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Ozzy

The 6th Division

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Perry, in case you didn't provide us with enough reading material . . .

 

In honor of Colonel Everett Peabody, here is the Newberry Library transcription of a letter by Oliver Perry Newberry, concerning Peabody:

Oliver Perry to Cornelia Perry Newberry (mother), Pittsburg, TN, Apr. 13, 1862

http://publications.newberry.org/civilwarletters/scripto/transcribe/924/2287

 

[by the way, I think that people can volunteer to transcribe the few remaining letters on their site which are as yet untranscribed (but maybe there are more hiding out). They have some twenty Civil War collections of letters available online, but don't seem to have a good search feature.]

 

[Page 1] In Camp at Pittsburg, Tenn. On the battle ground, April 13th 1862, Dear Mother, Your welcome letters came to hand yesterday evening and I hasten to answer them. The grand battle has been fought and our noble Col. Peabody killed. Capt. Wade, Lt. Penfield, Lt. Bramble & Major Powell are killed. Lt. Klingler, Lt. Shurtliffe, Capt. Nichols, Capt. Hoge, Lt. Norris, Capt. Donnelly, and myself wounded. My wound is in the knee but slight. I never left the field but was furnished a horse. For forty hours I was in the centre of a most terrific fire. I may say that I have come out with honor and ere many days pass you will see my name honorably mentioned. Our loss was terrible and out of my company I lost nine killed and eleven wounded. We had the honor of opening the battle and nobly we stood the shock of the vast battle line of the enemy. This continent has never been the scene of such a battle as this and the survivors may well be proud of the scars they wear. For myself I can say that I have seen death in every form but take all I ever saw together does not compare with the hour of this carnage of blood and death. For six miles around bodies [vertical text begins] Perhaps some of those who have delighted to run me down and throw youthful follies in my face will sometime be glad own that they are acquainted with me. [vertical text ends]

 

[Page 2] both friend and foe lie together. On Monday night and Tuesday thousands of our army were engaged in burying the dead and we are finding them every day. You will of course see the report of the battle in the papers. The enemy fought with a desperation worthy of a better cause but superior drill and discipline soon told fearfully on their ranks. Their officers could plainly be heard exhorting their men to stand firm. We suffered fearfully on Sunday but on Monday the loss was not so much. Col. Peabody was shot through the head on Sunday morning while leading a charge on the enemys guns. A braver or more noble man never lived. In him I lost a true friend and had he lived I should have risen rapidly in rank. The Lt. Colonel who has taken his place is a brave man and has forwarded my name to Head Quarters for promotion. He is a man of influence and will secure me a position on the staff of some one of the Generals if possible. Three times in his presence did I rally my men and pour a deadly fire into enemys ranks and was publicly thanked while on the field by Gen Mc Cook & staff. How my heart beat at the words and how much I would have given could my father have lived to have heard them. I the wild reckless boy may wear laurels yet. Why not. My lane has

 

[Page 3] turned I believe. Lt. Singleton 2nd Lt. of my company behaved nobly. All of my men but one done their duty. That one was an arrant coward and will be drummed out of the regiment. He ran away and threw away his gun as he went. But such cases were few. Some officers who done their duty simply will not be mentioned while others who done more than the regulations or customs of war demanded will at once receive their meed of praise and promotion. For coolness, calmness, and moral courage are requisite and must be combined in the man who would lead men to battle. Our Generals are finding this out and are determined to promote none who have not been tried. I do wish that Walter had come out west for I am sure that he would rapidly rise in rank for he is brave and fearless and is one of the coolest men I ever saw. If I am promoted to what I want to be you may look for me to see you for I shall be obliged to visit Washington on business connected with the regiment. Our Major an old regular Army officer was killed in retaking a battery of artillery but as he turned to give the Lt. Col. the news of his success was shot through the body and lived only a few hours. His little son is with us and is the idol of the regiment. I have lost most of my clothes except my uniform. I happened to have on the same

 

