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Sean Chick

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Posts posted by Sean Chick

  1. Certain Confederate units do not have a lot of sources about their actions. Some of this is merely a lack of anything outside of the official records. For others the paucity is so bad it is hard to know what they did for large stretches of time. I am posting this as I get to the final phase of research as I prepare my book on Shiloh. If anyone has a lead or an idea, please feel free to post it.




    31st Alabama

    There is one vague source but little else outside of Trabue’s report and a few mentions here and there. What is intriguing is that Trabue makes it clear that the regiment became detached on April 7 after McCook stormed Duncan Field. Trabue mentions that a report was filed.


    4th Alabama Battalion (Clifton’s)

    I found a set of letters in a private collection, but they end on the eve of battle sadly. Trabue’s report though is good, but does not say what happened to it for important sections of the battle on both days.


    15th Arkansas

    There is Cleburne’s report, which is good, but no sources from anyone in the regiment itself.


    3rd Confederate (18th Arkansas)

    The OR is good for this on April 6, less so on April 7, save its part in the battle’s final hours.


    1st Florida Battalion

    The OR is vague on what the regiment did on April 6 and 7 outside of Anderson’s excellent report. There is the William D. Rogers Letters at the State Archives of Florida, but more is needed


    3rd Kentucky

    This regiments gets little mention in Trabue’s report. There is a letter at SNMP that indicates it was thoroughly shot up in Trabue’s first fight with the Union, but they were not under Trabue’s eye.


    20th Louisiana

    This one almost did not make the cut. We do have a letter reposted in an article. It’s a decent letter, but has little to say about April 7, while the OR report is vague about April 6.


    Blythe’s Mississippi (44th Mississippi)

    The OR is good for this regiment all things considered. I have only found one first hand source and it is a rather vague.


    2nd Tennessee (Walker’s)

    The OR is decent enough, but there are no other first hand sources I have found.


    15th Tennessee

    The OR is decent enough, but there are no other first hand sources I have found. This is even more intriguing since one of its companies was from Illinois.


    28th Tennessee

    There is Spencer Talley’s diary in the Tennessee State Library and Archives but it is vague. Beyond that there are the markers at SNMP


    44th Tennessee

    This is for personal reasons. Wood’s report, the regiment’s report, and Wood’s letter to Davis all make it pretty clear where and what this regiment was doing. I just wanna see if I can spy a reference to Samuel Chick in some account by a private.


    45th Tennessee

    There is nothing save the markers at SNMP. This regiment might be the most obscure among the infantry.


    55th Tennessee (McKoin’s)

    I found an issue of Confederate Veteran about the attack at Duncan Field around 11:30 a.m. on April 6. Outside of that there is not much. Thankfully though we do have Wood’s excellent report and a letter he sent to Jefferson Davis, but what they did on April 7 is unclear besides returning to the battle. My hunch is they fought with the 16th Alabama.





    1st Louisiana Cavalry

    They were there, just every source on them is fairly vague. Still, they were likely unengaged.





    Robert’s Battery (Clarke County Light Artillery, Arkansas)

    All we have is position marker for Ruggles’ April 6 battery. Nothing else. It gets the award for biggest mystery unit of the battle, rivaled by the 45th Tennessee


    Major Francis Shoup: Helena Artillery (Calvert’s Arkansas) in particular, Hubbard’s Battery (Jackson Light Artillery, Arkansas), Trigg’s Battery (Austin Artillery, Arkansas)

    All three batteries have holes, but the real mystery is Calvert, who disappears after Sherman camp is seized. One wishes Shoup had written a slightly more detailed account (although his has some great snark) or that references to “Shoup’s battery” were more detailed.


    Watson Artillery

    I have found enough references that I have figured out where they were the late afternoonof April 6 and on April 7. I just wonder about the morning and early afternoon of April 6. I suspected they gave artillery support before Johnston made the attack that claimed his life, but of that I have no source to lean on.


