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Russell Martin

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Hello all

My name is Russell Martin. I am a paramedic in Tulsa OK, but history has always been my love. I have a BA in History from OSU. I have been to a lot of Civil War battlefields, but have always been more interested in the operations that preceded the battles, and the operations afterward. I spent 11 years in the Army and the Navy (Navy time I was assigned to the Marine Corps). 

I did my senior thesis on Operations in the Indian Territory from April 1863 to September 1st, 1863. 

I read voraciously, and am currently reading The Battle of the Wilderness by Gordon Rhea, and Landscape Turned Red by Stephen Sears. I enjoy research, and delve frequently into the ORs. I am torn between reading Tim Smith's  Shiloh Conquer or Perish or Wiley Sword's Shiloh Bloody Sunday when I finish Sears. (I try to put other battles or topics in between books on Shiloh and the Trans-Mississippi).

I look forward to learning from all of you. 

 

Russell 

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Glad you could join us, Russell.  We look forward to your participating in our discussions on Shiloh.  Friendly group here.  Let us know if you have any questions.

THE MANASSAS BELLE

 

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Russell

Welcome to the SDG. I believe this is the best Shiloh-related site on the Internet; and look forward to your take on matters of historical interest.

All the best

Ozzy

 

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Army? Navy? Marines? You should have tried the best! The USAF! I won't hold it against you though. Welcome to the SDG.

 

Jim

 

 

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Welcome, Russell! Glad to have you with us. 

Definitely would go for Tim Smith's book. I myself am finally in the home stretch of the book, having also been reading a few others at the same time. Very detail oriented & very well put together! 

-Paul 

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Hello Russell

welcome to the group and your membership dues are only some posts to keep the discussion going.  As to the books you mentioned, they are all good military literature.  Gordon Rhea and Stephen Sears are both good authors as is Tim Smith and Wiley Sword.  The words in Wiley Sword's book are there forever, never to be changed as the author recently passed away.  Just keep reading and you will end by reading all 4 books.  Now, you have no problem of which of the four to read next.  I highly recommend Landscape turned red by Stephen Sears.  I read the book three times and enjoyed it more after each reading.

Concerning the books about the Battle of Shiloh, I recommend the books by Wiley Sword, Larry Daniel, Edward Cunningham (his book was published after his death), and any by Tim Smith and another, The biography of General Albert Sidney Johnston by his son, Colonel William P. Johnston.  This book is greatly under appreciated by military students but is well written with much detail, more than expected for a biography. 

Now, my problem is waiting for your posts to read.

Ron   . 

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Hi Russell and welcome to the group,

You said you read voraciously so I went through my researched materials and came up with a few suggestions, which, I believe, will result in giving you a fair opportunity to understand this Shiloh battle.

I was not going to post anything here since there was no request made for recommendations. But since members have now suggested certain books and opined that the selection of either Wiley Sword’s book or Tim Smith’s book is a good place to start I take this opportunity to voice my disagreement.

Both Sword’s and Smith’s books are revisionist books on Shiloh in relation to the actions and heroism of Brigadier General Prentiss and the defenders in the Sunken Road. Those books reflect opinions of the last forty years only. The story of Shiloh is much longer than that.

If you are going to read Shiloh revisionist books it is helpful to know what is being revised. To try to fully understand Shiloh it is also helpful to know how the actions of Prentiss and the defenders in the Sunken Road were misinterpreted for at least 20 years after the battle and it was not until the 1880s that the more accurate depictions of the actions of Prentiss and the defenders started to take shape. But even then it is possible to find accounts of Shiloh fifty years after the battle that still have Prentiss captured in the morning.

I would recommend starting with O. E. Cunningham’s book, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862. Although not published publicly until 2007 it was written in 1966 so it predates the unfortunate commencement of Shiloh revisionism of the early 1970s which started with Sword’s book. Larry Daniel’s book, Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War, published 1997,  should be next because Daniel does not swallow the revisionist theme and you do not find the vitriol against Prentiss that was growing at that time.

Those two books would give a good background on the battle of Shiloh which is needed before tackling the earlier Shiloh accounts. If you go to the early accounts without having some idea of how the battle was fought you will be at a disadvantage because the early accounts have lots of errors. However, I did find that the early accounts are accurate in many facets of the battle. But you have to have some familiarity with the battle to notice that.

1) Having prepared yourself by reading Cunningham and Daniel I suggest you start at the very beginning with the newspaper account by Whitelaw Reid. This account set the table for the false impression that the Union army was totally surprised and bayoneted in their beds. However, Reid’s account is long, he was there and it should not be dismissed out of hand because he has some things right.

Reid’s account is actually difficult to find. Courtesy of Joseph Rose on another website I was referred to the Sacramento Daily Union of May 21, 1862 on the web page http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SDU18620521.2.6. The page has a text reader that scans the newspaper and it results in a text file. I then copied the text file into my ancient Word program and proceeded to edit out the errors in the scan as best I could.

Here is the result:  Whitelaw Reid - Sacramento Daily Union.doc. I uploaded it so I hope you can access it.

