 

I know what you mean, about deciding upon 'a hero of Shiloh.' When I first encountered SDG, I was aware of Benjamin Prentiss (many books proclaimed him as THE hero.) And then there was Don Carlos Buell... and William Tecumseh Sherman (who I did not realize was present at Shiloh.)  Unlike most battles, where one or two individuals obviously stand out, Shiloh was an exception.

 

IRT Everett Peabody, I believe his standing suffered due to several factors:

  • he enjoyed some sort of 'clash' with his immediate superior: BGen Benjamin Prentiss;
  • his efforts at the beginning of the Battle were misunderstood by that immediate superior;
  • there were no readily available witnesses to recount Peabody's forebodings, and subsequent actions, after the Colonel's death;
  • Prentiss (who appears not to have liked Peabody) took advantage of his death to ignore his possible achievements. This may not have been intentional, but if Prentiss had had a good relationship with Peabody (as he had with WHL Wallace), I believe he would have sought out that information;
  • Prentiss was not only accorded hero status due to Battle of Shiloh, but also due to his sharing the fate of 2200 other POWs from the Hornet's Nest, and feeling the same stinging rebuke from Whitelaw Reid's newspaper report. Prentiss expressed unconditional support for 'his boys,' and spent the rest of his life fighting against Whitelaw Reid's claims, attempting to set the record straight, and resurrect sullied reputations. After Benjamin Prentiss passed away in 1901, the performance of Everett Peabody at Shiloh began to gain an airing.  Coincidence?

 

Everett Peabody most definitely deserves recognition for his actions of April 5-6, 1862.

 

 

Cheers

 

Ozzy

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Ozzy.......

 

Actually, despite the controversy involved on the first day, I'd say Grant was the hero of Shiloh for the reasons you mentioned.  He dug in his heels, refused to retreat or surrender, continued to fight and survived the battle to win other engagements for the Union.  His management/leadership style saved the day.  Of course, anyone who is brave enough to fight with the chance of giving his/her life in a battle is a hero in my eyes, so a tip of the kepi to all who fought at Shiloh.

 

THE MANASSAS BELLE

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Belle

 

What most impresses me about Grant, is his ability to 'see the battlefield,' and understand how various scenarios will play out, before they occurred. Even though he had access to a pontoon bridge, and could have put it in place to withdraw his troops overnight, Grant realized HE was in the winning position... and followed up his incessant visits to the front, meeting and encouraging his commanders, with the decision to push for the win.

 

Shiloh was more than 'one more victory;' it was required, in order for Grant to complete his path to Command of Lincoln's Army.

 

 

Ozzy

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Ozzy, I think Prentiss made numerous mistakes all day on the 1st day. He ignored way too many warnings about the impending attack. Refused at first to believe that it was happening. When he ordered his regiments out to line up, he sent them out too far, allowing gaps to develop. Failed to understand that more than just Shaver's Brigade was in his front, ordering a flanking movement to the right, opening his regiments to flanking fire from Gladden's Brigade. Upon ordering his men to abandon their camps, he fled north, not stopping until he started finding some of his men near the resupply area (near where the MI Monument is). He then brought them back up to the Sunken Road, where he found the 16th and Col. Allen. Allen seemed to find a good reason to get out from under his command, and then proceeded to join Hurlbut's Div. And last, but not least, in the end in the Hornest Nest, he failed to recognized that he was being flanked, and then surrounded, causing the useless capture of 2200 men. I don't believe he was a hero, just good post battle press.

Jim

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Excellent points, Jim..

 

And so we see why Shiloh has been debated, sometimes heatedly, for over 150 years: complexity, context, emphasis. Every potential hero at the Battle suffered from at least one serious fault. Even Major Powell, my selection as Hero of Shiloh, was seen by Colonel Moore as 'running from the enemy.'  And it could be argued that his involvement in a clandestine operation, keeping his Division Commander in the dark, contributed to Prentiss' confusion upon waking to the sound of gunfire.

 

Regards

 

Ozzy

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Michele

 

Awesome... expected the Witch from the Wizard of Oz to appear at any moment (with TOTO in her basket).   :)

 

Regards

 

Ozzy

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Ozzy......

