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Ozzy

See you in Memphis

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In a letter dated March 24, 1862 from WT Sherman to General WK Strong, Sherman let slip that he 'hoped to meet General Strong in Memphis' (which may have been Henry Halleck's next objective after the anticipated capture of Corinth.) In the meantime, Shiloh happened... and the Crawl to Corinth dragged on... and a Federal Navy operation, featuring the unlikely 'ram fleet' of Colonel Charles Ellet, resulted in destruction of a Confederate Navy Flotilla, and surrender of the City of Memphis -- to the Navy -- on June 6th. Following the surrender, a Colonel of the 47th Indiana Infantry was temporarily installed as 'Military Governor of Memphis.'

The question:  Who was the first Union General to enter Memphis after its surrender to the Federal Navy in June 1862?

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A hint... or two...

The first General to enter a re-captured Memphis was not Benjamin Prentiss: in early June 1862, General Prentiss (and the other senior officers, Captain and above, captured during the Battle of Shiloh) were incarcerated at Selma, Alabama. However, Benjamin Prentiss may have been the last Union general to 'visit' Memphis, while the city was still under Confederate control: he and most of the 2200+ men captured at Shiloh arrived in Memphis on the M & C RR, late on April 8th. After a stay of less than 24 hours, Prentiss was sent from Memphis aboard a southbound train, bound for Grenada; thence to Jackson... Mobile... Selma... Talladega... and back to Selma.

Stephen Hurlbut was not the first Federal general to enter Union-controlled Memphis. Ordered to Memphis in November 1862 (having been promoted to Major General in September), Hurlbut replaced William Tecumseh Sherman as Commander of the Post of Memphis in December, and occupied the office until April 1864 (when it was necessary to find a scapegoat for the Fort Pillow Massacre.) General Hurlbut was replaced by Major General Cadwallader Washburn, who appears to have remained in charge at Memphis until the war ended, and the municipality returned to civilian administration. 

 

Ozzy

 

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Isaac Quinby was not the first Federal general to enter Union-occupied Memphis.

Who was Isaac Ferdinand Quinby?  Born in 1821, he was appointed from the State of New Jersey to West Point (where it is said he became a friend of U.S. Grant) and graduated Class of 1843, specializing in artillery. Quinby served with the 3rd US Artillery during the Mexican War; in 1852, he resigned his commission in order to become Professor of Mathematics at Rochester University... where he served until the outbreak of Civil War, at which time he became Colonel of the 13th New York Infantry ('Rochester Regiment'), and arrived with his regiment to defend Washington, D.C. in May 1861.

In July, Colonel Quinby was part of Colonel WT Sherman's 3rd Brigade, of the 1st Division, at Bull Run; following that action, Quinby resigned his commission on August 5th and returned to New York (where he resumed teaching duties.)

In March 1862, Isaac Quinby was recalled to duty, appointed as Brigadier General of Volunteers, and given command of the District of the Mississippi (5000 men), with HQ at newly-occupied Columbus, Kentucky. When Memphis surrendered to Federal forces in June 1862, that city (in charge of Colonel Slack, 47th Indiana Infantry) was incorporated into Quinby's District. However, there is no record of General Quinby visiting Memphis (although he may have stopped there while assigned to defense of the western end of the M & C RR from Oct 1862-March 1863.

During the Siege of Vicksburg, BGen Quinby was appointed to command of the 7th Division of MGen McPherson's 17th Corps; and he was active in the swamps north and east of the Confederate stronghold... until contracting a 'malaria-like disease' in May/June 1863. He was sent home on sick furlough, but with no improvement to his health, Quinby resigned his commission in December 1863, and returned to teaching (and he assumed duties as Provost Marshal for the 28th District of New York until the end of the war.) Isaac Quinby remained active in various capacities in Rochester (lastly as City Surveyor), until his death in September 1891, at the age of 71.