[Page 4] casimer shirt that I wore through the battle of Lexington and wore it through this battle. A coincidence certainly. I have some trophies of the field among which is a revolver, a lance etc. Some small things that if I live that I want to give my children. I had forgotten to say that we went into battle with 825 men of our regiment and came out with only 441, officers not included. About that daughter I have never seen her but Lizzie writes me that she is pretty. She has asked me to name it but I had written her to name it what she pleased. The name you have selected is a very pretty one all but that Perry however I am more than satisfied. If Providence spares my life my children shall be well reared and cared for. Educations I can give them any way and they shall have it. Lizzie makes a good mother and she will see that the girls are smart and I will take care of Walt. He is my pet. Mother I am tiring you already and I will close this meaningless scrawl. I have plenty of work to do to-morrow for I am acting Brigade Quarter Master and have to draw provisions for some 3000 men and feed for 400 mules and horses. You see that they confidence in me. However I shall be relieved in a few days. Give my respects to Mr. & Mrs. Webster and all who enquire. Write me often. The sesesh can't kill me so do not worry. As ever, Perry

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Upon a reading of the entries in the OR (Battle of Shiloh after-action reports for 6th Division), one encounters the following (excerpted):

 

Report of Colonel Frances Quinn 12th Michigan (writing for 6th Division)  9 April 1862:   'At 3am on Sunday several companies were ordered out from the First Brigade to watch, and endeavor to capture, a force of the enemy who were prowling near our camp. Our little force marched less than three miles, before drawing fire. And about daylight the dead and wounded began to be brought in. The firing grew closer until it became manifest a heavy force of the enemy was upon us. The Division was ordered into line of battle by General Prentiss, and immediately advanced...  Colonel Peabody of the 25th Missouri was killed early in the day: he was a brave soldier and a good man. The great numbers of enemy dead in front of his final position caused remark and astonishment by all who beheld it the following day... Major Powell of the 25th Missouri received a mortal wound whilst doing everything in his power to rally and cheer his men to renewed action...'

 

Report of Colonel David Moore  21st Missouri  11 April 1862:   'On Saturday evening, in pursuance of the order of BGen Benjamin Prentiss, commanding the Sixth Division, I proceeded to reconnaissance on the front of the line of General Prentiss' division and on the front of General Sherman's division. A thorough reconnaissance failed to discover the enemy; and I returned to my encampment about 7pm.  On Sunday morning, learning of the attack upon our pickets and by order of Colonel Everett Peabody, commanding the First Brigade, I advanced with five companies of my regiment a short distance from the camp; and becoming aware of the enemy's strength in front of me, sent back for the remainder of my regiment. Once united, I advanced my whole regiment and engaged the enemy (later learned to be led by General Ruggles.) During the course of the thirty minute action, I alerted General Prentiss to the size of force in operation against us...'

 

Report of LtCol H. M. Woodyard  21st Missouri  12 April 1862:   'Before sunrise on April 6th  General Prentiss ordered Colonel Moore with five companies of the 21st Missouri to maintain the pickets of the 12th Michigan Infantry. As more force was required, General Prentiss ordered me to join Colonel Moore. As I fell back to the next hill, Colonel Peabody fell back with his men; and I requested the Brigade Commander arrange his 25th Missouri to my right, for mutual support. And this he did. But, the enemy, advancing in overwhelming numbers, prevented us maintaining this position over thirty minutes...'

 

Report of LtCol Robert VanHorn  25th Missouri  9 April 1862:   'My regiment had the honor of opening the fight on April 6th, the attack being made on its front at 3am. By order of Colonel Peabody, three companies of the 25th Missouri, under Schmitz, Eveans and Powell, were dispatched to engage the enemy's advance. And making contact, were reenforced by the 21st Missouri under Colonel Moore...  It was during the engagement [on the hill in rear of our camps] that Major Powell fell mortally wounded while cheering on his men.'

