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14th WI @ Shiloh

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The following is a section of the diary of James M. Randall found at eHistory at OSU:


[align=center]CHAPTER SIX[/align]

[align=justify]Having been assigned to the forces designed for operation up the Tennessee River, under Gen. Grant, the 14th left St. Louis, by boat, on March 23rd. A number of transports loaded with troops and munitions of war embarked at the same time. Dropping down the Mississippi River to Cairo Ill we ascended the Ohio to Paducah Ky.. thence up the Tennessee River to our place of destination. The Tennessee is, in the main, a deep sluggish stream, with steep banks rising in places to high perpendicular bluffs. Generally the stream meanders its way through dense forests, with here and there a small dilapidated town - rather landing - for the shipment of cotton. We moved slowly up the stream, the soldiers on board being required to keep a constant lookout for confederate sharp-shooters. At night the transports were tied to the bank, and a strong picket guard was placed on shore. The gunboats Tyler and Lexington moved in our advance, and would occasionally throw a ten pound shell through the woods, the bursting of which, with its many echoes must have sent terror to the heart of disloyal nations, while the "darkies" I presume thought the day of "jubilation" was at hand. We reached Savannah Tenn., on March 28th and here our regiment debarked while the rest of the troops passed up the river to Pittsburg Landing eight miles above.[/align]

[align=justify]Savannah was a town of some importance being the County Seat of Hardee County, and quite a shipping point for cotton. Here we established our camp near the landing, and but a short distance from the Head quarters of Gen. Grant and entered upon our duties as provost guard. Boats loaded with troops passed up the river daily on their way to Pittsburg Landing where there was being concentrated a large army. It was known that a strong Confederate force under Gen. A.S. Johnson was at Corinth, twenty miles away and it was supposed that Gen. Grant contemplated a movement in that direction upon the arrival of the force under Buell then on its was from Nashville. As our troops arrived at the landing they were moved out from one to three mile in the direction of Shiloh Church, where they apparently established their camp with no regard to danger or defence. No one supposed that here was to be fought one of the most desperate battles of the war. A line of breastworks could easily have been built through that heavy timber that would have saved many lives, but that style of defense was adopted later in the war. However humiliating it may be to those in command, it is unquestionably true that our officers as well as men were surprised at Shiloh.[/align]

[align=justify]Early in the morning of the 6th of April our camp at Savannah was aroused by the sounds of firing in the direction of Pittsburg Landing. This rapidly increased to a continuous roar of artillery and musketry, which convinced us that a battle had commenced. Some of our boys expressed regret that we were eight miles from the field of strife, but before the contest ended it was found that we were quite near enough. The first steamboat arrived from the landing about 9 o'clock A.M. loaded with wounded, and a few straggling soldiers. They brought doleful reports from the battlefield, from which it would appear that all was lost, but the continuous firing in that direction told us that our boys were still there and fighting bravely. The Confederates had moved out from Corinth and, under cover of darkness, established their lines immediately in front of our camps, and in the early morning delivered a deadly assault. It is not strange that our loss was heavy, it is rather a wonder that anything at all was saved. Our forces were compelled to yield ground, and many of their camps temporarily fell into the hands of the Confederates, but a large proportion of our men who were not disabled rallied courageously and fought until the close of the battle.[/align]

[align=justify]The advance division of Buell's army under Gen. Nelson passed through Savannah shortly after noon, marching hurriedly toward the battlefield. His advance brigade reached the field and was slightly engaged just at night. At 4 o'clock P.M. Adjutant Bowers of the 14th passed along the line to notify us that the opportunity had come to us to fight, and directed that we get ready to move to the battlefield at once. In twenty minutes our line was formed, but it was not until eight o'clock that we marched on board of a boat and started up the river. Our boat being heavily loaded we moved very slow and did not reach the landing until eleven o'clock at night, nearly three hours in going eight miles. This gave us time to contemplate the seriousness of going into battle for the first time. The continuous rattle of firearms during the day together with the many unfavorable reports that has reached us, from the battlefield, told us very plainly that we would soon behold the stern realities of war. Yet I doubt if any of the boys would willingly have been left behind. Some spent their time in sleep, others told what they expected to bravely accomplish the next day. Others I suppose in giving a message to be sent home in case of misfortune. I sat on deck with Sergeant Drake, one of the best men in the regiment. He was a bachelor, nearly forty years of age. He told why he never married. Death had taken the only one he had ever cared for, now he was walking life's journey alone. He had never spoken of this matter to any of us before, why should he do so now, and to almost a stranger? The recital seemed to cause him to grieve, yet he talked of nothing else on the trip.[/align]

[align=justify]Upon leaving the boats we marched a few rods, formed a line and bivouacked for the night, exposed to a heavy rain. All around us there was unmistakable evidence of a terrific conflict. Our loss in killed, wounded and prisoners had been heavy. The confederates were in possession of most of our camps and our forces had fallen back and partially intrenched near the river, from which no further retreat could be made without swimming. The river banks were strewn to the waters edge with dead, wounded and a few demoralized soldiers. All through the night the gunboats Tyler and Lexington continued to throw shell over our lines to the annoyance of the confederates. Gen. Grant brought up all of his remaining force, the army of Gen. Buell arrived upon the field, and all looked forward to the coming day with confidence.[/align]

