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Ozzy

Confederate OR

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Official Reports of Battles, Published by Order of Congress at Richmond, Virginia by Enquirer Book and Job Press (1862).

Every once in a while, a real gem appears on archive.org ...and this is one of them. If you ever wondered where the Confederate side of the story came from (which appears in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion) this book answers the question: the Confederate Government published these records for use by Confederate Congress and other agencies within the government. This title begins with the Battle of Manassas (General Beauregard's report of August 26th 1861) on page 5; and concludes with the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky (fought August 29-30 of 1862). Two reports were added late: Colonel Adolphus Heiman's report of Fort Henry (submitted after his release from Northern prison); and Colonel N.B. Forrest's report IRT destruction of military stores just prior to February 1862 surrender of Nashville. Of course, the Battle of Shiloh is comprehensively covered... or is it? (Several curious omissions are apparent, when this "time capsule" constructed in 1862 is compared to the United States version of the same records, which began to appear in 1881. And not only Shiloh.)  

Comprehensive Index on page 573. Available online at archive.org (see link below).

Ozzy

 

http://archive.org/stream/southernhistoryo00conf#page/572/mode/2up  Official Reports of Battles (CSA) 1862

 

 

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Omission of evidence may be evidence of omission.

In the above "Confederate OR," published Sep/Oct 1862 no mention is made of the Battle of Island No.10 -- which was fought through March and April -- and decided on April 8th. The reason: as with Fort Donelson and Fort Henry, the official reports could only be acquired once the officers who wrote them were released from Northern POW camps.

However, something more sinister took place IRT the Battle of Shiloh after-action reports: many Confederate generals seem to have been deliberately late in getting their reports to PGT Beauregard. On page 348 of Roman's Military Operations of General Beauregard, awareness of the tardy submission of Shiloh reports is indicated; and on page 377 General Beauregard put it down to, "Division commanders needed essential input from regiments and Brigade commanders; and Corps commanders needed input from Division commanders." Polk did not submit his Shiloh report until 1863; and as of 1883 (the time of Alfred Roman's work) General Beauregard had still not seen Breckinridge's report.

And Braxton Bragg (whose report is included in the 1862 Confederate OR) submitted his report directly to General Samuel Cooper at Richmond -- bypassing Beauregard completely -- on July 25th 1862.

Sometimes the report of the story is the story...

Ozzy

 

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

http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_island_10.html  Battle of Island No.10 summary at historyofwar.org

OR volume 10 page 463 Report No.166

 

 

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The case of William Preston also requires attention. Sent to New Orleans via Corinth early April 7th as leader of a team of seven escorting General Albert Sidney Johnston's body to the Crescent City, Preston may have become aware of his promotion to Brigadier General through receipt of Special Orders No.29 (April 17, 1862) requiring that "Brigadier General Preston report to Major General Breckinridge for orders." By the evening of April 19th General Preston was back in Corinth; and on the morning of April 20th General Beauregard "requested" that William Preston complete a report detailing his knowledge of the Battle of Shiloh and General Johnston's death therein. The report was submitted to the General that same day [OR 10 page 403 No.139].

Also, one of Beauregard's aides, Colonel Jacob Thompson [who along with Henry E. Peyton hand-delivered the General's report of Shiloh to Richmond] submitted an after-action report to General Beauregard [OR 10 page 400 No.138].

Although both reports appear in the 1884 Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, neither report makes an appearance in the 1862 Confederate Official Reports of Battles.

Ozzy

 

 

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Roger

The Official Reports of Battles published under authority of Confederate Congress in 1862 provides a window into the minds of the Confederate leadership, for those of us reading this compilation, today.  At the time this "Confederate OR" was released, General Beauregard was no longer in command of the Army of the Mississippi; Braxton Bragg appeared to be enjoying success with his Kentucky campaign; and the initial Southern euphoria over success at Battle of Shiloh had been allowed to quietly morph into the truth, without fanfare.

There was a lot more riding on Shiloh (for the South) than many realize: in particular, the anticipated recognition of the Confederate States Government by European nations. But with the loss of Shiloh, and Island No.10, and New Orleans (in quick succession) that opportunity for recognition went off the boil; and a scapegoat needed to be found for that failure. And I believe PGT Beauregard was that scapegoat (deserving of that award, or not.)

Regards

Ozzy

 

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