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W. James Morgan, a grocer from Brunswick Missouri, with experience involving militia organizations "back East," began recruiting Morgan's Rangers in mid-1861. Originally a mounted infantry battalion, the decision was made authorizing the expansion of Morgan's Rangers into a full-sized infantry regiment (and James Morgan was appointed Colonel.) In December 1861, the 18th Missouri Infantry completed its formation; and James Morgan continued operating in Northern Missouri (where his "unsavory practices" soon came to the attention of higher authority.) Colonel Morgan was removed from command, and replaced by Madison Miller.

Madison Miller was a 50-year old "man of many talents," originally from Pennsylvania, who found himself "moving progressively westward" over the course of his life. In Illinois when the Mexican War broke out in 1846, Miller joined the 2nd Illinois Infantry Regiment and became Captain of Company I. Mentioned in Despatches at Buena Vista, Captain Miller mustered out with his regiment at the end of that war... and with nothing better to do, Madison Miller got caught up in Gold Fever and joined the Rush to California (where he spent three years: first as prospector; then as supplier of goods; finally, active in politics.) Done with California, Miller returned to Missouri and settled in Carondelet, a suburb of St. Louis along the Mississippi, and set up a steam ferry. Returning to politics, Madison Miller was elected Mayor of Carondelet (and also served in the State Legislature at Jefferson City.) And, going from strength to strength, Miller was appointed to the Board of Iron Mountain Railroad.

In Jefferson City when the Rebellion broke out (and caught up in the pro-North/South-leaning chaos that was Missouri Politics) Madison Miller made his way to Washington, D.C., and offered his services in raising "a pro-Union militia company." Permission was granted, and "Captain" Miller returned to St. Louis, raised the company (which was incorporated into Frank Blair's 1st Missouri Infantry) and saw service at Battle of Wilson's Creek in August 1861. Partly due to the attrition at Wilson's Creek, and partly due to men refusing to reenlist after their three-month term of service expired, Madison Miller took those stalwarts that remained and established a new organization: Battery I of the 1st Missouri Light Artillery.

His efforts in organizing the new organization and drilling the men caught the attention of former artillery officer, now Brigadier General John Schofield. So when a "change of command was needed" for the 18th Missouri Infantry, Captain Madison Miller was tapped to replace the in-disgrace James Morgan. Colonel Miller took command of the 18th Missouri effective 31 January 1862.

It was deemed best to remove the 18th Missouri from Northern Missouri, so the regiment was assigned duty at Bird's Point. According to Madison Miller, on the way to that new duty station, the 18th Missouri was "re-tasked" with securing the transport by steamer of two enormous siege guns (see M. Miller bio, page 66). The siege guns were eventually delivered to Foote and Buford's forces in vicinity of Island No.10 and the 18th Missouri complied with their original orders and reported to Bird's Point. On 11 March 1862, IAW Special Orders No.220 issued at St. Louis, "the 18th Missouri and 81st Ohio are ordered to proceed to the District of West Tennessee and report to Major General Grant." The 81st Ohio showed up; but the 18th Missouri was diverted to Smithland Kentucky, near the mouth of the Cumberland River, and briefly occupied that post.

On March 24th, IAW instructions sent from Henry Halleck to Brigadier General W. K. Strong at Cairo, "the Post at Smithland is to be disestablished: the Waterhouse Battery and the 18th Missouri are to be sent to U. S. Grant." There is evidence that Waterhouse's Battery reported to General Grant on March 30th. But, according to Madison Miller (Bio page 67) "he and his 18th Missouri did not report until seven days before the Battle of Shiloh" [which would be March 31st.] Colonel Miller continues: "I was ordered to report for duty with General Prentiss. But, no one knew where General Prentiss was... Eventually, I found a wagon and driver (the driver agreed to carry me to the Sixth Division, for a fee) and I was hauled two or three miles out, to Sixth Division Headquarters. An Adjutant directed me to a site, east of the HQ, where the 18th Missouri was to go into camp."

"Next day [April 1st] I was approached by General Prentiss, and assigned as Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the Sixth Division... which shortly consisted of the 18th Missouri, 61st Illinois and 18th Wisconsin (and the 15th Michigan attempted to become part of the Brigade.)" Colonel Miller spent the next few days attempting to "organize his brigade," and hacking clear a parade ground (piling the shrubs, branches and stumps along one edge of the field.)

On the morning of April 6th, Colonel Miller formed his 2nd Brigade along the north side of the cleared field, "behind the line of piled debris" ...but he was told by General Prentiss to "Move forward, [and engage the enemy..."]

Ozzy

References:  wikipedia (for Madison Miller and W. James Morgan)

http://www.trailsrus.com/civilwar/region1/smithland.html  Smithland Kentucky

http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/nwmo/id/2569/rec/6  Personal Recollections of the 18th Missouri (including Madison Miller bio)

http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18469  Madison Miller at find-a-grave

OR 52 pages 222 and 229.

 

 

 

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