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From the Civil War Diaries Collection at Auburn University comes this Shiloh battle record, compiled by L. I. Nixon of Limestone County, Alabama. Incensed by hearing of the Confederate defeats at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, 38-year old Liberty Independence Nixon left his wife and seven children and joined Malone's Company... and on February 24th 1862 was on his way to Corinth. After a brief stay, Malone's Company of the 1st Battalion of Alabama Volunteers returned south to vicinity of Mobile Bay to gather supplies; then a return to Corinth on the M & O R.R. took place on March 4th. Camping a few days about a mile north of Corinth, Private Nixon and his fellows rode the train north to Bethel Springs (and may have heard the exchange of gunfire between Confederate soldiers and Lew Wallace's party, tasked with tearing up the railroad -- page 18.) Returning to Corinth on March 20th, Nixon indicates "they resumed the exact same camp ground, as before." And then, Private Nixon relates the story of "Beauregard's bodyguard finding a barrel of whiskey..." which led to Malone's Company being briefly assigned as bodyguard to General Beauregard. While in close proximity to Tishomingo Hotel, Private Nixon confirms "a rush" made on the hotel (also mentioned in Braxton Bragg's Letter of 20 March 1862.) Pages 24 - 27 reflect on camp life in Corinth. Page 27 records the units making up Gladden's Brigade: 1st Louisiana Infantry, 21st Alabama Infantry, 22nd Alabama, 25th Alabama, "Robisson's" Regiment of Artillery, and Nixon's unit, the 1st Battalion Alabama Volunteers commanded by Major Chaddick. Next day (March 30th) four new companies are added to the 1st Alabama Battalion -- now known as 26th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

On page 28, the orders to cook three days' rations (3 April). Same day: "We left early and took up the line of march."

Pages 28 - 30 recount the march north, the rain, and wagons getting mired in the mud.

Page 31 records knowledge of the Picket Skirmish of April 4th (Private Nixon observed Yankee prisoners being moved south.)

Pages 32 - 34 record the final approach towards the Federal camp; and about dark on April 5th Private Nixon and his fellows are sent forward on picket duty...

The entire diary is only 46 pages long (and the first four pages are water-damaged from attic storage, so almost unreadable.) Fortunately, every page is transcribed at bottom:

http://content.lib.auburn.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/civil/id/23854/rec/20  Private Nixon's Shiloh Diary.

 

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We spent some time following the mach of Gladden's Brigade while on the Epic Hike of the 3rd Instant.  After capturing Prentiss's camps, the brigade advanced nearly to the Hamburg-Purdy Road.  Its position is marked by Tablet 383, which states "These regiments were in position here from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, April 6, 1862 and then advanced to north side of Peach Orchard."  (The regiments being the 26th, 25th, 22nd, and 21st Alabama and the 1st Louisiana).  In his report, as found in the OR, BG Jones Withers, commanding the divison to which Gladden's Brigade was assigned, wrote that he came upon "Gladden's brigade, formed in square, and under the commandew of Col D. W. Adams, First Louisiana Infacntry - General Gladden having been dangerously, and, as the result unfortunately proved, mortally wounded."

Daniel Weisiger Adams, in this report, wrote "at this time I received an order from General Bragg to advance with the brigade,and would have one so immediately, but found that many of the men in the command had nearly exhausted their ammunition."

Dr Smith observed that halting to replenish ammunition is frequently a euphemism for being disorganized and needing to reform and noted that the brigade must have been in pretty bad shape since it "was replenishing ammunition" for six hourrs.  He also wondered if the brigade was formed in a square or if its constituent regiments were so formed.  I suspect the latter;  while I am not a expert on Civil War drill, my hypothesis is that forming a brigade square was not a specified formation.

I was hoping that LIberty Independence Nixon's diary would shed some light on what happened at Tablet 383, but unfortunately it ends with the capture of Prentiss's camps.

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I realize it is just one regiment in a large battle, but I often wonder if A. S. Johnston knew how somewhat unorganized many of the regiments in the Army were, i.e. the 26th Alabama Infantry.  The organization was not led by Maj. Chaddick, but actually by Colonel John G. Coltart of Huntsville.  I have posted before the letters of Lt. Benjamin J. Gaston of the 26th Alabama.  Just 3 days before the battle, Gaston was writing and stated that he did not know the "number" (regimental designation) of his unit.  I have seen other historians and writers erroneously attribute the leadership of the 26th to Chaddick rather than Coltart.  My his memory always shine bright, but from memory in Shiloh Bloody April, even Wiley Sword mentions Chaddick being the commander of the unit.  When Gladden's men stopped in the Federal camp, well, upon renewing the attack, at that point Coltart was wounded, and Chaddick took temporary control of the unit.  Coltart received a severe foot wound, but, he had it tended to behind the lines and then returned to the fight.

It seems amazing to me that many men went in to that fight not knowing who their commanders were nor their regimental unit designation.  It is mentioned that some units were getting ammo resupplies for six hours, aka they were disorganized.  Again, I can totally see how given the facts mentioned in the first paragraph.  This seems reminiscent of Bjorn's April hike, The Division That Never Was.  Johnston had to have known this state of disorganization, even before the battle began, and how it would/could bring massive confusion on the field.

Pictured are Colonel John G. Coltart and Lt. Col. William Davidson Chaddick, 26th Alabama Infantry.  The Major of the 26th Alabama at the time of Shiloh was Andrew D. Guinn/Gwin/Gwynne (several different spellings); Gwynne was severely wounded in the arm by a shell as noted in his service records.  After Shiloh, he was appointed Lt. Col. of the 38th Tennessee Infantry.

