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Ozzy

Colonel C.F. Smith and Seniority

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I begin this post with a fact unknown to most Shiloh aficianados: Charles Ferguson Smith, although referred to as "General" Smith, was technically still Colonel Smith through the Fort Henry Campaign. When General Grant learned shortly afterwards that Smith's appointment had been held up in the U.S. Senate, Grant complained to Elihu Washburne (on about 10 FEB 1862) that "Smith must be confirmed, immediately." During the investment of Fort Donelson, C.F. Smith was informed by Major General Halleck (on 14 FEB) that the Senate had finally confirmed him as Brigadier General, with effective date of rank 31 AUG 1861.

Why this matters? The frequent, and difficult to predict, promotion of Colonels to BGen, and BGen to Major General during the Civil War -- on both sides -- had potential to upset military planning and execution of those plans in the field (as evidenced during March and April 1862 during the lead-up to events that took place at Pittsburg Landing.) Seniors refused to be commanded by juniors (upheld by Laws of USA and CSA.) And, because Seniority between and among general officers was of some importance, listed below are Union general officers -- with association with Pittsburg Landing -- relative seniority effective on particular dates:

April/ May March on Corinth:  MGen Halleck -- Grant -- Buell -- Pope -- McClernand -- CF Smith (died 25 APR) --  Lew Wallace -- Ormsby Mitchel -- George Thomas -- WT Sherman -- EOC Ord -- Brigadier General T. W. Sherman (not WT Sherman) -- Hurlbut -- Sturgis -- Wm."Bull" Nelson -- Garfield -- Thos. Davies -- Isaac Quinby -- Oglesby -- John P. Cook -- WHL Wallace (died of wounds 10 APR) -- McArthur -- McCook -- Lauman -- John Logan -- Speed Fry -- Dodge -- Buford -- Ross -- Crittenden -- Hovey -- Veatch

Pittsburg Landing on 18 MAR 1862:  MGen Grant -- BGen Sherman -- Hurlbut -- Prentiss -- McClernand -- CF Smith -- Lew Wallace

      (Seniority among selected Colonels on 18 MAR:  WHL Wallace -- McArthur -- Lauman)

Pittsburg Landing after 21 MAR 1862:  MGen Grant -- MGen Buell -- McClernand -- CF Smith -- Lew Wallace -- Brigadier General WT Sherman -- Hurlbut -- Prentiss -- Bull Nelson -- Oglesby -- John P. Cook -- WHL Wallace -- McArthur -- Lauman -- John Logan -- Ross

Reference:  https://archive.org/details/generalorderswa00deptgoog/page/n8  General Orders of the War Department

[Charles F. Smiths late confirmation by the Senate was likely due to unfounded rumours, spread by his personal enemy, Eleazer Paine, detailing "improprieties in Paducah" which Henry Halleck had to personally investigate -- OR 7 page 929 and Teacher of Civil War Generals by Allen H. Mesch, pages 208 - 9. General Grant response to learning that Senate had not yet confirmed Smith as General on 10 FEB 1862 found in General E. A. Paine in Western Kentucky by Dieter Ullrich, et al... page 162, and Papers of US Grant, vol.4, page 188 (and 189).]

 

 

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