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Friday 4 April 1862 and the Picket Skirmish

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The Picket Skirmish of Friday, April 4th 1862 has been discussed “in passing” on the way to the more interesting and important Battle of Shiloh (which erupted Sunday morning, April 6th.) In many ways, this Picket Skirmish was a “dry run” for the Big Show on Sunday. We at SDG believe we are familiar with this skirmish, but are we?

 

Here are a series of questions:

  1. What was the weather on 4 April 1862?

  2. What Federal forces were involved that Friday (actually engaged?)

  3. What Confederate forces were involved (actually engaged or fired rounds?)

  4. At what time on Friday did the first exchange of gunfire occur (to nearest half hour)?

  5. Who was the most senior Federal leader involved?

  6. Who was the most senior Federal leader to survey the ground on Friday?

  7. Who was the most senior Confederate leader involved (either at scene of action, or directing that action from the rear)?

  8. At what time did the “engagement” end (to nearest half hour)?

  9. At what time did Major General Grant meet with BGen W.T. Sherman on Friday?

  10. What action did Major General Grant order as result of the Picket Skirmish?

  11. How many total casualties resulted (USA and CSA)?

  12. Which of the Confederate prisoners taken on April 4th were interviewed by Grant?

  13. What happened to these “ten” Confederate prisoners? [Grant records 8 prisoners.]

  14. How many Federal prisoners were taken on April 4th? What happened to them?

 

Can you answer them all?

 

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The Weather and other References

 

In a Letter dated 4 April 1862, Bugler Charles Dickey of Illinois reports the weather at Pittsburg Landing: “The weather is rather uncomfortable warm in the daytime, but the nights are delicious, just cool enough to sleep well.” BGen WHL Wallace in his Letter of 5 April to his wife reports the “skirmish in front of General Sherman's division,” and recalls, “last night brought storm and rain.” Confederate soldier L. I. Nixon, who began April 4th seven miles south of Shiloh Church recorded in his diary: “It commenced raining before day...” Lieutenant J.J. Geer reports “a torrent of rain” that fell on Friday afternoon, before sunset. General William Hardee, in his report following the April 4th Skirmish, recorded: “The rain fell in torrents, swelling streams to where they became impassible. Our planned overnight march [of 4/5 April] was cancelled.”

Based on the above, it appears Friday, April 4th began with a clearing shower. The sun came out, and the day warmed (probably to the low 80s) before cloud and showers returned during the afternoon, turning into heavy rain and storms late in the evening, with rain persisting until daybreak on Saturday. [The same band of stormy weather allowed USS Carondelet to run the gauntlet at Island No.10 on Friday evening.]

 

Here are a few other references that may be of use IRT Picket Skirmish of April 4th:

SDG “Shiloh account, pre-battle patrols” by Stan Hutson on 20 AUG 2017.

Geer, J.J. “A Yankee Loose in Dixie” (1862) pages 23 – 26 available online https://archive.org/stream/beyondlinesory00geer#page/25/mode/1up

SDG “Correspondence (Union) – April 4, 1862” posted by Manassas 1

SDG “Correspondence (Union) – April 5, 1862” posted by Manassas 1 [especially reports from General Sherman and General Grant regarding events of that Friday.]

OR 10 part 1 page 89 Report of U.S. Grant to General Halleck IRT Picket Skirmish

OR 10 part 1 pages 89 – 90 Report of W. T. Sherman

OR 10 part 1 pages 90 – 92 Report of Colonel Ralph Buckland

http://dan-masters-civil-war.blogspot.com/2019/01/general-buckland-explains-battle-of.html  Buckland comments on Picket Skirmish

OR 10 part 1 page 93 and page 567 Reports of General William Hardee.