[align=justify]Early on the morning of the 7th our army advanced a mile or more. Our regiment moved nearly two miles in the direction of Corinth and formed a line of battle, having been temporarily assigned to the division of Gen. Crittenden. We were confronted with a New Orleans battery which opened on our line with shot and shell. Ordered to lie down these missiles passed over us, but they played havoc with the tree-tops above. After continuing this cannonade for an hour or more, the confederates made a fierce charge, the object being the capture of a battery near us. Our regiment met this charge with a deadly fire driving the enemy back some distance, but we in turn were ourselves forced back. The 14th was now ordered by the brigade commander to charge and take the confederate battery in our front. This was successfully accomplished but owing to the concentrated infantry fire upon us we were unable to hold the guns. Lieut. Staley and others of the regiment succeeded in spiking one gun before retiring. Falling back to within sixty rods of our original line we were constantly under fire and during the day we made two other charges upon the battery and was finally successful in capturing and holding it. The gun spiked by Lieut. Staley was afterwards sent to Madison Wis. as a trophy. Throughout the day the 14th fought like veterans, and received the name of "Wisconsin Regulars" for their soldierly conduct upon the field. The regiment lost twenty killed and seventy three wounded. The loss in company "B" was eight, including Lieut. Post and Sergeant Drake mortally wounded. Captain Worden being absent Lieut. Post was in command of the company. He and Sergeant Drake were among the first to fall. I could easily have placed my hand upon each of them as they were shot. Two splendid men had fallen. Sergeant Drake had finished his lonely journey. Shortly after the battle I was promoted to Second Sergeant, and a few weeks later to First, or Orderly Sergeant.[/align]

[align=justify]After the battle Pittsburg Landing became an important base of supplies for the army advancing on Corinth. Col. Wood was appointed Provost Marshal and the 14th remained here as provost-guard. For four days after the battle we were without tents, exposed to almost continuous rain, and without sufficient rations. This together with the ungratefulness of our situation upon the battlefield caused a large amount of sickness and many deaths in the regiment. The sound of the dirge played upon the fife and the muffled drum became very familiar to us. Scarcely a day that one of our boy was not carried to his home, and frequently two or more was buried at the same time. Owing to exposure I became disabled with a lame back that rendered me almost entirely helpless. In consequence of this I was obliged to spend twelve days in the regimental hospital. This however was my only hospital experience during my term of service. On the 12th of April Governor Harvey of Wisconsin arrived at Pittsburg Landing to look after the sick and wounded belonging to the 14th 16th and 18th Wisconsin Regiments that had suffered severely in the battle. Passing through the hospital he took each patient by the hand and spoke words of courage and cheer. This kindly interest secured for him the love and admiration of all. On the 17th when about to return to Wisconsin he was drowned in the Tennessee River in attempting to step from one steam boat to another. His body was afterward recovered and sent to Madison Wisconsin in charge of an escort, from our regiment. The health of Col. Wood becoming impaired he returned to Wisconsin and died on June 17th from disease contracted in the service.[/align]


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Great find Jim. Thanks for posting it.

For anyone who would like to "follow along" with the narrative, below are links to the markers for the 14th Wisconsin, showing their advance on April 7th...

The first one is basically their starting point that morning. By way of reference, if you don't have a Trailhead Graphics map handy, the monument in the background is the Confederate memorial...


Along the Eastern Corinth Road, between the Sunken Road (behind you) and the Hamburg-Purdy Road. Looking toward the battery they charged and captured, which you can just make out in the background along the Hamburg-Purdy Road...


The Putnam Stump, marking the spot where Private J.D. Putnam of the 14th Wisconsin was killed during one of the charges they made against the battery. This has to be considered one of the most unique monuments on any battlefield...


Picture of the regiment's burial marker, incorrectly labled as BG#27 on the picture. Should be #28, located just north of Dill Branch Ravine on your Trailhead Graphics map...


Also, here's a link to an article about Governor Harvey that was written in 1866...



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Falling back to within sixty rods of our original line we were constantly under fire and during the day we made two other charges upon the battery and was finally successful in capturing and holding it. The gun spiked by Lieut. Staley was afterwards sent to Madison Wis. as a trophy.

Jim, do you know if this cannon is still up in Madison? I've read in Wisconsin at Shiloh that it was still there around the turn of the 20th Century, but I was wondering if it's still there today. If so, do you know if there is a picture of it someplace? Just curious. It would be interesting to see.


