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Ozzy

"They also serve, who stand and wait..."

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We're all familiar with Federal units that were "off the grid" -- not directly involved with the Battle of Shiloh. Some were "on their way" (such as George Thomas' 1st Division, Army of the Ohio); others were guarding the Post of Savannah (53rd Illinois and 53rd Indiana... and for a while, the 14th Wisconsin Infantry); and others were further afield (such as the 31st Illinois, acting as garrison for Federal-controlled Fort Donelson.)

But, what about the Cavalry organization most often referred to as "Curtis Horse" ?  Although not at Pittsburg Landing, this unit was assigned directly to Major General Grant, and performed a useful role during  the Siege of Fort Donelson; and was involved in  significant operations during build up of force in vicinity of Crump's and Pittsburg Landing.

Name the State affiliation and number of this Cavalry organization.

Ozzy

Bonus: 1) What was the significant mission accomplished prior to surrender of Fort Donelson?

             2) Name a date and location (prior to Shiloh) that any of the three significant operations involving Curtis Horse occurred?  (Someone clever can list all three.)

 

 

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Fifth Iowa Cavalry Volunteers (Curtis Horse was recruited from Nebraska)

1) February 15, by order of Gen. Grant, Lt Col Patrick and  Capt West, Von Minden and Haw, with 100 men, marched up Tennesee River and destroyed the bridge of the Memphis and Ohio, thus preventing reinforcements of rebels coming from Memphis to Ft. Donelson.

2) March 11, 1862, Battle of Paris, Tennesee.

 
1) 
 
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Rbn3

Well done on providing the correct answer, and furnishing one of the possible Bonus Answers!

There is more to this cavalry regiment than meets the eye... and I first encountered mention of Curtis Horse and the 5th Iowa Cavalry when researching Shiloh prisoners and their experience in Southern prisons (one day, Captain William Haw of Company F marched inside Montgomery Cotton Shed Prison at the head of a line of soldiers from Curtis Horse, having all been captured in a skirmish at Lockridge's Mill, Tennessee on May 5th 1862.) So, the natural question: who did Curtis Horse belong to?

Named for General Samuel Curtis, the cavalry regiment was ordered into existence on 20 December 1861, courtesy of Special Orders No. 70 and No.74, which assigned the organization to the Department of the Missouri (Henry Halleck) to carry out special instructions from the Secretary of War. W.W. Lowe (until this assignment, a Captain in the regular U.S. Army) was appointed Colonel; and M.T. Patrick assigned as Lieutenant-Colonel. And for the most part, Curtis Horse was cobbled together from pre-existing Cavalry Companies that had been organized in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota; brought together on 4 January 1862 at Benton Barracks, and shortly afterwards, assigned to report directly to General U. S. Grant.

During the Siege of Fort Donelson -- as Rbn3 mentioned -- one hundred men from the 5th Iowa Cavalry were tasked with destroying the railroad bridge on the Tennessee River, up stream from Fort Henry (and previously "disabled" by the U.S. Navy) in order to prevent any possibility of forces from Fort Columbus coming to the rescue of the Confederates at Fort Donelson. On March 11th, Curtis Horse was sent by General Grant to Paris Tennessee to "disrupt conscription under State-authority taking place in vicinity." There were shots exchanged; and several members of Curtis Horse listed afterwards as "Missing." The Federal cavalry, having achieved the goal of the raid, withdrew to the east, and set up camp in vicinity of Paris Landing (called Camp Lowe.)

On 27 March 1862, General Grant ordered Companies C, I and M to Savannah, where that battalion reported March 29th. For the next several weeks, this force belonging to Curtis Horse helped secure the Post of Savannah; and put through the telegraph line from Savannah to Waynesboro (which completed the line from Nashville to Savannah.

On  March 31st, in accordance with verbal orders, seventy-five mounted troopers belonging to Curtis Horse set out from Camp Lowe in the direction of Paris (terminus of the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad.) On the same day, Colonel Napoleon B. Buford (attached to the Island No.10 operation) launched a raid involving infantry and artillery into Union City (a significant station on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, fifty miles west of Paris.) Colonel Buford destroyed stores belonging to Confederates at Union City, drove Rebel defenders away, and safely withdrew to his transports at Hickman, Kentucky. The Expedition of Curtis Horse, under command of Captain William Haw, conducted a reconnaissance of properties along the way to Paris; raised the Stars and Stripes over the Courthouse at Paris; and continued west towards Humboldt, before looping back through Coynesville; and returned to Camp Lowe on April 2nd. Credit was accorded this Expedition for "disrupting the third attempt at conscripting soldiers in vicinity of Paris."

Presented as proof that General Grant had more on his plate than Savannah, Pittsburg Landing, and Crump's Landing; cutting the rail line east of Corinth and (perhaps) cutting the Mobile & Ohio; waiting for Buell; trying to neutralize the "Rebel gunboat threat;" maintaining control of Forts Heiman, Henry and Donelson... and dealing with Henry Halleck.