William Posegate Letter of 11 APR 1862 at http://www.48ovvi.org/

Corporal William Srofe Letter of noon 4 April 1862 at http://www.48ovvi.org/ 

https://cmkinhuntercm.wordpress.com/category/1862/page/1/  SGT I. N. Carr 11th Iowa diary entry for 4 APR 1862

SDG “Another reporter's story” [Surgeon Frank Reilly knowledge of Picket Skirmish]

https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84031490/1862-04-14/ed-1/seq-1/ Daily Chicago Tribune of 14 APR 1862 page one report of Surgeon Frank Reilly [with details of Picket Skirmish of April 4th.]

https://archive.org/details/lifelettgeneral00wallrich/page/182 Life and Letters of WHL Wallace (especially pages 180 – 182.)

https://pickusottawail.com/murals/general-w-h-l-wallace/ Recent mural added at Ottawa.

https://archive.org/stream/recollectionswit00thomp#page/206/mode/2up SGT Seymour Thompson (3rd Iowa Infantry) recalls events of Friday, April 4th on pages 206 – 207.

http://content.lib.auburn.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/civil/id/23854/rec/20 L.I. Nixon of the 26th Alabama records in his diary entry for April 4th, “We saw a bare-headed Union officer escorted to the rear (before sunset) and after sunset, picket firing was heard away to the east.”

 

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im going to have to answer these bit by bit..very busy dont have much time at all to research..

1-warm in the morning which led to later showers...

2-Ohio..72nd--48th--70th  5th Oh cav

4-2-2:30pm

5-Sherman

6-Buckland

14-7 men and 1 officer Herbert of the 70th

will be back..go to go check my cows that are calving....

Mona

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Mona

Thanks for having a look at this topic, and I agree with your start time (2 – 2:30pm) and your list of Union forces that participated appears to be complete (48th OVI (one man, 1/LT Geer, serving as Staff officer to General Buckland) and 72nd OVI (of Sherman's Fifth Division) Buckland's 4th Brigade. 5th Ohio Cavalry, Co's B & H. And the Picket engaged belonged to the 70th OVI.) The events of April 4th had potential to develop into something more momentous, and yet the gunfire that erupted could NOT be heard at Crump's Landing; and many of the forces camped north and east of Sherman's Division were unaware that anything unusual had taken place that Friday afternoon.

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Other considerations...

 

2 APR Lew Wallace's force moves towards Purdy. This “expedition” is misinterpreted and its size overstated, likely leading to initiation of Rebel advance from Corinth.

3 APR IAW orders dated April 2nd WHL Wallace is placed in temporary command of Smith's Second Division (and likely informed personally by Major General US Grant.) BGen Wallace writes his wife that day and informs her, “[he will move from the First Division to the Second Division] and assume command tomorrow.”

3 APR Lew Wallace tells US Grant of concern IRT possible Rebel move on him from Purdy. [This concern is repeated April 4th.]

3 APR Likely based on report that “the Tennessee River is falling” received from WT Sherman and Colonel Webster, General Grant orders rebuild of “Wallace Bridge” over Snake Creek. Colonel McPherson and a work party from the Second Division spend all day Friday rebuilding the bridge, with only the approaches remaining to be attached. [Without approaches, it would be extremely difficult to move artillery onto, and off of the bridge.]

3 APR Probing scout sent towards Monterey before dawn Thursday, authorized by Sherman (involving 5th Ohio cavalry and in conjunction with 54th Ohio, an attempt to ambush CSA cavalry.) Ambush unsuccessful; but several rebels captured [Papers of USG vol.5 p.5].

3 APR Telegraph line from Savannah to Waynesboro completed, with first contact with General Bull Nelson that evening [Nelson is informed that his advance party has arrived.] As efforts to get telegraph to function are underway, US Grant is likely present at the shop on Main Street Savannah during much of Thursday and Friday observing events, and sending/receiving sample messages.

 

References:

SDG “Not just pictures...” post of 5 July 2017 [“Report of Special Correspondent of Cincinnati Gazette” dated 1 April 1862, which was published April 4th.]

SDG “General Johnston, an 1885 Disagreement” post of 23 AUG 2019 [details move of Wallace towards Purdy on April 2nd and Confederate response.]

Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 3 [General Nelson's advance in sight.]

Papers of US Grant vol.5 pp.11 – 12 [April 4 report of Hammond to Rawlins.]

 

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