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Billy1977

Col. Raith's brigade in the Shiloh Church line

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Hello everybody, first of all let me say I don't know if that's an actual term (Shiloh Church line) but by that I mean to say Sherman's division's initial position on the ridge with Shiloh Church overlooking Shiloh Branch. OK, my question is this: what happened with Raith's brigade? It was sent up to reinforce Sherman's line, I know that, but 

a.) when did they move up? Was it right after the 53rd Ohio collapsed when Col. Appler said "Retreat and save yourselves"? 

b.) Was Raith's brigade attacked when it was in its position as part of the Shiloh Church line? Did it help defeat any of the smaller piecemeal attacks made by Cleburne's or Anderson's brigades before the larger multi-brigade attack that carried Waterhouse's position? Or was it pretty much idle there until being ordered to fall back to the next line on the Hamburg-Purdy Road? Cunningham in the book Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 makes it sound like Raith's brigade was attacked about the same time Nispel's battery was involved in an artillery duel and lost one of its pieces. 

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Billy

The exact movements of the 3rd Brigade of McClernand's 1st Division are difficult to determine, due: death of Colonel J. Raith; no proper report of Commander of 3rd Brigade (although Lieutenant Abram Ryan, Acting Asst Adj General, and LtCol E.P. Wood in command of 17th Illinois... and from noon April 6th in Command 3rd Brigade, make worthy efforts to provide that report.) And there is no report of 49th Illinois (the regiment at left end of 3rd Brigade.) And timings are not precise.

So, to your questions:  When did the 3rd Brigade move up?

McClernand [OR10 page 114] indicates:  "Early Sunday morning, hearing sharp firing from Sherman's direction, I sent a messenger. General Sherman replied, saying "he desired a battalion of cavalry." But before my cavalry reached Sherman's camp, Sherman himself hastened forward, and said "he desired support." After sorting out who was in charge of the 3rd Brigade [not Ross... not Rearden...] Colonel Raith was assigned as Acting Commander. He led the Brigade to the front.

DW Reed (page 14):  "Colonel Raith was brought up to support Sherman's left flank and Waterhouse Battery."

Lt Abram Ryan [OR10 page 139]:  "The 3rd Brigade advanced to the camp of Sherman's Division."

LtCol EP Wood [OR 10 page 141]:  "About 7:30 we were aware we were really attacked; the long roll beat; and the 17th Illinois, about 400 strong, fell in promptly. After waiting a time for orders, Lieutenant Ryan appeared with orders from Colonel Raith to move to the left of Sherman's Division, the 17th Illinois on the right of the 3rd Brigade."

The 3rd Brigade appears to have arrived as the 53rd Ohio was holding its own... but not for long. Lt Ryan (page 139) indicates that he rode forward, chatted with Captain Barrett of Taylor's Battery, and informed him that his support on the left had just given way. Ryan also pointed out where his 3rd Brigade was positioned, and advised he could rely on that Brigade for support, if needed.

In DW Reed (page 57):  "The 53rd Ohio fell back [in a rout] around the 49th Illinois of Raith's 3rd Brigade."

When was the 3rd Brigade attacked?

Lt Ryan [OR 10 page 139]:  "After speaking to Captain Barrett, I rode north and reported to Colonel Raith the state of affairs at the front. Raith directed me to "find the position of the 2nd Brigade" (which I found to our rear and left, with MGen McClernand directing its movements.) I reported to MGen McClernand, and he ordered me to have the 3rd Brigade "fall back, and form on the right of the 2nd Brigade."

EP Wood (page 141):  "Soon we were ordered to oblique right (with the left of the 3rd Brigade falling back, to join it to the 2nd Brigade.) Very soon the enemy made his appearance, and our boys opened fire on him..."

Lt Ryan:  "Returning to the 3rd Brigade, I couldn't find Colonel Raith: he was somewhere else on the field. So I gave the order (from McClernand) to adjust the front of the Brigade: the right of the 3rd Brigade held its position; while the left fell back, fighting each step of the way."

Was the 3rd Brigade actively engaged, or passive at this first position?

LtCol EP Wood (page 141):  "Our boys opened fire on the advancing enemy, doing fine execution. Our fire seemed to check them, for a time... until they advanced again, and as they seemed to be flanking us on the left, we changed front. The regiment on our right gave way, and the 17th Illinois obliqued to the left... and the Battery in front [Waterhouse] about 200 yards away, was taken by the enemy." -- "Shortly afterwards, the order came to fall back, and join on the division on our right, and form a continuous line with it (Sherman's Division was about 50 or 60 yards to the rear.) We did this, while still pouring a terrific fire into the advancing foe..."

 

Ozzy

References:  OR volumes 10 and 52 (pages as indicated)

DW Reed The Battle of Shiloh and the organizations engaged (1909)

 

 

 

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Thanks Ozzy!! So Col. Raith's brigade was in fact engaged, and quite heavily it seems, in the "Shiloh Church line" before falling back to the "Hamburg-Purdy Road line" as I call that second position. Do you happen to know what Confederate units were attacking Raith's brigade in its initial (Shiloh Church) position? Was it S.A.M. Wood's brigade? Or (now here's sort of a separate question) did Patton Anderson's brigade attack it? Anderson's brigade as far as I know came up and attacked over pretty much the same ground as Pat Cleburne's brigade, before the 11th Louisiana of Robert Russell's brigade attacked and was repulsed, before what I call the larger, more coordinated multi-brigade attack that ultimately carried Waterhouse's battery's initial position and that of its remaining infantry supports, did Anderson's brigade make a second brigade-strength attack against Sherman's Shiloh Church line after getting repulsed but before the larger, successful multi-brigade attack that took the position? In other words, right about the same time as the 11th Louisiana from Russell's brigade made its own unsuccessful attack? Or did Anderson's brigade simply make a single unsuccessful attack before the 11th Louisiana, then reform and recover before participating in the successful bigger attack? 

