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Billy1977

16th Wisconsin, morning of 6 April 1862

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Hello everybody, I have a question about the actions of the 16th Wisconsin on the morning of 6 April. Now I think the general consensus is that one of its companies, Company A led by Capt. Edward Saxe, was returning from its picket station at the same time that Col. Moore was leading the relief column forward to assist Powell, and that on Moore's orders Saxe's company fell in with his relief column, Saxe being given the choice of falling in on the right or left, with Saxe choosing the right. When the combined force advanced across Seay Field and was fired upon, the initial volley killing Capt. Saxe and Sgt. John Williams of Company A, a skirmish developed but once the shooting petered out and it was felt that the skirmish was over Powell's patrol as well as Company A/16th Wisc. withdrew carrying the bodies of Saxe and Williams in gum blankets. All that is pretty much agreed upon. Now is where things get complicated. 

According to the after-action report of Col. Benjamin Allen, commander of the 16th Wisconsin, he was alerted at his tent by Prentiss who ordered him to get his regiment in line, and he did so and they moved forward 80 rods (~440 yds.) to the front of their camp and waited there in a thicket in line of battle. 
http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0010;node=waro0010%3A2;view=image;seq=303;size=100;page=root

The problem is that according to Lt. Col. Woodyard's report (replacing the wounded Col. Moore) when his 21st Missouri was in position facing the rebels by itself temporarily, after the withdrawal of Saxe's company and Powell's patrol, he was soon joined by four companies of the 16th Wisconsin, which he says arrived without their field officers. He specifically mentions there being four companies of that regiment that arrived to assist him after his regiment had been left by itself, not the whole regiment coming up at once and falling in beside him.
http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0010;node=waro0010%3A2;view=image;seq=301;size=100;page=root 

For his part, Col. Allen makes no mention of four of his companies already having gone forward when he assembled (the balance of) his regiment on Prentiss's orders. Reading his report gives one the impression his entire regiment was assembled and then went forward as a whole. He doesn't say this in so many words but he neglects to mention four companies being already in line before he was aware of it, probably (in my opinion) an omission due to not wanting to admit that four of his companies were already up in line ready to fight before he was even aware of it. That would be kind of embarrassing I suppose. Nevertheless it distorts the picture by making it seem like his whole regiment was assembled and brought forward at the same time. Apparently four of his companies were already assisting Woodyard, and my guess would be that it was the four companies of the 16th Wisconsin which had been assigned picket duty that morning (one of which was Saxe's Company A). What follows is, according to the best I can figure, what most likely occurred with the 16th Wisconsin that morning. This is not carved in stone, this is just the best that I can come up with for what the 16th Wisconsin was doing. 

1.) Capt. Saxe's Company A joins Moore's relief column, fights alongside it until it appears the skirmish is over then withdraws carrying the bodies of Saxe and Williams; Companies B, C and D (I think) were the other three companies on picket that morning but apparently they must have come back to camp by a slightly different route than Saxe's company because just about all accounts have only Company A/16th Wisc. spotting Moore's column and falling in with it. Anyway while Company A was going back to the front with Moore's column Companies B, C and D were going back to camp. 

2.) The four companies (including the late Saxe's Company A) were back in camp eating breakfast when alerted to the (larger) danger of a larger attack than just a skirmish, and those four companies, including the late Saxe's Company A, are the four companies which Woodyard reported as coming up to assist him. According to the War Papers Read Before the Commandery of the State of Wisconsin, Loyal Legion of the United States it says on pg. 54 that it was Capt. Fox of Company B, 16th Wisc. who came running into camp and alerted the other companies which had been on picket but were now eating breakfast. 
https://books.google.com/books?id=5-ASAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=D.+Lloyd+Jones+The+Battle+of+Shiloh+Reminiscences+of+D.+Lloyd+Jones&source=bl&ots=qLOHYrCYUC&sig=N8IACawCUYQZnr4Ux5H2pi0r67U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwii_aiE_tvPAhVJ2yYKHX93BvkQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

3.) As these four companies head to the front to assist Woodyard Prentiss finds Col. Benjamin Allen at his tent and orders him to get (the balance of) his regiment in the line. 

4.) Allen brings the remaining companies of the 16th Wisconsin forward and the four companies that had been in picket then on line earlier reunite with the balance of the regiment about 80 rods in front of their camp where Allen says his regiment formed in line of battle to await their enemy's appearance. 