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I don't know if the cannon is still in Madison.  I get to go up to see the VA Doctor in Madtown next week.  After he's done torturing my back, :shock: if I can still walk, I had planned to go to the Historical Society.  I recently found out they have a dozen or so boxes fulll of documents pertaining to the 16th Reg., and I'll try to track down said cannon.  Jim

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Thanks for the offer Jim, but only if your back is up to it. If that cannon has been there since 1862, it will keep a while longer. :)

That's great news about the 16th Wisconsin. Makes me want to jump on a plane and head up there myself. And I'm not kidding! Of course you know that we all want to hear what you find, down to the very last detail. No pressure though. :P


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I would like to hear anything you get about the 16th Wisconsin as well..  there is a guy here in town whose Great Great Grandfather fought at Shiloh with the 16th..  He talks constantly about that..  I would like to pass along any info you may have to him..


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 I promise to report any findings I get that seem to have value. My idea of value can be a little weak.  I was only able to go thru about 1/2 of the 1st box when I discovered them.  Most of it were payroll records, OR reports, etc. found elsewhere.  I did find a note in the payroll records appointing the man my Grandfather joined up with and who summitted later pension statements for my G.F. as an ambulance driver.  To most people this is Hoe-Hum.  To me it was a gold nugget in a paper pile.

The VA called & changed the appt. from the 12th to the 18th, so getting the cannon & Historical Society info is going to take awhile.  All this snow isn't helping either!



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I just discovered this at an old Wisconsin Veterans Museum news page:


Friday, April 4, 2008 – Noon

The Return of the Shiloh Cannon – A Dedication

Lance Herdegen, Civil War historian

Learn about the history of the 14th Wisconsin, the Battle of Shiloh, and the story of the captured Confederate cannon recently transferred to WVM from the GAR Memorial Park at Camp Randall.


I'll try to find out what plans the Vet Museum has for the cannon.


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Does anyone have any particular names to look up who were affiliated with the 14th and/or 16th Wisconsin? I have a membership to ancestry.com & there are pension records there as well as some regimental histories. Sharon

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Hi Sharon.  My Grandfather, John Oates, fought with the 16th WI Reg., Co. I, from 1861-1865.  I have his pay records and pensions records from the National Archives, but I am always willing to learn any new little piece of info I can.  Thanks, Jim

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Jim:  I found pension records for John Oates but want to look for more items including a regimental history.  Have not had time but will contact you with whatever info I find when I find time to look.  Sharon

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Sharon and Jim,

Thanks for the generous offer, both of you. If per chance, in looking through information you find on the 16th Wisconsin, either of you comes across anything that refers to the patrol that went out from Prentiss division on the evening of April 5th, and/or Powell's patrol the next morning, I'd be very interested in hearing about it.

Please don't make a special effort or anything - just, if you happen come across anything like that at some point, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks. :)


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Extract Regimental History 14th Wisconsin Infantry

Shiloh after battle report:

Reports of Col. David E. Wood, Fourteenth Wisconsin Infantry.


SIR: I have the honor to report to you the part taken by my command

in the action of the 7th instant.

My men received the fire of the enemy with great credit to themselves,

although it was the first time they had been in action. During the action

my command attacked and took possession of a battery which was

planted in front of the left wing and passed some 50 paces beyond the

battery, when the enemy, by a superior force, caused them to fall back;

they rallied again, and a second time took the guns, which are now upon

the battle-field. The battery is believed to be a Louisiana battery. One

other gun was spiked by First Lieut. George Staley, of Company D;

and Capt. George E. Waldo, Company E, bravely leading on his men,

fell in this attack.

Total killed, 14; total wounded, 73; total missing, 4.+

The officers of my regiment conducted themselves in a very creditable

manner. Lieut. Col. I. E. Messmore rendered valuable service

in the former part of the action, but received a fall from his horse, and

was compelled to leave the field before the action closed. Maj. John

Hancock conducted himself with bravery throughout the action and

rendered very valuable service.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Col. Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteers.

Col. SMITH, Cmdg. Brigade.


DEAR COL.: My circumstances at present prevent me from

making such a detailed report as I could desire.

D. E. W.


Fearing that a former report made by me of the part my command took

in the action of April 7 may have failed to serve the purpose for which

it was intended, owing to the fact that Col. W. S. Smith, who

commanded the brigade with which I acted, had made his report before

I was able to get mine to him, and as I was not properly a part of his

command, I have deemed it proper, even at this date, to make a report

directly to you. At the time of the battle of April 6 my regiment was

stationed Savannah, and had not been assigned to any division. On the

evening of that day a member of your staff, whose name I cannot recall,

came to my camp and told me he would take the responsibility of

ordering me to Pittsburg Landing. I immediately distributed 40 rounds

of cartridge to each man, took what rations we had in camp, and within

one hour of the time of receiving the order was on board a steamer with

730 effective men. We reached Pittsburg Landing at about 10 p. m.,

and, ascending the bluff, remained there till morning. Being unable to

get orders from headquarters during the night, at the request of Col.

