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Shiloh Discussion Group

The case of the missing brigade

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While studing and researching the battle of Shiloh, I came across references to Carroll's Brigade which was involved in the battle of Mill Springs as part of the little army commanded by General Crittenden.  The other brigade in Crittenden's army was commanded by General Zollicoffer who was killed during the battle. After the death of General Zollicoffer, Colonel Statham assumed command of the brigade.  General Crittenden led his small army in retreat from Mill Springs to Murfreesborough under extreme difficulties.  There, Crittenden's force became the 2nd Division of  the army commanded by General Albert S. Johnston after its reorganization in February, 1862. The division was commanded by General Crittenden and still had the brigades commanded by General Carroll and Colonel Statham.  Crittenden's Division took part in the retreat of the army to Corinth MS. On April 1st, General Hardee was sent to Iuka and arrested Generals Crittenden and Carroll for drunkenness on duty. General Breckinridge was assigned to replace Crittenden in his command. The question becomes who replaced General Carroll in command of his brigade?

The reorganization of Johnston's army in February is clearly shown as having seven brigades at Murfreesbourgh but when in Corinth and in the order of battle of the army that marched from Corinth on April3rd, only six are indicated. Where was the missing brigade?  At the army concentration in Corinth, Polk brought four brigades, Bragg brought six brigades, Hardee should have brought four brigades, Breckinridge had three brigades.  This is a total of seventeen brigades that should have been with Johnston's army for the Battle of Shiloh.  However, only sixteen brigades appeared on the battlefield.  Where was the seventeenth brigade?

The answer eluded me for a long time, partly because of my own inattention to detail but I can say the mystery is solved. The confederates took sixteen brigades to Shiloh and left troops behind to garrison Corinth and Iuka. Finally, I realized the garrison troops in Corinth and Iuka were the seventeenth brigade, Carroll's. The brigade was composed of four regiments and two batteries and was split between Iuka and Corinth.  With no permanent commander being assigned, the senior colonel was in command if the brigade operated as a brigade at all. For your information, you can assign these troops rear area structure of the confederate forces during the Shiloh campaign. The four regiments were the 17th, 29th, 25th and the 35th Tennessee Regiments and Baxter's and Baker's field batteries of 10 guns total. These two batteries were the two organized from Monsarrett's large field battery after it was split in two.

The Order of Battle of the Confederate Army that fought in the Battle of Shiloh is as I consider, an official OB of the army as of April 2nd, before the army left Corinth. It was drawn up by Colonel Thomas Jordan who shortly was busy drafting Special Order #8 which sent the army forward. This order of battle contains several errors some concerning the rear area troops. Other errors concern units of the field army which were left behind as garrison troops and still appeared as part of the field army.

A final note concerning Carroll's brigade, two of the regiments were sent to be part of the Garrison of Corinth, so Iuka was left with only two regiments. I believe the 17th Tennessee was one of the two sent to Corinth, the identify of the other regiment is unknown. The two batteries, Baxter's and Baker's, were not ready for active field operations after the long retreat from Murfreesborough and missed Shiloh. There is mention of Hawkin's Nashville Battalion as part of the brigade but I really don't know anything of the battalion or what happened to it.

I would appreciate any information you may have concerning this missing brigade and the train of events.


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Great information Ron. Afraid I can't help at this point, but I'll look forward to seeing that re-worked order of battle. One thing I'd like to eventually do here with this discussion group is create something of a reference section, composed mainly of information contributed by the members. That tactical Order of Battle would fit right in. Let us know what else you learn about this 'missing brigade' as well. Good research.


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