2) The next book is of utmost importance to a Shiloh student as it is the first book published about the Shiloh battle based mostly on the official reports and newspaper reports. The author is Orville James Victor and the book was published in June 1862 while Prentiss and the other defenders of the Sunken Road were wallowing in southern squalor. The title is Beadle’s American Battles, Dime Series, Pittsburgh Landing and the Siege of Corinth.

As an example of the paltry depth of Shiloh revisionist research this book is not to be found as a source listed in any bibliography of a book on Shiloh of which I am aware.

The most stunning aspect of this book is that the newspaper correspondents gave a fairly accurate description of the start of the battle by writing of the three companies of the 25th Missouri finding and engaging the Rebels early in the morning. Victor includes those newspaper accounts but then informs the readers that such descriptions of the opening of the battle are erroneous and he then goes on to describe how the battle actually started and that Veatch’s brigade was involved in it. Pretty sorry stuff but it is a good indication of just how confused and wrong the early accounts were in some particulars.

The next stunning aspect is that Victor makes the correction of the newspaper accounts that had Prentiss surrendering early in the morning. Victor wrote that such a false fact needs correcting and he does so and this in June 1862 yet the falsehood lives on in many early accounts of the battle of Shiloh.
I could find no digitized copy on the internet or even a library that had a copy of this book but providence delivered when I found I could obtain a copy of the book for $10 from http://www.sullivanpress.com/site/BCW129.html. (Australians might be required to pay a little more) The book is not carried in stock and if you order one you will receive it eventually as Mr. Sullivan runs his business out of his garage and produces the copies. So please be patient.

Whoa, after writing the above I did find it online. Try http://discoverarchive.vanderbilt.edu/handle/1803/6800. They just put it up in late 2014.

3) Victor also published another book in 1862 titled Incidents and Anecdotes of the War: Together with Life Sketches of Eminent Leaders, and Narrative of the Most Memorable Battles for the Union and it is interesting to note what he had learned after the publication of the Beadle’s book. Not much, but whereas he did not acknowledge Prentiss was attacked first thing in the Beadle’s book he did so in this book. I found it on the internet at https://archive.org/details/incdentsanedot00vict. Victor then published an 1866 book along the same lines as his 1862 book but made no changes in the Shiloh account so he must have learned nothing new over those four years.

4) I include this next book because it is another example of an early book that notes that Prentiss did not surrender early in the morning and yet so many other books get it wrong. The author of this book also wrote dime novels for Beadle’s so she knew Victor and included some of his writing on Shiloh in her book. Yes, this author is a woman and I had to double check the name since it seemed so unusual for the times of the 1860s. The author is Ann Stephens and she was a writer of dime novels and her husband was the editor of a magazine so she was in the business. The book is titled Pictorial History of the War for the Union. A Complete and Reliable History of the War from its Commencement to Its Close. The book was published in 1863 and can be found here: https://archive.org/details/pictorialhistory02step

5) Next I recommend two books by Edward A. Pollard. Pollard was a newspaper editor in Richmond, Virginia and enjoyed eviscerating the administration of Jefferson Davis during the life of the Confederacy. He wrote a book in 1862 titled Southern History of the War. The First Year of the War which you can find here: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015056795845;view=1up;seq=27. Pollard’s southern view is outstanding as he chides those dastardly northerners for claiming Shiloh was a victory for them when it was obviously a victory for the South. Also, there was no criticism of Beauregard for calling off the attack. Now move to 1866 and Pollard’s The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates which can be found here: https://archive.org/details/lostcausenewsout00poll. In this later work Pollard is singing a different tune and Beauregard does not come off as well.
Pollard was a young man during the war, just in his early thirties and he died at age 41. He did a great service to give posterity a southern perspective written during the war.

6) Here is a Confederate narrative of the Shiloh battle printed in a New Orleans paper in August 1862 by Alex. Walker. This is the website where it can be found. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/clarke/clarke.html. Confederate accounts are scarce and I recall that this was a good one.

7) William Swinton, a newspaper correspondent, wrote The Twelve Decisive Battles of the War in 1867. Of great importance for the history of Shiloh Swinton relates the opening of the battle fairly accurately when no one else does. He gives due credit to Peabody and Powell. His book can be found at: https://archive.org/details/twelvedecisiveba00swin.

8) An account that should be read in full is Adam Badeau’s account published in Military History of Ulysses S. Grant, from April, 1861, to April, 1865. Badeau was a Colonel and served as an aide-de-camp to Grant starting in February 1864. Why read Adam Badeau’s account  of the battle of Shiloh published in 1868? Because it is so god awful. I was gobsmacked when I took the time to read the whole account for the first, and probably only, time. All I had read before were the accounts concerning the “poor generalship” shown by Prentiss. Grant apparently put great stock in Badeau’s accounts of his campaigns. You can find a copy here: https://books.google.com/books/about/Military_History_of_Ulysses_S_Grant.html?id=O9ZBAAAAIAAJ.
This book was published in 1885 but the work was originally published in 1868. I have an 1868 copy but I could not locate it on the internet again.