 

Report of LtCol Quin Morton  23rd Missouri  (submitted upon release from captivity)  1 December 1862:   'At 7am on Sunday, I marched the regiment in the direction of General Prentiss' camp. After a march of two miles, an officer of General Prentiss' staff ordered us to 'halt and prepare for action.' As soon as the regiment was placed in position, the enemy opened fire on us from a battery 400 yards away...  We held our position until 4pm, when we were directed to change front. We held our new position until 5pm, when ordered to change again. At last overwhelmed by the enemy's fire we were compelled to surrender before 6pm.

 

Report of Colonel Benjamin Allen  16th Wisconsin   '...I was again ordered by General Prentiss to fall back.' 

 

 

Report of BGen B. M. Prentiss  commanding Sixth Division  (submitted upon release from captivity)  17 November 1862:   'Pursuant to instructions received when I was assigned to duty with the Army of West Tennessee....  On Saturday evening I sent forward a patrol under Colonel David Moore, 21st Missouri;  and a smaller patrol under Captain Fisk, 18th Wisconsin...  Sunday morning, at break of day, the advance pickets were driven in... I at once ordered the entire force into line, and the remaining regiments of the First Brigade, commanded by Colonel Everett Peabody, were advanced well to the front. I forthwith at this juncture communicated the fact of the attack in force to MGen Smith (2nd Division) and BGen S.A. Hurlbut (4th Division)...

 

 

Maybe I'm missing something.... But when I read the above reports, I come away with favorable impressions of Major Powell, Colonel Peabody and General Prentiss.  Whose reputation is impinged upon again?

 

 

Ozzy

 

Reference   http://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/010/0277     Official Records of 6th Division

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Mr. Rose,

It is my belief that General Prentiss was never, nor will be the "Hero of Shiloh".  As is pointed out here several times, his actions prove otherwise.  To say his division held the line at the sunken road fails to remind the reader that the small remnants he had present, after almost losing what was left of his division, held only a small portion of the union line.  W H L Wallace's division held a long portion of the line along the Duncan field and Hurlbut's division held the sector that extended the line towards the Bloody Pond and the River road.  What caused this line to fall apart?  Yes, the confederates did establish a line of artillery to fire on the union positions.  It seems that many readers forget that the rebel artillery was mostly ineffective.  But don't forget that the union artillery began to withdraw because of losses of guns and men, and also the Yankees running out of ammunition.  Yes, Prentiss's men were still at the bottom of the hook of the union line still near the sunken road, still holding but suffering more casualties.  The whole union position collapsed when their flanks fell apart leaving the center (Prentiss's division elements) overwhelmed and they began their retreat where many got involved in the fighting in the "Hell's Hallow".  The general retreat of the union army ended only when fractured elements rallied on the north side of the Dill creek ravine, along the union final line.  Prentiss had nothing to do with the fighting at this time because he was a prisoner of the confederates.  Do not forgot the conversations he had with the Federal staff officers in the evening in which he said things he should not have.

The federal positions were lost when both flanks were turned by the advancing brigades, from the west by units coming from the Main Pittsburg road area.  On the east side, Wither's Division overcame the extreme left flank, elements of Hurlbut's division and remnants of Prentiss' Division.  All of these rebel units converged on the Hell's Hallow and that was that.     

Ron

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Ron,

 

My opinion of Prentiss is decidedly mixed. No matter how few men he commanded in the Hornets' Nest, his stand there deserves commendation. As he was ordered by Grant around 4:00 pm to remain there, he cannot be faulted with being captured.

 

His earlier actions in the battle, however, were not all good, and his telling the enemy certain facts after being captured smacks to me of treason (unless one believes that he was trying to mislead the enemy).

 

Joe

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Joe,

Yes Treason, loose tongue. His actions after being captured cannot forgiven. 

I find that I must agree with you about his defense of the Hornet's Nest, in that he did hold the center with his remnants about 1,500 men and some scattered men from other units.  About 4:30, the federal flanks were turned and on the left flank, Hurlbut's Division withdrew back towards the Cloud field which exposed Prentiss' flank.  He retired back but got caught in the Hells Hallow and became a prisoner.  He did hold in the center of the sunken road position from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm so this may be the basis of your thought he deserved some commendation.  I (reluctantly) now do give him some credit for holding soo long in a hot battle. 

