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Ozzy

The Toss of a Coin

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This Illinois regiment arrived with the 25th Missouri Infantry at Savannah aboard the steamer Continental  late on March 28th 1862. But while the 25th Missouri gained fame at the Battle of Shiloh, this Illinois regiment is not recorded as participating in the action (and has no monument at Shiloh.)

Name this Illinois regiment.

Ozzy

 

N.B.  Much in the same way General Sherman could have been caught away from the Battle of Shiloh (due his participation in a raid on April 1/2 against Eastport), this quiz question demonstrates the influence of Chance in decisive actions.

 

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You can't make this up...

On March 28th the Continental pulled into Savannah, Tennessee and General Grant ordered the 25th Missouri to disembark (and become part of the defensive force at Savannah, which included an Indiana regiment and the 14th Wisconsin.) A few minutes later, Grant countermanded his order and the Illinois regiment was disembarked at Savannah; the 25th Missouri -- along with Colonel Peabody and Major Powell -- ordered on to Pittsburg Landing.

At 3:30 pm on April 6th, Captain W.S. Hillyer disembarked at Savannah with orders to "send Crittenden's Division by steamers to Pittsburg Landing."  While carrying out this order, Captain Hillyer discovered that McCook and Wood and Thomas were also close at hand... and sent orders for those divisions to march to Savannah for transport to Pittsburg Landing by steamer. Not satisfied with that "extension of his authority," Hillyer also recalled that "three regiments belonging to Army of the Tennessee were at Savannah." Surely, one regiment would be sufficient for defence of Savannah (and the Indiana regiment under Colonel Gresham was tapped to remain on site.) The other two regiments were ordered to report to Pittsburg Landing.

Of those two, the 14th Wisconsin embarked on a steamer within an hour of receiving the order; arrived at Pittsburg Landing after nightfall; and was attached -- voluntarily -- to W.S. Smith's 14th Brigade of Crittenden's Division... and performed admirably on April 7th.

The Illinois regiment (subject of this quiz question) did not manage to get transport until next day; arrived on Monday the 7th in the afternoon; and "missed the show" ...no Battle Honors on its flag; no report in the OR; no monument at Shiloh. Perhaps it was due to inexperience and ineptitude that the Illinois regiment failed to get itself to Pittsburg Landing; but, if so, how much greater the importance of the "decision" that sent the experienced, able men of the 25th Missouri to take Illinois' place?

And it may have come down to the toss of a coin...

Ozzy

 

 

 

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https://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/scrapbk/ransteaddiary.html

53rd Illinois? Ironically from W.H.L. Wallace's home town of Ottawa, Illinois.

"The regiment had to stay at Savannah, about twenty miles from the battle of Pittsburg Landing, and did not get there till the next day, Monday, April 7, 1862, arriving about noon, too late to take a hand, as the boys had them on the run."

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Rbn3

53rd Illinois... not an easy regiment to find information IRT participation in Tennessee River campaign; further muddled by presence of Colonel Walter Gresham's 53rd Indiana at Savannah (and some sources referring only to "53rd Regiment at Savannah," further confusing the attempt at research.)

Following the fortuitous (for the Union) countermand of orders -- ensuring presence of Colonel Peabody and Major Powell at Battle of Shiloh -- the 53rd Illinois under Colonel William Cushman established camp on the "fairground" at Savannah and were on hand to provide support in defence of Post of Savannah. The failure of this regiment to play a part in the Battle of Shiloh could be attributed to "bad luck" (insufficient steamers on hand to move the thousands of soldiers requiring transport to Pittsburg Landing.) And bad luck could also describe the 53rd Illinois participation at Hatchie Bridge; and especially the July 1863 involvement in Lauman's Charge at Jackson, Mississippi.

Well Done, Rbn3, in discovering the answer to this "star-crossed" quiz question.

Ozzy

References:  W.S. Hillyer's Letter of April 11th 1862

http://www.artcirclelibrary.info/Reference/civilwar/1862-04.pdf  see pages 18-19 "Description of Pittsburg Landing Fairgrounds" (article included in April 5th 1862 edition of The Chicago Times, and attributed to "One of the 53rd")

N.B.  Don't know if the Battle Flag of the 25th Missouri survived Shiloh, but members of 53rd Illinois saw "Lexington" boldly inscribed upon it, during their voyage on steamer Continental. 

http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/ref/collection/cwflag/id/123  Flag of 25th Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

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