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Ozzy

Grant's Tardy Arrival at Pittsburg Landing

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Beginning almost immediately after the Battle of Shiloh, and for all the years since, people have attempted to make sense of the late arrival of Major General Grant at Pittsburg Landing, his flagship, Tigress, nosing into the bank as much as four hours after first contact with the enemy. What follows is a proposed progression of General Grant's efforts to "get into the fight" that Sunday morning, 6 April 1862:

7:11 a.m.                         While having breakfast at the Cherry Mansion in Savannah, Grant heard booming cannon.

8:30 (approx.)                Grant and members of his Staff, aboard Tigress, stop at Crump's Landing and direct Lew Wallace to "Wait in readiness..."

9 - 9:30                            After meeting with one (and possibly two) steamers enroute, sent to alert him, Grant arrives at Pittsburg Landing.

                                         Grant and members of his Staff ride up the bluff, and meet with BGen WHL Wallace.

                                         Convinced of a major engagement, Grant sends away Rawlins with orders to "release the officers in arrest," and "bring up Lew Wallace."

                                         AAG Rawlins relays the orders for Lew Wallace to AQM Baxter, who rides Tigress to Crump's Landing.

10 a.m.                            Grant meets with Sherman.

                                         Either just before, or just after meeting Sherman, General Grant encountered the 2nd Illinois Cavalry, lined up, awaiting orders.

                                         Grant places Captain Hotaling on his Staff, for the day, and directs him to "place and fight Birge's Western Sharpshooters."

                                         Grant sends away Cavalry officer Frank Bennett (north along the River Road) with orders to "escort Lew Wallace back to here."

10:30 (approx.)              Riding south down the road to Hamburg, General Grant meets with BGen Hurlbut.

                                         Leaving Hurlbut, Grant rides west and meets BGen Prentiss... and tells him, "Hold this position at all hazards."

 

Do you agree with the above timeline?

Is there a time or location that seems improbable?

Is there another significant action/ decision that should be added?

 

Please feel free to offer suggestions...

Ozzy

 

 

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I would change Grant's arrival at Pittsburg Landing to 9:30 am (+/- 10 minutes) in accordance with the logbook of USS Tyler.

I suggest that Grant sent Rawlins with orders to bring up Lew Wallace after the 10 am meeting with Sherman, as this would make Baxter's 11:30 arrival at Stoney Lonesome more understandable and both Bieler and Hurlbut indicate that they received information that Lew Wallace would be approaching by the Owl Creek bridge. I am quite sure that Grant's orders were for Wallace to join the right of the army (and not Pittsburg Landing or around the 2nd Division camps). It would be strange if Grant gave such orders before he even made it to Sherman's front.

Is there good evidence that Grant stopped at Hurlbut's position before going to Prentiss? I know of none either way (except for Prentiss' impossibly early time of meeting Grant around 8:45). I only guess that Grant would probably have arrived at the Hornets' Nest first, as it's geographically closer.

Thanks.

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Grant sallies forth…

Why send Bennett?

The answer to the question, “Where did General Grant go, upon arrival at Pittsburg Landing?’ can be determined by solving the Bennett Problem.

Who was Frank Bennett? In April 1862, he was 1st Lieutenant with the 2nd Illinois Cavalry, Company A. And on the morning of April 6th, he was lined up with the rest of his company, just east of Shiloh Church, when Major General Grant approached and began a communication (more of a chat) with Captain John Hotaling (in command of Company A.) At conclusion of the chat, General Grant put Captain Hotaling on his Staff for the day, charged with “placing and best using Birge’s Western Sharpshooters.”

To Frank Bennett, General Grant stated the following: “You will take your Company A and go with as much dispatch as possible to Crump’s Landing. Present my compliments to General Lew Wallace, and tell him to come immediately, you being the escort” [Fletcher page 50.]

[Upon Frank Bennett meeting Lew Wallace, just before noon; and failing to persuade General Wallace to follow him back to Pittsburg Landing via the River Road, Lieutenant Bennett detached himself from General Wallace and returned directly to his starting point, where he was met by General Grant and Captain William Rowley at 1:20 p.m. (approx.) If it is assumed that Bennett took a bit longer to find Lew Wallace, than to return from meeting Lew Wallace, then the latest time (by Sherman’s watch) that Bennett could have started on his mission as messenger was 10:30 (but more likely, a few minutes earlier.)]

