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Here's a question to ponder:

Which three generals (from either side) benefited most -- professionally -- from the Battle of Shiloh?

Justify your selections.

Ozzy

 

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Two out of three... I believe there is little doubt that the general officers who gained the most from their involvement in Battle of Shiloh -- because they actually were rewarded with promotions:  William Tecumseh Sherman (advanced to Major General on May 1st) and Braxton Bragg (promoted to full General on April 12th, upon recommendation of President Jefferson Davis.) For Bragg it was recognition of a lifetime of military achievements. For Sherman, the promotion to Major General served as a sort of redemption (after his suspected "nervous breakdown" and removal from command of the Department of the Cumberland in November 1861.)

The third candidate could be one of these:

  • PGT Beauregard, who gained command of the Army of the Mississippi... except he was offered that overall command by Albert Sidney Johnston, and turned it down. And Beauregard was "tainted" after Shiloh, with many of his associates believing he was responsible for snatching defeat from the jaws of Victory;
  • Henry Halleck, who through victories at Shiloh, Island No.10, Pea Ridge and the bloodless conquest of Fort Columbus demonstrated that "his part of the Grand Scheme" was coming together. All that remained was for Halleck's Army to crush Corinth (after Farragut, Porter and Butler subjugated Vicksburg) and the War in the West would be over... Of course, Vicksburg did not fall; and Halleck's acquisition of Corinth was perceived as hollow;
  • George H. Thomas, although not a participant at Shiloh (arrived too late) he was none-the less rewarded with Command of the Right Wing during the March on Corinth; followed up by Command of the Post of Corinth.

Therefore, my selection as "third general officer who benefited most from Battle of Shiloh" is Edward O. C. Ord. Plucked from obscurity, recently-promoted Major General Ord was called to the Western Theatre to replace the highly competent, but unwell Thomas Davies (who gained command of the Second Division, Army of West Tennessee upon the death of WHL Wallace.) Arriving too late to participate in the Operation against Corinth, Major General Ord was nonetheless given command of the Post of Corinth (replacing George Thomas on 22 June 1862.) 

Always ready to argue the point...

Ozzy

 

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Ozzy, looks like nobody is around to answer your question.  I think people must be taking a summertime hiatus from SDG.  I would say Grant, Forrest, and Cleburne.  For each of them, it was the beginning stage of putting them on the path of how they are remembered today.  I would say each earned his stardom after Shiloh, and Shiloh put the ball in motion.

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Stan

What summer? It is Winter in Australia, with record snow in the mountains north and east of Melbourne...

As for your answers, I agree that Cleburne (favorable report by Hardee) and Forrest (favorable mention in reports of Wharton, Chadwick and Harrison) are more deserving of that third slot than my selection of Edward Ord.

As for U.S. Grant: the public perception in the North was that General Grant was responsible for being surprised; demonstrated incompetence by not being with his Army when it was attacked; and was responsible for the unacceptable (outrageous) casualty figures. Henry Halleck did Grant a huge favor by temporarily removing him from command, shielding Grant from the Public and the Press, for a while. My own impression is that it was a year later, following on Grant's success at Vicksburg, that his reputation was rejuvenated. Shiloh was not Grant's "finest hour."

Better to be lucky, than good...

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 10 pages 570 (Cleburne), 546, 627 and 923-4 (Forrest).

U.S. Grant (any number of Union soldier's letters in which gladness was expressed upon the arrival of Henry Halleck at Pittsburg Landing.)

Mary Crowell Letter of 28/29 APR 1862 (in SDG "Mary Writes about Shiloh")

 

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