Colonel John G. Coltart, 50th Alabama Infantry-color.jpg

Lt. Col. William Davidson Chadick, 2650th Ala Inf and 4th Ala inf Captain and Chaplain.jpg

Fold3_Page_5_Compiled_Service_Records_of_Confederate_Soldiers_Who_Served_in_Organizations_from_the_State_of_Alabama.jpg

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Stan

Thanks for the reminder that Lieutenant B. J. Gaston was a member of the 1st Alabama Battalion (and 26th Alabama Infantry Regiment) -- his frequent, well-written, informative letters can be compared to Nixon's Diary (which allows confirmation of various events and incidents, prior to Shiloh.)

Letter No.31 (11 FEB 62) -- Lieutenant Gaston mentions " the Capture of Fort Henry" [this event, and subsequent Loss of Fort Donelson, caused I.L. Nixon to enlist.]

Letter No.32 (20 FEB) -- "We are hearing unconfirmed reports from Tennessee via the unreliable telegraph. I will not repeat that news until I can confirm it. Meanwhile, it appears we may have "work" at Mobile or New Orleans, soon." [Gaston is aware of gathering of large USN Fleet at Ship Island, Mississippi.]

No.33 (6 MAR) -- B.J. Gaston writes from Corinth [arrived March 5th, which corroborates Nixon]. Gaston is unsure of the number of CSA troops at Corinth: 12... 15... 20,000 with more regiments coming in daily. Everyone is eager to engage the invaders to the North. Gaston learned today that his battalion is part of Wither's command.

No.34 (11 MAR) -- Writing from Bethel Springs [arrived March 10th]. Reports: "There is a fight expected on the Tennessee River before long." The Yankees are sending troops to near Savannah. "General Gladden arrived here last night, and I reckon all his division will be here in a few days."

No.35 (16 MAR) -- Writing from Bethel Springs, reports the cut to the M & O R.R. (made by Lew Wallace troops) but the rail line has already been repaired.

No.36 (18 MAR) -- Bethel Springs: "A lot of men sick; they are all being sent to Oxford Mississippi Hospital."

No.37 (24 MAR) -- Writing from Corinth (and describes camp.) Repeats that 1st Alabama Battalion experienced health problems at Bethel. "One member of the battalion, C. Ringin, died in Hospital last Friday, but we cannot get his body shipped home (because dead bodies are not allowed on the cars.) But... we managed to get Ringin's body on the train."

No.38 (27 MAR) -- From Corinth, Gaston complains about Hospital care (and also reports that men of the battalion have gotten into trouble for visiting friends in Hospital without permission.)

No.39 (30 MAR) -- From Corinth, lists the units belonging to Gladden's Brigade (Gaston's unit still a battalion.)

No.40 (3 APR) -- Gaston writes from Corinth as they are preparing to leave... "We are ordered to prepare 5 days' rations... The battalion is filled out to a regiment (but Gaston does not know which number)... Coltart from Huntsville is our Colonel."

Unfortunately, there is a gap in collected letters: the next Letter No.41 is sent 2 July 1862 from somewhere south of Corinth...

http://acumen.lib.ua.edu/u0003/0003915?page=2  Collected Letters of B.J. Gaston 26th Alabama Infantry at University of Alabama.

 

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interesting...he writes of the order to prepare 5 days rations...in other letters/reports it has been 3 days.

 

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5 hours ago, mona said:

interesting...he writes of the order to prepare 5 days rations...in other letters/reports it has been 3 days.

 

Mona, 

In the letter I posted written by Lt. Hugh William Henry of the 22nd Alabama, he also states they were ordered to cook 5 days rations.  He states, "Last Thursday our Brigade received orders to cook five days' rations and to march to Monterey.  Owing to a delay in getting up the rations we only got two days' provisions cooked and the balance was loaded on a wagon.  The wagon overturned and we lost 3 days' rations."

He also makes note that they were "half famished", and "as weak as water".  

Stan

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Mona and Stan

As regards Confederate rations, preparatory for march from Corinth, my understanding was five days: three days (cooked) to be carried in the knapsack of each soldier, and two days to be hauled north in wagons. On page 392 of OR 11 there are two orders dated 4 APR 1862: Spec.Orders No.11 (Thomas Jordan) arranging for 200,000 rations at Monterey; and Spec.Orders XX (George Williamson) tasking First Corps thus: "each man carry his blanket ant three days cooked rations." On page 389, General Orders No.7 (Hooe for Ruggles) directs that "the Second Corps will take five days cooked rations per man: three days in haversacks and two days' rations in wagons."

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077728230;view=1up;seq=391  OR 11 pages 389 and 392.

Regards

Ozzy

 

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It is interesting to note that not all the Confederates "cooked and ate" all of their rations.  Some lost theirs due to accident, and the short notice prevented some from cooking theirs.  I imagine, just the "slow march" from Corinth to Shiloh, the mud, and thus slow supply trains all added to the end result of ration issues by the morning of the battle.  It makes one wonder if aides, and indeed Brigade and Division commanders were informing Johnston that food was a problem.  

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one would have to beleive the scant food supply had to affect the mental status of the soldiers..who were not in the best of nurtitional health even before the march from Corinth in the cool rain and mud. just this physical activity and trying to stay warm would require meals and they just didnt have ..they couldnt rely of their "future meals"on board the train to be available.Men are greatly influneced by their stomachs. so this had to affect the mental  status of each.dont you think?

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