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 Posted: Wed Aug 16th, 2006 03:31 pm
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javal1
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I love getting auction catalogs for historical auctions. They're one of the best sources for rare, unpublished letters. I found this one this morning and found it fascinating (Calcav, you'll love this!). It describes the battle of Shiloh from the soldier's view. A little hard to read, but worth it:

“Pitchberge Landing (Pittsburg Landing) April the 10, 1862 Dere Sister. I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am Well at present all thediers and it we have it the most of the time. I have bin in one battal and I am sattisfide now. I got owt safte. Thommes was not in this fight, he was back with the Waggon
and he did not get up for a Week.



It was ahard fight todays. It commence on Sunday Morning the rebels come on owr men un expected they ware eting there
betfest. Own men had not time to form a line of Bittle be the rebels ware fireing on them. They was ablige to run back to other men some of the men got lost from there reagment and abut and lost. The fight was hard all day the rebels almoste drove our men in the river but the gunbots commence to play on them witch drove them back. I was not in the fight on Sonday.



 We was not there yet we was on the road. We herde the cannons a roreing.  We marched on fore this place. We did not get here til nerly morning. We go to Sorvanna about Mid-night. We then got on the boat and come up to this pace it was then nerly day light. Then we stude on the boat on till it was day light them we got of the boat the fireing had all commenced.


We march out an fought like men til we gain the day and med them
run. They fought hard and did it well. It was the hardest fight that has bin yet it was in the woods that was the reson it lasted so long it was abbil sight to see ded men and horses shought and cripple



It was and affet sight to see. You that me to helpe to pay for fathers coffin yorat you had my you take that dewfill and ellr priffert and got him and tell him that you wood like to have the money and take it pay on the coffin. I am very sorry that I did not get to father. Take good care of my nots if i don’t die I expect to come home soon and if I ever get back again I hope you and Elen Winul take good care of yor self. Thommas sends his best repect to you all, Jacob Bush”





 Posted: Wed Aug 16th, 2006 04:25 pm
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calcav
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Joe,

Great letter! I copied the link and sent it off to the other staff members so they could have a look see. There was a Jacob Bush and a Thomas Bush in the 15th U.S. Infantry, a battalion of which was assigned to Lovell Rousseau's 4th brigade of Alexander McCook's 2nd division of Buell's Army of the Ohio. According to Rousseau's report of the battle they marched to Savannah on the 6th and took steamers to Pittsburg Landing arriving about dawn on the 7th. This matches the account to the tee.

It is intresting to note that it is only 3 days after the battle and he is already repeating the myth that some men were suprised while eating and had to run before they could turn and make a stand. 144 years later and the myth persists.

All the best,

Tom



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 01:03 am
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Fuller
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I wasn't aware the attack was considered a myth.  Are you simply suggesting the men were still in their early morning tents and not yet eating breakfast?  Please forward your knowledge and expand on the subject.  Pardon my delayed question to the post.

 

Fuller



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 01:50 am
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ole
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It is intresting to note that it is only 3 days after the battle and he is already repeating the myth that some men were suprised while eating and had to run before they could turn and make a stand.

The "total-surprise" myth was created by newspapers.  Jacob Bush was repeating what he was told, not what he read. This might have come down to him through the chain from Buell. More likely, he talked to some of the men under the bluffs. There can be little doubt that some troops were eating breakfast when the attack came, especially among those who ran to the river. (Meaning that there were a lot of green troops there, with green officers, who hadn't yet gotten into the military routine having finished breakfast by sun-up.)

Ole



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 03:37 am
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Fuller
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Yes, history is only as accurate as the person telling it.  There is a reason I cringe whenever I hear "Yankee Doodle Dandy" sung.  I admit, the only stories I've ever read about Shiloh begins with men baynotted in their tents.  Ahhh alas Ole!  This interpretaion makes much more sense.  So what is your interpreation of Lew Wallace's reserves at Stoney Lonesome?  He is rolling in his grave for me taking his name in vain at this moment but I feel confused with his orders.  Who was really at fault for the delay of his reinforcements?