In OR 10 page 184, Captain John Rawlins AAG reports, “First you met with General WHL Wallace… After talking to General Wallace, you then directed me to return to the river and send Captain Baxter [with orders for Major General Lew Wallace.] Grant met WHL Wallace at or near the top of the bluff, overlooking Pittsburg Landing. It does not make sense for this man to be waiting anywhere else (after sending away steamer John Warner, and awaiting Grant’s arrival.)  If it is assumed that Tigress arrived at Pittsburg Landing at 9:30, and Grant met briefly with WHL Wallace at 9:40 it is likely that General Grant rode away west and met with “the acting commander of Camp Shiloh,” BGen William Tecumseh Sherman, at or just before 10 a.m. [In Sherman’s Memoirs, he indicates on page 272 that “General Grant and his Staff visited me about 10 a.m.” …a time that was seared into Sherman’s brain, due to the fact “everything was under control, prior to 10 a.m.” and “everything tumbled out of control – for a while, anyway – just after 10 a.m.,”  with the loss of Waterhouse’s Battery. ] Badeau, page 79, also claims Grant met with Sherman at 10 a.m.

At this 10 a.m. meeting, Grant may have learned from Sherman that “he was defending the Owl Creek Bridge, because he expected Lew Wallace to march across it when joining the Army.” Sherman would have known that the Bridge had been recently strengthened (to accommodate cavalry and artillery) and likely was aware that the Shunpike had been completed. [ Jacob Bieler and Louis Kern both of Behr’s Morton Artillery, indicated afterwards that they heard Sherman’s AAG Hammond direct Captain Behr to protect the Owl Creek Bridge, “because Lew Wallace is expected to come down the road and make use of the bridge.” ] In Sherman’s Shiloh report OR 10 page 248, he admits to, “Captain Behr was on the extreme right, guarding the bridge on the Purdy Road over Owl Creek.” But later, in one of Sherman’s many classic examples of “double-speak,” on page 250, he reports, “General McClernand and I, upon consultation, selected a new line of defense, with its right covering the bridge by which General Wallace had to approach.” This seamless conflating of one bridge with another (without mentioning the name of the second bridge, or its location over Snake Creek), allows the reader to draw an incorrect conclusion: the bridge over Snake Creek was always the destination of Lew Wallace; he “had to approach” the battlefield via that bridge… which Grant believed, but which was not true. [ I believe Sherman deliberately shaded his Shiloh Report, in successful effort to hide his own knowledge of the likely intended use of Owl Creek Bridge, in order to protect Grant from unwanted criticism.]

If Sherman did not reveal the existence of the Shunpike (and its likely use by Lew Wallace), then the members of the 2nd Illinois Cavalry most certainly did make mention of their own use of the Shunpike to General Grant. Either way, the Poker player Grant maintained his composure, simply directed Lieutenant Bennett to “go north and bring Lew Wallace back to here,” and figured he’d fixed the problem… and must have been extremely surprised, at about 1:20 p.m., to find Frank Bennett, and no Lew Wallace in tow. 

 

Points to consider…

·         General Grant most definitely sent away Cavalry Officer Frank Bennett (with verbal orders for Lew Wallace, including the stipulation that, “Lieutenant Bennett act as escort, to guide Wallace and his Division to the battlefield.” ) If Bennett had been sent first, there would be no reason to send Baxter, or anyone else, via the Tennessee River.

·         WHL Wallace was the first General officer met upon Grant’s arrival, and that meeting took place in near proximity to the bluff, overlooking Pittsburg Landing. Colonel Tuttle had led the 2nd Division into position along the Sunken Road; and LtCol McPherson was away, placing Cavender’s Missouri Artillery in the most advantageous positions, in support of the Second Division.

·         “Something” likely happened to cause a delay to the departure of Tigress, carrying a messenger to Crump’s Landing: Rawlins may have intended to take the orders himself, but got caught up in other things (like establishing the HQ at the Landing); or, Rawlins wanted to send someone more knowledgeable, but no one else was available; or, Baxter was the only man available, and he required more instruction IRT the orders with which he was entrusted (and perhaps time was spent acquiring a horse for Baxter, to ride away from Crump’s Landing… not knowing a horse would be waiting for him, upon arrival at Crump’s Landing? )

·         The whole after-battle reporting, especially as regards Lew Wallace, Grant’s late arrival at Pittsburg Landing, and the sending of multiple messengers for reenforcements… smacks of CYA. Times were massaged to make it appear Grant arrived aboard Tigress earlier than he did; “Nelson’s Division was camped south of Savannah, to facilitate Nelson marching that division through the swamp, if necessary” …is hog-wash. Reports were intentionally adjusted, in an effort to deflect blame (for bad decisions made by U.S. Grant.)

