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Ozzy

Another Shiloh Staff Ride

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Inspired by Tom's admonition to "find and post more Shiloh references," I stumbled upon a previously overlooked Staff Ride... 

Compiled by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, this Staff Ride Handbook of 68 pages records the visit to Shiloh NMP that took place early in 2000, and contains many maps and illustrations, as well as biographies of key leaders and a timeline [ and is available at <https://www.smdc.army.mil> ].

Key takeaways:

  •  It was the intention of Major General Henry Halleck to “mount an offensive against the Confederate Army at Corinth” (page 3).
  • “Grant made his base at Pittsburg Landing, a position in enemy territory with its back to the Tennessee River. Grant neglected, however, to fortify the encampment” (p. 3).

  • “Johnston originally intended to attack Grant on April 4, but muddy terrain, green troops, and poor coordination slowed the Confederate advance and postponed the assault for two days. The delay would prove costly. On the morning of April 6, thousands of screaming Confederates poured out of the woods near Shiloh and routed many of the slumbering northern troops. Many dispirited soldiers broke for the rear and fled to the banks of the Tennessee, refusing to fight. Severely battered and facing disaster, other Federal troops rallied and began making fierce, determined stands. By the afternoon, they had established a formidable battle line at a sunken road, named the “Hornets Nest” by Confederates because of the stinging hail of bullets and shell they faced. Repeated frontal assaults failed to take the stronghold. Finally, a massive artillery barrage and flanking attacks turned the tide and the rebels overwhelmed the northerners, capturing, wounding, or killing most of the stalwart defenders” (page 3).

  • General Johnston's battle plan was too complex (for implementation by inexperienced junior commanders); and its initiation was delayed at least one day by flooding rain (page 6).

  • “Fraley Field: the battle begins...” (page 9). [Staff Ride Stop No. One.]

  • Stop Two: invasion of the Union camps.

  • Stop 3: Sherman's front crumbles.

  • Stop 5: The Hamburg – Purdy Road (the Union Right collapses).

  • Page 21: “Just after 10 am General Grant met BGen Prentiss and ordered him to hold his position at all hazards.”

  • Stop 9: Grant's Last Line.

 

Although this Staff Ride provides a good summary of the Battle of Shiloh, and pinpoints crucial moments during the contest, it suffers from the following faults and errors:

  • Map of Shiloh Battlefield on page 10. Repeating the mistake of earlier writers, this map attempts to combine TWO DAYS of conflict on a single map, which leads to unnecessary confusion.
  • Biography of Don Carlos Buell (page 36) contains many errors.
  • Union Order of Battle (page 52) WHL Wallace should be recorded as [mw] mortally wounded, instead of [k].
  • Page 60 – Appendix F – Timeline. Smith (vice Grant) leads Union Army south up the Tennessee River after the victories at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

 

https://www.smdc.army.mil/Portals/38/Documents/Publications/History/Staff%20Rid    2000 Army Staff Ride for Shiloh

Gudmen's Staff Ride of 2003 (for comparison)  http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/gudmens.pdf   

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