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Billy

Given that LtCol EP Wood indicates the 17th Illinois was almost directly north of Waterhouse (and perhaps 200 yards away) at the time Waterhouse Battery was captured (and Wood saw it captured), I would include those regiments engaged in the capture of Waterhouse as potential adversaries of Raith's Brigade, i.e., 154th Senior Tennessee, Blythe's Mississippi, and the 13th Tennessee. S.A.M. Wood's Brigade has potential; as do the 11th Louisiana...

In Lieutenant Ryan's report [OR 10 page 139] he indicates that when he completed the backward-wheel left of Raith's Brigade, he discovered Marsh's 2nd Brigade was no longer where he expected it to be (Marsh had moved to the north and east.) But the 3rd Brigade maintained this new orientation, in spite of the left flank "hanging in the breeze."

In LtCol EP Wood's report [OR 10 page 141] he remarks, "the regiment on our right having given way, and moved entirely to the rear..."  Since EP Wood occupied the right end of Raith's Brigade, the "regiment to the right" must have belonged to Sherman [most likely 57th Ohio or 77th Ohio.] Which regiment isn't really important: what is of importance is the fact Raith's Brigade was left exposed, unsupported on either flank for a period of time, and would have drawn fire from any Confederate units within range.

Also of interest: the 154th Senior Tennessee was involved in the capture of guns from Waterhouse (although credited to 13th Tennessee) and Schwartz. And elements of Raith's Brigade provided support for Schwartz' Battery, in vicinity of the Crossroads.

For more detail on the movements of the Federal and Confederate units mentioned in this post, see the following video, featuring Bjorn Skaptason (and created by Tony Willoughby) The 154th: Tennessee's Senior Regiment at Shiloh. Especially 28:30 (154th attacks in vicinity of Shiloh Church); 36:00 (involvement of 57th Ohio);38:30 (Blythe's Mississippi and the 154th Senior Tennessee work together); 44:00 through to 55 minute mark (capture of Waterhouse guns and advance to the Crossroads.)

    

Cheers

Ozzy

 

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Thanks Ozzy, is it possible that after Appler cracked up and his 53rd Ohio retreated around the flank of the 49th Illinois of Raith's brigade and the 77th Ohio and the 57th Ohio fell back from their untenable forward position (and several companies of the 57th kept going to the landing) that both the 57th and 77th Ohio fell in to the right of Waterhouse's battery and Raith's two left-hand regiments, the 43rd and 49th Illinois, moved forward to a spot parallel with Waterhouse but on his left? 

But if that is the case then is Larry Daniel incorrect in saying that skirmishers from the rump of the 57th Ohio were driven back 500 yards to the main position of what was left of the 57th Ohio where a 15-minute firefight was waged until the 57th pulls back again and several companies of the 13th Tennessee enter a ravine that runs relatively close to Waterhouse's battery position, from which they emerge by surprise close to the battery and Waterhouse is wounded, orders the battery to fall back etc.? Because as the 13th Tenn. (eventually, after swinging around to the flank) attacked Waterhouse's battery from the battery's left, meaning the 57th Ohio or what was left of it should have been on Waterhouse's left, if it was the infantry support that was driven back, exposing the ravine and Waterhouse's left flank.

Maybe the 77th Ohio and the stump of the 57th Ohio were to Waterhouse's immediate left and the 43rd and 49th Illinois of Raith's brigade were sort of to the left rear of them, with Raith's other two regiments roughly parallel with the left two? Because Wood of the 17th Illinois says the battery is about 200 yards to his left front, correct?

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Billy

Early in the day, the two-gun section belonging to Waterhouse was recalled... and left the 53rd Ohio exposed (53rd subsequently moved well back.)

Afterwards, with the 77th Ohio and 57th Ohio between Taylor's Battery and Waterhouse Battery (and Raith north-northeast of Waterhouse) the Confederates appear to have driven away the 57th... the 77th... most of Raith (leaving Waterhouse exposed. But when Waterhouse attempted to move a bit further north, he was ordered to hold position by Major Ezra Taylor... and ended up losing several guns, and withdrawing the rest.) With Waterhouse's misadventure, (and no one left to provide support for Taylor's Battery on the east) Major Taylor removed Barrett to safety, further north.

In The History of the 53rd Ohio, page 46, LtCol Dawes recollects that "a regiment belonging to McClernand moved south of the 53rd Ohio [closer to Waterhouse] and impeded the ability of the 53rd to return fire against the enemy." Unfortunately, the identity of this "McClernand regiment" is not provided.

Ozzy

 

References:  OR volume 10 (various pages)

http://archive.org/stream/historyoffiftyth00duke#page/46/mode/2up   (The History of the 53rd Ohio by John Duke, at archive.org)

 

 

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