    Smith’s Battery (Mississippi)

    The mystery here is what they did on the afternoon of April 6.


    Company A 1st Tennessee Light Artillery (McClung’s Tennessee)

    What they did on April 7 is well known enough, April 6 less so which is quite rare. All I have found is reference to a Tennessee battery with a smliar name taking heavy losses at Jones Field as per Belknap’s history of the 15th Iowa. I conjecture they were there in the afternoon and took heavy losses. It might also explain their backwater status for much of the war.





    Colonel Robert G. Shaver

    He was wounded on April 7. What his brigade did after that is a mystery.


    Colonel Winfield S. Statham

    Not only is there no report by Statham but none by his regiment commanders. We thankfully have good accounts by all the regiments save 28th and 45th Tennessee

  2. Also, where exactly does the story of Stark being hit by a tree limb come from?



    Barto to Sister, April 27, 1862, Alphonso Barto, folder 1; With Colonel Sweeny in command of the Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox gone to “Chicago on business,” Major Henry Stark became the acting regimental commander, and Barto--as senior captain--acting major and second in command. This is just the beginning of the disarray in regimental leadership that would result in both “the company captains act[ed] in concert” and no one being in command to write an after-action report; Philander to Editor, April 5, 1862, James Compton Biographical Folder C-33; Davis, 41.

    The Barto letter should be in the Abraham Lincoln Library (they have a ton of stuff).  Where though does "Philander to Editor, April 5, 1862, James Compton Biographical Folder" come from?

    Both should go a long way towards explaing what went wrong on in the 52nd Illinois, and why they fled when Cleburne's shot up brigade attacked in their vicinity.

  3. One matter complicating this is Robertson. He was a good battery commander, but also strict, mean, and committed war crimes later in the conflict. Was he being unusually magnanimous to the 13th Ohio Battery (they were after all fellow artillerymen), bragging, or did he want to take Hurlbut down a peg?


    check out the attached letter from SNMP. Also included are accounts from the 52nd Tennessee and 10th Mississippi. They are not directly related, its just how the file was sent to me.

    Robertson Mosier Learned letters - Robertson Battery, 52nd TN, 10th MS.tif

  4. Once you wrote the Yates part about Prentiss, it all came back to me. He played a pretty important role in 1861 in Illinois, so it is understandable he was annoyed about having Grant over him.

    For McClellan, the Blair family is likely the best overall answer.

    I almost put Lincoln for McClernand. It is true, but with two cavaets. First they were not friends and came from opposing parties. McClernand campaigned against Lincoln in 1860 and 1864. They even faced off in court a few times. But they had a decent working relationship, and did work a court case together. It is notable that after Vicksburg Lincoln abandoned McClernand. Lincoln was his patron, but not in an unreserved way such as you see with Davis' support for Johnston.

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  5. Thanks for posting these Newton letters. The experience of the 52nd Illinois on April 6 needs to be better understood. I think their retreat late in the afternoon is a key reason the Union lines collapsed when it did. The lack of discussion of the regiment in the battle's after action reports (at least among those published) is curious.

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  6. Benjamin Prentiss: Good one. He was a politician but not a major one.

    John McClernand: John McClernand ;)

    Henry Wager Halleck: He seems to have owed his position to the support of Winfield Scott. Halleck, while a master of army politics, was not quite so good at getting patrons among the politicians.

    George B. McClellan: Montgomery Blair

    Lew Wallace: I think Oliver Morton, although from a different party, took a shine to Wallace.

    Stephen Hurlbut: Abraham Lincoln, who thought Hurlbut was one of the finest public speakers in the country.

    John A. Logan: John A. Logan ;)

    John Fremont: The various radicals in Congress.

    Albert Sidney Johnston: Jefferson Davis

    Braxton Bragg: Thomas Bragg, Thomas Overton Moore

    PGT Beauregard: Jacques Villere, John Slidell, Pierre Soule, although I have not been able to figure out if Soule held it against Beauregard for marrying into the Slidell family. Soule and Beauregard were pretty tight in 1852.