·         General Grant sending orders to Lew Wallace, in the manner he did via Baxter, only makes sense if Grant was not aware of the availability of the Shunpike. These orders (specifying that Wallace join the right of the Army) were sent away to Lew Wallace after Grant met WHL Wallace, but before Grant met Sherman. Grant sending away Bennett (less than an hour after sending away Baxter) only makes sense if General Grant suddenly realized that more than one option was available to Lew Wallace; an option that Grant only just realized: the Shunpike. [As Grant stated in his Memoirs, “I never could see, and do not now see, why any order was necessary further than to direct him to come to Pittsburg Landing…”  U.S. Grant believed, up until the end of his life, that he had ordered Lew Wallace “to Pittsburg Landing,” but in neither of the orders (sent via Baxter or Bennett) did Grant specify Pittsburg Landing: Baxter’s orders directed Wallace to take position on the right of the Army; and Bennett’s verbal orders to Wallace were for Lew Wallace to “follow me to the battlefield” …but Lew Wallace already had trusted guides, capable of leading him to the battlefield, via the Shunpike.]

·         Andrew Hickenlooper, Sr. (father to Captain Andrew Hickenlooper, 5th Ohio Independent Light Artillery) was 65 years old, a member of the 5th Ohio Cavalry (assigned to Hurlbut) and became part of General Grant’s bodyguard after Grant left Hurlbut and rode west (to where the 5th Ohio Battery was in position, on the right of Prentiss.) Captain Hickenlooper in MOLLUS (Ohio) vol.5 page 431, makes mention of how he “witnessed General Grant, and the unexpected appearance of his father, riding in company with General Grant” while he was in position with General Prentiss in the Hornet’s Nest. Father and son had time for only a moment’s recognition, before Grant and his party rode away (to the west) and disappeared from sight.

·         How could BGen Stephen Hurlbut have learned of the repair of the Shunpike and its bridges? The 5th Ohio Cavalry was the main unit involved in that undertaking (primarily the Battalion under Major Hayes.) Colonel Taylor was in overall command of the 5th Ohio Cavalry; and Colonel Taylor was assigned to Hurlbut’s 4th Division.

·         As for Grant “sending away Rawlins” (after the 10 a.m. meeting with Sherman) there is no evidence Rawlins accompanied General Grant beyond his initial meeting with BGen WHL Wallace. The AAG received orders direct from Grant (who then departed to meet with Sherman) while AAG Rawlins made his way to “the log house, at the Landing” to establish an HQ (and in process met Baxter, and sent him on the errand.) Rawlins indicates he was not with Grant when the General met the 2nd Illinois Cavalry, lined up (but reports his knowledge of the sending of Bennett as having been told him by General Grant, in OR 10 page 185, bottom of page.)

 

References:

SDG “General Grant’s Decisions” 28 DEC 2016

SDG “Grant’s 9:30 arrival at Pittsburg Landing” (for details of the sandy-haired lieutenant, hatless, and with a bloody gash in his forehead, who reported to MGen Wallace)

SDG “From a Jack to a King” 10 APR 2017

SDG “Where was Grant?” 21 DEC 2016

History of Company A, 2nd Illinois Cavalry by Samuel Fletcher

MOLLUS (Ohio) Volume 5

OR 10 (part one)

Grant’s Memoirs

Sherman’s Memoirs

Military History of U.S. Grant by Adam Badeau

 

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Before I make any reply to Ozzy's comprehensive post, I just wanted to paste in the ‎Snippet view from a Google search result from Civil War Memories - Page 193 by Linda Zimmermann - 1998. It looks new to me, concerning the Tigress and its passengers on the trip upstream, April 6th. The book's Amazon description states:  "An exciting compilation of firsthand accounts of the Civil War from a soldier who was also a journalist." The subtitle is, "The Collected writings of Sgt. William H. Busbey." That individual seems to have been a soldier-correspondent in the 1st Kentucky of Bruce's AotO brigade. (which would have been at or around Savannah that morning).

The snippet reads: "Tigress was the only vessel that had steamed up, and comprehending that Grant would go on that vessel, my comrade and myself went down and climbed on in advance of ... "About four miles above Savannah, we came to Crump's Landing."
 
Has anybody read the full account here or elsewhere? Now, I just ran across this: 

"My great grandfather, William H. Busbey, was a sergeant with Company C of the 1st KY (US) infantry. One of his brothers, Private Hamilton Busbey, also served with him. WH Busbey was a gifted writer. He kept diaries of his experiences (I have them), freelanced for Harpers Weekly during the Civil War and was employed in various journalistic capacities post-war, most notably as an accomplished editor with the Chicago InterOcean, until his death in 1906. A book "Civil War Memories" was published in 1998 which is a compilation of his weekly newspaper columns experiences from the western theater of the war. I am looking to connect with anyone whose ancestors may have served w/ the 1st KY (US)."