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 03:25 pm
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ole
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Fuller:

I've written that one off as a comedy of errors on darn near everyone's part -- Lew's lack of urgency winning my Egregious Award.:shock:

Ole



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 05:48 pm
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One of the more persistent myths surrounding the battle of Shiloh is that Wallace was lost trying to reach the field. Lew Wallace’s Third division was camped to the north of the other five divisions of Grant’s army. One brigade at Adamsville, another at Stoney Lonesome and the third at Crump’s Landing. This division was posted to the north to observe Confederate activity along the Mobile & Ohio Railroad near Purdy. Because the Third division was isolated Wallace and Grant’s division officers devised a contingency plan for troops to march north to Wallace’s aid in the event he was attacked. This route avoided the swampy morass along Snake Creek. The distance to be covered was about six miles.

 

On the morning of April 6th Grant, at his headquarters in Savannah, heard the sound of the fighting and headed up river to the encampment. Passing Crump’s Landing Grant stopped long enough to tell Wallace to prepare his division to march overland to Pittsburg Landing. He would send orders to march once he arrived on the scene.

 

Wallace marched his two outlying brigades to Stoney Lonesome and awaited his orders. (There were no unruly mules slowing his preparations). After assessing the situation Grant dispatched his staff Quartermaster, Captain A.S. Baxter with orders for Wallace to move to the battlefield. Fearing he might err in relating Grant’s verbal order, Baxter wrote them down as dictated by Grant’s assistant adjutant general, Capt. John A. Rawlins. Taking a steamboat to Crump’s Landing, Baxter reached Stoney Lonesome by around 11:30 a.m. Wallace told Baxter he was familiar with the route as he had recently placed the road in order. Taking an extra few minutes, Wallace saw that his men were fed and then set out on the march at noon.

 

Wallace set out on the route which would bring him up on the right of Sherman’s camps via Overshot Mill. A second courier was dispatched by Grant an hour after Baxter left to ensure that Wallace had received his orders. This courier returned stating (erroneously) that Wallace refused to march without written orders. Annoyed by this unnecessary delay, Grant sent Capt. William Rowley with firm orders for Wallace to march. By 2:30 p.m., still with no Wallace on the field, Grant sent two staff officers to find out what the delay was. Colonel James McPherson and Capt. Rawlins found Wallace not on the River Road as they expected but on the Shunpike road two miles south of Adamsville. It was here that Wallace learned that the army had been pushed back and if he continued on his current route he would come up behind enemy lines and be cut off.

 

Up to this point the errors had been in miscommunication. Wallace, wanting his more experienced troops to reach the battlefield first, ordered the column to countermarch rather than a simple about face. This meant that the lead brigade doubled back over the entire length of the column. More delays came when the column halted for the rear elements to catch up. Wallace’s 5,800 men arrived on the field at about 6 p.m., too late to assist in the fighting on the 6th.

 

Wallace was made a scapegoat for his performance on the 6th, though little of the fault was his own. Grant assumed Wallace would approach via the River road which Brig. Gen. William Wallace’s 2nd Division had been working hard to make serviceable. Lew Wallace had no reason to believe that the Shunpike road which avoided the swampy ground was not the correct path to take. Poor communication was the problem not a question of not knowing roads or a lack of urgency.

 

I ran through these events quite quickly and left out many details. For more information check out Wallace’s and Grant’s reports in the Official Records, Blue and Gray Shiloh! Edition by Stacy Allen, Shiloh: Bloody April by Wiley Sword and Shiloh by Larry Daniel. As a side note, for those that still claim Wallace was too slow, several members of our staff followed Wallace’s route in a spring time recreation of his march. Knowing the route and having the advantage of paved roads, our eight folks were hard pressed to match the time that Wallace made in his trip to Shiloh.

