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In 1856, Scottish immigrant John McArthur, originally a blacksmith, who now thrived in the tough world of boiler-making, became involved with the Chicago Highland Guards. The militia organization trained and prepared; and in February 1861, with several Southern States having already seceded, Captain McArthur requested community support in order to aid in preparation and arming of the Highland Guards for active service [Chicago Daily Tribune of 6 FEB 1861, page 1.]

Following Federal surrender at Fort Sumter, John McArthur tendered the service of the Chicago Highland Guards to Governor Yates: the offer was accepted, and the Guards were ordered to Springfield. President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to assist in putting down the Rebellion; and the quota given to Illinois was six regiments of infantry (to be numbered 7 through 12.)

Simultaneous with the actions of Captain McArthur, a militia company was drilling at Galena, called the "Jo Daviess Guards." Under the leadership of Augustus Chetlain, this company of volunteers departed for Springfield about April 22nd ...and Ulysses S. Grant, who had attached himself to the Jo Daviess Guards in order to provide essential training in military drill, continued that training upon arrival of the Galena company at the military camp just outside the Illinois capital, Camp Yates (where the Chicago Highland Guards, tapped by Governor Yates to form the nucleus of this last of the six quota-specified regiments -- the 12th Illinois -- was engaged in organization, recruiting and training.) By end of April 1861, the required number of men were on hand at Camp Yates; and the 12th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment was mustered in (for three month's service) by Captain John Pope on May 2nd: the Jo Daviess Guards became Company F; the Chicago Highland Guards became Company A; John McArthur was elected Colonel; his nearest competition in that vote -- August Chetlain -- was elected Lieutenant Colonel; and U.S. Grant reported to Governor Yates (for appointment as Adjutant General for Military Affairs of the State of Illinois.) The 12th Illinois was immediately sent away west and south to defend the line of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, and was based at Caseyville Illinois (Camp Bissel), a day's march from the Mississippi River, and in close proximity to St. Louis.

Captain U.S. Grant arrived at Camp Bissel on an inspection tour in May 1861; and he provided guidance on the completion of required rosters, requisitions, and other paperwork [Paddock, page 263.] In June, the regiment was transfered from Camp Bissel to St. Louis... but in carrying out the movement, the orders were amended, and the 12th Illinois landed at Cape Girardeau Missouri, instead. Withdrawn to Cairo a short time later, the three month term of service was nearing completion: the 12th Illinois was re-mustered as a 3-year regiment at Cairo on August 1st; and returned to Cape Girardeau on August 7th. Called back to Cairo after a few days, the regiment stopped at Bird's Point Missouri; but the destination of Cairo was finally reached about August 27th, where the 12th Illinois commenced an association with the 9th Illinois Infantry that was destined to endure for the remainder of the war.

On September 2/3 a force under Colonel McArthur executed a "feint" towards Belmont Missouri [Papers of US Grant vol.2 pages 178 - 9.] But, McArthur was back in Cairo by the evening of September 3rd. On September 5th, Brigadier General U.S. Grant led a force that included Colonel McArthur's 12th Illinois, the 9th Illinois, and artillery from Cairo to Paducah Kentucky (in response to a movement by Confederate Generals Polk and Pillow, occupying Hickman and Columbus.) The Federal occupation of Paducah was effected September 6th; General Grant returned to Cairo that same day, and left Brigadier General Eleazer Paine (9th Illinois) in temporary command, pending imminent arrival of BGen C.F. Smith. General Smith arrived September 8th and took command of the Post of Paducah; BGen Paine remained in command of the embryonic brigade, which grew to include the 9th, 12th, 40th and 41st Illinois, Buel's Battery, and Thielmann's Independent Cavalry Battalion.

While based at Paducah, Colonel McArthur took part in reconnaissance and demonstrations: most notable, the feint of November 8/9 towards Fort Columbus, from the east. Possibly due to a falling out soon afterwards between C.F. Smith and Eleazer Paine, BGen Paine was re-assigned to Bird's Point Missouri on December 23rd 1861. John McArthur replaced Paine as commander of the 1st Brigade of Smith's Second Division (and soon, Smith's Division included BGen Lew Wallace, in command of the 2nd Brigade.)

1862 commenced with a bang: coincidental with George Thomas's operation at Mill Springs, John McArthur took part in a demonstration that commenced January 15th (and was led by General C.F. Smith, in person.) From Paducah, 5000 men marched to Mayfield Creek; then moved next day to Clark River. Pausing two days in vicinity of Clark River, the expedition reached Calloway Landing on the Tennessee River (twenty miles below Fort Henry) before returning north, arriving back at Paducah on the 25th.

Coincident with being based at Paducah, and gaining a brigade, John McArthur saw his own 12th Illinois divided: a portion remained in Paducah (attached to the 1st Brigade) while four companies, under command of LtCol Chetlain were posted to Smithland (near the mouth of the Cumberland River.)