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  7. I have always seen what happened to them as a perfect storm. They were poorly placed by Hurlbut, poorly trained, and poorly led. One thing I recently ran into was the Captain Felix Robertson's thoughts on the matter. He felt their withdrawal was due to both his accurate cannon fire and a lack of infantry support. Robertson did not think that Hurlbut's first position on the south end of Sarah Bell Field was ever occupied, but rather Hurlbut said the division was positioned there after the battle to cover what happened to the 13th Ohio Battery. It would be a scandal sending a green battery far ahead of the infantry.

    After sifting through reports and recollections, I think Robertson exaggerated, but there is some truth to the idea that the 13th Ohio Battery was not properly supported. I think Hurlbut's first line was only half formed, and mostly on the eastern end of the field. Once the battery routed and Adams' brigade approached, Hurlbut wisely fell back.

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  8. Below is the text of a long letter by Oliver Boardman of the 6th Iowa Infantry. There are some rather colorful descriptions of the battle. Boardman had high praise for Sherman's bravery.


    Owl Creek Pittsburg Tennessee Apr 24th.. 1862 Henry and Jane I shall write to both at once as it is too expensive under the circumstances to write two letters when one would answer the purpose if it is only large enough I had laid in apretty good supply of paper postage stamps tobacker &c before the battle but they were all destroyed then beside numerous other articles the consequence is I am pretty near broke and apoor prospect of pay day it will be as much as I can do to keep myself in to tobacco especialy if they shouldnt pay us for some time. XX the health of the soldiers here is just tolerably good the weather has been wet and bad for the last two weeks bad weather and the excitement of the battle was too much for agood many of the boys but I have kept my health yet so far I dont know how much more I could go through without making me sick. one year ago I dont believe I could have went through one fourth as much as I have here within the last two weeks. but I expect to go through as much in the next two if providence admits. the two days of the battle was about the hardest I ever put in and the nights were not much better we had no blankets and it rained both nights in fact it has hardly stopt since. it took some time to clear the field of the dead and wounded and we have cut down considerable timber prepareing for another attack but I dont think they will attack us here again but I think we will attack them before long perhaps as soon as the roads gets so that our canon can be moved then look out for another Pittsburg battle I will give you a little description of my experience in the battle we had here the other sunday and monday although I have seen and heard so much about it that I am tired of thinking about it but it may interest you alittle and it may be some time before I write again so I will tell you what I can in this letter I saw the most of the battle monday though I was in rather the tightest place sunday our Regt is in general Sherman's division and on the extreme right we were the farthest from the river and came very near being cut off from the main body. ther was several rebel Regts in our Camp before we were out of sight we didnt have very far to go to get out of sight either they fired in to us, that is their sharp shooters or skirmishers did, the flanking or out side Company of each Regt generaly goes ahead especialy in thick timber. to feel their way or to keep the Regt from running into atrap then there is whole Regts of sharpshooters occasionaly that works on the same princible only on a larger scale they scatter out and go on their own hook considerable pick off the gunners while they are working the batteries find out the position of the enemy &c I suppose it was their sharp shooters that fired into us before we were fairly out of our Camp but they didnt kill many of our men we didnt return the fire although they kept it up whenever they could see any one of us to shoot at it wouldnt have done to get into an engagement there there was only three Regts of us together and completely surroun but the timber was very thick and by watching close we got out of it. we didnt get into a regular fight until we had got two or three miles from our Camp our skirmishers had been firing into them more or less from the start Company [J?] was the skirmishers in our Regt they had one Lieutenant