Jump to content
Shiloh Discussion Group
Sign in to follow this  
Billy1977

attack on Waterhouse's battery that succeeded

Recommended Posts

Roger, you're most welcome. The only other information I can think of to give you about the 77th Ohio you probably already have, that they were armed with Belgian muskets. From Shiloh: Conquer or Perish by Tim Smith:  
"Major Fearing in the 77th Ohio noted that the Confederate attack came 'with a rush and a shout,' and for a time it shook part of the 77th Ohio, which had a difficult enough time with their ponderous Belgian rifles.  Indeed, one of the Ohioans commented that the regiment "was not in line of battle more than five minutes before the rebels opened fire on us"  Still, they fought well.  "We mowed them down by hundreds," Fearing wrote home, "and drove them back over the run they leaving many of their comrades behind."  The Ohioans followed the retreating Confederates part of the way, retaking some of the ground they had earlier held, but the regiment soon returned "to our old position on the brow of the hill"."  

Besides that there is Ohio at Shiloh, the report of the commission for the Shiloh battlefield park. It covers every Ohio regiment that fought there and tells a little about them here on page 42. 

https://archive.org/stream/ohioatshilohrepo00lcohio#page/42/mode/2up

It says that it had been so reduced by the casualties at Shiloh and by sickness that after the two-day battle the regiment numbered barely 200 men and 13 officers. Nevertheless it participated in the halfhearted pursuit on 8 April that ended at Fallen Timbers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ozzy, I was wondering, when Raith's brigade made its "oblique right" pivot to try to link up with Marsh's brigade, you said the 17th Illinois held steady and the other three regiments rotated counterclockwise out of the ravine. I'm wondering, did the 17th Illinois, though holding its position where it was, turn somewhat to shift its front to match the fronts of the other three regiments? Otherwise Raith's line would have looked like an elbow, with the 17th Illinois still facing the original direction, kind of south-southwest, and the other three regiments bent back facing east, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The monument says that the 77th was commanded by Wills DeHass which is most unfortunate. This man ran from the fighting and the regiment was commanded by Major Benjamin Fearing on April 6th. DeHass was eventually dismissed from the service. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In regard to the maneuver ordered by MGen McClernand and executed by Lt Ryan, the right of the 17th Illinois held its position while the rest of the 17th Illinois, 29th, 43rd and 49th Illinois rotated backwards, in an attempt to connect the left end of Raith's Brigade to the right of Marsh's Brigade. (The end result, I believe, was a line extending away towards the east-northeast; and the men occupying that line faced south-southeast.) The maneuver removed Raith's Brigade from the ravine, but failed to connect with Marsh. Regardless, this position was maintained, while the regiments belonging to the 3rd Brigade, from the left end, were successively subjected to concentrated enemy fire and driven away (to the north) and progressively joined the right of Marsh.

Interesting, Billy, that you make mention of the "elbow shape" of Raith's Line... because I believe (from reading LtCol EP Wood, page 141) that this did indeed occur, but not until some time after the initial maneuver. Wood indicates that:  "after initially being checked, the enemy again advanced, and seemed to be flanking us on the left. Our regiment changed front again, and moved obliquely to the left."  [This move held the left end of the 17th Illinois steady, and rotated the right end backwards -- north -- away from Waterhouse, which LtCol Wood witnessed shortly afterwards, from about 200 yards away, suffer the loss of three guns while attempting to abandon the position then held (perhaps 50-100 yards north of Waterhouse's initial position at the top of the bluff.)

LtCol Wood goes on to report:  "at this point (disaster that befell Waterhouse) orders came moving us back, perhaps 50-60 yards, with direction to form a continuous line with the Division on our right. This was effected in good order [and once accomplished] Major Schwartz requested my regiment [17th Illinois] to support his battery." 