 

Ozzy

 

References:   wikipedia

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/AOG_Reunions/23/Isaac_Quinby*.html   (Isaac Quinby obituary)

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/Cullums_Register/Classes/1843.html   (Cullum's Register of USMA graduates)

 

 

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John Pope could not have been the first General to enter Union-occupied Memphis: he was too busy with Corinth.

Immediately upon entering the empty railroad town, Pope realized that 'all that noise' from crowds of men aboard endlessly arriving trains... was a sham (the trains and their cargoes had been leaving, not arriving.) General Pope ordered his men 'Forward' past Corinth, south, down the line of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, taking custody of sick men, wounded men, and deserting Rebel soldiers as he went.

To John Pope, as he pressed further and further south on May 30/ 31st, it appeared that Confederate General Beauregard's army wasn't just fleeing; it was coming apart. Rebel supply depots had been blown up; miles of railroad track had been pulled up; and thousands upon thousands of prisoners came into Pope's care... all of which was promptly reported to General Henry Halleck, now based at Corinth. Halleck forwarded the rapturous news IRT the rapidly disintegrating Rebel Army, the tens of thousands of prisoners, and the nearly bloodless capture of strategically important Corinth, on to Edwin Stanton: the Secretary of War was overjoyed, beside himself... sent three telegrams to Halleck expressing gratitude and satisfaction, on June 2nd, alone [OR Serial 11, pages 243-4.]

Meanwhile, MGen Pope's Army passed Booneville (22 miles south) and began to develop the impression that Baldwyn (35 miles south of Corinth) was where the remainder of the Rebel Army was holed up. He reported this belief to General Halleck, and was told, 'Do not bring on an engagement, if our objectives can be achieved without one.' [Communication of June 4, 1862 from OR Serial 11, page 252.]  [Halleck's objectives were two-fold: re-building the captured railroads for Federal use; and keeping Rebel forces far enough pushed away to prevent their interference with the rail lines. In conjunction with these objectives, WT Sherman was sent west along the M & C RR, to restore it towards Memphis; troops belonging to Buell were set to work east along the M & C RR towards Decatur; the 'Reserve Corps' was active north and northwest of Corinth, restoring the Mobile & Ohio, the Memphis & Ohio, and the Central of Mississippi Railroads (while General George Thomas was in command of the garrison at Corinth.)]

Pope (along with Buell, sent to reinforce him) took station north of Baldwyn, and sent reconnaissance probes south to Guntown to figure out what was going on with the Rebels. But before developing a clear picture, a message of congratulations reached General Halleck, from President Lincoln: 'Your Department has been increased in size... and you are requested to send a force to Chattanooga.' [Telegram of June 8, found in OR Serial 11, page 278.] When Halleck pulled Buell away from Baldwyn to send him towards Chattanooga, the Federal offensive operation south along the M & O RR effectively came to an end.

MGen John Pope persisted only a few days longer, still trying to develop the 'Confederate picture.' Around June 13, Pope was granted a furlough, and went to St. Louis (where Halleck had contracted rail cars be manufactured for use on the newly re-built rail lines.) While in St. Louis, on June 19, John Pope received a telegram direct from Edwin Stanton, requesting that he report to Washington, D.C.  John Pope left straight away.

 

Ozzy

References:  OR Serials 10, 11 and 17

 

 

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In one of the great coincidences of the Civil War, Major General Henry Halleck sent a telegram to Edwin Stanton at noon on June 6th, 1862, proclaiming: 'I advised Flag-Officer Davis to take Memphis.'

There is no way Halleck could have known, from his base at Corinth, Mississippi, that the Battle for Memphis was indeed underway... in fact, that the action had been resolved in favour of Colonel Ellet's rams just a few hours earlier.  But it must have appeared as 'just one more marvel' to folks back East: one more amazing achievement, helping convince Stanton (and President Lincoln) that Henry Halleck was indeed a 'miracle worker.' (Ellet's own report arrived in Washington on June 7th.)