Does that sound right to you all? The only problem with this version of events is Capt. Fox of Company B yelling "Company A is fighting and we must go and help them!" which makes me wonder what time this was happening, since Company A returned to camp with the bodies of Saxe and Williams and was eating breakfast along with the other three companies that had been on picket as near as I can tell, rather than still being in the line. This version doesn't account for the withdrawal of Saxe's Company A and then Company A as well as B, C and D then coming forward to assist Woodyard. Fox made it sound like Company A was still in the line. Not sure. What do you folks think? 


 

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I don't believe that Companies B, C and D returned to camp at the beginning of the battle. Everything I've found has the four picket Companies joining Col. Moore at the beginning of the battle. Timothy Smith in "Shiloh: Conquer or Perish" states: "By this time, Peabody had already sent out more of his brigade to aid Powell's outnumbered command. Powell was retreating to his camps, but arriving columns changed his mind - first those of the 16th Wisconsin pickets , who were now the front line, ...." I've never found where B, C and D go after the patrol is driven back, but Company A does rejoin the regiment.

Wiley Sword in "Shiloh: Bloody April" has Company A returning to camp with the bodies of Saxe & Williams and of Woodyard's command "Here they were joined by three other companies of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry that also had been on picket duty."

Cunningham in "Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862" has Company A joining Col. Moore at the beginning and then Capt. Fox of Company B running into camp with the warning. I believe Fox made his statement to the other three picket Companies and not in the camp. They then join Moore/Woodyard.

 

 

 

Jim

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Hello Jim, first please let me say thank you for responding to my question. Secondly, Wiley Sword says in his Shiloh: Bloody April on page 156 that all but Company A had returned to camp and were eating breakfast (because Co. A was or had just been fighting alongside Moore's relief column). In checking his source for this I see on page 481 he cites David Lloyd Jones's account "The Battle of Shiloh, Reminiscences of David Lloyd Jones" on page 56. I think I have a solution that ticks all the boxes. What I now believe happened was 
1.)  Before Capt. Saxe's Co. A started falling back with the bodies of Saxe and Williams somehow Capt. Fox of Co. B discovered that Co. A was fighting and alerted them at camp, "Hey, Company A is fighting, let's go help them" or something like that. 

2.) Co. A starts falling back as described above.

3.) Because Companies B, C and D had (like A) been on picket that early morning they were the most ready, because they were already awake and dressed, and needed only to grab their gear and muskets and fall in whereas the other six companies of the 16th Wisconsin probably still needed to get dressed and get their shoes on. So Cos. B, C and D move out before any of the rest of the 16th Wisconsin, and on their way forward they run into the late Capt. Saxe's Co. A withdrawing 

4.) Company A turns around again and joins Companies B, C and D in returning to the front and thus Woodyard says he was then assisted by four companies of the 16th Wisconsin that came up

5.) Maybe when the Woodyard-Powell-Cos. A, B, C and D/16th Wisconsin force fell back those four companies rejoined the balance of the 16th Wisc. at its line on the timbered rise about 80 rods in front of their camp where Col. Allen says his regiment was. 

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I tend to take David Lloyd Jones's account with a grain of salt and do not use him as a primary source unless collaborated by other sources. I don't believe any of the four companies returned to camp before the battle and went from picket duty straight to fighting. It doesn't make sense for picket companies to leave their post and return to camp without being relieved nor do I believe they would have gone to breakfast as the fight was starting.

 

Jim

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Well, while O. Edward Cunningham's book Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 cites the "Capt. Fox warning them" story on pg. 153, for his part Wiley Sword doesn't mention in his book Shiloh: Bloody April the Capt. Fox story, and instead on pg. 150 he concludes that all four companies (A, B, C and D) were back in camp eating breakfast, B, C and D returning first from their picket patrols and Co. A returning last (with the bodies of Saxe and Williams.) Which would mean it would make no sense for Capt. Fox to be running into camp saying "Co. A is fighting! Let's go help them!" if Co. A was back in camp already. Sword however incorrectly claims that Woodyard was soon reinforced with three companies of the 16th Wisconsin when it is known (both from Woodyard's report and Reed's Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged) that it was in fact four companies of the 16th Wisconsin that reinforced Woodyard, not three. If the Capt. Fox story is apocryphal then I think Sword's version is largely correct. 

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Col. Allen states in his report of the battle falling back to his third battle position:

"I made my next stand directly in front of our camp. While holding this position I was re-inforced by party of Company A, who were out on picket." This would tend to show that the companies had not returned from picket duty before then. I do not believe the four companies would have left their posts without being relieved, so they would have been out in front from the beginning.