9) The Sunken Road veterans hated Horace Greeley and his description of the battle in his The American Conflict: A History of the Great Rebellion of the United States of America, 1860-’65. The book was published in 1866. It is Horace Greeley and it is beneficial to know what the soldiers are referring to. Find it here: https://archive.org/stream/americanconflic04greegoog#page/n17/mode/2up

10) Moving forward to the 1870s there is the interesting account prepared by the Comte de Paris and published in 1876 with the title History of the Civil War in America. Shiloh is in volume 1. I did not reread all these but I believe I chose this account because it is 13 years after the battle and the Comte de Paris had access to many previous accounts and important individuals but his account carries forth previous inaccuracies. Find it here at: https://archive.org/stream/historycivilwar04nichgoog#page/n22/mode/2up.

11) Now move on to a lengthy account done by a participant in the battle. The account is found in The Annals of the War Written by Leading Participants North and South. Published in 1879 and it contains a Shiloh account written by Colonel Wills de Hass who shared a tent with Colonel Jesse Hildebrand near the Shiloh Church on the night of April 5, 1862. After 17 years the first accounts written by men who were there start to appear. https://archive.org/details/annalsofwar00philrich

12) Next is the book that is a must-read for anybody who wants to try to understand how the story of Shiloh developed over the years. The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston written by his son, Colonel William Preston Johnston, and published in 1879. This book roiled the waves with its vivid descriptions of the fighting in the Hornets’ Nest and elsewhere. Preston Johnson’s language can be found in David Reed’s Shiloh book, Shiloh Commission reports on certain state monuments and other books whose authors simply conceded they could do no better and just quote Preston Johnston. Johnston had access to key Southern participants of the battle and had been an aide to Jefferson Davis during the war.

In regards to Brigadier Generals W. H. L. Wallace and Benjamin Prentiss, the highest ranking officers defending the Sunken Road, Johnston wrote “The Federal Generals had consulted, and had resolved to stand and hold their ground at all hazards, hoping thus to save the rest of the army from destruction; and there is little doubt that their manful resistance, which cost one his life and the other his liberty, so checked the Southern troops as to gain time, and prevent the capture of Grant’s army.”

Johnston gives a detailed analysis as to the condition of Grant’s army as the day waned. He wrote: “Of the two armies, one was now an advancing, triumphant host, with arms uplifted to give a mortal blow; the other, a broken, mangled, demoralized mob, paralyzed and waiting for the strike.”

A later Shiloh author concurred with Johnston’s description when he noted the importance of the arrival of Buell’s division and that of Lew Wallace. He wrote in his book: “It was fortunate because the Army of the Tennessee was in shambles, particularly Prentiss’s and W, H, L. Wallace’s division.
There are several options to locate this book and I will leave that up to you.

13) George Mason fought with the 12th Illinois on the left flank. He wrote one of the earlier accounts by a participant and presented it on May 5, 1880. He has Prentiss’s men shot in their beds which indicates how confused men were about what actually happened, even the men who were there. His paper can be found in: https://archive.org/details/militaryessays01chicrich. You want Volume 1 published in 1891. The title is Military Essays and Recollections.

14) Another book that should be readily found is Campaigns of the Civil War from Fort Henry to Corinth by M. F. Force published in 1881. At Shiloh Force was with Lew Wallace’s division (20th Ohio) and fought on the second day. His book has the Union perspective and it is Manning F. Force who put the word “sunk” in the Sunken Road. Shiloh revisionists are tormented by the fact that the veterans refer to the road in which they made their defense as the “Sunken Road” because it wasn’t sunken enough for their tastes. That is why I relish this book and recommend it.

15) In 1885 Theophile Poilpot  painted the Shiloh panorama which was displayed in Chicago. This was a money making endeavor and revisionists are outraged that the promoters describe the defense in the Hornets’ Nest as the Thermopylae of the civil war. The promoters also had the gall to engage Benjamin Prentiss to entertain the visitors with stories about the battle. Fortunately the promoter’s pamphlet, Manual of the Panorama of the Battle of Shiloh  was published in Chicago in 1885. It is available here: https://archive.org/details/manualofpanorama00croo

The first part of the manual contains the hyped-up version of Shiloh that is intended to get people into the building. What is overlooked and is actually of more value is the Shiloh account written by L. B. Crooker of the 55th Illinois that fought with Colonel Stuart on the far left flank.

16) Ephraim Dawes was the adjutant to Col. Jesse Appler of the 53rd at Shiloh. Dawes studied Shiloh and produced a lengthy Shiloh account (72 pages) that was presented to the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts in two parts in 1893 and 1895. The papers are presented in the 1908 publication Campaigns in Kentucky and Tennessee including the Battle of Chickamauga 1862-1864. You can find it here: https://archive.org/details/campaignsinkent00massgoog. The timing of Dawes account is important because it was composed just prior to the formation of the Shiloh National Military Park so it gives a view of things as the park begins to be developed.