W. S. Smith, commanding a brigade in Gen. Crittenden's division,

I agreed to join his command during the day if I failed to get contrary

orders. Not having received any other orders, I proceeded to the field

under his command, and was assigned by him a position on his right,

which, if I understand the formation of our lines, placed me on the

extreme right of our left wing. Soon after we were formed in line of

battle the enemy was discovered in force beyond an open field on our

right, and I deployed Company A, Capt. Ward commanding, as

skirmishers in that direction. As our skirmishers approached the edge of

the field they were fired upon by the enemy's cavalry, who were

concealed by bushes which skirted the field. They returned the fire, and

fell back upon our main body. One of our men was wounded by this

fire. A battery was then placed by Gen. Buell on our right, covering

the open field, and directed to the west, while our line faced to the


Apprehending an attack somewhere near our position, our men were

caused to lie down and await events. Soon after the enemy planted a

battery directly in front of the center of my regiment, concealing their

operations by the undergrowth of timber, at a distance, I should think,

of not over 30 rods from us. Their fire was directed upon the field

officers, who were at that time near together, and had not dismounted,

fortunately doing no damage, their range being too high. A cross-fire

from the battery on our right and also another on our left was opened

on the enemy's battery at the same time. Our line arose, commenced

firing, and advanced, which caused the enemy hastily to withdraw their

battery and fall back. Our line steadily advanced upon the enemy's lines,

causing them to slowly fall back, contesting, however, every inch of the

ground. Their battery had been replanted at the distance of about

three-fourths of a mile from where our line had been formed. Coming

a second time in the vicinity of this battery, which was in a great

measure concealed by the timber, I ordered my regiment to advance and

take it, which they did, Lieut. George Staley spiking one of the

guns and a private spiking another. Capt. Waldo, Company

E, as well as a number of privates, fell at this time. My regiment,

being new, in their excitement advanced some 70 or 80 paces beyond

the battery, and there were repulsed by a superior force of the enemy

and fell back a considerable distance in some disorder, but soon rallied

and advanced with the main line upon the battery, which was then

recaptured and held. The battery referred to I believe was a Louisiana

battery. During the engagement my men several times wavered under

a galling fire, but in each instance rallied promptly, and remained in

their position until the day was won. I then ordered them to rendezvous

at the place where their blankets and haversacks had been left in the

morning, near the Landing.

I herewith send you, as a part of this report, a complete list of the

killed, wounded, and missing.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Col. Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteers.

Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT.

Source: Official Records: Series I. Vol. 10. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 10

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This cannon appears to be a six pounder field gun mounted on a non-standard gun carriage.  The axle and the wheels seem to be unusual with enlarged center hubs.  Also, they are wood (axle and wheels) and with this picture taken in 1950, they must be in poor condition today whereever they are.

The "National Registry of Surviving Civil War Cannons" indicates a captured confederate gun at Camp Randall Park as made by Leeds & Co. of New Orleans.  It is a 6 pounder bronze field gun made in 1861.  They were cast with same appearance of the M1841 field gun.  Hodgson's Louisiana Battery lost a gun of this type made by Leeds and several other batteries also lost six pounder guns of unknown manufacturer.  A best guess based on this info would be this gun is the one that once belonged to the Louisiana Washington Artillery of New Orleans since this gun was made in New Orleans and it is a Shiloh capture.  Hodgson's battery was from New Orleans.  The other batteries that lost a six pounder were from other states.  Further, the book, "The Big Guns" lists a gun of this type made by Leeds in Madison Mi.  Sharon's post above mentions the 14th Wisconsin attacking a battery believed to be a Louisiana battery and capturing some guns.  

The National Registry also lists a second six pounder cannon at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Model 1841, bronze, registry #4, made by Greenwood co. in Cincinnatti. 


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Jim, thanks for the picture!

Ron - great information about the cannon. I did a little re-reading this morning after seeing your note, and based on what you found about the history of that cannon, I'm wondering if we might have stumbled across some interesting information. I'm thinking it's possible that the Confederate cannon up in Madison, while captured at Shiloh, might not be the one that was captured by the 14th Wisconsin. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but bear with me while I'll toss this out, and see what everyone thinks. (Note that a lot of this is going to qualify as way too much information for some folks. Sorry about that. It's the price you pay for dealing with the mentally obsessed. :) )

Below is a picture I took of the 14th Wisconsin marker along the Eastern Corinth Road this past April...


Note the direction its facing. In the distance, directly above the marker, is the position marker for Harper's Mississippi Battery on April 7th, seen here close up, from a different angle...


These are 'replica' photos that I took, reproducing two other photos that I'm pretty sure were taken in 1907, and that can be found on page 25 of Wisconsin at Shiloh, published in 1909. By way of reference for everyone with a Trailhead Graphics map, the two markers are #257 (14th Wisconsin) and #447 (Harper's Mississippi Battery, also called Jefferson Mississippi Battery.)

The text on page 24 of that same book tells about the arrival, around noon, of the 14th Wisconsin at the spot marked by the tablet in the first picture above. It then says this: "From this point the regiment charged a battery located in the road at the northeast corner of Barnes Field. The battery was taken but the regiment was repulsed, and not until it had been thrice taken was it held by the regiment, which then passed beyond it."