Ron  

 

P.S.  Still not the Hero of Shiloh.

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If this 'revelation' was of such immense value, there must be bucket-loads of evidence illustrating how Beauregard adjusted his battle plans...

 

Ozzy

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My opinion of Prentiss has been a bit on the Indifferent if anything, I must say. 

 

It always starts off to me with of course, Peabody/Powell and that group of men taking the initiative on orders from their Colonel, and rightfully so as it turned out as we all know. Then along the Sunken Road connecting to WHL Wallace's Division & Hurlbut's to an extent...the impression he always gave me was..He was around the right people at the right time. (prior to the mortal wounding of Wallace and the falling back of both flanks at the Hornets Nest leading to capture.)

 

Even with his 800 men that were left in his division connecting with Wallace, one can make the presumption that in fact other officers didn't necessarily "Carry" Prentiss during the Battle, I wouldn't go that far simply because I wasn't there and can't imagine what it was like being there during the Battle, but to an extent those Officers might have aided as a crutch so to speak for Prentiss to fall back on when he was in his greatest hours of need, and even in the morning with his 2 brigades along with Sherman keeping a force much larger than their own, at bay while time was ticking away and giving the North the time it needed to get the long roll sounded in numerous camps and up to the front lines to even the odds before them, all leading to the same goal in some arguments, that those Subordinates in their full extent of their duties, did what most of us in the workplace do on a daily basis, make our bosses look more capable than they might be at times! Haha

 

-Paul 

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Perry, in case you didn't provide us with enough reading material . . .

 

In honor of Colonel Everett Peabody, here is the Newberry Library transcription of a letter by Oliver Perry Newberry, concerning Peabody:

Oliver Perry to Cornelia Perry Newberry (mother), Pittsburg, TN, Apr. 13, 1862

http://publications.newberry.org/civilwarletters/scripto/transcribe/924/2287

 

[by the way, I think that people can volunteer to transcribe the few remaining letters on their site which are as yet untranscribed (but maybe there are more hiding out). They have some twenty Civil War collections of letters available online, but don't seem to have a good search feature.]

 

[Page 1] In Camp at Pittsburg, Tenn. On the battle ground, April 13th 1862, Dear Mother, Your welcome letters came to hand yesterday evening and I hasten to answer them. The grand battle has been fought and our noble Col. Peabody killed. Capt. Wade, Lt. Penfield, Lt. Bramble & Major Powell are killed. Lt. Klingler, Lt. Shurtliffe, Capt. Nichols, Capt. Hoge, Lt. Norris, Capt. Donnelly, and myself wounded. My wound is in the knee but slight. I never left the field but was furnished a horse. For forty hours I was in the centre of a most terrific fire. I may say that I have come out with honor and ere many days pass you will see my name honorably mentioned. Our loss was terrible and out of my company I lost nine killed and eleven wounded. We had the honor of opening the battle and nobly we stood the shock of the vast battle line of the enemy. This continent has never been the scene of such a battle as this and the survivors may well be proud of the scars they wear. For myself I can say that I have seen death in every form but take all I ever saw together does not compare with the hour of this carnage of blood and death. For six miles around bodies [vertical text begins] Perhaps some of those who have delighted to run me down and throw youthful follies in my face will sometime be glad own that they are acquainted with me. [vertical text ends]

 

[Page 2] both friend and foe lie together. On Monday night and Tuesday thousands of our army were engaged in burying the dead and we are finding them every day. You will of course see the report of the battle in the papers. The enemy fought with a desperation worthy of a better cause but superior drill and discipline soon told fearfully on their ranks. Their officers could plainly be heard exhorting their men to stand firm. We suffered fearfully on Sunday but on Monday the loss was not so much. Col. Peabody was shot through the head on Sunday morning while leading a charge on the enemys guns. A braver or more noble man never lived. In him I lost a true friend and had he lived I should have risen rapidly in rank. The Lt. Colonel who has taken his place is a brave man and has forwarded my name to Head Quarters for promotion. He is a man of influence and will secure me a position on the staff of some one of the Generals if possible. Three times in his presence did I rally my men and pour a deadly fire into enemys ranks and was publicly thanked while on the field by Gen Mc Cook & staff. How my heart beat at the words and how much I would have given could my father have lived to have heard them. I the wild reckless boy may wear laurels yet. Why not. My lane has

