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President Davis and Shiloh

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In late Summer of 1861, President Jefferson Davis was in his sickbed upstairs in the Executive Mansion when he took notice of a door being opened downstairs, followed by the sound of footsteps. "That's Sidney Johnston's step," remarked Davis, immediately feeling better and raising himself. "Send him up." [Life of ASJ page 291]

Now, less than nine months later, Jefferson Davis's good friend and potential Savior of the Confederacy was dead... in puzzling circumstances. Supposedly, the South was winning the Battle of Shiloh at the moment General Johnston died; PGT Beauregard (Johnston's replacement) even sent a telegram that Sunday afternoon notifying President Davis that, "the Army of Mississippi is Victorious (while including the tragic, "by the way, Albert Sidney Johnston is dead.") The welcome news of Southern Victory (along with the sad death notification) was shared with the Confederate Congress; and foreign "observers" who were in Richmond (with prospect of promoting European recognition of the Confederate Government) were informed of the Confederate Victory.

But, Jefferson Davis was not a man who could put his faith in the new electronic communication; he was most trusting of face-to-face conversation. And something about the report coming from Shiloh -- "Victory one day; returned to Corinth the next" -- did not seem right...

How to find out the Truth? Who could be trusted to tell him the truth: about everything... the Battle, and General Johnston's death?

I believe the man selected was one of the seven aides to Albert Sidney Johnston who accompanied the General's body to New Orleans: a man who would not only be able to describe the sad proceeding of the funeral... and Johnston's death... and the true outcome of Battle; but could also use the "Collapse of New Orleans" as cover for his need to report to Richmond. The man chosen had turned down General Beauregard's offer of employment on his Staff.

His name was Dudley M. Haydon.

An important Shiloh connection, previously overlooked...



References:  OR volume 10 (various pages)

Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston by his son, William Preston Johnston (1878)

Encyclopedia of Louisville, Kentucky by John E. Kleber (2001) [Almost all of A.S. Johnston's Staff had connection to Louisville -- Ozzy]

Daily Arkansas Gazette of July 3rd 1885 "The Battle of Shiloh and the Death of General Johnston" by Colonel D.M. Haydon

"Rough Notes on Shiloh" (April 1862) by Major D.M. Hayden [misspelling of last name in original source -- Ozzy]

Colonel William Preston's Letter of April 18th 1862 to President Jefferson Davis [believed to have been delivered by Major Haydon -- Ozzy]





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A well-known axiom of military aviation states:  "The first man to the chalkboard wins the dogfight."

First Man to the Chalkboard after Shiloh 

Perhaps it was always on the cards... although totally unintentional, completely accidental. But almost the same day Major Dudley Haydon departed New Orleans, representatives of General PGT Beauregard left Corinth, all bound for the same destination: Richmond, and the ear of President Davis. Jacob Thompson (of Mississippi) travelled along the M & O R.R. with H.E. Peyton (native of Loudon County, Virginia) bound for Mobile; voyage by steamer up the Alabama River to Montgomery; and completion of the journey by rail to the Confederate Capital. Taking the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern out of the Crescent City, Major D.M. Haydon may have connected with the M & O at Meridian, Mississippi and followed the route of Thompson and Peyton, with perhaps two day's separation. The pair from Corinth carried with them twenty-eight flags, banners and pennants taken from the Battlefield of Shiloh (as well as General Beauregard's handwritten after-action report.)

But Major Haydon possessed something much more important, and compelling: the Truth.



References:  Richmond Daily Dispatch, various issues for 1862.

N.B.   Thompson and Peyton appear to have arrived in Richmond about April 30th; Hayden's diary arrived, too.



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Before revealing who won "the Race to the Chalkboard," will take this opportunity to briefly introduce the three key players in that race:

Henry E. Peyton can best be described as a "Beauregard supporter."  General Beauregard was so impressed with his performance during the July 1861 Battle of Manassas that the General brought the cavalryman from Loudoun, Virginia onto his staff, and gave him rank of Major. H.E. Peyton remained with Beauregard until 1863 (when he was brought onto the staff of Robert E. Lee.)