 

Concerning the story that soldiers were caught in their tents and bayoneted while wrapped in their blankets is also untrue. The battle opens at dawn which was about 4:30 a.m. The first camps to be attacked (Hildebrand's brigade of Sherman's division and Peabody's brigade of Prentiss') are not hit until between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. The battle, which had been occuring in Fraley, Seay and Rhea fileds, had been going for several hours before the first camp was overun.

 

Fuller - In regards to your PM message of my ever getting tired of living at Shiloh I would have to say no, not ever. Which makes it hard to explain why I just moved out. I work at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center and the half hour drive each way was getting old. My wife and I rented the Duncan House in Corinth which turns 150 years old this year. It was used by Beauregard as headquarters prior to Shiloh and by Rosecrans from July to October of 62. We'll miss living on the park but we are pretty excited about living in Corinth

 

Tom



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 08:23 pm
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Fuller
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Tom,

Thank you for your info about Wallace.  Are you that familiar with other battles or is Shiloh your main specialty? 

So are you telling me that I will have to leave the mules out of my research?  Darn.  Those stories are like salt and pepper.

I am starting to feel a domino effect with these myths.  Anyway, I appreciate all who answer my questions.  I am in no way a historian.  I simply would like to have my grandpa's regimental history written as accurately as possible.  So thank you to all who are helping me along my journey.

Fuller

To all those rookies like myself...concerning Shilo and Wallace's march, check this site out. http://www.civilwaralbum.com/shiloh/wallace_march1.htm
I haven't had the priviage to visit, so these photos are a help.



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 09:11 pm
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calcav
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Fuller,

Glad to help out. There are many myths surrounding the battle of Shiloh, Lew Wallace's march and the men bayonetd in their tents are only an example.

My "speciality" would be the Siege and Battle of Corinth and the Battle of Davis Bridge. All of my work involving research for visitors involves these events and any inquiries about Shiloh are forwarded to the rangers up in Tennessee. Work aside I try to read as much as I can about all battles, campaigns and theatres. I understand your desire to write the history of your ancestor's regiment. Though I had no relatives in the unit I researched and wrote a history of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. Which regiment was your ancestor in?

Good luck with your research,

Tom



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 10:05 pm
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Fuller
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Tom,

My GGGranpappy;

Pvt. Chester Morrison Fuller 78Th Ohio co. E

 

Fuller

Last edited on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 06:45 pm by Fuller



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 10:02 pm
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Fuller
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Tom, I'm still wondering about all these myths.  Don't laugh at me but I'm assuming Beuregaurd didn't travel into Union camps posing as a pie peddler?  Do most battles have this many legends?  Do you (or anyone else on the board) have any cool stories about Shiloh or Corinth that I could add to my research?

Fuller



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 02:08 pm
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calcav
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Fuller,

You're cracking me up here! I've been sharing your emails with some of the staff and we are all very curious where you are hearing these tall tales. No one here has ever heard the "unruly mules" or the "pie peddler" stories. Someone did advance the new theory that Lew Wallace was late because everyone in the division was eating Beauregard's pies.

Please do not take any offense, we are not having fun at your expense but are amused at these new stories. Where did you find them?

The myths that I mentioned that are so persistent are; Was the Sunken Road really sunken? Was the Hornet's Nest really the "key" to the first day of battle? How many Confederate charges took place across Duncan Field? Why did the rookie Yankees run and hide at the river when the equally green Rebels stood and fought? Would the Confederates have been victorious if Beauregard had not called off the attack on the evening of the 6th? Would the Confederates have been the victors if Johnston had not died? Did the arrival of Buell save Grant's defeated army? Did Forrest really stop Sherman's pursuit at Fallen Timbers?

The list goes on and on. These scenarios have been accepted as truths and have been handed down over the years and considered facts. Far from it.

