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Ozzy    452

Presented is an interesting telegram sent by Major George W. Brent (from the former Army of the Mississippi HQ at Jackson, Tennessee) to General Beauregard at Corinth on April 2nd 1862: http://civilwar.rosenbach.org/?p=5512  [from "Today in the Civil War: dispatches from the Rosenbach Collection"].

Ozzy

 

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Ozzy    452

So, what could be the significance of the above telegram?

By April 1st 1862 the Confederates gathered at Corinth are watching for the initiator, the "edge" ...some reasonable justification to launch the pre-emptive strike against Pittsburg Landing that will give the Rebels "the advantage" (in conjunction with Buell being too far away to provide support to U.S. Grant.) On April 2nd the above telegram comes from Jackson reporting a Federal cavalry raid on the M & O R.R. at Union City, sixty miles north of Jackson (and in Beauregards area of responsibility.) Included in that telegram is the additional detail: "the telegraph wires appear to be down north of Humboldt."

Late on April 2nd Benjamin Cheatham relays information through General Polk to General Beauregard that, "Lew Wallace has split away from the Tennessee River and is advancing on Bethel" (another station on the M & O R.R.) Knowing that a Federal tactic (taught at West Point) involved a diversion or feint towards one point, to distract attention from the true target, this combination of reports may have been self-supporting: the Union City raid was a diversion from the true goal of Bethel. And this pair of reports may have been the "proof" Beauregard was watching for, to gain advantage and launch the attack against Pittsburg Landing.

My read of the situation...

Ozzy

 

 

 

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Ozzy    452

So what was the source of the information in Major Brent's telegram?

On March 30th Colonel Napoleon Bonaparte Buford (attached to Foote's Western Gunboats, as Commander of "soldiers afloat" making up the "Flotilla Brigade") took transports attached to the Campaign against Island No.10 and landed his force at Union-occupied Hickman Kentucky. Buford's force (comprised of Hutchen's Cavalry (LtCol Hogg), 27th Illinois Infantry (LtCol Harrington), 15th Wisconsin Infantry (Colonel Heg) and artillery belonging to Captain Sparrestrom of the First Missouri Light Artillery, Battery G) commenced a march after noon, directly towards Union City Tennessee, fifteen miles away... and bivouacked at 7pm (when it became too dark to safely move.) At dawn on the 31st, Buford advanced the final four miles, positioned his artillery on a hill overlooking the town, and attacked: Sparrestrom's Battery fired a number of rounds and Hogg's cavalry force, supported by the infantry, advanced on the Confederate defenders of Union City (about six hundred men under command of Colonel Edward Pickett.) The defenders were quickly routed; a train engine was observed racing away south, leaving its line of cars behind; fourteen prisoners were taken by Buford's force. After burning the Confederate camps in vicinity, Colonel Buford withdrew his force back to the northwest -- two hours after arriving in Union City -- with twelve wagons full of serviceable munitions and equipment captured from the abandoned camps. The Federals arrived back in Hickman before night and boarded the transports. And Colonel Buford wrote his report detailing success of the raid, that evening.

So ended the first engagement at Union City Tennessee... conducted by forces attached to the Campaign for Island No.10 ...which may have helped precipitate the Confederate move from Corinth against Pittsburg Landing.

Fact is stranger than fiction...

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 8 pages 116- 118 Report of Colonel Buford

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_Number_Ten_Union_order_of_battle  Island No.10 Order of Battle (Union)

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/Cullums_Register/475*.html

http://www.artcirclelibrary.info/Reference/civilwar/1862-03.pdf  See pages 123- 126 "Descent upon Union City"

 

N.B.  Next day (April 1st) Colonel George Roberts, attached to Buford's Flotilla command, conducted his successful raid against Confederate Fort No.1 at Island No.10, spiking guns that could have threatened the passage of USS Carondelet. Buford's force joined the Crawl to Corinth in April/May 1862.

 

 

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