Ozzy

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ozzy!! That's exactly what I was looking for. I had been trying to picture in my mind Raith's brigade making this oblique right movement and couldn't wrap my mind around what the 17th Illinois was supposed to be doing. This makes sense. Thanks again. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Billy, let's continue from the fall back from the initial morning positions to forming the next defensive line along the Hamburg - Purdy road and the actions at the crossroads. You and Ozzy are some great researchers so let me pull up a chair and buckle up:D. This is the time period of 10 to 11 a.m. I will kick in with what I have.                                The momentum of the Confederate attack seems to have run out of steam at this point. They had just suffered enormous casualties,  the men were starving, and they ransacked the union camps,  they reorganized their units before launching the largest, coordinated attack of the battle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger and Billy (and everyone else interested in this topic):

I've always viewed that 10-10:30 time-frame of attempted formation of a new line (incorporating Sherman right of McClernand) as just that: an attempt, that ultimately failed. Some of the factors that contributed to the failure of the 2nd Line (in vicinity of the Crossroads):

  • too close to the previous position (Confederate attackers already too far advanced to the north);
  • disorganized method of formation: regiments engaged in orderly withdrawal from the front, and in process of redeploy, affected by skeddadling men who were on their way to the Tennessee River;
  • McDowell's baggage wagons raced through on their way to Pittsburg Landing at just the wrong time, interrupting the "orderly redeploy" of regiments to the north side of the road;
  • Sherman's panicked "drowning man, grabbing at a straw" order for Captain Behr to unlimber his five guns "right here, right now" ...with fatal consequences for Behr; resulting in stampede of the men of the Morton Indiana Battery from their guns; resulting in abandonment of this Hamburg-Purdy Road Line by all concerned.

Then, there is the combined Confederate attack launched by Stewart, Wood and Shaver (et al) that raced directly into McClernands extended line. 

Anyway, for a good place to start, I can recommend the video:  Veatch's Brigade Fights for the Union Center at Shiloh (with Bjorn Skaptason) -- produced by Tony Willoughby on 13 April 2014  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRS4BQ-guCc  

This video covers our topic best from the 18-minute mark to about the 41-minute mark (23 minutes of viewing) and is of value, due to the following:

  • Veatch's Brigade was ordered into position by MGen McClernand just before 10:30 but that "support position" in rear of McClernand's 1st Division was too close: only about 50 yards away;
  • By being too close, the commanders of the 15th Illinois, 46th Illinois, 14th Illinois and 25th Indiana (Veatch's Brigade, in order from west to east) were witness to what happened to McClernand's troops in front (and Bjorn Skaptason explains this "twenty minutes of chaos and terror" extremely well;
  • At 10:30 Sherman's Division gave way at all points, at the same time  [22:20 minute-mark]
  • Burrow's Battery attacked by Wood's Brigade (and 72 horses shot) [28-minute mark]
  • 14th Illinois subjected to stampede of wounded horses from Burrow's Battery [30-minute mark]
  • Confusion of 45th Illinois and 48th Illinois that allowed 4th Tennessee to get in too close [33-minute mark]
  • Attack on McAllister's Battery (and capture of one gun) by 4th Tennessee [33:40]
  • 13th Iowa (to the southeast of 25th Indiana) seen under attack by Shaver [37-minute mark]
  • 25th Indiana occupies left end of Veatch, and left end of McClernand, briefly, before moving away north with 14th Illinois (these two regiments will fight as a team for the rest of the day, and provide valuable service) [39:30].

Have a view of the video and let me know with what ideas you agree/disagree.

Ozzy

 

N.B.  One outcome of the attempted formation of the line along the Hamburg-Purdy Road: from that point onwards, for the remainder of April 6th, Sherman and McClernand were "joined at the hip" and their subsequent movements/actions must be viewed as "Sherman & McClernand" because it is nearly impossible to distinguish one from the other. This, I believe, had ramifications a few months afterwards, when MGen McClernand was given his own Army Corps (President Lincoln decision via Governor Yates of Illinois), to conquer Vicksburg. And General Sherman was incorporated once more into the team of "Sherman & McClernand" and together, took Arkansas Post ...but failed to move on "the Gibraltar of the West." And that's a story for another time.  :)