Tom



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 03:31 pm
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ole
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The myths that I mentioned that are so persistent are; Was the Sunken Road really sunken? Was the Hornet's Nest really the "key" to the first day of battle? How many Confederate charges took place across Duncan Field? Why did the rookie Yankees run and hide at the river when the equally green Rebels stood and fought? Would the Confederates have been victorious if Beauregard had not called off the attack on the evening of the 6th? Would the Confederates have been the victors if Johnston had not died? Did the arrival of Buell save Grant's defeated army? Did Forrest really stop Sherman's pursuit at Fallen Timbers?


calcav:

I've considered them controversies as oppsed to myths. As far more knowledgeable than I, what is your take on each?

Was the Hornet's Nest "key" to the first day? My take is, no, but ... It was not intended to be but it distracted attention and forces for ASJ's intended objective.

Does anyone know how many charges took place across Duncan Field? I have no guess other than that there were far fewer than popular history would have us believe. Much of the confusion devolves from lumping attacks along that line under the single name of Hornet's Nest.

Why did yankee skedaddlers run while the green Rebs didn't? Does anyone know how many Rebs ran? They had the advantage of vanishing into the woods. The yanks clustered where they could seen and have wild guesses about how many there were.

Would the Confederates have been victorious if ....? Highly unlikely.

If Johnston hadn't been killed? I don't think so.

Did Buell save ....? Definitely not.

Did Forrest stop Sherman's pursuit? Stop a determined Sherman? Stalled it? Perhaps.

Most interested in hearing your opinions on these controversies.

Ole

 

Last edited on Thu Nov 9th, 2006 03:33 pm by ole



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 03:49 pm
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Fuller
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Glad to be of comedic assistance!  So when you say that Wallace fed his troops before marching them on, he was actually filling them up on Beauregard's pies?  Cool.  Were they apple or cherry?  I'm kidding, you know.  In all seriousness, I love hearing stories.  They make the war more human.  These men survived on small moments of humor and large amounts of comradery.

Here's one of my favorites...

On the march to Raymond...

"After awhile as we were marching quietly along, we heard two gentle pops, which we were able to recognize as gunshots.  Far in front I heard, 'Somebody is shooting at squirrels' from one of the boys. POP! POP! POP! came three more shots in quick succession, only a little closer this time.  'The squirells are shootin back!' growled a burly Irishman.  'And sure it's meself that don't approve of that kind of squirrel that's shootin.  Not a bit of it!'"

My Dad has my Grandpa's original "Muster-In Muster-Out" book from 1865.  Chester penciled in his name on the front and back inside cover.  It gives me chills every time I hold it.  It means more to me than gold.  I was looking at it the other night and a slip of old paper fell out.  It looks like a map he drew of Vicksburg and the surrounding area.  Anyway, the stories of mules and pies I found in that book.  I will try to send a link of the online version.  I apologize if it does not work.

Fulller

http://www.78ohio.org/RegHistory%20(Stevenson)/078toc.htm



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 04:04 pm
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Fuller
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Also, was the pond really red with blood?  Was there even a pond to begin with?

Fuller



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 05:21 pm
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Fuller, your post on 6 Nov 2006 piques my curiosity:


There is a reason I cringe whenever I hear "Yankee Doodle Dandy" sung.


Grant didn't cringe at "Yankee Doodle Dandy."  So why do you?

Nosy readers want to know.  Patty

Last edited on Thu Nov 9th, 2006 05:22 pm by Widow



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 05:41 pm
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calcav
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Ole,

Hey, you should work here! Looks like you've got a pretty good grasp of what happened. I agree that controversy is probably a better word but I frequently use myth because so many people have come to believe them as facts.

Was the Hornet's Nest "key" to the first day? I encourage visitors to walk through the Hornet's Nest and read the back of the monuments paying particular attention to the number of dead and wounded. The Confederate attacks coming up the Eastern Corinth Road (not through Duncan Field) are brigade strength and repulsed with fairly light Union casualties. The heavy fighting that ultimatley seals the fate of the Hornet's Nest defenders takes place on the flanks; Sherman & McClernand in Jones Field, Hurlbut at the Peach Orchard/Sarah Bell's Cotton Field. A good indicator is the location of burial sites and trenches; amost all are on the east and west of the field and very few in the center. The heavy Union casualties occur in the form of prisoners when the flanks give way and the center is surrounded.