17) Now comes the most important book of all. David W. Reed’s The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged first printed in 1902 and then with a slightly revised edition in 1909, which is usually the one you find. Reed fought with the 12th Iowa in the Hornets’ Nest and avoided capture because he was too severely wounded for the Rebels to take him from the battlefield. In 1895 Reed was chosen to be the historian for the Shiloh National Military Park and it is he who wrote the text on the hundreds of metal tablets in the park and wrote his book. Reed was entrusted to produce a truthful history of the battle to memorialize the men who fought there.

Modern revisionists claim Reed violated that trust by using “subtle subjectivity” (whatever that means) in preparation of his book and put unwarranted emphasis on the fighting in the Hornets’ Nest because that is where he fought.

On page 31 of The Untold Story of Shiloh, The Battle and the Battlefield is found “…Reed developed the Hornet’s Nest interpretation of the battle, which still incorrectly dominates Shiloh historiography today.” (emphasis added)

In the introduction of the 2008 reprint of Reed’s book by the University of Tennessee Press, page xix, is found “He (Reed) wrote that the book was intended to be ‘complete, impartial, and correct’ so that the history of the battle could be presented as ‘nothing but the truth.’ Fortunately for later generations he succeeded.” (emphasis added)

So which is it?

One author says Reed was "incorrect" while the other author says he was "correct."

Reed’s book is extremely important and anyone interested in Shiloh should read it and make up their own mind as to the veracity of Reed’s work.
How you obtain a copy is up to you as there are several good options.

18) Stanley Waterloo wrote a well-received version of the battle that is included in Illinois at Shiloh - Report of the Shiloh Battlefield Commission published in 1905 and available here: https://archive.org/stream/illinoisatshiloh00illi#page/n7/mode/2up

19) Edwin Hobart of the 28th Illinois which fought in the Peach Orchard spent approximately three years producing The Truth About Shiloh that he published in 1908. He discusses in detail the location and extent of the Hornets’ Nest and how much he hates Buell. Hobart points out that the 31st and 44th Indiana regiments of Lauman’s brigade were part of the Hornets’ Nest defense until repositioned around 2:30 PM to the left flank. However, good luck in obtaining a copy to read. The book does not appear to have been digitized and few libraries have it. The copy I found was at the Iowa State Archives. Perhaps one of the libraries is willing to lend their copy out on interlibrary loan. If you can get a copy to read you will not be disappointed.

20) Another Shiloh gem that needs to be included is Joseph Rich’s Shiloh published in 1911 as a book but was printed a couple years earlier in "The Iowa Journal of History and Politics" . One of the important aspects of this book is that for the first time a publication acknowledged that the early morning patrol by Major Powell was sent out on the orders of Colonel Peabody. Numerous surviving veterans credited Rich with producing the best account of the battle of Shiloh to date. It is available here: https://archive.org/details/battleofshiloh00rich

21) For a romanticized view of Shiloh the short book written by Shiloh Superintendent DeLong Rice should be read so one can judge how this book might have contributed to the Sunken Road and Hornets’ Nest story. The title is The Story of Shiloh and was published in 1919. Rice was superintendent after David Reed starting in 1920 and continued until September 1929 when a gas explosion in the Superintendent’s residence killed him and his son. The book can be found here: https://archive.org/details/storyofshiloh01rice

22) In 1921 Samuel Meek Howard produced a long Shiloh account. He was there with the 28th Illinois 59 years previous. A copy of what might well be the last lengthy account by a participant can be found in the publication The Illustrated Comprehensive History of the Great Battle of Shiloh. It appears he self-published it and a copy can be found here: https://archive.org/details/illustratedcompr1921howa

23) Over the next 50 years the only publication of a Shiloh account I have found so far is the 1946 book The Story of Shiloh by Otto Eisenschiml. A copy can be obtained from here: https://archive.org/details/storyofshiloh00eise.

If you are so impressed with Otto’s book, particularly with his correct interpretation that General Benjamin Prentiss is the real hero of Shiloh, you may pay homage to Otto by visiting the monument for the 55th Illinois. Otto believed he had ancestors in that regiment and that fueled his quest for the truth about the battle of Shiloh. In his will he requested that his ashes be spread around the monument for the 55th Illinois and that is where they are to this day.

24) We now enter the dark times for Shiloh history, the revisionist era. Shiloh – in Hell before Night written by James Lee McDonough and published in 1977 is a recommendation because you can learn something different and it was one of the first full-length treatments of the Battle of Shiloh. Copies of this book should be readily available.

25) "The Blue & Gray" issue of the battle of Shiloh by park historian Stacy Allen. This is a succinct account and is of importance due to Stacy’s influence on the story of the battle for the last couple decades and beyond. I know they have copies of the magazine, actually labeled a visitors guide, at the book store at Shiloh but the "Blue & Gray" site did not list it so I am not sure how you could obtain a copy.

26) Now, enjoy Wiley Sword’s book Shiloh: Bloody April, because you will understand the battle well enough that you will be able to follow the story and not get lost.

27) Same for Tim Smith’s book, Shiloh: Conquer or Perish.