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent Ozzy, what time did the Confederate attack commence and did the crossroads itself mark the division between Sherman and McClernands division? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Staff ride book shows Hildebrand  remnants gathering just to the west of the crossroads. His men may have had some regimental organization at this point, maybe companies. The 53rd remnants are said to have attached themselves to the 48th Ohio. This is probably what many of the men of the 77th and the 57th still on the field did,  attached themselves to other regiments. Major Fearing probably retained command of at least a core element of the 77th but I don't have any accounts at that point. We have the account of Ephraim Dawes  of the 53rd who described the actions at the crossroads. As to what role Hildebrand  remnants played from 12 to 2:30 is a grey area. At 2:30 Dawes finds Fearing in command of 250 each from the 53rd and the 77th at the northern end of Jones field, north of a barn, probably owned by farmer Jones. Dawes takes command of the 53rd. Any accounts of Hildebrand's men during this period of the battle would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

   Ozzy started a thread “Buckland fights on the right” that addresses Hildebrand’s brigade and the fight at the crossroads in some details. My impression is that the Rebel attack on the crossroads started at 11:00 a. m.
    There is also a link to Robert Fleming’s “The Battle of Shiloh as a Private Saw It.” Fleming was with the 77th Ohio. Here is the link:
https://books.google.com/books?id=W94SAAAAYAAJ
    Perhaps you have read the thread but you asked for any accounts of Hildebrand’s men so I am passing this along in case you had not seen it.
    I checked my files to see what might be of interest in trying to understand what happened to Hildebrand’s brigade.
    There is a little bit in The Military History of Ohio by Hiram Hardesty, page 164. It is stated that part of Hildebrand’s brigade attached to the 13th Missouri Regiment. That is interesting. The 13th Missouri was from WHL Wallace’s division and fought all day with Sherman and McClernand, and the next day too, I think. Here is a link:
https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Military_History_of_Ohio.html?id=1UkMAQAAMAAJ
     I prepared a reading list for Shiloh and posted it here:
http://shilohdiscussiongroup.com/index.php?/topic/1779-howdy/#comment-11981

     Item 11 is the account of Colonel de Hass who shared the tent with Colonel Hildebrand on the night of April 5, 1862. De Hass’s account is interesting but it is disappointing in the number of things that are wrong in it but it was one of the first published accounts from a participant. Here is a link:
https://archive.org/details/annalsofwar00philrich
      I found another source that might be of interest as it describes the chaos of the Rebel attack in the area. This account is from a member of the 4th Illinois Cavalry with a chapter on the morning attack titled “The Boy Learns At Shiloh What His Legs Were Made For.”  The book is What a Boy Saw in the Army by Jesse Young. Here is a link:
https://archive.org/details/whatboysawinarmy00youn
      I also ran across an account by Captain Mason of events of April 5, 1862 which you might find interesting. Here is the link:
   http://www.ohgen.net/ohwashin/battle-of-shiloh.html

   That’s what I could find in my files. If I run across anything additional I will pass it along.

Hank

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your response Hank. Greatly appreciated. I am working on a history of the 77th Ohio. Shiloh along with the Fallen Timbers fiasco took the heart out of the regiment. I am writing only from their point view. I have accumulated a large number of accounts and have some original unpublished letters and photographs and have been surprised by superb research abilities  of the members of SDG. 

DeHass' account is interesting but a close reading shows the account changing from specific details to generalities. This man ran from the fighting. He seems to be protected in some way. I believe Hildebrand covered for him. I don't want to belabor this post with a story of DeHass, he doesn't deserve it.  It's unfortunate that his name is carved into their monument as commander. Major Benjamin Fearing was their commander in the battle. History is written by the  victors, I'm sure you have read, but in this case it was written by the survivor. By the time the monument was dedicated Hildebrand was gone and so was Fearing and many other officers. I'm sure DeHass probably put up a good amount of money, he came from a wealthy family. 