 

[Page 3] turned I believe. Lt. Singleton 2nd Lt. of my company behaved nobly. All of my men but one done their duty. That one was an arrant coward and will be drummed out of the regiment. He ran away and threw away his gun as he went. But such cases were few. Some officers who done their duty simply will not be mentioned while others who done more than the regulations or customs of war demanded will at once receive their meed of praise and promotion. For coolness, calmness, and moral courage are requisite and must be combined in the man who would lead men to battle. Our Generals are finding this out and are determined to promote none who have not been tried. I do wish that Walter had come out west for I am sure that he would rapidly rise in rank for he is brave and fearless and is one of the coolest men I ever saw. If I am promoted to what I want to be you may look for me to see you for I shall be obliged to visit Washington on business connected with the regiment. Our Major an old regular Army officer was killed in retaking a battery of artillery but as he turned to give the Lt. Col. the news of his success was shot through the body and lived only a few hours. His little son is with us and is the idol of the regiment. I have lost most of my clothes except my uniform. I happened to have on the same

 

[Page 4] casimer shirt that I wore through the battle of Lexington and wore it through this battle. A coincidence certainly. I have some trophies of the field among which is a revolver, a lance etc. Some small things that if I live that I want to give my children. I had forgotten to say that we went into battle with 825 men of our regiment and came out with only 441, officers not included. About that daughter I have never seen her but Lizzie writes me that she is pretty. She has asked me to name it but I had written her to name it what she pleased. The name you have selected is a very pretty one all but that Perry however I am more than satisfied. If Providence spares my life my children shall be well reared and cared for. Educations I can give them any way and they shall have it. Lizzie makes a good mother and she will see that the girls are smart and I will take care of Walt. He is my pet. Mother I am tiring you already and I will close this meaningless scrawl. I have plenty of work to do to-morrow for I am acting Brigade Quarter Master and have to draw provisions for some 3000 men and feed for 400 mules and horses. You see that they confidence in me. However I shall be relieved in a few days. Give my respects to Mr. & Mrs. Webster and all who enquire. Write me often. The sesesh can't kill me so do not worry. As ever, Perry

 

 

Sorry for the long delay, Joe, but thanks for the link to that site. I actually came across that last summer I think it was, and was fascinated by his letter about the battle. He's comment about Peabody having been killed "while leading a charge against the enemy guns" caught my attention, as it differs somewhat from the usual account of how he died. But I'm not sure he actually witnessed Peabody's death, and it might simply be a case of details changing a little as a story gets re-told.

 

As far as Tim Smith's article on Prentiss, it's been quite a while since I read it, but I largely agreed with him, although he might have been a little harsher overall than I would be. But then again, maybe not. ;)

 

Thanks again.

 

Perry

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If this 'revelation' was of such immense value, there must be bucket-loads of evidence illustrating how Beauregard adjusted his battle plans...

 

Ozzy

 

It's probably safe to say that he 'adjusted' his post-battle report a little. :)

 

Perry

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Concerning the earlier claim about their being a revisionist section on the Shiloh NPS web site that deliberately ignores Union casualties from the Hornet's Nest, below is a link to the only page I know of there that speaks to the subject of 'myth vs. reality' about the Hornet's Nest. It is indeed 'revisionist' in nature, but read through it and judge for yourself whether you think they are trying to ignore or obscure the men who fought and died in this area of the battlefield. If this is not the page that Hank was referring to then I'd ask that he or someone else please post a link to the right one, as again, this is the only one I know of that would qualify.