badly wounded and two or three privates slightly we had only two or three men in our Regt killed so far which was about twelve oclock but there was several wounded too in our Company. you must not think that because we had not been fighting there had been none going on. if you do youd miss it. they commenced early in the morning and of all the noise ever made I think this would have taken the lead once in awhile it would stop for a few seconds or breaths and be so still that you could have heard apin fall (in the mud) then it would break out with a roar that could have been heard all over the continent if they had listened close enough. but the worst of all was the enemy was making the most noise. they had at least two men to our one our forces were so scattered they couldnt fight to any advantage I think it was bad management in the generals having us so scattered when they almost knew we were going to be attacked our pickets had been skirmishing alittle with them for two days before the attack I think the generals put too much confidence in our own strength our line of Camps was at least four miles long and they were scattered around through the woods with about a brigade in a place without any regularity about it the consequence was when they attacked us with such aforce they kept us scattered most of the day and took a good many prisoners besides getting possession of a great many of our Camps we occupied more ground than we could hold against such aforce. it encouraged the rebels and they fought desperately whooping and yelling like they were possessed they said our brigade was the only one that stopt or checked them any length of time up to twelve oclock and our Regt was about all that done any good in our brigade there were several Regiments that helped us some but it seemed as though they couldnt fire more than two or three rounds till they would give way and another would come up and try it with the same success but that wasnt the way we done we lay within about eighty yards of them and held them there two hours and a half in spite of their reinforcements officers and everything else we could hear their Commanders once in awhile shouting to their men to forward boys forward but when they would jump up and make to wards us we would have such a fair view of that we could just mow them and they fall back into there old position which was a good one they were on lower ground than we were. they kept getting reinforcements until we were almost surrounded. general Sherman said we had done all that could be done and we would have to get out of there we done so what there was left of us but we left agood many of our boys there. we were badly used up but the only wonder to me is that any of us got out of it. the balls flew so thick that I believe if I had swung my hat I could have caught it half full at one sweep they flew around us like bees swarming there never was so much noise but what we could hear them whizing and once in awhile they would whiz so close that I could feel their breath in my face but I didnt get a mark from them anywhere but there were several of the boys that got scratched there was a bomb shell burst right close in front of us alittle piece struck Ed. Weed on the rist but it didnt hurt him much Ben Kimler got aball through his hat rim close to his head many others got scratched a little but as a general thing the balls over us although they shot very low there was close shooting done on both sides I never thought they did do such low shooting in battle from what I have always heard I thought they shot three times as high as they did here. by going around throug the woods and noticing the marks on the trees you would see fifty balls low enough to kill a man to where you would see one too high I dont believe in such low shooting I can tell you its not very plesant a fellow cant tell but what every minute will be his next &c we were considerably worsted sunday though not whiped by any means but there was agreat many discouraged. in fact it did look a little discourageing to most any one they didnt gain as much in the afternoon as they did in the fore noon our forces were more together and were pretty near amach for them still they kept working their way slowly toward the landing they were determined to get there. they kept rallying and charging but to no effect apart of General Buels force got there in time to be of some assistance and afew siege pieces and the old gun boats that we had there talked loud and long to them and by giving them plenty of grapes and everything else that was good they concluded to let us alone till morning. I was