Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The central group represents a "Defeated Victory." The front figure, representing the Confederacy, is surrendering the laurel wreath of victory to Death, on the left, and Night, on the right. The main Death being referenced here is the death of army commander Albert Sidney Johnston. Night brought reinforcements to the enemy in the form of Lew Wallace and Don Carlos Buell. Those two events sealed the fate of the battle, at least to Hibbard and the UDC.
There are two other groups of figures. On the extreme right is the infantry and the artillery. The infantry soldier has snatched up his flag and is defiant. The artillerist is calm and appears to be looking through the smoke of battle. The group on the left has the cavalryman and an officer. The cavalry solider is anxious to do something but cannot due to the thick woods. The officer has his head bowed in submission to the order to cease firing when it seemed the Confederates were on the verge of winning the battle.
In the center of the massive pedestal is a marble relief of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. To his right is a panel of heads representing the spirit of the first day; hopeful, fearless, courageous. On the left another panel of heads represents the second day of the battle and the sorrow of the men, now reduced to 10, over the victory so nearly won and so unexpectedly lost. You'll also notice on their shoulders is a wave, which looks slightly different in each panel. One could say the wave has crested and is now receding.
On the back of the monument Shiloh Superintendent DeLong Rice provided these remarks, "The states of the South sent to the battle of Shiloh, seventy-nine organizations of infantry, ten organizations of cavalry and twenty-three batteries of artillery. How bravely and how well they fought, let the tablets of history on this field tell. As a greeting to the living remnant of the host of gray, and in honor of its dead - whether sleeping in distant places or graveless here in traceless dust - this monument has been lifted up by the hands of a loving and a grateful people."
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
To the Lasting Memory of the Heroes from Alabama Who Fought at Shiloh April 6-7, 1862 Erected by the Alabama Division United Daughters of the Confederacy 1907
4th Battalion, Maj. James M. Clifton
16th Regiment, Lieut. Col. John W. Harris
17th Regiment, Lieut. Col. Robert C. Fariss
18th Regiment, Col. Eli S. Shorter
19th Regiment, Col. Joseph Wheeler
21st Regiment, Lieut. Col. Stewart W. Cayce, Maj. Frederick Stewart
22nd Regiment, Col. Zach C. Deas (wounded), Lieut. Col. John C. Marrast
25th Regiment, Col. John Q. Loomis (wounded), Col. George D. Johnston
26th Regiment, Col. John I. Coltart (wounded), Lieut. Col. William D. Chadick
31st Regiment, Lieut. Col. Montgomery Gilbeath
Gen. Bragg's Escort, Company, Capt. Robert W. Smith
First Battalion, Capt. Thomas F. Jenkins
Miss. and Ala. Battalion, Lieut. Col. Richard H. Brewer
First Regiment, Col. James H. Clanton
Gage's Battery, Capt. Charles P. Gage
Ketchum's Battery, Capt. Wm. H. Ketchum
Robertson’s Battery, Capt. Felix H. Robertson.
Alabama General Officers at Shiloh
Brig. Gen. Jones M. Withers, 2nd Div., 2nd Army Corps
Brig. Gen. Sterling A. M. Wood, 3rd Brig., 3rd Army Corps
Brig. Gen. Jones M. Withers:
Brig. Gen. Sterling A. M. Wood:
Monday, April 28, 2008
There are two oddities to this monument that I've always had a hard time understanding. The first is that it quotes General Cleburne's report concerning what the regiment did, "Tennessee can never mourn for a nobler band than fell this day in her second regiment." But it misspells Cleburne as Cleburn. Surely by the time this monument was erected they had to know how to spell his name, he was not a hero or household name at the time of Shiloh but after the war he was much more of a household name, but apparently not enough to get his name spelled right.
The other oddity is the flag on the monument. I've researched it a bit and as far as I can tell this style was not in circulation at the time. Perhaps it is a model of the 2nd Tennessee's flag, I've never seen a copy of the flag they carried at Shiloh. What it looks like is the modern Mississippi state flag but why that would appear on a Tennessee monument is even more confusing. My best guess is that is what Bate's 2nd Tennessee carried but maybe a flag expert out there can better enlighten us all.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Confederate Troops from Arkansas present at engaged in the Battle of Shiloh.