Jacob Thompson was a career politician who was President Buchanan's Secretary of the Interior... until resigning in January 1861. A close friend of fellow-Mississippian Jefferson Davis, it is surprising to discover Thompson's inclusion on the staff of General Beauregard (and Alfred Roman does not explain how that eventuality came to pass.) It is even more surprising to find Jacob Thompson was one of the two representatives sent by PGT Beauregard to deliver the General's hand-written Battle of Shiloh report to Richmond.

Colonel Thompson (like Major Peyton) returned to Corinth in May 1862; and Thompson remained with Beauregard until he joined the staff of General John C. Pemberton... and was captured with that officer at Vicksburg. Following his parole, Jacob Thompson resumed political pursuits in Mississippi, until called to "special assignment" by President Davis in late 1864: service in Canada, tasked with "wreaking havoc" against the Northern States from Montreal.

Dudley M. Haydon was born into a family of Kentucky silversmiths in 1816; he entered into partnership with his father, Noah, in the family business in 1836... and departed Kentucky in 1838 for three years of overseas travel through Europe and the Mideast (becoming one of the first American citizens to visit Turkey and Egypt.) Probably because of his new "celebrity status" (and his family's status in Lexington, Versailles and Louisville) Dudley Hayden became part of a social circle in Louisville that included successful political figures, political power-brokers and Kentucky militia leaders with last names of Breckinridge, Preston, Marshall and Wickliffe. As a member of that social circle, D.M. Haydon got caught up in an unfortunate incident in 1849: two acquaintances challenged each other to a duel, and Haydon became "second" to Henry Clay Pope. Captain Pope was shot and killed by John Thompson Gray on June 14th (and a Kentucky law passed in 1799 made "participants in a duel resulting in death guilty of murder.") Dudley Haydon fled Kentucky.

At some point, D.M. Haydon found himself in Natchez, Mississippi; and on December 14th 1854 Dudley married Ann Gillespie in Adams County, Mississippi (Ann was daughter of the very wealthy James A. Gillespie of Hollywood Plantation.) The fugitive from Louisville, Kentucky appears to have settled into his new role and new surroundings quite well... until the Secession Crisis of 1860. D.M. Hayden next appears on a ship's manifest for January 1861, arriving in New York from Aspinwall (the Atlantic Ocean trans-shipment port of Panama, which many persons travelling from California to the "developed" United States made use of during their voyage from San Francisco to Panama City, with hike across the isthmus to Aspinwall (Colon)). And Haydon next appears at Fort Columbus, Kentucky in October 1861 on the staff of General Albert Sidney Johnston. From that moment, until April 1862, Dudley Haydon's path was the same as that blazed by his General.


References:   http://archive.org/stream/milloperations01romarich#page/n5/mode/2up  Roman's bio of PGT Beauregard

http://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Encyclopedia_of_Louisville.html?id=W7EeBgAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y  Louisville Encylo.

http://www.sil.si.edu/ondisplay/nile-notes/timeline.htm  Smithsonian record of American travellers to Egypt

http://adams.msghn.org/marriages_g.html  Marriages in Adams County, Mississippi [scroll down to Gillespie]

http://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-RMHQ-7?i=85&cc=1849782   Manifest of S.S. North Star of 14 Jan 1861

http://www.vanhook.us/getperson.php?personID=I3597&tree=VanHook   Bio of Jacob Thompson

The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia by Edward Steers, Harpers of New York, 2010.




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Perry Cuskey has already done it; I just contribute what I can to general Shiloh knowledge and connections. (The "Search Box" at top of page facilitates finding any information contained on this SDG site, making this the best Shiloh site on the Internet.)




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Returning to the analogy of the chalkboard, it may come as a surprise to find that our "chalkboard" refers to the "Court of Public Opinion" ...the organ put to use in framing, reflecting, instigating, shaping and promoting the public view... which in the 19th Century was the newspaper. And in the Confederate Capital (approaching wartime population 100,000) the paper with the highest daily circulation (just under 30,000) was the Richmond Daily Dispatch.