Thanks again Hank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hank, Roger and Billy

Much in the same way I made use of Buckland's Brigade battle-line and movements in the morning of April 6th to help understand what was happening with Hildebrand's 3rd Brigade (on Buckland's left); and I directed attention to the positioning and operation of Veatch's Brigade (of Hurlbut's Division, sent to support Sherman and McClernand) [via Tony Willoughby's excellent video]... I now recommend viewing of another Tony Willoughby production:  Colonel Worthington's Battles: the 46th Ohio on the west flank at Shiloh (with Bjorn Skaptason) recorded 10 April 2016:

  

Beginning at the 23-minute mark, the video details the movements of Colonel McDowell's 1st Brigade (46th Ohio, 6th Iowa and 40th Illinois, as well as the divided service of Behr's Morton (6th Indiana) Battery:

  • 25:20   40th Illinois detached to assist Buckland
  • 26:30    McDowell gets order (a little after 10am) from General Sherman, to fall back
  • 29         40th Illinois (on detached service with Buckland) gets special order (between 10:30-11am) to fall back; in process of executing this order, the 40th Illinois becomes the westernmost Federal regiment, with the 6th Iowa and 46th Ohio (roughly) to its east;
  • 29:50    At 10:30am Sherman is attempting to establish his 2nd Line along the north side of the Hamburg-Purdy Road: the McDowell baggage wagons racing east along that road are blocking Federal troops from crossing north, and taking their new position; Confederate troops are seen by Sherman to be rapidly approaching from the south (too close for comfort); in desperation [my opinion - Ozzy], Sherman orders Captain Behr to unlimber "Right here, right now" and go into action... and Behr is shot down. The Morton Battery (five guns) is abandoned by the panicked gun crews and soon those five guns are in the hands of the 154th Tennessee Senior Infantry Regiment [OR 10 page 408 -- Report of MGen Polk]
  • 35:30   Bjorn Skaptason continues explaining McDowell's movements as that brigade retreats north... [and takes part in the counter-attack].

Ozzy

N.B.   Thanks again to Tony Willoughby for creating these valuable historic records...

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger

In your three posts of September 15 (this topic) you mention "a German battery from Illinois that formed just right of Shiloh Church (and left of the 70th Ohio Infantry) ...but not for very long."  Upon investigation, I became convinced you were referring to another German battery: Behr from Indiana, which suffered misfortune at approximately 10:30am. But, while re-reading Shiloh reports today, I ran across Lieutenant George Nispel's report for Battery E, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, otherwise known as Schwartz' Battery [OR 10 page 146] and he indicates:  "Major Schwartz took position on Sherman's right wing at 7:45am [actually Buckland's right, behind the 72nd Ohio].  "Upon observing infantry on our flanks withdrawing to the rear, Major Schwartz ordered "Limber to the rear" during which we abandoned a damaged gun, and moved to the east. Arriving on the west side of Shiloh Church, just left of the 70th Ohio, Major Schwartz ordered that I unlimber my remaining three pieces beside the church to prevent the enemy from forcing our line. We opened on him with canister..."

I do not know how I missed this, but the information Nispel reports indicates Schwartz is "the German battery from Illinois" you have referenced. 

Unfortunately, Nispel gives no accurate time that this brief action beside Shiloh Church took place, but my best guess of the flow is this (times in parenthesis are approximate):

  • (0945)  Waterhouse subjected to attack from front and flank; 3 guns lost, remainder flee north (just before 10am);
  • (10am)  Major Ezra Taylor observes misfortune that befalls Waterhouse; withdraws Barrett's Battery to safety;
  • (1015)  After leaving initial position right of Buckland, Schwartz moves northeast and unlimbers three guns beside Shiloh Church (near position abandoned by Barrett); fires one discharge of canister; subjected to return fire from enemy battery, Schwartz limbers for the rear (crosses Hamburg-Purdy Road before McDowell's baggage wagons create traffic jam) and gains support of 17th Illinois of Raith's Brigade;
  • (1030)  Traffic jam arrives; Behr's Indiana battery ordered into firing position by General Sherman, but Captain Behr shot down immediately; Behr's Battery of five guns abandoned by panicked gun crews.

Yours in seeking the truth...