There may be historical gold in those diaries. 2 linear feet of the Busbey Papers are at the University of Michigan, Duke has 15 items. Personal letters of Busbey concerning politics in Ohio; letters express opinions on Copperheads, other Democrats, Republicans, and the unsuccessful gubernatorial race of Clement Vallandigham against Republican John Brough in 1863. Letters also mention the Freemasons; crime in Ohio; the life of a soldier; and CSA attacks on Union boats near Palmyra, Tennessee, and the burning of that town by the Union troops.

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Joe

Well Done on uncovering the diaries, letters and other papers of William H. Busbey, 1st Kentucky Infantry (USA). As you suggest, they have potential to contain revealing, thought- provoking information.

After posting my above entry, and reviewing the concerns expressed in your post, it occurred to me: What if Captain John Rawlins AAG sent Captain A.S. Baxter AQM away "with Orders" to bring up Lew Wallace... without General Grant's authority? As you suggest, it would make more sense for Grant to meet Sherman, get all the facts, and THEN send orders for Lew Wallace to bring forth his Third Division. (And it would also help explain the convoluted, rambling, confused instructions delivered by Baxter to Lew Wallace, and so out of character with the normal terse, concise, just-the-facts orders usually issued by Ulysses S. Grant (with example, the verbal orders given to Lieutenant Frank Bennett.)

But, there was a problem: in Rawlin's recollection of Grant's orders to Bennett, he reports them as "orders directing Lew Wallace to Hurry up," yet they were obviously an attempt to put Lew Wallace on the correct road. Also, Rawlins admits that Bennett was sent away less than an hour after Baxter departed... Why? (Baxter required almost 3 1/2 hours to complete his return voyage, to/ from Crump's Landing (including meeting with Lew Wallace) ...which does not present need to hurry Wallace; nor to send a second messenger -- Bennett -- so soon.)

The overlooked player in the first moments after the 9:30 arrival of Tigress at Pittsburg Landing: Brigadier General WHL Wallace. Mortally wounded only a few hours later, General WHL Wallace never had the opportunity to present his version of meeting Grant and Rawlins that Sunday morning. Nor do we have details of the Message of Alert sent by Wallace, via trusted courier, aboard steamer, John Warner. But, it appears that the Alert, and the Report presented by WHL Wallace (as well as the continuous sounds of gunfire, and the ever-arriving shirkers) were sufficient to persuade General Grant ...as well as one more thing: WHL Wallace was one of General Grant's "personal favourites" (one of only a handful of men selected by Grant to take part in the Visit to Nashville, aboard steamer W.H.B., end of February 1862.) Was it possible that after listening to Wallace's report, that Grant constructed his Orders to Lew Wallace, delivered to John Rawlins, in front of WHL Wallace? Did Grant, perhaps, "act the showman," and construct overly elaborate directions for Lew Wallace... for the sake of his audience? Ulysses Grant was known to behave differently, when amongst his friends, than at other times. Could that be the reason why the orders, too complex and unnecessarily verbose, were then too prone to be "made into hash" when Rawlins attempted to impart them to the military-neophyte Baxter?

With WHL Wallace suffering an untimely death, we will never know.

All the best

Ozzy 

 

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There is so much to take in, review, and respond.

The whole cavalry episode is contradictory. Rawlins, in his attempt to scapegoat Wallace, wrote about the cavalry officer: "This officer returned between 12 o'clock m. and 1 o'clock p. m., and reported that when he delivered your message to Major-General Wallace he inquired if he had not written orders. He replied in the negative, and General Wallace said he would only obey written orders." There seems to be no corroboration for this version, besides Rowley's similar attack on Wallace, which included: ""Shortly after the hour of 12 o'clock m., as we were riding towards the right of the line, a cavalry officer rode up and reported to General Grant, stating that General Wallace had positively refused to come up unless he should receive written orders."

And this severely conflicts with the account by Bennett: "Lieutenant Bennett delivered his message and the order was at once given to fall in line. Wallace's command started out ahead ...." And Bennett's account in Fletcher has problems of its own. He makes it seem as if they road to Crump's and met Wallace, who was already at Stoney Lonesome by this time. He states: "We retraced our steps therefore, to the junction with the River Road ...." but Wallace's counter-march turned right before reaching Stoney Lonesome. Bennett also wonders why he was not allowed to lead Wallace back on the River Road and said Wallace took the wrong road. This indicates that he had no knowledge of the Shunpike vs. River Road issue, which is strange and also makes his opinion suspect.

