|View single post by Braggcom19|
|Posted: Wed May 4th, 2011 10:49 pm||
|There was a lot of confusion about the field that day, Gen'l August Willich was waiting orders from Granger when he heard the signal cannons, a Brigade officer, knowing he was to attack asked Willich "where are we suppossed to stop" Willich replied, as the messenger had yet to arrive, he simply said "Damned if I know... Hell I suppose" and ordered the advance. I get the impression that the implied confusion was general about the field.
Having said that, from my footnotes I see that Bearss recounted the conversation as follows; Grant is agitated turns to Thomas (which protocol would dictate) and saw that Thomas was registering surprise on his face, Grant asks, "Thomas, who ordered those men up the ridge?" Thomas responds, I don't know I did not." Grant then turns to Granger (where the origins of the confusion probably rest) "Did you order them up" asks Grant of Granger, "no" was the reply, but he was not through speaking "they started without orders. When those fellows get started all hell can't stop them". (the quoted words are bearss', it is me speaking paranthatically SIC?)
Me again: Which was probably not totally factual on Granger's part, he had ordered the signal guns fired before knowing that his messengers had gotten the orders to the brigadiers. So he did order the advance unsure as to where they believed they were to stop. I also think that Grangers response was a bit of equivicating on his part, none then know if the advance was going to be a repulse or an advance... they could only trust their eyes to tell them that the soldiers had yet to stop and were past where Grant wanted them to do so.
It may have also been a subtle dig at Grant for his remarks about the troops, the troops themselves were certainly head up about them. There is another note from a source long dead that Thomas spoke the entire dialogue. However, I have not the courage nor the obstinency to quibble with Edwin C. Bearss. I was typing from memory and probaly remembered the wrong source.
Another clue in my eyes, which may not mean a thing, is that in the period contractions were seldom used except in conversational terms. This was certainly not conversational with U S Grant in your face I think I would have used the formal cannot or can not with emphisis added.
I am sure of one thing, had the advance failed I believe Granger believed his hash was cooked! Teach me to look more carefully at my notes. A seminar I attended by a noted Chair of the history Dept at North Carolina at the time cautioned historical writers and speakers alike that they should use caution; "in proceeding without notes and without fear as to do so is at your own peril". I agreed then and do now!
This is another of those unsolvables like the battle of Wauhatchie, was it the soldiers that put Johnnie on the run... or the Mules? Before bed I'll dig around in the OR and see what mention is made there, but themdam books are heavey for an old man! And thanks for keepin' an old man honest... well maybe not altogether honest, but I try to be in what I say or write.
Michael Bragg, almost beerthirty!