Ozzy

References:  OR 10 page 146  http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar&cc=moawar&idno=waro0010&q1=McAllister&node=waro0010%3A2&view=image&seq=164&size=100  

DW Reed's Battle of Shiloh page 91 (artillery assigned to 1st Division)

N.B.  Schwartz began the day with four guns (two 6-pounders and two 12-pounders). One piece was left behind near the 72nd Ohio; another piece was lost later in the day (hence three guns in use beside Shiloh Church.)

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ozzy, so you believe, based on this account to be the German crew from Illinois who stayed in positiion for ten minutes or so, on the west side of Shiloh church, described by John Cockerill ? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ozzy,  you believe this occurred after Barrett abandoned position? At 10:15   Schwartz arrives, unlimbered, fires one round of canister, takes return fire, limbers up and falls back. This certainly would fit almost exactly with Cockerills description. Was Schwartz's battery German speaking as well, giving commands in German?  Maybe that is why Cockerill described them as German. Cockerill says they were a six gun battery with room to unlimber only three. 

When do you believe Barrett arrived then abandoned the position?

Just a thought on German immigrant troops from Ohio at least, I'm sure it would be the same for Illinois as well, is the fact that many of these men served in the armies of the State's and principalities back in Germany. 20,000 German born men served in the ranks of Ohio troops. German and Swiss immigrant men loved shooting and firearms and formed Shutzenvere or shooting clubs, which were very popular. The 77th Ohio for instance, by my best estimate, had at least 25 percent German men, Colonel Hildebrand was a second generation German who was fluent in German and many immigrants insisted on serving under him. Lots of accounts dismiss these men as green troops, who barely knew how to drill, which may be somewhat true, but that didn't mean they couldn't shoot, as the hundreds of dead along their front proved.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger

Yes, from my reading of OR 10 page 146 [Lt Nispel's report] Schwartz's Battery 'E' is the "German battery from Illinois" mentioned in action (briefly) to west side of Shiloh Church [my estimate is 1015am -- Ozzy].

You ask, "Why was it described as a German battery?"  

  • Adolph Schwartz was born in Karlsruhe, Baden, German Confederation about 1828, and did not leave Europe until he was in his 20s so would have had an unmistakable German accent (even when speaking English.)
  • Alternatively, the name -- Schwartz -- is obviously not-English (and most everyone who was "not-English" was labelled as German, at this time, whether they were from Hungary, Austria, Holland, Switzerland...)

Battery 'E' unlimbered three guns beside Shiloh Church (at approximately 1015am) because they only possessed three guns, at that time (having abandoned one damaged gun during withdrawal from first position, back and right of Buckland.)  There may have been an expectation on the part of your source for six guns (6-gun batteries being the norm) and surprise ensued when only three guns were put into action. However, several Union batteries across Shiloh Battlefield began the day with only four guns -- not just Schwartz. [When Nispel eventually arrived to take position in Grant's Last Line with what remained of Schwartz's Battery, he only had two guns: a 6-pounder and a 12-pounder Howitzer, having lost one more gun along the way.]

In reviewing the reports of Major Ezra Taylor and Captain Barrett, the following details are revealed:

  • Taylor (page 273) completed his artillery placements "on instruction from General Sherman." [Sherman was not wounded until approximately 7am, so the artillery was ordered into position by the General after that time.]
  • Barrett (page 276) reports that he "left to take his position at about 7:30am, and was firing ten minutes later, on the right of the log church."
  • Lieutenant Ryan (page 139) arrived in position with the 17th Illinois (part of Raith's Brigade) between 8 and 8:30am and reports that he "rode forward and spoke to Captain Barrett directly."

Major Taylor also reports that after witnessing the misfortune that befell Waterhouse, he raced over and ordered Barrett to withdraw to the new line being formed (page 273.) Since Waterhouse lost his three guns (just before 10am -- my estimate) Barrett must have been withdrawn at, or just after 10am (which allows Schwartz time to arrive a few minutes later and take position near where Barrett had been.)

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 10 (pages as sited)

http://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/reg_html/art_002.html   Illinois record of 2nd Illinois Lt Artillery

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×