 

Regarding our discussion on Grant as Hero at Shiloh the other night, I failed to tell you that I'm currently reading two extremely interesting civil war books.  One delves into the leadership, management style, strategy and tactics of Grant while the other touches on the similar facets of Lee. When finished, it will be fun to compare these two great military strategists to see where their strengths and weaknesses were and if they made a significant difference in the eventual out come of the war or....if other variables played a major role.  (A portion of my career with the Feds involved conducting considerable management analysis so you know I'm totally enjoying this!)  I'll let you and the other SDGers  know what I discover.

 

THE MANASSAS BELLE

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Belle

 

When I reflect on the similarities IRT Grant and Lee, what comes to mind:

  • West Point graduates;
  • Ability to see the 'big picture' during military operations;
  • Ability to command armies without seeing them as people. (This detachment, although it sounds bad, is necessary for a senior leader.)

 

What comes to mind when I think of Robert E. Lee:

  • Skilled engineer, involved in more nation-building projects than most folks realize;
  • Privileged background, bordering on aristocratic. Family deeply involved in the establishment and operation of America.
  • Put his family's State identity, before his family's National identity.
  • Gifted, inspiring leader. His men loved him.
  • Recognized during Mexican War for practicality of strategic plans (by General Scott.)
  • Graduated West Point Class of 1829, ranked #2 of 46... with NO demerits accrued. (Top graduate of Class of '29, Charles Mason, resigned his commission after two years and went into politics.)
  • Calm, thoughtful, slow to anger.

 

What comes to mind when I think of U.S. Grant:

  • Although ranked #21 of 39 in his West Point Class of 1843, you would struggle to recognize any of the names ranked above him;
  • Changed his name at West Point: (what kind of man does that?)
  • Seems to have been 'liked and accepted' by his West Point classmates; but also seems to have preferred the company of horses.
  • Came from a 'working-class' background. Struggled in civilian life, after he resigned from the Army. This struggle seems to have 'hardened' him into becoming politically shrewd, forceful, and ambitious upon his return to military service. Hyper-sensitive to questions of seniority.
  • Seems to have been a man of few words: why use twenty, when ten will do?  Kept his inner thoughts hidden, except to his most loyal followers.
  • Possibly alcoholic; suffered from infrequent migraine headaches; seems to have suffered frequent horse-riding accidents.
  • Respected by his men.
  • Strong, surprisingly powerful, determined. Admirable self-belief.

 

Looking forward to your assessment of these two leaders, after current study. (If it helps, here are the online links to Cullum's Registers, providing biographies and class standings of West Point graduates in the 19th Century: http://archive.org/details/biographicalregi01cull     (Vol.1)   http://archive.org/details/biographicalregi02cull     (Vol.2)

 

 

Cheers

 

Ozzy

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Ozzy......

 

Those are good comparison lists on the two men.  I'll see what I can add after I finish reading the books.  I almost wish the same author wrote both books, but, unfortunately, that is not the case.

 

Though not involving Grant at Gettysburg, you find Meade holding a council of war where Lee did not.  We all know how that turned out.  Maybe the outcome would have been different if Lee involved his generals in the decision making.

 

 

THE MANASSAS BELLE

 

P.S.  Thanks for the references.  I also have a pretty extensive civil war library I've collected over the years.

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Belle

 

Grant held a council of war... before Fort Donelson, I believe. First time, and last time. Afterwards, made every decision, and expected his subordinates to 'get on board.'

 

Albert Sidney Johnston held several councils of war... At one point, his second-in-command was pushing for a return to Corinth: not a very inspiring turn of affairs.

 

I suspect that General Lee used 'councils' in a different way: to explain what he planned to do, and express his expectations of each of his commanders.

 

 

Ozzy

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Ozzy.......

 

That's what makes this kind of research so much fun!  Everyone is different and has a different slant on things.  Makes you realize what a complicated thing managing a war is.  What works for one general may not work for another.  Good fodder for in-depth research and discussion on boards such as these!

 

THE MANASSAS BELLE

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