I trust all the links I put in this post will work correctly. If not, you should be able to find the targeted materials just by searching for them. Actually, you might find better sites than those I used

After it was decided to surrender the garrison at Fort Donelson Nathan Bedford Forrest said he would lead his men out if he saved but one man.

I feel the same about Shiloh revisionism. I will use my research to try to keep someone from sliding down the slippery slope of Shiloh revisionism if I save but one.

Hank

P.S. I am still waiting for a revisionist to provide some proof about where and when Prentiss personally took credit for sending out Powell’s patrol (not where someone else gave Prentiss the credit but where Prentiss took the credit himself), and where were all those speeches given by Prentiss after he was released from prison in which he took credit for saving the army? The revisionists claim Prentiss went on a speaking tour after release from prison so where were those speeches given and when?

 

Whitelaw Reid - Sacramento Daily Union.doc

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Hank, thank you for the list of sources. You have obviously put a lot of work into it, and it is a good list. A couple of the links didnt work, but I was able to find the sources by name. The only one I couldnt find was Alex Walker. Do you know the name of the newspaper?

 

thank you again

 

Russell

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That is some list... no matter how many bookshelves we all might have crammed with books on the battle and the war... Its nice to see others read as much from the internet as well...  

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Hank:

Is there anything written about how or why the confederates organized their army at Corinth in the way that they did... I recall that corps weren't even in use yet.. or authorized.. I'm just wondering why they choose to build such large brigades and divide up their army as they did.. If there is anything that you know of that covers this.. thanks

 

Eric 

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Hank

Impressive list of references (some of which I haven't encountered, as yet.) Thanks for posting.

My own preference: letters and diaries. Letters written immediately after the event are time capsules: raw, expressing knowledge and belief in events as they then presented, before a need or opportunity to massage facts became apparent. Especially important at Shiloh, where the Northern commander was not even on the field until 3-4 hours after the battle commenced, and progress of the Battle, as fought by the Federal troops, was dependent on the courage and skill of junior commanders.

Diaries are usually written after reflection of a day or two, while the occurrence being recorded is still fresh, and 'reasons why things happened' are being hashed out, in order to make sense of the outcome. Of course, diaries and letters only provide snapshots of widely separated contacts with events as they occurred... so it is necessary to track down as many as possible, in order to compile the most complete picture. (Fortunately, in this Age of the Internet, there are any number of diaries and letters being made accessible on-line... and more appear, nearly every day.)

As a starting point, I recommend use of the 'Search Box' at top of this Shiloh Discussion Group. Merely insert 'diary' in the box [enter], and a great number of hits are returned, including:

  • Mary Chesnut:  her recordings of views on Fort Donelson, Albert Sidney Johnston, and life in the Confederacy are worth a read;
  • Lafayette Rogan:  Lieutenant of 37th Mississippi (not at Shiloh, but at Corinth); captured at Lookout Mountain and sent as POW to Rock Island;
  • Aunt Elsie's diary (provided by Wordpix John):  for experience of civilians, resident to Pittsburg Landing;
  • Luther W. Jackson:  Lieutenant of 12th Iowa during action in Sunken Road; captured and sent to Camp Oglethorpe, Macon, Georgia;
  • Joseph B. Dorr:  Lieutenant and QM of 12th Iowa, in action at Sunken Road; captured, but escaped from Montgomery Cotton Shed prison;
  • George Lemon Childress:  member of Birge's Western Sharpshooters during Battle of Shiloh;
  • Wentworth Dow: member of 16th Wisconsin, Co. E (Shiloh experience pages 47-52);
  • James M. Randall:  14th Wisconsin experience at Pittsburg Landing/Shiloh:
  • H.C. Clark (in conjunction with Alex Walker):  Battle of Shiloh from a Southern perspective, to include:  p.58  day-to-day events of the Civil War; page 73: assertion that Grant's Occupation of Paducah pre-dates Confederate Occupation of Columbus; p.84 estimate of only 5000 prisoners taken at Fort Donelson [reveals the need to confirm 'facts' found anywhere, with at least two sources...]; page 92 Battle of Shiloh, as seen by a Southern reporter;  p.114-122 lead-up and Battle of Shiloh, to include death of General Gladden (page 130), death of General Johnston (page 138), description of the sleep-suppressing rain and booming Federal Navy guns, night of April 6; page 161 winds up Day Two.

The above list is not complete: there are scores of diaries (and hundreds of letters) available online. [The same can be done for 'letters' in the Search Box.]

Regards

Ozzy

 

 

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Eric

A starting point for the Confederate organization (re-organization) of the Army of the Mississippi, prior to Battle of Shiloh, can be found in the Military Operations of General P.G.T. Beauregard, by Alfred Roman, volume 1, pages 259-264. In particular, page 263 (Polk and Bragg had been organized into two corps, of two divisions each, prior to the arrival of Albert Sidney Johnston on March 22); and page 267: 'General Beauregard drew up the plan for re-organization of the Army of the Mississippi.'