Why did yankee skedaddlers run while the green Rebs didn't? There are numerous eyewitness accounts of the Union skulkers along the river, very few about their Confederate counterparts. But there is no mistaking that just as many Confederates left the field on the first day. Where the Feds were stopped by the Tennessee River there was nothing to halt the Rebs on their way back to Corinth. A simple excersice in mathamatics; There were nearly 45,000 Confederates and they suffered nearly 11,000 casualties over the two days. On the morning of the 7th Beauregard can field no more than 28,000 men. Where are the other 6,000 men? A soldier of the 22nd Alabama who had been left behind but reached the field on the 7th reported stragglers in great numbers.

Did Forrest stop Sherman's pursuit? The Confederate cavalry at Fallen Timbers consisted of a battalion of Texas Rangers, some of John H. Morgan's men and about 40 men under Forrest. This force suprised and routed 2 companies of the 77th Ohio, the lead elements of Sherman's pursuing two brigades. On a nearby road were two more brigades under Brig. Gen. Thomas Wood. Grant informed Halleck that he would follow "far enough to see that no immediate renewal of an attack is contempated."  After routing the two lead companies the Confederates noted the deployed regiments of Hildebrand's brigade when his ranks opened fire and emptied several rebel saddles. The Confederates fled the scene leaving Forrest alone in a one man charge that resulted in his severe wound. Sherman continued on a short distance to an enemy field hospital where he paroled the surgeons and the wounded. Convinced that no further attack was pending, he returned to his camp near Shiloh Church.

Was the Bloody Pond bloody and was it even there? Yes, it was definetly there and I don't doubt the claims it was stained red. Visitors frequently ask if we dye the water to give it a red tint. The truth is the water often has a red tint because of the tanic acid from the leaves that fall into it.

Oh, I left out one of my favorites! Johhny Clem the Drummer Boy of Shiloh. He said he was a 9 year old drummer for Company C of the 22nd Michigan when his drum was shot away and he grabbed a musket and killed a Confederate Colonel. Hmmmm...the 22nd Michigan was organized and mustered in August of 1862, four months after the battle! The little stinker!

Tom



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 06:37 pm
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Fuller
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Patty,

The "Macaroni Club" was a group of rich and...err, uhh flamboyant Brittish ladsin the 1700's who had taken a custom to the frilly fashions of France.  They thought they were pretty special in their ruffles and their form fitting trousers.  They also sported huge wigs and a hat with a feather stuck in it...ehh, sound familiar?  These boys may well have fit in with the current couture fashions of France, but the Brits found them to be a bit funny and feminine.  So leave it to the New Englanders who slowly started to emulate this fashion.  We all are aware "Yankee" wasn't exactly a term of endearment, well "Doodle" wasn't all that nice either.  So basically, the song is poking fun of the colonists attempt at fashion. 

So eat your heart out Dennis Rodman.

Fuller

Attachment: Doodle.jpg (Downloaded 100 times)



 Posted: Thu Nov 9th, 2006 07:00 pm
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Fuller, that drawing is priceless!  The little hobby horse is no doubt named Macaroni.  So some New England Yankee fops followed the same fad?  Their fathers must have been SHOCKED, SHOCKED.

OK, I see it now.  The Brits made fun of them.  Best way to deflect an insult is to wear it with pride.

So it's the origin of the tune which makes you cringe, rather than the music itself.  I suppose Grant might have cringed too if he'd thought about it.

I love pasta.  Patty



 Posted: Fri Nov 10th, 2006 01:07 am
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Tom,

You say that Lew Wallace had his division camped to the north of Grant.  One brigade @ Adamsville, one @ Stoney Lonesome and one @ Crumps.  Do you know where my Grandpa was?  I'm assuming he was @ Stoney Lonesome. (78Th Ohio)

Fuller



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