not with the our Regt any more from sunday evening until tuesday I found Ed Med though and Charley Claver and Henry Roberts and several others of the Regt this was sunday night and monday we done some good fighting Henry Roberts was is our color bearer we fought in part of two other Regts we had a lieutenant from our Regt to command us as a company. our whole force moved toward the enemy by aflanking movement our line was about two miles long I dont know how many men deep but not a great many. they didnt have very far to go till they came to the enemy when the engagement became general I was on the right wing our line ran north and south and we moved to the west where I was we came up to where our men had abattery to work on some of the enemies guns trying to dislodge them there was about two Regts of us staid there to protect our battery I got to see some tall cannonadeing the rebels battery was not over four hundred yards from ours which is pretty close for cannon especialy where it is in the open field like it was there they sent afew men over to take our battery at the point of the bayonet but there was to many of us protecting it they didnt succeed they then plant another battery there but we had as many as they had in fact the most of of our artillery was there in the course of time. they had such a good chance to work on the rebel infantry from there it was an open field or woods for amile and it was not over half that distance to where they were fighting. our artillery had a good position and they couldnt get us out of it it was as much as their infantry could do to attend to ours without noticeing our artillery. but their artillery worked hard to get us out of our position. they had three or four batteries to work on us but the most hurt they done was in killing a great many of the horses they didnt hurt many of the guns nor kill many men we had the advantage of the ground we were on aridge and alittle over the top so that by laying down the balls, grape, shell, and such likes would most all pass over us or struck before they got to us but I tell you they made music, whenever they shot these canisters filled with pieces of chaines slugs of iron bolts and every thing else they could find. it was hard to tell where they would go they would explode and fly every way just as apt to fly into our ranks as any other place. it would be useless to tell you that there was no noise about these times I expect. I couldnt describe the sight let alone the noise. it put me in mind of aharder thunder storm than ever I saw. [?] of aright dark night we lay far enough away to be out of the smoke and see all that was going on I couldnt see our artillery of course for the smoke only when they fired then it would flash so that I could see very plain all that was close around there would be flash after flash and peal after peal then for about abreath or two it would be in total darkness I wached the rebels battery and it was the same I would look off to the left and I could see the infantry from both sides maneuvering our men slowly driving them back it was astrange sight to me and one long to be remembered. about eleven oclock or a little after our sharp shooters succeeded in picking the gunners off that were working the rebels batteries that we had been so long at work at and alot of our men that lay there close went forward and took possession that ended the fight where we were we then went to where the infantry were. and after fighting until about three oclock had the pleasure of seeing the enemy driven from the field the cavelry then took our place and followed them as far as the could for the swamps. there was none of us hurt that day but Charley Claver he was wounded slightly. General Sherman was the bravest man that I saw during the whole engagement he was alwas where the balls were flying thickest he was as often between the two fires as back of us. the rebels had some brave Commanders I noticed. I dont know whether I got to see Beauregard or not I saw several moving around cheering their men but I couldnt tell one from another. there is two missing from our Company yet. they are Josh [?] and [?] Miles the most of our Cedar boys got off well old man Catern arrrived here afew days ago he looks well and hearty but he didnt find many of his Regt here. if you get as tired of reading this letter as I am of writing it you will never want to hear from me again but I couldn't help it whenever I get to writing I cant stop till I am tired out my paper got wet too thats whats the matter with it. I want you both to write forthwith immediately no more at present Oliver Boardman