That description fits perfectly with the location of Harper's Battery.

Hodgson's Washington Artillery was located over by Davis Wheatfield (marker #363), a bit further east along the Hamburg-Purdy Road, and was overrun around 11:00 a.m. by Hazen's brigade, supported by Smith's brigade on his right. The 14th Wisconsin was attached to Smith's brigade, and stationed on the right side of the brigade. Did they take part in the charge toward Davis Wheatfield?

Colonel Wood, in his report, indicates that the 14th repeatedly charged the same battery before finally holding it. Was this actually the case, or did the confusion of the back-and-forth fighting in and around the thick woods throw his memory off a bit? He appears somewhat uncertain in his report that the gun captured was from a Louisiana battery, although he does give credence to the idea. How he learned it was from a Louisiana battery, he doesn't say.

Larry Daniel describes the attack on the Washington Artillery on page 271 of his book, and says in endnote 30 (page 374) that several Federal regiments "claimed honors on the guns," meaning of course that more than one regiment claimed to have captured them.

Then on page 288 he describes the attack on Harper's Battery about 1:00 p.m., and indicates that it was finally overrun and captured by the 14th Wisconsin. He explains his belief about that in endnote 91 (page 377) as follows: "The 14th Wisconsin claimed the capture of a battery, but I am convinced that this was merely overlapping with Boyle's brigade [on their right] and that the unit in question was Harper's Battery."

He further adds that, "In 1895, 14th Wisconsin veteran John Hancock visited the exact site of the action," and later wrote that "the gun and cassion that our regiment captured, and now held as a trophy by the state at Madison, should be taken back and placed as a tablet." Daniel then states that this statment "seems to conform with Harper's report."

Again, note the direction of the 14th Wisconsin marker in the first picture above. It is facing directly toward Harper's Mississippi Battery. Hogdgson's Louisiana Battery would have been nearby, on their left-front, as seen from this marker.

Finally, on page 90 of Wisconsin at Shiloh, it states that the 14th Wisconsin "assisted in the capture of a battery, one gun of which was awarded to the regiment and sent to the State as a recognition of the bravery of the regiment in that, its first battle."

Now, assuming the cannon in Madison was indeed manufactured in New Orleans, and that the Washington Artillery is known to have lost a six-pounder at Shiloh that was manufactured in New Orleans, it's possible that a mixup was made somewhere along the line. Especially if the origin of the cannons from Harper's Battery cannot be established with certanty. If so, it could mean that the cannon in Madison came from the Washington Artillery, even though the 14th is credited with having captured Harper's Mississippi Battery.

One other side note. The times indicated on each of the three markers involved here do not correspond with each other. The marker for the 14th Wisconsin says that it was engaged at that location from 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. The marker for Harper's Battery says it was on that spot until 1:00 p.m., meaning it would have been gone by the time the 14th arrived, if the Union regiment's marker is correct. Which I don't think it is.

Finally, the marker for the Washington Artillery indicates the position was overrun at 11:00 a.m. before being recovered, and then lost again. But as you can see, the times do not conform with the marker for the 14th Wisconsin, if they captured, or helped capture, either of these positions. I think the time indicated on the 14th's marker is probably off by a couple of hours. No one disputes that they took part in the fighting in this area, but they couldn't have done so if they didn't arrive there before 2:00 p.m.

In any case, the regiment fought near where a Louisiana battery was located, and they may have thought, or been told, that the battery they captured was from that state. Given the confusion involved, it's possible. If so, then perhaps when a cannon was "awarded" to them later on, it came from a Louisiana battery that was known to be nearby at the time. Even though it was probably a Mississippi battery they captured.

All of that may be a bunch of foo-foo. But it's an interesting possibility. What we need to do, if possible, is find out if the origin of the cannons from Harper's Battery can be established.


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Yes, your right.  Your response requires a lot of digging to understand the situation that existed along the Purdy Road from west of the Eastern Corinth Road to the west edge of the Sarah Bell Cotton Field.  The situation was very fluid with several charges being made. Its too easy to confuse these attacks. 

Hodgson arrived below the Davis Wheat Field about 7 am and was in action before Harper's Battery arrived near the Eastern corinth Road before 9 am.  The units in the Davis Wheat Field fighting were mixed together in an confusing manner. Hodgson was in action as early as about 8 am firing into the Wicker field against Nelson's division.  The union attack launched at 11 am into the northern Davis Wheat Field was by Sooy Smith's Brigade of Crittenden's Division and Hazen's Brigade of Nelson's Division. You asked if they were fighting in the Davis Wheat Field and they were.  Later, Sooy Smith's Brigade did move to the west towards the Duncan Field.  The 14th Wisconsin is not mentioned in the fighting in the Davis Wheat Field.  The three guns lost by Hodgson's Battery were recovered and the battery moved west after 1 pm.  This puts Hodgson moving through the area of the intersection of the Purdy Road and the Eastern Corinth Road.  This is the area that you call attention to.  The tablet states that Harper's Battery moved out of the area at 1 pm and the tablet for the 14th Wisconsin states the regiment in action at 2 pm, after Harper left and Hodgson's battery was in the area.  This is the battery known to have been equipped with confederate made six pounder field guns made by Leeds & Company in New Orleans. Now, the timing matchs up. The statements concerning the Louisiana Washington Battery all say that the battery withdrew from the Davis Wheat Field fighting in bad shape but with all six guns.  They withdrew about 1 pm and passed through the area mentioned above where fighting was known to have occurred and they ended the day minus one gun. 

