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Ozzy

Spoils of War

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While researching the 18th Missouri Infantry, ran across an interesting article in the St. Joseph Morning Herald for 22 May 1862 (page 2 col.4, about halfway down): "The steamer Gladiator arrived at St. Louis with seven thousand damaged guns aboard, recovered from Battlefield of Shiloh."

That's a lot of damaged guns...

Ozzy

Reference:  http://digital.shsmo.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/stjoemh/id/424/rec/21  St. Joseph Morning Herald for 22 May 1862.

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Well, Van Dorn wanted some of these captured weapons, but it was told to him that a lot of the weapons could not be brought off the field.  

Which makes you think.

How many of these "damaged guns" were outdated muskets, shotguns, etc., that Confederates "dropped" and picked up a better Yankee musket.

Confederates would "probably" not waste their time trying to collect up all the damaged guns laying around.  Wagons were needed to ferry out the wounded.  It would take a lot of wagons to ferry out thousands of good condition muskets, much less damaged ones.  

Plus, the Confederates did not have much time.  It would have required Confederates to go out by candlelight/torch to collect these weapons on the evening of the 6th.  Needless to say the rain that night.  The first priority was the wounded.  I wonder how much, if any, thought was given to this very subject: gathering up much needed weapons.  If it would have been of great importance, some considerable "force", slaves or what have you, would have been on hand to do that very thing, collect up weapons.

I know that at Shiloh, in storage, they have 3 or 4 muskets found after the battle.  One was a type of "sporting musket".  It was broken in two, clearly to make it unusable.  The others were damaged and left on the field and were in relic condition when found.  The sporting musket looks brand new.

But, 7,000, yes, that is a lot for sure!

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Stan, another reason the Rebs probably didn't collect weapons on the night of the 6th was that they believed they had pretty much won the battle and only needed to clean up in the morning. If they thought they controlled the battlefield, they might have felt they had plenty of time to pick up any arms laying around.

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