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Hello all,

My initial search for a long lost great uncle in the civil war brought me here. His name is Benjamin L Dean and he was listed as a volunteer with H company of the 16th Wisconsin Regiment. The regimental diary listed him as missing on April 6 and deceased Aug 4th, 1862 in Macon Georgia. There was a prison Camp in Ogelthorpe Macon Georgia which leads me to believe he was taken prisoner and died in captivity. Fate of prisoners on both sides were terrible from what I had read. Where would war prisoners be buried if I were to go and pay my respects?

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Welcome, Dean

Camp Oglethorpe was the fairgrounds at Macon, and became the recruiting camp for local Rebel soldiers. When necessity dictated its use as Prison Pen, the old fairgrounds (sited today south of intersection of Oglethorpe Street and 5th Street, in old railroad yard) was completely fenced, and the top of the fence patrolled by guards. But, until the arrival of Major Rylander CSA, the Federal prisoners (up to 3000 held at Oglethorpe at one time) enjoyed a high degree of personal freedom -- including the ability to play baseball games on the sprawling grounds.

As with all Prison camps, North and South, the attrition rate from disease was high (over twenty percent being the historical figure; at Camp Oglethorpe, there was at least one death each day, and sometimes two or three in a day, from June 1st until the camp was emptied in October 1862, as result of Dix-Hill Cartel Parole arrangement.

Men who expired while at Camp Oglethorpe were buried just outside the high board fence of the Prison Pen, in a purpose-created cemetery. After the Civil War ended, all of those burials were removed (and it appears that reburial took place at Andersonville, Andersonville National Cemetery.)

Attached are some links you can review for more information

Ozzy

 

References:  http://scvcamp1399.org/CampOglethorpe.php  Details of Camp Oglethorpe, Macon Georgia.

http://www.civilwarprisoners.com/searchresults.php?fname=&lname=Dean&regiment=16th+Wisconsin&database=cahaba  Benjamin Dean listing

http://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/32522/andersonville-national-cemetery  Search portal for Andersonville National Cemetery

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=GkKaFGWb4PAC&pg=PA294&lpg=PA294&dq=lieutenant+luther+jackson+buried+andersonville&source=bl&ots=UTJ6BsAicl&sig=Avk4pBH3PlJW4qWSPDBDf0rCo60&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih1JOC59_YAhWEErwKHTJsD6kQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=lieutenant luther jackson buried andersonville&f=false  A Perfect Picture of Hell by Genoways & Genoways (2001) although focused on 12th Iowa experience in POW camps during Civil War, page 294 details death and burial of Lieutenant Luther Jackson at Camp Oglethorpe; and his reburial at Andersonville after the War.

 

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Thank you Ozzie, this is very helpful information that I never would have known how to access on my own. I intend to visit him this year. Cheers!

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Dean

Here is the link to Andersonville National Cemetery:    http://www.nps.gov/ande/planyourvisit/andersonville_national_cemetery.htm  

Click on "National Graveside Locator," and in the new box, select "Andersonville National Cemetery, GA" [from Cemetery List]

And insert Last Name of Veteran sought (no need for first or middle names; but if Deane or Deen or Deene is possible, check for them, too.)

The bad news: when I attempted this search, Benjamin Dean does not come back as a hit (although 23 other Deans return as hits.)

I checked known 12th Iowa deaths at Camp Oglethorpe, with the following results:

  • Lieutenant Luther W. Jackson               Died 9 June 1862             Section C            Location 13261
  • William H. Collins                                     Died 31 July 1862            No record
  • John Byrnes                                              Died 1 Oct 1862                No record
  • Jesse Dean                                                Died 19 June 1862           Section C           Location 13267
  • Henry Beadle                                             Died 10 Aug 1862             Section B           Location 13078
  • William O. Bird                                           Died 29 Sep 1862             No record
  • C. Clevens                                                  Died 24 Aug 1862             Section B            Location 12998 

Although my records indicate Collins, Byrnes and Bird are buried at Andersonville, no record comes back from the Official Registry. 

However, when "Unknown" is searched at Andersonville via Find-a-grave, over one hundred unknown burials are listed for Andersonville (while the Veteran's Affairs site does not permit searching for 'Unknown.")

My point:  although a man's grave was most likely marked at Camp Oglethorpe temporary cemetery, if the headboard was lost or became unreadable, the identification was likely recorded as "Unknown" in process of reburial. However, since all the reburials from Oglethorpe were conducted at the same time, these "Unknown" headstones will be intermixed with the known burials, from about Location 12998 through 13267.

Hope you are able to make the visit to Andersonville

Ozzy

 

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