Perry, since the park rangers have warned the placing of the tablets are approximate and not exact, you may be placing too literal of a meaning on them.  I  enjoyed your comments and show a good chain of thought. You posed a challenge and I like that.  Now here is my challenge to you. 

By the way, you place Harper's Battery in the Barnes Field.  Bankhead's Battery is believed to have bivouacked there during the night before.  It later moved to the Shiloh Church Plateau.  Could this be the battery spotted by the 14th Wisconsin?

Finally, have rechecked my list of surviving civil war cannons and I find that there are four six pounder field guns suppose to be in Madison WI, one at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and three at Camp Randall, one being the bronze Shiloh gun with an engraving onit.


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Ron, what source or sources are you referring to for your information?

The union attack launched at 11 am into the northern Davis Wheat Field was by Sooy Smith's Brigade of Crittenden's Division and Hazen's Brigade of Nelson's Division. You asked if they were fighting in the Davis Wheat Field and they were.

I probably should have clarified this a little better, but I was wondering about the 14th Wisconsin's possible role in this charge. There are some clues that they may very well have participated, even though no one appears to say so directly. There is a passage from the report of Colonel Pierce Hawkins of the 11th Kentucky, of Smith's brigade, that especially caught my eye in that regard.

According to Hawkins, the 11th was in reserve as the brigade initially advanced. He appears to allude to the Confederate attack which brought on the Union counterattack that included Smith's brigade, and then writes, "We were then ordered forward by you [General Smith] to the line of battle. There not being space sufficient between Bartlett's battery on my right and the Fourteenth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers on my left, we became entangled with them, still pressing forward in that condition, engaging the enemy, who were drawn up in considerable numbers in the brush and playing upon us from their batteries, and from cause or other we were compelled to fall back to the original line of battle." (Page 367 of Volume 10, Series 1, Part 1. Probably goes without saying, but the emphasis above is mine.)

He then goes on to describe a second charge that temporarily captured a battery, being driven back again, then charging a third time and finally capturing and holding the battery.

It seems like just about every regiment that took part in this charge toward Davis' Wheatfield claimed to have overrun an enemy battery of some kind, but the key for what we're wondering about here, to me at least, is whether the 14th was involved in that charge.

The one indisputable evidence we have for the location of the 14th Wisconsin is the Putnam Stump. We know from that monument that the regiment was along the Eastern Corinth Road at some point, and that Putnam was reportedly killed while the regiment was charging a battery. What we don't know is what time he was killed, or exactly which direction they were charging at the time. More on this monument in just a moment.

There's also an account of their charge by a fellow named Edwin Quiner, who wrote a history of Wisconsin regiments in the war in 1866. I don't know the source for his description, but his account sounds more like a description of a charge through the Hornet's Nest thicket toward Davis' Wheatfield than down the Eastern Corinth Road toward Barnes Field. See this link...


The account for Shiloh starts just below the short section titled "Glaze tells of old camping site."

Also, on the same web site, is the following account by Captain Frederick Magdeburg of the 14th Wisconsin...


You'll need to scroll about halfway down the page for his account. It's the same account that appears in Wisconsin at Shiloh, that indicates it was Harper's Battery that they captured. Magdeburg, who served in the 14th and apparently was at Shiloh, seems pretty certain that it was Harper's Battery.

There's more, but it risks making a mountain howitzer out of molehill six pounder. Or something like that. The bottom line for me is that I think it's possible the cannon awarded to the 14th isn't necessarily the same as the cannon they actually captured during the battle. There was just a massive amount of confusion involved all around.

Concerning the Putnam Stump again, as you can read on the monument itself, the location of this stump helped the state commission fix the regiment's line of advance during the battle, as well as the final tablet and the state monument. See the exact wording here -


Now for us, or at least me, what's interesting about that, is the reference to that last tablet, or regimental marker. There are only two for the 14th Wisconsin itself, not counting the Putnam Stump, and it seems clear that the location of that stump is what helped them locate marker #257. That's the marker that Magdeburg, who was on the state commission, refers to in his account, and he clearly believes it was Harper's Battery that they overran on April 7th.