Following February's operation against Fort Henry (during which Smith's Second Division moved up the west bank of the Tennessee River and occupied Fort Heiman) the 2nd Division was ferried across the Tennessee River, and marched across to Fort Donelson on February 12th. McArthur's 1st Brigade (now consisting of the 9th, 12th and 41st Illinois Infantry Regiments) was placed adjacent to the far left of McClernand's First Division. That position was adjusted slightly, next day; and on the evening of the 14th, following the unsuccessful gunboat offensive, McArthur was ordered to the extreme right of General McClernand's Division by General Grant [and it appears darkness and lateness of the hour prevented ability to properly scrutinize terrain and proximity of the enemy. But the intention was to anchor adjacent to a swollen creek -- or possibly the Cumberland River, south of Fort Donelson -- in the morning (OR 7 pages 174 - 5 and Badeau page 43)].

Next morning, early, the breakout attempted by the Confederate defenders of Fort Donelson commenced. And John McArthur was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. [And as Colonel Oglesby noted, "without [organic] artillery support" (OR 7 page 185)].

Afterwards, it is said that Grant blamed McClernand for the near disaster, due to not properly anchoring his right. But, the blame could easily have been ascribed to McArthur's 1st Brigade. In Fact, Grant may have blamed both organizations: upon the surrender of Fort Donelson, while Smith's Division was given pride of place in the former log huts belonging to the Rebels, and inside the fort-proper, McClernand (in written orders to include McArthur's Brigade) was kept outside; and assigned picket duties, patrol and "fatigue duties" ...so tiresome and irksome that McClernand eventually complained [see OR 7 pages 625 and 633; and Papers of US Grant vol.4 page 242.] As is now known, U.S. Grant had lost confidence in his former friend, John McClernand; and that when the Federal camp was established at Pittsburg Landing, Grant refused to recognize McClernand's seniority (and placed Brigadier General Sherman in charge there, during Grant's absence.) What is not so well known: a similar "demotion" appears to have also occurred with John McArthur, beginning with re-numbering of his 1st Brigade (to 2nd Brigade, effective February 21st -- Papers of US Grant vol.4 page 263.) Then, with U.S. Grant returned to field command, upon his arrival at Savannah he ordered "Smith's Division to leave vicinity of Savannah [most of those men were still aboard steamers] and disembark at Pittsburg Landing." C.F. Smith was then lying in bed aboard the steamer, Hiawatha, unable to walk. So, when the Second Division disembarked at Pittsburg Landing on March 18th, the senior brigade commander would be in acting-command in Smith's absence.

On March 19th, Colonel Jacob Lauman was ordered, "to report to the Second Division and report to General C.F. Smith for assignment to a brigade as its commander." Since Smith was absent from Pittsburg Landing, soon-to-be Brigadier General Lauman took charge of the 1st Brigade; and assumed the role of "in command, temporary, of Smith's Division."

Problem was this: Colonel Lauman was junior to Colonel McArthur. Even after Lauman was promoted BGen, effective March 21st, he was junior to BGen McArthur, also promoted March 21st. Conveniently, John McArthur was arrested on March 28th for violation of orders. And while McArthur was in arrest, General Grant replaced Lauman (who reported to Stephen Hurlbut) with WHL Wallace -- a Brigadier General who was senior to Lauman and McArthur.

And U.S. Grant allowed McArthur to stew... until the Confederates rushed north from Corinth; and on Sunday morning, April 6th, the Rebels caught everyone by surprise.

Regards

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 7 (pages as sited)

Papers of US Grant volumes 2 and 4 (pages as sited)

http://archive.org/stream/illinoisatshiloh00illi#page/30/mode/2up/search/McArthur  Illinois at Shiloh

http://archive.org/stream/biographicalsket00wils#page/18/mode/2up  John McArthur bio at Illinois Officers

http://archive.org/stream/militaryhistory02badegoog#page/n68/mode/2up/search/McArthur  Badeau's Military History of US Grant, vol 1, page 43.

http://suvcw.org/mollus/war/ILv2.htm   Major George L. Paddock's article IRT 12th Illinois creation.

Chicago Daily Tribune (edition and page as sited).

General Orders No.63 of June 10th 1862 [recent promotions and their rankings].

 

 

 

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On page 347 of the Papers of US Grant volume 5 is the transcript of Special Orders No.43 of 2 April 1862 (issued under signature of John Rawlins.) This is the order that transferred Jacob Lauman from the Second Division to Hurlbut's Fourth Division; and assigned Brigadier General Richard Oglesby to command of the 3rd Brigade of McClernand's First Division. Another line of Special Orders No.43 reads as follows:  "Brig Genl. J McArthur, when for duty, will report to Maj Genl. L. Wallace who will assign him to a Brigade."

Mona, in SDG topic, "Why Stay at Crumps?" in post of 11 NOV 2017, suggested Major General Lew Wallace "may have been kept at Crump's Landing, perhaps, to keep Lew Wallace at a distance."  Was the intention of Special Orders No.43 directing Brigadier General McArthur, in effect, "to remove himself to Crump's Landing [once he was removed from arrest and returned to duty]" just another effort by General Grant to relegate his "loose cannons" to the rear during the pending, anticipated Federal movement on Corinth?

Yours to ponder...