 

http://www.nps.gov/shil/learn/historyculture/upload/Sunken.pdf

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Wow. Way too much to get to here in a single sitting. :)

 

[Huge snip of great material.]

 

Perry

Perry,

 

You're quite correct that Prentiss deserves discredit for omitting Peabody from his report. As the local Grant critic, however, I think it's incumbent to recognize that Grant didn't mention Peabody either. That probably matters less in his short, substandard official report, but there is no reason for Grant to have ignored Peabody's actions (which probably saved Grant and his army) in his Personal Memoirs.

 

I also wonder about the revisionism that seemingly tries to remove much of the commendation earned by the defenders of the Hornets' Nest. Yes, much of the Confederate army concentrated against Sherman and McClernand but, after they retreated, almost the entire enemy force was used to surround the Hornets' Nest. If Prentiss and Wallace had retreated earlier, who knows what might have happened if the Confederates could have focused their energies on Grant's last line. I think that there is also a question as to whether Hurlbut's two brigades should be considered part of the Hornets' Nest position. He did great work that day, and the typical pro-Grant and pro-Sherman accounts usually minimize his achievements or worse.

 

Joe

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Sorry for the long delay, Joe, but thanks for the link to that site. I actually came across that last summer I think it was, and was fascinated by his letter about the battle. He's comment about Peabody having been killed "while leading a charge against the enemy guns" caught my attention, as it differs somewhat from the usual account of how he died. But I'm not sure he actually witnessed Peabody's death, and it might simply be a case of details changing a little as a story gets re-told.

 

As far as Tim Smith's article on Prentiss, it's been quite a while since I read it, but I largely agreed with him, although he might have been a little harsher overall than I would be. But then again, maybe not. ;)

 

Thanks again.

 

Perry

Perry,

 

I never noticed that killed "while leading a charge against the enemy guns" comment. Had any Confederate artillery made it to Peabody's front at that early hour?

 

Joe

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On 3/7/2016 at 0:50 AM, Joseph Rose said:

Perry,

 

You're quite correct that Prentiss deserves discredit for omitting Peabody from his report. As the local Grant critic, however, I think it's incumbent to recognize that Grant didn't mention Peabody either. That probably matters less in his short, substandard official report, but there is no reason for Grant to have ignored Peabody's actions (which probably saved Grant and his army) in his Personal Memoirs.

I also wonder about the revisionism that seemingly tries to remove much of the commendation earned by the defenders of the Hornets' Nest. Yes, much of the Confederate army concentrated against Sherman and McClernand but, after they retreated, almost the entire enemy force was used to surround the Hornets' Nest. If Prentiss and Wallace had retreated earlier, who knows what might have happened if the Confederates could have focused their energies on Grant's last line. I think that there is also a question as to whether Hurlbut's two brigades should be considered part of the Hornets' Nest position. He did great work that day, and the typical pro-Grant and pro-Sherman accounts usually minimize his achievements or worse.

Joe

 

On 3/7/2016 at 1:03 AM, Joseph Rose said:

Perry,

I never noticed that killed "while leading a charge against the enemy guns" comment. Had any Confederate artillery made it to Peabody's front at that early hour?

Joe

Hi Joe,

On the artillery question, Swett's Battery was the closest, supporting Shaver's attack on Peabody's line. That's the most likely candidate, by far. I don't as Peabody was trying to organize an attack on this battery when he was killed, since so far as I know he was simply imploring his men to hold the line. Not saying he didn't try such a thing either, but I've not seen the claim anywhere else. My knee-jerk reaction is that Newberry probably got his information second-hand, but again, I honestly don't know. 

On Grant overlooking Peabody, I see your point, but my guess is that Grant probably didn't know of Peabody's involvement, or if he did, he simply assumed that he acted at Prentiss's direction.