I realize the markers are not infallible, but I also believe the rangers consider them to be pretty accurate as to location. And the veterans themselves, in visiting the park, very often assisted in the proper place to locate them. But, I think it's also possible that marker 257 reflects what might have been some uncertainty for Reed concerning exactly what the 14th Wisconsin did on April 7th. The marker is pointing straight at Harper's Battery, and I don't think that's a coincidence, especially considering Magdeburg's account. The implcation is cleary that they charged and captured that battery. But as stated before, the wording on the marker does not match up with when that battery would have been overrun, and lost a cannon.

I'll leave it there for now, because this is already way too long, and it's not really all that important. But, I do think the whole thing helps speak to the massive confusion of the battle. Apparently not even historians can agree about what the 14th did. Larry Daniel thinks they captured Harper's Battery, but Wiley Sword thinks it was Cobb's Battery. Which I didn't even think was still in the battle on Monday. :)


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A quick and partial responce.  The description of the fighting of the 14th Wisconsin against the New Orleans battery and the Crescent Regiment matches perfectly with my info of the fighting in the Davis Wheat Field. 

Quote (Forming in line of battle about two miles south of the Landing, on the main road to Corinth, General Nelson's brigade was on their left, and General R. McCook's on their right. The New Orleans battery, supported by the Crescent City (rebel) brigade, was stationed on a ridge in their front. The rebel battery opened on them with shot and shell. The Fourteenth was ordered to lie down on the slope of the hill, and consequently the enemy's missiles passed over their heads. After enduring this fire for an hour and a half, the rebel infantry made a charge upon their position, for the purpose of capturing the Chicago battery. The Fourteenth rose and met them with a deadly fire, driving them back some distance, but were in turned back. The regiment rallied, however, and were ordered by Colonel Smith, to charge and take the battery. The ground in front was a gradual descent for twenty rods.) Close quote

 This appears to be the brigade of Crittenden's division that moved to the wooded area east of the Eastern Corinth Road and attacked down into the Davis Wheat Field together with Hazen's Brigade of Nelson's division.  The action described fits nicely with other accounts of the Davis field fighting.  The fighting of Hodgson's battery at Shiloh is covered in the book "The Pride of the Confederate Artillery" by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes.  His narration agrees with the information you provided, too similiar to argue about. 

This fighting occurred about from 11 am to 1 pm when Hodgson withdrew his battered battery and it moved west along the Purdy road in two sections each of six guns.  Hughes mentions the battery withdrew with all six guns from the Davis Wheat field, so nobody captured a Hodgson cannon in the Davis Wheat field. Hodgson's battery was in motion at 1:30 pm west along the Purdy Road. I described how this movement placed the battery in the area of the Purdy road and the Eastern Corinth Road about 2 pm (give or take) and troops of Crittenden's Division were attacking here, down the Eastern Corinth Road. The 14th Wisconsin may have been in this fight also, because the two areas were very close to each other. 

I believe this is the action where the gun was lost but Harper's Battery was also in this area and it lost a gun.  There was heavy fighting in this area with Harper's battery involved but there is no mention of Hodgson's battery being involved here, but still both batteries were near.  Harper's battery, now commanded by Lt. Putnam Darden, was charged by federals, guns lost, recaptured by rebels, roughly handled by Terrill's US battery, equipment a mess, Battery lost two guns but a captured federal gun reduced the loss to one.  Note that Hodgson was in action from about 10 am to 1 pm and Harper was in action at 1 pm to 3 pm.

Perry, you are right in that the various narrations don't exactly coincide but what about this battle does?  We both can build a case. 

For now.




The gun spiked by Lieutenant Staley was afterwards sent to Wisconsin as a trophy. 

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It's intriguing, isn't it. I don't know that the whole thing can ever be untangled enough to figure out.

It could well be that Hodgson's battery lost a gun somehow while moving from one part of the field to another, and that this is the cannon later awarded to the 14th. But, from what I've read, and also based on the modern-day marker, it does appear that Harper's Battery was in position in or near Barnes Field on the morning of the 7th, at the time the charge took place toward the Davis Wheatfield. According to the accounts though, this battery was overrun around 1:00, during another attack.

Another interesting thing is that the marker indicates the battery lost one gun "captured by the enemy," but it does not appear that any of the Union markers in the area claim credit for capturing it. There are markers for some of the Union regiments that took part in the attack toward the Davis Wheatfield, and that claim they overran a battery, but I don't think any of them state exactly which battery it was. Maybe because seemingly everyone claimed credit for overrunning the same battery. Which apparently was the Washington Artillery.

Other than the marker for the 14th Wisconsin, the nearest marker to Harper's position is #277, the marker for Boyle's Brigade. I think Daniel believes that the 14th overran Harper's position during a charge they made alongside of Boyle's men. The marker for Boyle's brigade is much like that for the 14th - it basically says they were engaged there between two and three in the afternoon, and says nothing about overrunning a battery.