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  9. I stumbled upon this unsubmitted report by L.D. Sandidge, who served on Daniel Ruggles' staff. Particularly valuable for his discussion of the attack on William Tecumseh Sherman's camp on the morning of April 6. Link will be at the bottom.



    On the evening prior to the battle, I encamped Ruggles' division of three brigades and four batteries of artillery and a battalion of cavalry extending Bragg's line to the left, and instead of placing the left brigade en potence with the alignment, I found that Hardee's line did not rest on Owl creek. I extended the left brigade on continuous line, its extreme left resting on Owl creek and fronting the Federal encamped advance, menacing our unprotected left flank. I finished marking the line, as directed from division headquarters, and the entire division was on the ground, before dark. The four batteries held in columns, section front, in rear of the brigade intervals; the regiments held in columns at half distance, division front — this ployment being the prescribed order; the entire line about six hundred paces in rear of Hardee's line and overlapping it, as stated, by one brigade (Ruggles'), and Withers' division on its right, forming Bragg's line, Bragg being in second line of battle; Polk's corps, composed of Breckinridge's and B. R. Johnson's brigades, in reserve to rear — B. R. Johnson's brigade leading. Such was the position, as indicated by map inclosed, on night of 4th April preceding the battle. About dark I returned from extreme left to Corinth road, rejoined you there, and we slept by slight camp-fire in the interval between Gibson's and Anderson's (Patton) brigades. In the conversation [174] held with you then, I asked, as you were one of the council of war, what were the leading objective points to be considered, what the plan of action, &c. You stated that after some discussion and difference of opinion in the council, General Sidney Johnston intended trying to drive the Federal left back on its centre and right, thus doubling his army against Owl creek, away from the river and gunboats. I added that was contrary to the usual plan, which was to drive the Federal forces against the broad, deep river in their rear. You replied you had stated in the council your impression “they would not swing that way” --i. e., against Owl creek-but would stubbornly fight with their gunboats at their back. My opinion then and now is, that General Sidney Johnston lost his life in a vain effort to force the Federal retreat — an army of forty-five thousand, with his one-third less — in a direction arbitrarily selected. Here I notice the point that Gibson was ignorant of the movements “above indicated placing the army in position” --a singular statement contrasted with the fact that I slept in the same apartment with him at his headquarters at Mickey's the preceding night; that the brigade and staff moved at daylight next morning in conjunction with your other troops, and in the utmost good order took position indicated, his left resting on Corinth road. From this time, say 8 P. M., every brigade and battery was ready for instant action. At daylight Sunday morning the battle began — Chalmers' skirmishers on the extreme right, in accordance with what I understood to be the plan of battle, opening fire. Instantly we were in the saddle, and you gave the first and last command I recollect your giving as a command, often repeated, and always responded to by your division: “Forward” We rode rapidly down the division line, more than a mile long, through a densely wooded, hilly country, relieved here and there only by small cultivated fields, to see that the forward movement was continuous. Before we had ridden the length of two brigades — the line moving forward all the while — after a hurried consultation with the staff, you had a gun moved in advance and threw a few shells into the heights beyond, where some of the Federals were seen moving towards Hardee's flank, to develop their design, Hardee inquiring at once into the cause of the firing. You and remaining staff continued your forward progress, while I kept down the line. By the time I returned to the right — I had ridden rapidly too — I saw the following state of affairs: Hardee withdrawn from our front, for he had in his advance gained ground [175] to the right so rapidly, supporting the main attack on the Federal extreme left, that very early in the morning, instead of being in second line, our division was in first line confronting Federal right-centre, not two hundred yards distant, holding elevated ground with artillery and dense masses of infantry. In my brief absence — it was not then 8 A. M.--Patton Anderson, your second brigade, had twice furiously assaulted his position, and though checked each time, had successfully reformed his brigade line amidst the smoke of the battle, and you and he were preparing to made another effort to storm the heights beyond the narrow creek separating us from the Federals. I told you you could not carry the position without more force, and inquired for your first brigade (Gibson's). You stated you had, at General Bragg's request, detached Gibson, who was following up Hardee's and Withers' advance, and were all heavily engaged on our right. I then tried to bring you forward a battalion of cavalry (Brewer's) to make a diversion obliquely from the right, proffering to lead the cavalry in person, while you were making an artillery combination to support a renewed attack. But before engaging, the cavalry made such a wide detour to the right under cover of Hardee, they were useless to us. You further directed me to ride to the rear, and if I could get no support from the reserves (Polk), I was authorized to move one of the left brigades temporarily from left to right to support Anderson's renewed attack in front. In the meantime, the left of our line was still moving forward. On going to the rear a few hundred yards, I met the head of a Tennessee regiment marching by the flank — the first regiment of B. R. Johnson's brigade, Polk's command. I saw General B. R. Johnson, told him the situation in front, and begged him to move forward to our right and assist our front attack by an oblique demonstration, which he promptly executed, being severely wounded himself at the first onset. His brigade here fired the first gun — say 10 A. M.--that was fired by Polk's command.