What's really ironic to me about all this however, is that the patrol allowed both Grant and Sherman - and also Prentiss, by implication - to claim that they had not been surprised. After all, how can you be surprised when your troops are in line of battle when the enemy attack hits? It's a plausible argument, even if it simply isn't true. It worked in their favor, and I would guess that they would probably have been happy enough with that, and not really been all that concerned with the details. The patrol came from Prentiss's division, so he probably ordered it out as a precautionary measure. My guess is that this would have been good enough for....well, all three of them. :) And since Prentiss never said anything to the contrary, Grant likely would not have known that he was not responsible for the patrol.

But I think along with helping Grant and Sherman get (mostly) off the hook, it also allowed Prentiss to all but completely avoid any responsibility for being caught just as off-guard as Sherman had been. The overwhelming amount of attention on Prentiss at Shiloh focuses on his stand in the Hornet's Nest, with very little typically focused on his actions that morning and prior to the battle. Personally I think Prentiss was more than happy to have it that way, as from his point of view (my opinion here), the less time spent on the early part of the battle, the better. I think this is a big reason why he avoided talking about Peabody. It simply risked getting too close to things he simply was not comfortable dealing with. 

On Peabody's actions in ordering the patrol possibly saving Grant's army, I'm obviously a big Peabody guy, but I tend to stop short of that claim. What I think his patrol did was even the odds, by robbing the Confederates of total surprise. The Rebs I think could still have won the battle though. He made their job much more difficult, but it was up to others to finally make it impossible.  Credit to him for being a major player in the Union victory, even if he shares the stage with other folks. He belongs up there with them. 

You make a good point about the controversy over the importance of the Hornet's Nest. I guess my own point would be to say that the uncertainly of the outcome really is  point. :) We don't know what the result might have been had Prentiss retreated along with Hurlbut and Wallace. The Confederates would thus have had more time to organize an attack on Grant's Last Line, yes. But they would also have been faced with around 2,000 more troops defending that line.

Who gets the advantage? We really don't know. I tend to think that an all-out attack would have done more damage to the Confederates than to the Union defenders, due to the circumstances by that point in the battle. But in all honesty, there's no way to know. I just think the idea that Prentiss and his men saved the day along that short stretch of line is pretty shaky. It's a debate that will probably never be solved to everyone's satisfaction. That's why we have discussion boards and arguments. :)

Perry

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Just a reminder: this topic began as a query IRT "Who was Grant's choice of Commander for the 6th Division at Shiloh: answer... John Pope Cook."

Of interest, because I just stumbled upon another piece of that puzzle, in OR 52 (part 1) pages 226-7... Special Orders No.8 issued by BGen WT Sherman at Pittsburg Landing on March 19th 1862. Line item No.3:  "The 81st Ohio Infantry is assigned to Colonel John Cook's 3rd Brigade of General CF Smth's Division."

At first appearance, this does not seem to indicate "future Division command."  However, in the same Special Orders, Line Item No.1:  "The 8th Iowa Infantry is assigned to Colonel Jacob Lauman's 1st Brigade of General CF Smith's Division."  [Lauman was promoted to Brigadier General on March 21st. General CF Smith was suffering from his barked shin (either aboard a transport steamer hospital, or over at Savannah); and Colonel John Cook was delayed in arriving at Savannah/Pittsburg (he arrived aboard steamer Minnehaha in the wee hours of the morning of April 6th.) About the same time Colonel Lauman became BGen Lauman, he was given command of the 2nd Division... but only for a few days. BGen WHL Wallace replaced Lauman as "temporary commander" of the 2nd Division (acting in CF Smith's absence) and only gained permanent assignment as Commander of the 2nd Division in early April, just days before the Battle of Shiloh commenced. (In meantime, General Grant maintained a subterfuge that CF Smith was still in command of the 2nd Division -- but was just temporarily away -- in order to prevent MGen John McClernand from being recognized as Senior Officer at Pittsburg Landing (as opposed to Grant's personal choice of BGen WT Sherman.))

Ozzy

 

Reference:  OR 52 (part 1) pages 226-7

OR 10 (part 2) pages 53-4  (Message of March 20th from Sherman to Acting commander 2nd Div Jacob Lauman)

 

 

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