But, the more I read, the more convinced I become that the 14th took part in the morning charge toward the Davis Wheatfield, where Hogdson's battery was located. Along with Hazen's men, it appears that every regiment from Smith's division took part in this charge, and at least part of Boyle's brigade did as well. Or put another way, it looks as if almost everyone in a blue uniform who was in the area took part in that charge. But the 14th did not? I suppose it's possible, but if not, they were about the only ones who didn't. And the accounts sure do read as if they did.

Anyway, it all goes back to the operative word here - confusion. :) Which could also mean that the 14th charged two different battery positions, but later confused them into a single position. Or that part of the 14th charged toward Hodgson, and part toward Harper. Or that I can actually figure out a Rubic's Cube. Which I can't.

Something all of this did remind me about though. One of the anniversary hikes in 2007 re-traced the path of the 9th Kentucky from Boyle's brigade, during a charge they made on April 7th. Where to? Through the Hornet's Nest thicket, toward the Davis Wheatfield! So even I've made that charge. ;)


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Jim was kind enough to head over to Camp Randall Park in Madison and trudge around through some deep snow and cold temperatures, to send us some pictures of the Civil War cannons they have on display.

According to what Jim was told by a staff member in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, they are in the process of refurbishing the cannons and are moving them around as a result. One of the cannons sits near a plaque that identifies it as the cannon captured by the 14th Wisconsin at Shiloh. But due to the reshuffling they're doing with the cannons, that particular cannon may or may not be the one actually captured at Shiloh. Below are a few of the pictures that Jim sent along. The first one is of the cannon located next to the plaque identifying it as the cannon captured at Shiloh. You can see the plaque in front of the cannon...


The plaque itself, below. You can make out the top, where it mentions the 14th Wisconsin, and their killed and wounded on April 7th at Shiloh...


Another view of the same cannon...


Close-up of the muzzle. Some of the identifying marks are still present, but appear to be pretty badly worn...


Including the one above, Jim took pictures of six cannons. Four of them are outdoors, three in Camp Randall Memorial Park, and one nearby in front of Camp Randall Stadium, where the Wisconsin Badgers football team plays. Here are pictures of the other three cannons located outside...


(I could be wrong, but the cannon in the picture above appears to me to be a 12-pounder, so it's probably not in the running to be the Shiloh cannon, which is supposed to have been a 6-pounder...)


This next one might be the one in front of Camp Randall Stadium...


One of the cannons inside the Wisconsin Veterans Museum...


And the second one in the museum, which appears to be a mountain howitzer...


Jim was also kind enough to send along a few other pictures, including this one of the information sign for Camp Randall Memorial Park...


The memorial plaque for Camp Randall Stadium...


And finally, a picture of what Jim was told is an ammo shed dating from the war, but is identified in a 1930's photograph as a guard house...


Thanks to Jim for sending along these photos, and for shivering his way around the park to take them!


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Thanks for the photos, enjoyed them very much.  I love photos of cannons.  Next time in Madison, take a photo of the muzzle end of the six pounders and I give a identification of each of them.  EVERYBODY, IF TAKING A PHOTO OF A CANNON, TAKE ONE OF THE MUZZLE SHOWING THE MARKINGS INSCRIBED ON IT. 

The cannon in photo #1, #3 and #4 is identified as a federal 12 pounder light field gun, more common referred to as a "Napoleon".  I understand you to say that this is the gun sitting by the plaque and is calling the "Shiloh Gun", being captured by the union army at the Battle of Shiloh.  This cannot be so as the confederates had no federal Napoleons to lose to the union army.  The rebel Napoleon cannons present at the battle, were all made in southern foundries.  I can identify this gun as a federal Napoleon made by Revere Copper Co. in 1863.  Note the battle was in 1862.  The weight of the gun is 1,228 pounds.  Your photo #4 gives me this information despite the worn stampings on the muzzle. Having a cheat sheet of cannons also helps. 

The cannon is photo #5 is unknown exactly what it is.  I do know that it is much heavier (larger) than a 12 pounder Napoleon.  I'll need time to identify this gun.  It looks like a type too large for field service.  Its sitting on an unusual gun carriage.  Jim, remember to photo the muzzle end of this one as it is an intriguing gun. 

The gun in photo #6, #7 #8 are of a six pounder Field Gun, different guns as #8 is clearly inside.

Yes Jim, the gun in Photo #9 is a M1835 model 12 pounder Mountain howitzer, made by Ames Manufacturing Co. in Boston in 1863.  It has a registry number 0f #45 and weights 227 pounds. 

I enjoyed this post very much, cannon are another of my hobbies.


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I will be in Madison again on Jan. 21st & Jan. 27th.  I didn't see any muzzle markings except in the one of which I snapped a picture (the large cannon seen in the background of the Camp Randall sign).  I will take pictures of all the muzzles for you.


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The field cannon in picture #7 may be the Shiloh gun. It appears to be a 6 pound gun in bronze but notice the brown color to the gun metal. This is the result of the material used to make the gun. The foundries used a variety of compositions in the material for the metal smelt, especially when metal from church bells was used. The gun in picture #8 is of the 6 pound type so it is still in the running to be the Shiloh gun.


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