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 10 pages 79 - 83.

http://iagenweb.org/civilwar/books/logan/mil605.htm  Guy Logan's History of the 5th Iowa Cavalry

http://www.scriptoriumnovum.com/c.html  5th Iowa Cavalry (Curtis Horse): rosters and history.

 

 

 

 

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New Madrid and Island No.10

As mentioned in the post above (dated 18 SEP 2017) a detachment from Curtis Horse engaged in an expedition against Paris, Tennessee on March 31st 1862 that was "coincidental" with a raid conducted by Colonel Buford, detached from forces involved in an operation on the Mississippi River that struck Union City (fifty miles west of Paris) and returned to Hickman Kentucky to resume participation in that "other operation." Until Henry Halleck's Grand Movement on Corinth Mississippi, April/May 1862, this "demonstration" by Curtis Horse may have been the only interface between Federal forces building at Pittsburg Landing, and those involved in the Campaign for New Madrid and Island No.10.

From the first, I will admit this is supposition. But, in the same way U.S. Grant had his forces conduct "feints" simultaneous with Battle of Belmont (November 1861); and Grant's forces conducted forced marches and demonstrations to the east of Fort Columbus (simultaneous with George Thomas' operation that resulted in Battle of Mill Springs, January 1862) so this Curtis Horse operation, simultaneous with the Union City raid; and the fact the orders to conduct the Paris Expedition were "hand delivered" (most likely from St. Louis, as U.S. Grant would have no knowledge of what was taking place at Island No.10). Therefore, Henry Halleck must have sent those orders...

Anyway, for those curious about "that other operation" that was taking place concurrent with the build-up at Pittsburg Landing (which held priority in Henry Halleck's eyes while Pittsburg was kept in holding pattern) the attached link provides a concise description of the Island No.10 Campaign.

Cheers

Ozzy

http://www.new-madrid.mo.us/index.aspx?NID=152  New Madrid and Island Number Ten

 

 

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As explained in my post, "16,000 Telegrams" of FEB 2018, the Smithsonian Magazine article was encountered while "looking for something else." Ran across that "something else" just today.

While pondering the Raid on Union City (and the "demonstration" conducted by Curtis Horse on Paris Tennessee, simultaneous with the Union City expedition) I wondered: "How did the two commanders, in two different districts, get the word to launch their operations?"  Obviously, there was no telegraph from General Halleck at St. Louis to Foote's Naval Force at Island No.8 ...and no telegraph line (as yet) to Union-occupied Fort Columbus (evacuation by the Rebels completed first week of March 1862.) The answer: Brigadier General William K. Strong, appointed to command the Post of Cairo (replacing BGen George W. Cullum.) Another one of those characters not at Pittsburg Landing, yet intimately connected with Grant's operation there, William Strong was a successful New York businessman, travelling in Europe at outbreak of the Civil War, and encountered John C. Fremont (who also happened to be in Europe; and was put to use buying small arms and artillery for Federal service.) Along the way, Fremont was commissioned Major General; and he convinced William Strong "to accept a commission" and join him in St. Louis (where MGen Fremont arrived July 1861 and assumed command of the Department of the West.) W. K. Strong (1805 - 1867) was commissioned Brigadier General effective 28 SEP 1861 and was initially employed as Fremont's bookkeeper and finance coordinator [the cost of running Fremont's Department was $1 Million per week] (see Letter of 24 OCT 1861, Strong to President Lincoln, below.) About the time Henry Halleck replaced Fremont (and the command based at St. Louis became "Department of the Missouri"), Brigadier General Strong was put in command of Benton Barracks (where he made favorable acquaintance with William Tecumseh Sherman (recovering from nervous disorder) and Stephen Hurlbut (drying out from alcohol problem)). In March 1862, Major General Halleck decided to put BGen Strong in charge at Cairo (he arrived 21 March, in time to sort out "concerns about the Army health system, and operation of Mound City General Hospital, still full, before and after Fort Donelson.")

While sorting out the Army health system in District of Cairo, it is believed General Strong received verbal orders regarding the Union City expedition. On March 28th, he "departed on a tour of inspection" and visited Union-occupied Fort Columbus; then stopped at Union-occupied Hickman Kentucky (where he met Colonel Buford -- see Chicago Tribune of 31 MAR 1862, page 1, col.4). 

[Also of interest: while General Strong was away delivering orders and meeting Flag-Officer Foote aboard his flagship, USS Benton, Mrs. Ann Dickey Wallace stopped at Cairo and sought permission from friend-of-a-friend General Strong to continue her journey to Savannah. The acting Officer-in-Charge, believing General Strong would give his approval, agreed. And General WHL Wallace's wife boarded the Minnehaha, destined to arrive at Savannah just before midnight on April 5th.]