There could be a discussion of why Grant, who with all of his staff appeared to forget to carry writing materials with them, gave such a threadbare order to Bennett. "Present my compliments to General Lew Wallace and tell him to come immediately, you being the escort," doesn't indicate the route, the urgency of the movement, who and what to bring, the destination, or what should be done upon arriving.

The edited portions of Hurlbut's post-war account of Shiloh indicate that Wallace was expected to arrive via the Shunpike:

"Within half an hour, about 10:30 am, the enemy captured Behr’s Battery under circumstances not creditable to the artillerists, and forced Sherman to take up another line of defence. Up to this time General Sherman had been able to hold the bridge and road by which Lewis Wallace was momentarily expected, and it was with the greatest reluctance, he was compelled to abandon this means of communication and possible relief."

and

"About 10:00 am, General Grant rode up and inquired into the situation. In reply to his question: “How long he could hold out?” General Hurlbut expressed confidence in holding his front all day - but stated that he was liable to be passed on the right or left at any time, and must in such a case fall back very promptly•. To General Hurlbut’s request for at least another brigade, General Grant answered that every man that would fight was in action then. General Grant further stated that he had no orders to give, further than to hold out to the last and do the best that could be done. He further stated that Lewis Wallace was under orders to move up, and that his fresh division coming up on the enemy’s flank, would restore the battle. The general commanding then rode off in the direction of the right wing."

So, Hurlbut heard from Grant in person that Wallace was expected to reach the battlefield over the Owl Creek bridge. On top of this, most of the participants who discussed this stated that Grant's orders sent Wallace to the right of the line, and throughout the day it seems that Grant and his staff were looking for Wallace on the right. River Road leads to the rear of the Union camps and it would be to the rear where they should have looked for Wallace.

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Time...

Or more correctly, establishing a Common Time for the events that transpired during Battle of Shiloh, is a goal worth pursuing. At the moment, there is no reliable time piece referenced in reports made after the Battle. Although the Navy kept extremely accurate time (to the nearest minute) aboard gunboats Lexington and Tyler, no one made use of it, except the Navy. All the watches and time pieces in use across the battlefield on 6 and 7 April were variously set as much as thirty minutes early, to thirty minutes late, when referenced to Navy Time (and the slowest watch may have been an hour out-of-sync with the fastest watch.)

Also, time recorded in reports is suspect, because the writer often did not glance at his watch when an event occurred, but "guessed" at the time, later. This is especially true of General Grant, who did not carry a watch during Battle of Shiloh; instead, relying on others to provide him with the time.

Of the times recorded in reports, Captain William Rowley's are particularly notorious: nothing reported by Rowley could take place at the time he records, except by accident.

Then, there is Captain John Rawlins, Grant's AAG. He, by necessity, carried a watch. But, AAG Rawlins had a more important goal than "recording correct time of events" ...protecting the reputation of His General, U.S. Grant. If that meant adjusting the time, to suit the narrative, then Time was adjusted. A brilliant example of Rawlins adjusting the time occurs in his 1 April 1863 supplemental report of Battle of Shiloh, in which he states:  "This was not far from 7 or 7:30 o'clock a.m." [when addressing the time of arrival of Tigress during Grant's brief stop at Crump's Landing, on his way to Pittsburg Landing on Sunday morning.]

Another example, found in the same document, is Rawlin's corroboration of Rowley's times [Paraphrasing: Captain Bennett returned from meeting Lew Wallace at 12 meridian; and I rode in company with Captain Bennett, with authority to provide written orders to the General, departing no later than 12:30 o'clock -- Rowley.] Rawlins:  "The cavalry officer returned between 12 meridian and 1 o'clock... You then immediately dispatched Captain William Rowley... not later than 1 p.m." (OR 10 pages 179, 185 and 186). [The actual time of meeting the returned Lieutenant Frank Bennett, best as I can calculate, was between 1:10 and 1:20, with Rowley departing, in company with Lieutenant Bennett, within five minutes of 1:20 p.m. -- Ozzy.] This calculation is made, based on General Grant returning to Pittsburg Landing, meeting with the just-arrived Captain Baxter (aboard Tigress) and being surprised by the arrival of Major General Buell (who arrived at Pittsburg Landing, just before 2 p.m. according to Captain William Hillyer.) See SDG "From a Jack to a King" for details.

 

 

 

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