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Ron

The case of the missing artillery batteries

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The Official Records of the civil war lists a order-of-battle of the confederate Army of the Mississippi in volume 10, part 1, page 382 to 384. This is dated April 6th and 7th, 1862 but contains some errors and ommissions. In this report, 21 field batteries are listed but fails to include two batteries, Robert's Ark and McClung's Tenn batteries known to have been at the Battle of Shiloh. The adjusted total of 23 field batteries agrees with the 23 mentioned in the order-of-battle in books written by James McDonough, Wiley Sword, and Edward Cunningham, while Larry Daniel listed 22 field batteries in his book. The common accepted number of confederate field batteries in the army is 23 but three are known or suspected as not being at the battle. Bain's battery is known to have stayed in Corinth and Miller's and the Watson Artillery are thought to have missed the battle as no source mentions them being at the battle. Therefore, I believe the rebel army that marched from Corinth on April 3rd and fought the battle included only 20 field batteries of 105 guns.

The confederates may have missed an opportunity to bring another 10 batteries to the battle. The first three are mentioned above, of 18 cannon total, are believed or known to have missed the battle. The other seven included Carnes battery of 6 guns, Eldridge's battery of 4 guns, Williams' battery of unknown number of guns, Gibson's battery of unknown number of guns, Baker's and Brown's batteries each of 5 guns, and Ducatel's battery of 6 guns. Thus, at least another 50 field cannon were in the vicinity but were not used. Why were these overlooked or were they? Bain's, Carnes', Williams', Gibson's and Miller's batteries were at Corinth judged not fit for field duty. Eldridge's Battery is now believed to have been at Memphis reequipping.  They all had been part of the retreat of confederate forces from Kentucky to Corinth and were in need of reequipping. Miller's battery is believed to have started a conversion to heavy artillery while in Corinth. This conversion was completed in May, 1862. Gibson's battery soon was disbanded and Williams' batteries were of uncertain condition and was changing commanders.  Capt. Hoxton replaced Williams. The most aggressive battery commander of the six batteries in Corinth was Captain William Carnes, who since March 23rd, commanded the battery that was commanded by "Red" Jackson a future cavalry general. The battery was judged as unfit for service as a six gun battery but Carnes turned in two guns and received permission to proceed as a four gun battery. He arrived on the Pittsburg road only to meet a retreating army.

In Iuka, Baker's and Baxter's batteries, which had been formed from Monsarrat's large Tennessee battery, were reforming after the long retreat from Mill Springs and were not ready for field service. The final two batteries were the Watson Artillery, lthought to be at Grand Junction and Ducatel's Orleans Guard Artillery which was known to be at Grand Junction TN.

Not mentioned above is the battery formed on July 18th, 1861 as the 12th Company of the Tennessee Artillery Corps. It was commanded by Captain Walter O. Crain in Memphis TN and had only three guns. It moved in January 1862 to the vicinity of the Tennessee River and the river forts. After moving to Fort Henry, it was moved across the Tennessee River to Fort Heiman. It served here but was forced to retreat from the fort when Fort Henry fell. The battery retreated down the west bank of the Tennessee river without its guns and most of the equipment of the battery. The battery arrived in Corinth and served briefly in Walker's brigade. In late March, the battery was disbanded and Capt. Crain did not receive a new command. With no assignment and nothing to do, he joined the army moving towards Pittsburg Landing, as a private soldier firing a musket. For his honorable efforts, he was severely wounded on April 7th during the battle. He resigned the service on April 12th, 1862.

The confederates made a major effort to attack the union forces commanded by General Grant at Pittsburg Landing but actually failed to muster all the troops nearby. It is thought that, all total, another 10,000 men were in the vicinity. They served as garrisons of Iuka and Corinth and some were reforming but others should have been in the battle. The garrisons of Corinth and Iuka appear to have been too large. Carroll's brigade was available. Too bad.

Ron

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