Ozzy

 

References:  http://shilohdiscussiongroup.com/topic/1974-why-stay-at-crumps/  Discussion of why Lew Wallace was kept at Crumps.

http://digital.library.msstate.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/USG_volume/id/17896/rec/6  Papers of US Grant vol. 5 (see page 347.)

 

 

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Mona

I believe the evidence is strong that US Grant and John McClernand suffered a massive falling out, which became irredeemable after Fort Donelson. Having lost confidence in his former friend, General Grant took active measures to deny General McClernand access to power and authority that was legally his.

A similar "deterioration of trust" occurred IRT General Grant and Lew Wallace. Although Wallace may have "saved the day" for Grant at Fort Donelson, the evidence exists that Grant was not happy with Lew Wallace for "disobeying orders" in order to make that success possible. And, it appears the "Steamer Telegraph Fiasco" merely provided an opportunity for General Grant to exert authority (which was reiterated IRT the "Wait in readiness for orders to move in any direction" instruction, provided to Lew Wallace on Sunday morning, April 6th... with near fatal consequences for Grant's Army.) 

In both cases -- McClernand and Lew Wallace -- their careers with Army of the Tennessee came to screeching halts "in the fullness of time."

John McArthur's is a different situation, partly because it is difficult to find evidence why McArthur was so shabbily handled -- as a Brigadier General -- in the lead-up to Battle of Shiloh. (And part of the reason for that lack of evidence -- I believe -- is due what came later.) Finding the Special Orders No.43 sealed it for me: the intention was to shunt John McArthur away, onto a siding... maybe, with any luck, he might resign?  But, I believe the Battle of Shiloh saved John McArthur: not his performance, but the fact he was wounded. And attempted to "bring order from chaos" after the battle ended (and helped construct the after-action report for the Second Division.) But, his wound was causing problems, and he had to return to Chicago to give the wound a chance to heal. And he knew, before he left for Chicago, that he and General Grant were "not on the best of terms."

After Shiloh, a lot of Federal officers resigned. Perhaps General Grant suspected John McArthur would resign. Maybe U.S. Grant was surprised -- impressed, even -- when General McArthur returned to the field in time to take part in the March on Corinth. John McArthur was able to put Fort Donelson, the time spent in arrest at Pittsburg Landing, and a mediocre performance at Shiloh behind him, and log impressive performances afterwards (which may be why it is difficult to find evidence of not-so-stellar early performance: people tend to assume "consistency," and overlook early missteps of a "star" as being "out of character.")

Anyway, that's my take on John McArthur: not "born great," but "overcame adversity to achieve results."

Ozzy

 

Edited by Ozzy
Wrong name previously indicated.
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A little off topic...

As mentioned earlier (post of 5 January 2018) U.S. Grant "tagged along" with the Jo Daviess Guards to Springfield, and provided that company with training along the way. And when it became evident that the Guards of Augustus Chetlain would become part of the last of the Illinois regiments -- the 12th Illinois -- it always struck me as curious that Grant never made a play for the colonelcy of that regiment. At least, I could never find evidence of any attempt to put U.S. Grant in command of the 12th Illinois Volunteers... until now.

In a paper read before Members of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) -- Illinois Commandery -- on 2 DEC 1885, Augustus Chetlain has this to say:

"Once we were all together at Camp Yates, I suggested to the company officers (of the 12th Illinois) that Captain Grant was a suitable man for the colonelcy of the regiment. And the suggestion was favorably received. However, a prominent and influential politician of the State, who had aspirations of his own, strenuously opposed Grant's election, on the grounds "that an officer who had been forced to leave the Army on account of his "personal habits" was not a safe man to be intrusted with command of a regiment." I found it impossible to overcome the objection, and Grant's name was dropped. When the election took place, Captain John McArthur was elected over his only other competitor, Captain J. D. Webster. And I (Augustus Chetlain) was chosen Lieutenant Colonel without opposition."

The rest of the story...

Ozzy

Reference as sited (page 15).

 

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John McArthur's post-war career was checkered, at best. He was appointed Chicago's Post Master and shenanigans with money orders and bank deposits followed. The fire of '71 and the financial collapse of '73 bankrupted many of Chicago's pre-war scions. Patrick Gregg's son (captured at Shiloh with Captain Gregg) married McArthur's sister and he headed the P.O. money order department, was indicted, went to jail and was eventually pardoned. He also organized the P.O.'s baseball team. Some evidence suggests that John Gregg took the fall while shielding his brother-in-law. J.D. Webster had been the co-owner of the Danford Reaper Works before the War. Their machine beat Cyrus McCormick's in some competitions, but the company folded shortly after Webster's departure. Webster was one of the handfull of Chicagoans involved in founding the Chicago Historical Society. He had been active in pre-War support for abolitionism for example: https://www.kshs.org/km/items/view/90518.

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Rbn3

Thanks for the additional information in regard to John McArthur, Joseph Webster, Patrick Gregg... and how interconnected things became in the fullness of time. I still have a suspicion that Grant and McArthur met upon McArthur's return from convalescent leave -- during the Move on Corinth -- and "something" occurred during their conversation that mended the rift between the two generals.

However, it may remain as just "another unsolved mystery..."

Regards

Ozzy

 

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