Always more to the story...

Ozzy

Referenceshttp://www.loc.gov/resource/mal.1264500/?sp=3  Letter of 24 OCT 1861 from BGen Strong to President Lincoln

Life and Letters of General WHL Wallace, pages 184 - 5.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-03-31/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1862&sort=date&rows=20&words=Logan&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=12&state=Illinois&date2=1862&proxtext=Logan&y=16&x=11&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=5  Chicago Tribune of 31 MAR 1862, page 1, (see column 4)

 

 

 

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Mona

Great question. And, in answer: "I believe it depends on the timing."

If Mrs. Ann Wallace had managed an interview with General Strong before March 25th 1862, I believe "the kindly William K. Strong" would have permitted her trek south. However, during General Strong's absence from Cairo he learned "tactical details," many directly from Flag-Officer Foote, such as:

  • the Bissel Canal leading from Island No.8 to just upstream from New Madrid was complete;
  • General Pope intended to ferry his Army of the Mississippi from New Madrid, to the back of Island No.10;
  • Pope's "ferry of troops" would begin, soon as an ironclad or two reached Pope (to protect his loaded transports) 
  • Once General Pope got in the back of Island No.10, it was "Game Over" (and the Rebels would be forced to surrender)
  • Once Island No.10 was vanquished, Major General Halleck intended to remove himself to Savannah, take personal command, and march on Corinth (by the time Halleck arrived, Buell's Army of the Ohio would have arrived).

Therefore, if Ann Wallace met General Strong after he returned "from his inspection tour," she would not be allowed to proceed because Strong knew she would be "interfering with an active operation."

Ann Wallace had a narrow window of opportunity, and found it open.

My best guess...

Ozzy

 

 

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Returning to General W. K. Strong's mission to Fort Columbus and Hickman... In OR 11 pages 80 - 81 is a communication written March 30th 1862 from General Strong to Major General Henry Halleck, in which he reports, "[Have inspected the works at] Fort Columbus and Hickman. [The Rebel force] at Union City supposed to be 3000 or 4000. Have ordered a battalion of cavalry to go by land today from Paducah across to Columbus. Have instructed Colonel Buford..."

The message of March 30th has its location indicated as "Cairo," but General Strong was still in company with Foote's Forces at Island No.8 until early April (we know this because he was not at Cairo when Mrs. Wallace stopped to ask permission to continue her trek towards Savannah.) Also, the above message appears to be written in a form of code: the size of the Rebel Force at Union City is casually mentioned, for no obvious reason; the movement of a small force of cavalry from Paducah towards the west is indicated as about to occur; and contact with Colonel Buford is reported. [This communication appears to be written in order to be sent by mail packet to the end of the telegraph line -- at Cairo -- and transmitted to Halleck at St. Louis.]

Now, let's see if we can "decipher" the above message: "Colonel Buford received verbal instructions, direct from Brigadier General Strong, to conduct the raid against Union City from Hickman Kentucky." How do we know? Because Buford and his sizable force departed for Union City next day. (And there is no way he initiated this operation on his own, without orders. And those orders came from St. Louis.) "Union City is confirmed as target of raid." The mention of "cavalry being directed towards Columbus from Paducah" is code for "cavalry has been instructed to commence a feint towards Paris (in the direction of Union City) from the Tennessee River." General Strong seems to indicate that, "He ordered the cavalry feint today," but he is on the Mississippi River. And we know that Captain Haw received verbal orders to initiate his "expedition towards Paris," which commenced on March 31st (see OR 10 page 79: Report of Captain Haw, Curtis Horse.) Since General Strong cannot be in two places at once to deliver verbal orders; and a "brigadier general" has been tasked with personal delivery of orders to Colonel Buford... does it not make sense that a "senior officer" (colonel or brigadier general) would also deliver the verbal orders that set Captain Haw in motion?

Who could be that "trusted, senior officer," who is on his way to join General Grant's operation at Savannah (but has been tasked by Henry Halleck to, "look into the Hospital situation in District of Cairo," and also, "Oh, by the way... here are orders for a significant operation that you need to deliver in person, not by written communication or telegraph, before you arrive at Savannah.") This officer has stopped at Cairo on March 23rd to speak directly to BGen Strong; and arrived at Fort Henry, on March 25th or 26th -- see Chicago Daily Tribune of 26 MAR 1862, page 2, col.4 "Our Cairo Letter" and St. Joseph Morning Herald of 28 MAR 1862, page 3, col.4 "Telegraphic!" 

Always more to the story...

Ozzy

References:  Or 10 and OR 11 (pages as indicated)

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-03-26/ed-1/seq-2/  Chicago Daily Tribune of 26 MAR 1862.

http://digital.shsmo.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/stjoemh/id/194/rec/1410  St. Joseph Morning Herald of 28 MAR 1862 "...aboard the Meteor."

 

 

 

 

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