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Ned Spencer, reporter for the Cincinnati Times, published his Battle of Pittsburg Landing on April 10th -- a day or two after the earliest reports filed by William Carroll (New York Times) and Whitelaw Reid (Cincinnati Gazette). And because this report was not "first," like Carroll's; or possessing 22000 words (like Reid's), it did not really add anything noteworthy to make it stand out. Ned also included his share of mistakes: gave praise to the 57th Ohio and 77th Ohio (when he really meant the 55th Illinois and 71st Ohio); awarded brickbats to Hickenlooper's 5th Ohio Battery (when he probably meant to criticize the 13th Ohio Battery, belonging to Myer.) And, he addd his weight to those claiming, "Prentiss was captured early in the day."

Still, after overlooking the obvious mistakes, there are some gems to be uncovered:

  • Ned Spencer made his readers aware of "the complacent Union generals"
  • There were no proper pickets set out, at correct distance;
  • The Navy gunboats did their bit;
  • General Lew Wallace took a circuitous route to get to the battlefield;
  • Records accurate time of Nelson's Division's arrival on east bank of Tennessee River;
  • Reports Colonel Peabody's role in sending out "the 400-man patrol" (and notes that Peabody and Powell failed to survive Day One)
  • Provides more coverage of Day Two than most news reports;

And includes his summary of Shiloh:  "This is THE Battle of the Great Rebellion."  [Bold CAPS added, but intent apparent.]

Ned Spencer: worth a read, if only to gain a slightly different perspective on a familiar story.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-04-14/ed-1/seq-2/   Chicago Tribune of April 14th 1862, page 2, column 3.

Ozzy

 

 

 

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"There were no proper pickets set out, at correct distance" Actually, the pickets in front of Peabody had been doubled. The 16th WI had 4 companies on picket duty.

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Jim

"If only we had had a hot air balloon, we could have kept a pilot aloft and watched for them coming" [said no one.] :)

A war correspondent reports what he hears and sees: Ned Spencer could see that no entrenchments were dug; and he could hear the claim of the wounded Rebel prisoner aboard Hiawatha, that, "You'uns get fixed on Sunday." After the battle commenced, and there was opportunity to think, the natural query: "How did this happen?"  We still debate it today; but it is worth reviewing what was thought at the time, especially in regard to cavalry screens and picket placement... because, otherwise, Powell's Patrol sent out by Peabody is not significant.

"I was led to this belief by the opinion current among our officers... Matters have gone on rather loosely for a few days past" -- Ned Spencer.

All the best

Ozzy

 

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