Cheers

Ozzy

 

Reference:  http://archive.org/stream/milloperations01romarich#page/n5/mode/2up

 

 

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Eric and Russell,

      Looks like the organization question got referenced to the book on Beauregard's military operations where it was discussed and I learned something.. The Corps designation was meant to deceive the enemy and there was a lack of senior officers. My impression is that you had Polk's army, Hardee's army, Bragg's army and Crittenden army arrive at Corinth and they made a Corps of each one and Polk's and Bragg's had two divisions. Ruggle's came up with his brigade from New Orleans and ended up in Bragg's corps. Breckinridge replaced Crittenden.

      I was impressed that most of the links worked and the only one you could not get to was the Alex Walker Confederate Newspaper account. The newspaper was the New Orleans Delta but if you look at Ozzy's post and notice the H C Clarke diary that is where the link would take you, to his diary on line. I just googled h c clarke diary and there it was, so try that. If that doesn't work I have it on a word document and I can just upload that.

     When you run out of material and want more just let us know.

Hank

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Hank

Just ran across your article in the Quincy Herald-Whig.

Bravo Zulu

Ozzy

 

 

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Welcome aboard, Russell. Looks like you've been given a little reading to do. :) Hope you can join us at Fort Donelson in November.

As a confirmed revisionist who hasn't noticed my fellow revisionists getting tormented by Manning Force or any other book on Shiloh, thanks for the great list, Hank. :) I'm still waiting to hear where the NPS site on Shiloh omits the Hornet's Nest defenders from the casualty list though. Can't find it on my own. :)

Perry

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Perry

So glad you reminded me of 'that NPS site, claiming inaccurate casualty figures.'  For I had seen it, too, a while back; and at the time dismissed it as merely a curiosity. But now, realizing it is an NPS-promoted fact sheet, I endeavored to find it (again), and... here it is:  http://www.nps.gov/shil/learn/historyculture/upload/Sunken.pdf  (sunken.pdf)  [Find it on Google by typing "NPS Shiloh battle" [search] and once inside the NPS Shiloh National Military Park site, go to the top of the page and type "Hornet's" into the Search Feature, select [this site] and [Enter]. The 2-page pdf document "pdf The Hornet's Nest" comes back, at top of 'hits.']

The problem with this document, as I see it, revolves around the definition of casualty.  According to my New College Edition, American Heritage Dictionary (reprinted 1976) a casualty is defined:  "one injured, killed, captured or missing, in action against an enemy."  

Referring to the NPS document, it begins by reminding the reader of 'the story we all have been taught about Shiloh'  and how 'the Hornet's Nest and Sunken Road became household names,'  and how we've 'been led to believe that the Hornet's Nest ranked with such icons as Pickett's Charge, and Bloody Lane...'  But, in the segment entitled Myth or Reality? is where the 'massaging of figures' takes place. It is in this paragraph that the explanation is provided, based on an 1867 assessment 'by laborers' involved with removal/reburial of remains, that "their experiences determined that the number of dead bodies was fairly light in the center, where the Hornet's Nest was located." Therefore, the conclusion is made: the experience of this labor force did not support the claim of "heaviest fighting" in the Hornet's Nest... because casualties were fewer.

Continuing:  "Colonel James Tuttle's brigade of four Iowa regiments sustained a total of 235 killed and wounded in the battle -- a number less than some individual regiments sustained on other parts of the field..."

The problems I have with the above 'explanation' are as follows:

1)  The definition of 'casualty' is incorrectly applied;

 2)  The use of Tuttle's Brigade as the standard: although including the 12th and 14th Iowa (which sustained massive casualties), Tuttle's Brigade did not include the 58th Illinois, the 23rd Missouri, the 18th Wisconsin, or the 8th Iowa... ALL of which had substantial numbers of KIA and wounded, and at least one hundred (per regiment) captured/missing in action.

3)  Although the 2nd Iowa and 7th Iowa (of Tuttle's Brigade) suffered many KIA and wounded in the Hornet's Nest, these two regiments successfully withdrew to Grant's Last Line before the Hornet's Nest collapsed, so did not contribute substantially to the official casualty figure of 858 for Tuttle's Brigade.

4)  The experience of a work party, five years after the event, is given as counter-balance to official casualty figures.

 

To glibly assert that "casualty figures show... only 235 were killed or wounded"  not only misses the point, but is entirely misleading.

Much more solid fact is expected from a National Park Service site.

 

Regards

Ozzy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ozzy,

Bravo Zulu.

    For those of you who are puzzled about this discussion of Hornets’ Nest casualties and Prentiss speeches and where it came from it came from a thread from last December that can be found in “Pop Quiz” and then go to “The 6th Division.”

    In my posting on that thread I stated “I was handed an information sheet that discussed whether the Hornets’ Nest was myth or reality. That information sheet can still be found on the Park’s webpage.” I was indeed referring to the document Ozzy discusses in his posting.

    Now, about those Prentiss speeches………

Hank

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On 7/5/2016 at 10:23 PM, Ron said:

The biography of General Albert Sidney Johnston by his son, Colonel William P. Johnston.  This book is greatly under appreciated by military students but is well written with much detail, more than expected for a biography. 