The team sent by General Beauregard achieved their goal on May 10th when the whole of PGT Beauregard's Battle of Shiloh report was printed on page 2, columns 4, 5 and 6. Unfortunately for Jacob Thompson and Henry Peyton, Major D.M. Hayden's article "Rough Notes on Shiloh" made the front page, top of column 4 on Monday, May 3rd.


References:  http://dispatch.richmond.edu/info/essay.php  Richmond Daily Dispatch readership during Civil War

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024738/1862-05-10/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1862&index=8&rows=20&words=Hayden&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=Virginia&date2=1862&proxtext=Hayden&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1   Richmand Daily Dispatch May 10th 1862 page 2

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024738/1862-05-03/ed-1/seq-1/  Daily Dispatch May 3rd 1862

http://shilohdiscussiongroup.com/index.php?/topic/1910-confederate-or/  CSA OR (see BGen Preston)

http://archive.org/stream/lifegenalbert00johnrich#page/504/mode/2up  Life of AS Johnston (see page 505)

N.B.   As if achieving the earlier newspaper publication wasn't enough, General William Preston's Letter of April 18th was delivered to his nephew, Colonel William Preston Johnston (since April 19th an ADC to President Davis, with residence at the Executive Mansion.) There is little doubt that Colonel Johnston shared the contents of that letter with Jefferson and Varina Davis.





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The curious situation involving Jacob Thompson...

Was trying to understand why General Beauregard would invite Jacob Thompson onto his staff: did the two men have some previous shared interest? [Beauregard from Louisiana and Thompson from Mississippi... unlikely. Also, Beauregard had spent nearly his entire working life in military service; while Jacob Thompson had spent his working life in politics; and he was an acolyte of Jefferson Davis.] And one need look no further than U.S. Grant with his hand-picked staff to know it was accepted practice for American Generals to choose their own staff officers.

Then, ran across an interesting exchange between General Joseph E. Johnston and President Davis (which commenced within days of the Confederate victory at Bull Run). General Johnston was surprised by the arrival of Colonel Dabney H. Maury, who reported to Johnston under orders to assume position on Johnston's staff as Assistant Adjutant General. [Again, refer to close relationship between Grant and Rawlins to understand the significance of this action "by Richmond."] Johnston wrote to Richmond (Letter dated July 24th) complaining that he had already selected Major Thomas G. Rhett as his AAG and saw Maury's appointment on his staff as "unwarranted interference." The President wrote a single word on Johnston's letter: insubordinate. The exchange of telegrams and letters evolved into a discussion of "relative seniority" -- which Joseph Johnston lost -- but he did win on the issue of his choice of AAG: Major Rhett was retained; Colonel Maury was reassigned to be AAG to Earl Van Dorn (when that officer departed for the Trans-Mississippi in January 1862.)

I suggest that Colonel Jacob Thompson was "assigned" to General Beauregard in the same way: by Richmond, just before Beauregard departed for Bowling Green.



Reference: http://archive.org/stream/jeffersondavisex02davi#page/138/mode/2up  Varina Davis Memoirs pages 138- 140.

http://archive.org/stream/cu31924030921096#page/138/mode/2up  List of Staff Officers of Confederacy



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"The Battle got Lost..." 

PGT Beauregard's Shiloh Battle Report was hand-delivered to President Jefferson Davis by Davis-ally, Jacob Thompson, three weeks after the death of General Albert Sidney Johnston. Davis was still in grief over his friend's death; and had recently embraced William Preston Johnston -- the fallen commander's son -- as a member of his personal staff. And he had received information in regard to details of the Battle of Shiloh direct from General Johnston's aides, D.M. Haydon and General William Preston.

Upon reading General Beauregard's report, President Davis would have discovered that the Commander of the Army of the Mississippi attempted to spin the contest of April 6th... into a raid. "It was never our goal to hold Pittsburg Landing. Our intention was to conduct a rapid and vigorous attack [and return to Corinth with a huge cache of stores.]" Beauregard then provided reasons why the expedition was not more successful:  "Want of [my requested] General officers delayed our move from Corinth until April 2nd." [This was a direct slap at Jefferson Davis, whom Beauregard believed had interfered with his requests.]