But, despite forecasting the future, MGen Halleck was not the first Federal general to enter Union-controlled Memphis. Since about June 2nd, Halleck had determined that 'crushing out rebellion in the West' was no longer the priority requiring his attention: his emphasis was focused, instead, upon re-building the railroads of West Tennessee (Mobile & Ohio; Memphis & Ohio; Central of Mississippi), and restoring the Memphis & Charleston RR, as much as physically possible, for use by the Union. His concern with Beauregard's Army fell only to the fact that he needed to keep it pushed well away... prevent it from interfering with the running of the re-built railroads. (From General Pope's reports, sent from near Baldwyn, Mississippi, it was obvious to Halleck that the Rebellion in the West was collapsing of its own accord; Federal forces had merely to watch and wait for it to happen... and make preparations for the celebration.) [OR Serial 11, pages 251-2]

In regard to Memphis and environs, Henry Halleck 'knew' that Fort Pillow had been evacuated; and he 'knew' that no Confederate troops were in Memphis. So confident was Halleck of an easy, walk-in victory over that important river city, that he was already posturing for one of his generals to march in and reap the glory. (Newspaper-reading Northerners understood 'capture of cities:' they'd just gone into rapture with Farragut's conquest of New Orleans. 'Conquering generals' were accorded high acclaim: which is part of the reason why there was such an uproar when U.S. Grant strolled into Nashville ahead of Buell in February.)

Now, Halleck was positioning either W.T. Sherman or U.S. Grant for the glory of 'taking possession of Memphis for the United States.' (My guess is Sherman, based on OR Serial 11, page 255: June 4th communication Halleck to Sherman.) But, someone else stole the show... similar to U.S. Grant walking into an empty Nashville. And, just like when it occurred that last time, puppet-master Henry Halleck was fit to be tied... 

 

Ozzy

References:  OR Serials 10, 11 and 17

 

 

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Have you ever stopped to reflect on how many major cities were captured during 1862?  There was Nashville, in February; New Orleans in April; Memphis in June. All three conquests came about due to significant input from U.S. Grant's and/or Henry Halleck's operations: Nashville (followed on the Surrender of Fort Donelson); New Orleans (operation against that largest Southern city given the 'green light' after the evacuation of Fort Columbus was confirmed); Memphis (culmination of Halleck's mission to open the Upper Mississippi River; and Confederate forces 'tied up' at Corinth during the Siege could not prevent the fall of New Orleans... or Memphis.)

Of course, the capture/occupation of each of those three cities was without controversy. Oh, wait...

 

Ozzy

 

 

 

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Taking and holding territory 

It's one of the conundrums of military operations: taking and holding territory. Because the goal of an Army is to defeat the enemy's army; and if significant geographical positions get captured and absorbed along the way towards that goal, so be it.

I first encountered this dilemma a few years ago during a visit to Harpers Ferry, site of a significant Federal arsenal which during the Civil War changed hands fourteen times. And I remember wondering: "How would you feel, being part of the eleventh mission to capture Harpers Ferry?"  But while military commanders understood the concept of "attack -- attack -- attack; advance and drive until the enemy is destroyed or surrenders" ...the civilian populace (fed by newspapers and political leaders) "understood" the importance of bits of topography: especially losing (or winning) significant pieces of territory, such as major cities. 

Which is why military leaders (despite knowing their limited military significance) tried to be first into Nashville or New Orleans or Memphis. The public remembered who that man was, and his fame was assured.

Ozzy

 

Reference:  http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/harpersferry/harpers-ferry-history-articles/ten-facts-about-harpers-ferry.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.au/   Ten facts about Harpers Ferry from civilwar.org

 

 

 

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Harpers Ferry connection? 

For everyone who read the above post and wondered at the mention of Harpers Ferry -- on a discussion group focused on Shiloh -- I can assure you there is a connection. But it does not follow an expected path...

The Federal prisoners captured in vicinity of Pittsburg Landing from April 4 - 8 were hustled away south as rapidly as possible, and were eventually confined in a series of prison camps stretching from Mobile to Atlanta. During nearly seven month's confinement, their uniforms wore out; many lost nearly half their pre-confinement body weight; lack of proper hygiene and debilitated health systems became fertile ground for a variety of ailments: diarrhea and typhoid fever chief among them.