    As soon as the head of the columns of the troops above mentioned appeared on our right, you, superintending the artillery firing (Washington artillery, &c.), again ordered “Forward I” and the indomitable Anderson a third time moved through the fire, sword in hand, and his attack, combined with the movement and attack of B. R. Johnson, finally drove the Federals--Anderson sweeping over the ground, capturing their artillery, &c. Our left brigade swung round, following up the attack, driving the Federals [176] back towards the river — we, in truth, being more successful than the main attack made from our right. In a word, the Federals declined to drive from the river at all, as you predicted in the council. The Federals, though driven from our front, moved rearward very slowly, contesting every inch. After we got them started, I again rode down the left of our line, directing our left brigade forward. The Federal right about this time began to swing rearward much faster than his right-centre, and it was evident they were falling back to concentrate on and strengthen the Federal centre and left, so heavily assaulted all the morning by the main effort to cut them off from the river. On my return to the extreme right of our division line, about noon, I found you had continued to drive the Federal right-centre to a certain point in an old field, where they were making a determined stand. I noticed here a long gap between our line and where I supposed Withers' left ought to be, and called your attention. We then thought it dangerous to leave it open, as a failure on our right and a furious effort on the part of the Federals in our front, if we failed to check, would imperil our rear. You directed me to fill up the interval with any detached infantry I could find, and at once bring forward all the artillery I could get to move, and have them open fire at once on the Federals in front, to prevent their making any movement endangering our position, and keep them moving in retreat. It was here that we finally, in a few hours, got between fifty and sixty field guns in position, and under this heavy fire you succeeded in moving again the Federals in our front, who had held their position so long and obstinately that when they started they found troops of Hardee and Withers on their left and rear, and our left brigade and the head of Polk's reserves on their right and rear, intercepting their march. A portion of Polk's column following the onward march of our left, both swinging to the right as they [moved forward, found themselves simultaneously on the rear and right of the Federal position. Here being assaulted in front by you with infantry and artillery, as stated, and hemmed in, 2,500 with Prentiss surrendered. It was at the point above mentioned, when we were getting this artillery together, I first heard of General Sidney Johnston's death on our right.

    The Federals by this time were concentrating along the river front all their remaining artillery and every infantry organization that could hold together, and were fighting for existence. The advance and attack continued--General Bragg issuing orders to [177] bring everything forward, and in less than an hour after Prentiss laid down his arms we rode over the ground his brigade stood in our advance. But now Leu Wallace was on our flank with 10,000 fresh troops from Pittsburg Landing. Nelson, leading Buel's army, 25,000 strong, was crossing the river in our front, and we were beginning to feel his fire. But an half hour of sun remained. It was impossible — though more than one assault was made to drive the defeated Federals into the river — to do anything more without reorganizing our troops, which was done during the night; but on the morrow the new army had to be fought on the same field. How that was done let history tell. I am certain I saw General Beauregard leading Mouton's regiment of our brigade in person, when you and Mouton, with the entire line, attacked the enemy's centre, and again two more of the brigades (Anderson's and Pond's) prolonged on the line of Cheatham at Shiloh church, again and again advanced by successive alignments, you and staff carrying the battle flags, repelling every attack of the fresh army of Monday (see Basil Duke's Forrest's Cavalry — foot note on Shiloh), till the Confederate army, moving in regular order, retired leisurely by the passage of lines from the field towards Corinth. Breckinridge and his Kentuckians will remember when their brigade was left on the field, interposed to secure retreat, a staff officer came through the rain and mire with General Ruggles' compliments and message that not one Louisianian would move a pace in retreat at the peril of a life in the brigade — the entire division to reinforce him — and his answer, “Sandidge, go tell you Louisianians God bless them! If they hear not our guns at dawn of the morning, send back a flag that we may have honorable burial, for we are enough to die!”




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  10. For those who doubted it, in my research I have found proof of the Watson Battery at Shiloh, from Clarke's Diary of the War of Separation, which includes Alexander Walker's Shiloh report for the New Orleans Delta. He has the Watson Battery in the bombardment of Pittsburg Landing late on April 6.