Speaking of William P Johnston, we were on the way home yesterday from Indianapolis over the weekend (neat tour at Crown Hill by the way), and had to stop in Louisville, at Cave Hill Cemetery, and snapped a few pictures of him there. :)

WPJ 1.jpg

WPJ2.jpg

WPJ3.jpg

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On 7/19/2016 at 9:38 PM, Ozzy said:

Perry

So glad you reminded me of 'that NPS site, claiming inaccurate casualty figures.'  For I had seen it, too, a while back; and at the time dismissed it as merely a curiosity. But now, realizing it is an NPS-promoted fact sheet, I endeavored to find it (again), and... here it is:  http://www.nps.gov/shil/learn/historyculture/upload/Sunken.pdf  (sunken.pdf)  [Find it on Google by typing "NPS Shiloh battle" [search] and once inside the NPS Shiloh National Military Park site, go to the top of the page and type "Hornet's" into the Search Feature, select [this site] and [Enter]. The 2-page pdf document "pdf The Hornet's Nest" comes back, at top of 'hits.']

The problem with this document, as I see it, revolves around the definition of casualty.  According to my New College Edition, American Heritage Dictionary (reprinted 1976) a casualty is defined:  "one injured, killed, captured or missing, in action against an enemy."  

Referring to the NPS document, it begins by reminding the reader of 'the story we all have been taught about Shiloh'  and how 'the Hornet's Nest and Sunken Road became household names,'  and how we've 'been led to believe that the Hornet's Nest ranked with such icons as Pickett's Charge, and Bloody Lane...'  But, in the segment entitled Myth or Reality? is where the 'massaging of figures' takes place. It is in this paragraph that the explanation is provided, based on an 1867 assessment 'by laborers' involved with removal/reburial of remains, that "their experiences determined that the number of dead bodies was fairly light in the center, where the Hornet's Nest was located." Therefore, the conclusion is made: the experience of this labor force did not support the claim of "heaviest fighting" in the Hornet's Nest... because casualties were fewer.

Continuing:  "Colonel James Tuttle's brigade of four Iowa regiments sustained a total of 235 killed and wounded in the battle -- a number less than some individual regiments sustained on other parts of the field..."

The problems I have with the above 'explanation' are as follows:

1)  The definition of 'casualty' is incorrectly applied;

 2)  The use of Tuttle's Brigade as the standard: although including the 12th and 14th Iowa (which sustained massive casualties), Tuttle's Brigade did not include the 58th Illinois, the 23rd Missouri, the 18th Wisconsin, or the 8th Iowa... ALL of which had substantial numbers of KIA and wounded, and at least one hundred (per regiment) captured/missing in action.

3)  Although the 2nd Iowa and 7th Iowa (of Tuttle's Brigade) suffered many KIA and wounded in the Hornet's Nest, these two regiments successfully withdrew to Grant's Last Line before the Hornet's Nest collapsed, so did not contribute substantially to the official casualty figure of 858 for Tuttle's Brigade.

4)  The experience of a work party, five years after the event, is given as counter-balance to official casualty figures.

 

To glibly assert that "casualty figures show... only 235 were killed or wounded"  not only misses the point, but is entirely misleading.

Much more solid fact is expected from a National Park Service site.

 

Regards

Ozzy

Well, the article states pretty clearly that the burial party's findings are just one part of the puzzle, when trying to figure out where the heaviest fighting took place. But those findings are supported by additional evidence, again as pointed out in the article, such as casualty figures from around the battlefield. How is it 'massaging numbers' to point out the fact that fewer bodies were found in the center than on the eastern and western sides of the battlefield? Especially when that fact is backed up by the returns from immediately after the battle? 

And I have to disagree about the way the term 'casualty' is being used here. The emphasis is on killed and wounded and not captured/missing, yes, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who will tell you that a lower number of killed and wounded from "A" than "B" indicates that "A" saw heavier fighting than "B." That's not typically how it works. 

The way the fighting at Shiloh evolved, along with the units that sustained the worst number of killed and wounded, both point to the heaviest action for most of the battle taking place on the eastern and western sides of the battlefield, with comparatively lighter fighting in the center for most of the day. Not no fighting. Not insignificant fighting. Just not as heavy over a sustained period of time as on either flank. 

That's what the evidence points to. Strongly. 

The traditional story of Shiloh says the battle was decided in the Hornet's Nest. That's been the case for over a century. 

The evidence says that story is wrong. When the story is wrong, it has to be "revised." Some people spit out the word "revisionist" as if it's some sort of slap in the face. If so, what do we call the folks who refuse to even listen to evidence suggesting that a long-held belief is in fact mistaken? That's what we've got here. 

No one disputes that there was a large number of captured troops in the center, nor that there was serious fighting in the center. This is where I have a major problem with the people who seem to insist that the goal of the "revisionists" is to denigrate the Hornet's Nest defenders.

Pardon my American English, but that's pure crap. 

The goal is to see if the evidence matches up with the story of the Hornet's Nest as the decisive area of the battlefield. The evidence suggests it probably was not, and that other areas were at least as important if not more so.