Then, in October 1862 the 800 remaining Shiloh prisoners (enlisted men) were released on their parole -- in accordance with provisions of Dix-Hill Cartel -- and sent north to be confined at Camp Parole, Maryland. Trouble was, these were not the first Federal paroled prisoners assigned to Annapolis: the 12000 prisoners taken at Harpers Ferry the previous month had that distinction. (And in their healthy, hearty condition, clean uniforms and mostly positive outlooks, these Eastern Theatre parolees were acknowledged as model prisoners, that passed quickly through the Parole stage to the "exchanged" stage, and returned to their fighting units.)

Then, the Shiloh prisoners arrived: not bathed in months; full of lice; all sick (or seemingly about to be); and wearing shabby, soiled uniforms that could be smelt from a mile away... When compared to their cousins taken at Harpers Ferry, something was decidedly wrong with these men: and it was taken as gospel by Camp guards, doctors and nurses that these men were of a lowly class, that had somehow brought their condition upon themselves. So, they were kept apart, in a compound two miles west of the old Naval Academy buildings. And those Navy buildings (used as Hospital for the wounded and sick) were off-limits to Shiloh prisoners. With winter coming on, even the sick were kept in tents (and given the excuse, "Can't put you in the brick hospital because those buildings are full of wounded soldiers from Harpers Ferry and Antietam.")

The rest of that story...

Ozzy

 

 

 

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That is incredible information about the Shiloh prisoners. The men of 77th Ohio mostly taken prisoner at Fallen Timbers, would have been included in this group. They were in bad shape, having lost men at Camp Oglethorpe in Georgia and a man in a Petersburg, Virginia, holding pen on their journey east. Captain Andrew McCormick of the 77th was originally a kind of celebrity prisoner, shot in the arm and captured at Fallen Timbers was taken to General Breckenridge tent to be interrogated and as it turned out they knew each other, McCormick had been the editor of a Democrat newspaper and had helped nominate Breckenridge at the 1860 Democratic convention held in Cincinnati. Because of this McCormick became well known and over the next month while recuperating in Corinth. He was popular among the southern Democrats who could not figure out why one of their own would want to fight against them. This led to many spirited debates while in Corinth. McCormick was very popular among the ladies who were always coming by to nurse him and bring him 'good things to eat '. Long story short, when the first Union shells landed in Corinth, all the federal prisoners were heard into box cars headed south where they were dumped in a hog pen with nothing to eat, where the locals stepped forward and complained about their bad treatment. 

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The able  bodied men of the 77th Ohio after being exchanged, returned to the regiment, which by this time had been assigned to guard Confederate prisoners at Alton, Illinois. After Shiloh and Fallen Timbers, the advance on Corinth, and the marching and counter marching across northern Mississippi, they arrived with the rest of Sherman s division in Memphis on July 21st. Here they rested, got new uniforms and did guard duty until ordered to Alton. Sherman picked them to go because out of his division, they had taken the brunt of the casualties on April 6th and all of the casualties on April 8th, and while in Alton officers and men were detailed to go home to Marietta, Ohio, to recruit. They had over 800 men at Camp Dennison in January, 1862, and were down to around 250 at Memphis. 

I'm sure that once the former prisoners returned to the regiment at Alton and told their stories of maltreatment at the hands of the rebels, the men would have become enraged. There are lots of mentions of rebel prisoners being abused and punished around that time. 

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Roger

I was introduced to the above story while looking into the history of the 14 National Military Cemeteries... and wondered why one was established at Annapolis (big Navy town) but mostly contained Army graves. The experiment of the Parole camp system -- devised by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton -- was an attempt to keep returned Federal prisoners under close control, to facilitate quick reintegration into their fighting units. But, processing mostly healthy prisoners such as came from Antietam was envisioned; not "dealing with" walking skeletons that emerged from long periods of confinement.

