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Ozzy

Remember the Alamo!

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Remember the Maine!...  Remember Pearl Harbor!

Every war has its rallying cry...

'Remember the Alamo!'

As far as I know, no units, Confederate or Federal, referred to the War for Texas Independence as their reason for involvement in the Civil War.

'Remember Buena Vista!'

So why did several of the Indiana regiments engaged at the Battle of Shiloh rally under a reference to the Mexican War of 1846?

 

Ozzy

 

 

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Ron

Do you mean:  'Did they forget it was 1862?'

...I'm pretty certain they knew the year; although Indiana has been known to confuse visitors with their use of 'fast time' and 'slow time.'

Ozzy

 

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It was really an instance of the Regiments being served Pie for dessert, and one person telling the others to "Remember the a la mode", that probably led to the confusion. Understandable to say the very least ;)

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On the afternoon of April 6th, BGen Jacob Lauman's severely depleted brigade suddenly found itself confronted near the Peach Orchard by a number of fresh Confederate regiments. General Hurlbut advised that he was unable to reinforce Lauman; and Lauman believed that he could no longer hold his position... but to retreat meant almost certainly losing his artillery pieces and most of his remaining infantry.

In desperation, Lauman ordered the 44th Indiana to attack. Rallying his men with the battle cry, 'Remember Buena Vista,' Major Albert Heath led the charge; General Hurlbut, who anticipated the annihilation of Lauman's whole command, pronounced it, 'A gallant, but rash movement.'

But the Confederate troops, perhaps believing that Lauman's assault was the spearhead of a powerful Federal counterattack, fell back. The charge resulted in the killing and wounding of many of the men of the 44th Indiana; but it is believed to have prevented a Confederate breakthrough on Hurlbut's flank. [From A Politician turned General: the Civil War career of Stephen A. Hurlbut, by Jeffrey N.Lash, Kent State, Ohio: University Press (2003), page 96.]

 

Ozzy

 

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In his official report on the Battle of Buena Vista, Major General Zachary Taylor cast aspersions on the performance of the Second Indiana Infantry. Not present when the Mexicans attacked, Taylor found the Second Indiana retreating when he arrived on the field.  The retreat was due to its commander misunderstanding orders, and the Second Indiana ran from the field.  Taylor ordered Jefferson Davis’s Mississippi Regiment to fill the gap in the line left by the withdrawal of the Second Indiana.  The Mississippians, aided by the Third Indiana, drove the Mexicans back.  Eventually the most of the men of the Second Indiana returned to the battle, fighting in the ranks of other regiments.

Taylor criticized the Second Indiana and praised Davis and his regiment in his official report.  The criticism of the Second Indiana was taken as a besmirchment of the fighting abilities of Indiana troops in general. 

The cry of “Remember Buena Vista” was a reminder of the resentment in Indiana which had been engendered by Taylor’s report.

The above account was paraphrased from Shadow of Shiloh – Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War by Gail Stephens.

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Excellent answer, Transylvania!

And I add a further explanation of the 'Jefferson Davis connection,' merely as what Paul Harvey used to call 'the rest of the story...'

The Indiana colonel who ordered the retreat rushed headlong into the 1st Mississippi, and having second thoughts about his actions, sought permission to serve in ranks as a Private: he was given a musket, and permitted to serve as requested. Afterwards, when it came to light what had occurred to cause the Indiana officer to spend the Battle of Buena Vista with them, the Colonel of the 1st Mississippi thought it would be 'a bit of fun' to 'properly recognize the heroism of Colonel Bowles of the 2nd Indiana.' With all the pomp and display of an official ceremony, Colonel Bowles was presented with the Mississippi rifle he had used during the battle... by Colonel Jefferson Davis.

Colonel Bowles, being a bit naive, did not recognize it as a joke: he thought he was truly being honoured. He graciously accepted the award.

The rest of Indiana did not see the joke, either: and they harbored their resentment until 1861.

 

Ozzy

Reference:  Autobiography of Lew Wallace, vol. 1, pages 177-189.

 

 

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