Isn't it denigrating to those soldiers who fought and died outside that one area to largely ignore them, as has been the case in the traditional version of the battle for so long? And who is saying that we're ignoring the men in the Hornet's Nest? Where exactly is this being done? That article you and Hank are pointing at does nothing of the kind, and I'd invite everyone following along to read it for themselves, and decide for themselves if they agree with that or not. 

This was Hank's comment from the discussion that started all this:

    After building up my knowledge of the battle I noticed something about that information sheet and the Shiloh revisionism analysis that it contains.

            Shiloh revisionism does not recognize that my great-great-grandfather and all the others captured on April 6, 1862 were casualties. Shiloh revisionism considers that if a soldier was listed missing from any area of battlefield other than those captured along with Prentiss are casualties, but if you were captured along with Prentiss you are not worthy to be considered a casualty. The purpose of denying the captured men casualty status is so the Shiloh revisionists can “set the story straight” and claim that because there were fewer casualties in the Sunken Road and Hornets’ Nest area that no heavy fighting occurred there. That it is the least fought over area of the battlefield.

            In other words if a soldier was captured in the “final stand” their sacrifice is deleted from the equation and Shiloh revisionists do their analysis as if those men captured never existed. That denigrates the memory of those men.

I'm sorry you feel that way Hank, but these men are not being 'deleted' from the equation, and their memory is not being denigrated. It's simply a matter of correcting a long-held belief that is not supported by the evidence. That belief being that the Hornet's Nest was the sight of Shiloh's heaviest fighting, and is where that battle was won and lost. 

It denigrates no one's memory to point out that this was not the case. It's long past time that we stopped focusing only on the center at Shiloh on April 6th, and start considering the battle as a whole. That's what the "revisionism" is all about. 

Perry

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Perry

Thank you for your considered reply to my post of July 20. Let me start by referring to the Battle of Fort Donelson, where the Union suffered 507 killed and 1976 wounded; and the Confederates lost 327 killed and had 1127 wounded. With 1029 more casualties, obviously the Federals did not win...  :rolleyes:  [figures taken from civilwar.org]

Casualty is defined as 'one who is injured, killed, captured or missing, in action against an enemy.'  This is not my definition (if it was up to me, I'd find a way to include some of those on the sick list); but it is the accepted standard, by which we can measure all battles, past and present.

IRT casualty figures at Shiloh, I have taken the liberty of extracting the following data from DW Reed's Battle of Shiloh, page 98, for the 2nd and 5th Divisions:

                                 Available    Present for duty      KIA         Wounded          Missing         Total Casualties

Second Division        10,281           8408                   270            1173                1306                  2749

Fifth Division             10,557           8580                   325            1277                 299                  1901

 

Just like the example at Fort Donelson, when total number of casualties is considered, the 2nd Division (WHL Wallace) is shown to have suffered more than the 5th Division (William Tecumseh Sherman) by a difference of 848.

But, important as casualty figures can be, when used correctly, it has been my impression [drawn from reading and studying this very SDG blog... which I consider to be outstanding in its format, presentation and allowance for competing viewpoints] that TIME was the critical element; the denial of sufficient time for the Confederate attackers to achieve their goal being the factor that ultimately determined the outcome of the First Day at Shiloh. All those actions across the Battlefield that delayed the Confederate juggernaut, as it powered north; running out the clock so the Army of Mississippi fell just short of its goal... heralded by the arrival of Buell, night, and Lew Wallace. Based on time used up in slowing the Confederate advance, I am more than happy to acknowledge those regiments, brigades and divisions that stole time from Albert Sidney Johnston, and made the final result possible.

Cheers

Ozzy

 

References:  http://www.archive.org/stream/battleofshilohor00unit#page/98/mode/2up    (Battle of Shiloh casualty figures, by DW Reed)

http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fort-donelson.html?tab=facts     (Fort Donelson casualty figures)

http://www.nps.gov/shil/learn/historyculture/upload/Sunken.pdf     (flawed document, subject of discussion)

 

 

 

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Ozzy, " With 1029 more casualties, obviously the Federals did not win..." I've always considered that the side that holds the battlefield when all is said and done determines who won the battle.

 

Jim

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Jim

I tend to agree: 'who holds the ground after the battle' is a primary determinant of the victor of that battle. And 'casualty totals' tend to be secondary determinants. However, in the case of Fort Donelson (where Federal forces suffered 2,691 total casualties, as against the Confederate total casualty figure of 13,846) the difference in total number of casualties is remarkably telling.

Ozzy

 

N.B.  While we're discussing 'military engagements,' and who is the winner of those engagements, one other military encounter to take note of: the raid. Designed to achieve a specific objective, this military operation is not an attempt to capture and hold terrain. The objective is to 'give the enemy a bloody nose,' and skeddadle: bend up some railroad rails; burn a bridge; bust a dam. I mention the raid, because some commanders, unsuccessful in battle, attempted to portray that battle as a raid; some went so far as to claim 'it was a raid from the planning stage...'

References:   http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fort-donelson.html?tab=facts    (Fort Donelson casualty totals)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_(military)    (the Raid... according to wikipedia)

 

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