The best information to be found IRT the parole camp system is contained in A Perfect Picture of Hell by Ted and Hugh Genoways; and A Low, Dirty Place by R. Rebecca Morris.

All the best

Ozzy

 

References: http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/maryland/annapolis_national_cemetery.html 

http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/annapolis.asp   Annapolis National Cemetery

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18781302-a-low-and-dirty-place   (available from Ann Arrundell County Historical Soc.)

http://www.uipress.uiowa.edu/books/pre-2002/genperpic.htm  Perfect Picture of Hell  (story of John Stibbs pages 121-125 detailing his efforts to remove his brother, Joe, from confinement at Camp Parole is worth a read.)

 

N.B.  One other aspect of the parole camp system I uncovered by accident: the Federal Shiloh prisoners who belonged to Missouri regiments were mostly sent to Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island (for those conducting family research.)

 

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Thanks for the links Ozzy. On your list of uiowa books is one I have called  'Soldier Boy' The civil war letters of Charles O. Musser 29th Iowa which helped me fill in some details on my history of the 77th Ohio. 

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Roger

I find a newly scanned Civil War diary online about every week; and when I discover content of potential interest to SDG, I find a way to introduce that diary (or journal or collection of letters) here. My latest discovery, letters from Rhode Island "soldier" Ezra Greene, provided detail about the July 1862 encounter with Confederate ram, Arkansas, that I had not seen anywhere else, as well as descriptions of Cairo and life aboard the Federal ironclads. Sometimes new information (actually archived records, "misplaced" for a while) can be recovered from period journals (like Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly.) One of my favourites -- which I randomly review from time to time... The Annals of Iowa. I look for reference to a letter or diary, and then try to track it down. Sometimes while looking for one thing, something else -- equally interesting -- is discovered: serendipity.

Cheers

Ozzy

 

http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009034747  Annals of Iowa at HathiTrust

 

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Perhaps the reason we don't think too much about Memphis is because the surrender took place "over there, to the west of Pittsburg Landing and Corinth" (seemingly out of Grant's jurisdiction, with its "limits not defined" -- but not out of Halleck's jurisdiction.) In addition, there were so many different men given credit in some way for the Fall of Confederate Memphis, and her return to Federal control: there was the Flag-officer that conducted the river-borne operation; there was the Commander of the Federal Ram Fleet; there was the Army lieutenant who strode into Memphis after the Confederate Naval Force was destroyed, accepted the Surrender from the Mayor, and then restored the Star Spangled Banner to the flag-staff atop the Post Office...

And there was the Indiana colonel, given Command of the Federal Post of Memphis...

[But, without peaking at wikipedea, most of us would be challenged to come up with the name of ANY of those men.]

 

Quiz question: Who was the first Union General to enter Memphis after the Surrender of the City in June 1862?

Of interest to us at SDG, because this individual has a Shiloh-connection.

Cheers

Ozzy

 

A hint:    http://civilwarmonths.com/2017/06/06/the-fall-of-memphis/  Memphis Story by Walter Coffey

 

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Mona

Although "William Tecumseh Sherman" is not the correct answer, before I commenced research of this topic, "Sherman" would have been my deduction, too. Due to his closeness to Henry Halleck, being given the "gift of Memphis" as a means of boosting General Sherman's career would makes sense. (Also, there is the Sherman - WK Strong letter of 24 March 1862, in which William Sherman expresses "his hope that they meet soon at the Gayoso Hotel in Memphis.")

And, believe it or not, it appears Ulysses S. Grant was earmarked by Halleck to take possession of Memphis, and establish his HQ there, following the Acquisition of Corinth (Grant even wrote Julia -- twice -- that he was slated to "take up residence in Memphis." And he made tentative plans for his wife to join him there.) But this "unexpected event" occurred... and Grant became the second Union General to arrive in Union-occupied Memphis.

Ozzy

[See Letter to Julia of 12 June 1862 in Papers of US Grant, volume 5, page 142.]

 

 

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