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JimG

Alignment of Confederate Forces

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In nearly all accounts of the battle there is the story that Col Jordan used as a model Napoleon's battle plan of Waterloo as a pattern for the alignemnt of the Confederate forces at Shiloh. Has anyone checked that out?Also what is the best account of the pre battle planning? Also Jordan seemed to take on a lot of authority during the battle exactly what was his function as an Adjustant? 

 

Jim G

 

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Jim:

Good question, one to get our teeth in.  Although I have not made a comparison, several sources have made this suggestion.  I accept this story but quickly ask; Why Napoleon's orders for the Battle of Waterloo?  If I had to choose, I would have used the orders for the Battle of Austerlitz (He won that battle). The unusual arrangement of the corps tends to support the story of using Napoleon's battle orders.  Beauregard was a officer trained in the Napoleon-Jomini school as was West Point. 

What is the best source concerning the pre-battle stage of the battle?  My answer would be to read several of the books often mentioned in these pages and make comparisions.  I like Colonel William P. Johnston's book and both Daniel and Sword mention this.  Cunningham's book seems quiet concerning the writing of Special Order #8. 

Colonel Jordan's functions were officially those of an adjutant or aide.  However, actually he acted and was in effect, Beauregard's Chief-of-Staff.  Many of the aides and adjutants were unskilled in military duties and Jordan was a trained military officer.  I believe he was the senior of all the adjutants and aides, both in education and time with Beauregard. 

Concerning the authority of Colonel Jordan during the battle, this is a result of the confusing battle and the uncertainity that arose among the staff officers. After the battle began, it may be assumed no confederate commander had an overall clear vision of the battle.  Therefore , most of them were uncertain and confused what was needed. The higher commanders and staff officers soon began to tell others to move to the sound of the firing.  An order of this type indicates the person issuing the order didn't understand the situation. It is known that some staff officers and aides when they had nothing to do, roved the battlefield and issued orders "To move to the sound of the firing".  Col. Jordan did likewise while he moved about the battlefield.  They wanted to be helpful but didn't know how.  He really did not assume more authority than others.  In some instances, a few of these roving staff officers helped to reform confused units and led them forward.  This is good but where these reformed units were placed most likely was not where they were needed. 

Ron 

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