"The orders for march were constructed and issued..."  [Not:  "I directed the program"  or  "my trusted Staff officer, Colonel Thomas Jordan, drew up the orders..."  Yet Davis would have known via General Preston and Major Hayden and Colonel Thompson who was responsible for the faulty orders.]

"It was then decided the attack would be made next morning [on April 6th]."  [No mention of why this delay occurred. No mention of the First Council of War, during which Beauregard called for a return to Corinth... Yet staff officers were in attendance; and six staff officers would have discussed this Council -- and another impromptu meeting, morning of April 6th -- during preparations for General Johnston's Funeral in New Orleans.]

In support of the attack-as-raid, Beauregard makes the claim:  ["Upon the capture of Prentiss' Camps and all the abundant and valuable stores there contained, we had acquired] all the substantial fruits of a Complete Victory."

Referring to the tragic death of Albert Sidney Johnston, Beauregard states:  "The chief command then devolved on me..."  [To which he adds]  "...but I was sick."

Referring to why the attack of April 6th was ended, General Beauregard offers the following:

  • "I was sick [and not up to the challenge]"
  • [perceived] severity of the gunboat menace;
  • the arrival of darkness;
  • the exhaustion of our troops.

Returning to Shiloh as Great Raid, Beauregard bemoans:  "[We had possession of all these valuable stores on April 6th, but no way to gather it up and return with it to Corinth. So aside from a few needed tents and Enfield rifles, we left it all behind.]" (Southern History, page 212.)

"[After calling an end to offensive operations, evening of April 6th] I accordingly established my head-quarters at the church of Shiloh."  [No mention of having spent the bulk of the day to the rear of the Army... but Jacob Thompson would have known... and passed this information to President Davis.]

Beauregard (page 212) alludes to "hope received from a special dispatch [from Colonel Ben Helm] that Buell was not coming."  General Beauregard continues:  "[ I did not know until attacked at 6am Monday morning that Buell had arrived.]"  Unfortunately, Colonel N.B. Forrest had made numerous attempts to alert General Beauregard to this development, but his efforts were frustrated. Afterwards, there is no way Forrest would have kept this experience to himself: Jacob Thompson likely knew before he left for Richmond.

Beauregard then makes the claim "there were two battles fought" (page 215): The Great Raid (that returned to Corinth, practically empty-handed); and The Battle of Monday (against a fresh Army of the Ohio.)

After taking no personal responsibility for the result at Shiloh, Beauregard introduces "the Shirkers in the Captured Camps" as yet another reason for imperfect results on Day One. And he makes clear his intention to publish names, and publicly shame, those suspected individuals: the Scapegoats for his failure.

In an attachment to this report, General Beauregard provides a copy of the Orders of April 3rd -- Special Orders as to Movement of Troops -- signed by Thomas Jordan, under direction of General A.S. Johnston. [No mention is made of Beauregard's role in constructing these orders; but Jacob Thompson would have known the Truth.]

Offered as a reflection of the State of Affairs on May 10th 1862 (when General Beauregard's damning report was published in the Richmond Daily Dispatch on page 2.)



References:  http://archive.org/stream/southernhistoryo00conf#page/214/mode/2up  Southern History of the War, pages 209- 224.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024738/1862-05-10/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1862&sort=relevance&rows=20&words=Peyton&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=19&state=Virginia&date2=1862&proxtext=Peyton&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=6  Richmond Daily Dispatch page 2.



N.B.  [  ] Words and phrases contained in brackets are my own paraphrasing of Beauregard's statements [and the knowledge possessed by Haydon, Preston and Thompson.] In addition, in no place in his Report of April 11th 1862 does General Beauregard make use of the word "raid." But it is abundantly obvious that "A Great Raid" is what Beauregard attempted to portray as the operation of April 6th 1862 -- Ozzy.




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