    "The artillery were all hurried forward to complete the work. Thirty-six of our best guns were now brought into position on a ridge at a distance of three-fourths of a mile from the enemy's main body. There was the Watson heavy battery, of Breckinridge's Division, among the first to take its place, under the fearless and skilful Beltzhoover, who had already performed several brilliant feats in aid of Cheatham's movement. In this battery the liberal and patriotic gentleman after, whom it was named, who had been instrumental in putting it into the field with his own means, worked at the guns as an artillerist."

    Link: https://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/clarke/clarke.html

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  11. I read it today and thought "everything that is old is new." Outside of his harsh treatment of Lew Wallace, this very much reads like Tim Smith's argument.  That adds to my contention that a lot of current scholarship, far from being unbiased, is a more detailed version of the Just Cause narrative of the Civil War.

    Before anyone chops off my head, Smith's work on Shiloh is first rate and I refer back to it all the time in my work. I also like Sword, Cunningham, and Daniel, and all three of them for different reasons. Hell, even Groom works as an introduction to the battle. Shiloh has been better served by historians and authors than most other battles of the war.

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  12. For another take on Johnston's death, this comes from his courier: Broome, John P. “How Gen. A.S. Johnson Died.” Confederate Veteran, vol. 16 (December 1908), p. 629.


    I am not certain I believe it, but its better than William Stevenson's account, which does not line up and seems like an attempt to be there for a big moment. I posted it here as I consider couriers to be part of the staff, even if not formally so. I had an ancestor who was a courier for Loring, even though he was illiterate.

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  13. Here are a few gems I found.


    “Colonel Hicks–Captain Bagwell.” The Southern Bivouac, January 1884, 270-271. - A rare Union centered article. Hicks comes across as an action hero.


    Duke, Basil. “The Battle of Shiloh.” The Southern Bivouac, December 1883, 150-162. - This is part 1 of Duke's retelling. He has Johnston predicting a battle not at Pittsburg Landing but Shiloh Church itself during Johnston's brief stay at Mufreesboro. Of course Johnston said this to Bowen and both men were conveniently dead.


    Harcourt, A.P. “Terry’s Texas Rangers.” The Southern Bivouac, November 1882, 89-97. - This one is pretty good for Fallen Timbers.


    “How One Man ‘Stuck Togedder’” The Southern Bivouac, November 1884, 130-131. - This explains why the 31st Alabama (49th) was in Trabue's second line when they advanced into Crescent Field on April 6, and possibly why Trabue hardly mentioned them in his report.


    Johnson, E. Polk. “Jefferson Davis at Home.” The Southern Bivouac, August, 1886, 137-148. - Davis in his final years, still getting emotional over Johnston.


    Joyce, Fred. “Two Dogs.” The Southern Bivouac, October, 1883, 72-74. - Story of a dog killed at Shiloh. Hard to place but I would say Crescent Field, morning of April 7. More importantly, it places Cobb with Trabue on April 7.


    Joyce, Fred. UNTITLED The Southern Bivouac, March 1883, 318. - I forgot so look it up. :)


    Rogers, J.M. “The Honors of Shiloh.” The Southern Bivouac, August, February 1886, 574. - One of those Buell > Grant pieces.


    Steele, S.W. “Incidents at Shiloh.” The Southern Bivouac, May 1885, 418-419. - Not sure I believe this one but it is fun. It is about Bragg on April 5 and 6.


    Weller, J.H. “The Fourth Kentucky.” The Southern Bivouac, May and June, 1883, 346a-354a. - Pretty good recounting of the regiment's first actions at Shiloh.


    “Wild Bill.” The Southern Bivouac, March 1883, 316-317. - Funny anecdote.


    Witherspoon, A.J. UNTITLED The Southern Bivouac, March 1885, 326-327. - Anecdote of Gladden's initial attack on Prentiss

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