The following named Field Officers of Arkansas troops were killed, or died of wounds received on the Battlefield of Shiloh
Lt. Col. A. D. Grayson, 12th Arkansas
Lt. Col. John M. Dean, 7th Arkansas
Lt. Col. A. K. Patton, 15th Arkansas
Maj. J. T. Harris, 15th Arkansas
Lt. Col. Charles E. Patterson, 2nd Arkansas, wounded April 6th, died April 7th.
To the brave Confederate dead of Arkansas who fell upon this battlefield, this monument is erected by the Arkansas Div. United Daughters of the Confederacy in the year 1910.
1st Arkansas (Fagan) Gibson's Brigade, Bragg's Corps
15th Arkansas (Patton) Cleburne's Brigade, Hardee's Corps
2nd Arkansas (Govan)
6th Arkansas (Hawthorn)
7th Arkansas (Dean) Shaver's Brigade, Hardee's Corps
8th Arkansas (Patterson)
9th (14th) Arkansas Battalion (Kelly) Woods' Brigade, Hardee's Corps
9th Arkansas (Dunlop)
10th Arkansas (Merrick) Bowen's Brigade, Breckinridge's Corps
13th Arkansas (Tappan) Stewart's Brigade, Polk's Corps
Calvert's Battery (Shoup's Battalion)
Hubbard's Battery (Cleburne's Brigade),
Trigg's Battery (Hardee's Corps)
Roberts' Battery (Unassigned)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I'm continually amazed at just how many people read this little blog and that I get visitors from around the world. I've had visitors from 73 countries, representing every continent (although there is not much interest in Africa). This blog has been seen in all 50 states. I've had 4916 unique visitors, and they have looked at 21483 pages. These might be small numbers in the grand scheme of things but to me they are pretty impressive, I never would have imagined nearly 5000 different people would see this, that they'd look at it over 21,000 times, or that they'd represent 73 different countries.
Thank you to everyone. To the first time visitor finding this today, to the frequent visitor looking at what's new, to the publishers who have graced me with review books (I'll get to them all eventually, hopefully sooner than later), to the people who have shared a bit of their own lives with me on this site. Thank you all. Hopefully we'll bump into each other on the road somewhere and can share some more stories.
Remembers the valor and devotion of her sons who served at Shiloh
April 6-7, 1862.
Here the Rangers upheld the fame of the name they bore, the 2nd Texas fought with gallantry and the 9th Texas responded to any demand upon its courage and endurance.
General Albert Sidney Johnston of Texas gave his life in this battle.
Texas troops at Shiloh were;
9th Texas Infantry, Colonel Wright A. Stanley, (Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson's Brigade, Ruggles' Division, Bragg's Corps)
2nd Texas Infantry, Col. John C. Moore, Lieutenant Colonel William A. Rogers, Major Hal G. Runnels, (Brig. Gen. John K. Jackson's Brigade, Withers' Division, Bragg's Corps)
8th Texas Cavalry (Rangers), Colonel John A. Wharton, (unattached)
A memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy
Erected by the State of Texas 1964
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Louisiana regiments confuse me. Not all of them but a great many do. More than other states they seem to have designations that are not numeric, yet they do also have a numeric designation that they hardly are ever referred to by. [In an upcoming post I'll do more to explain one particular regiment that confuses me completely, it sustains losses at Shiloh yet I can find no mention that it was at Shiloh] One such regiment is the Crescent Regiment. I've seen it referred to as the 24th Louisiana but usually it is simply the Crescent Regiment.
After Corinth its term of service expired and the remaining men were put into the 18th Louisiana. Later the regiment was reorganized and it reclaimed the men who had gone into the 18th Louisiana. In 1863 two other units were added to the regiment to form the Consolidated Crescent Regiment.
At Shiloh it was part of the group that surrounded the Hornet’s Nest on April 6th. The next day it supported the Washington Artillery. Its losses in the battle were 23 killed, 84 wounded and 20 missing. This monument is located east of the intersection of the Eastern Corinth Road and the Hamburg-Purdy Road.
(back of monument)
On left of Confederate line Sunday morning to guard bridge over Owl Creek. At 2:00 p.m. ordered to center near Duncan house to engage right of the enemy under Gen. Prentiss in Hornets' Nest, where, at about 5:30 p.m. he surrendered. On Monday joined the 19th Louisiana were in support of Washington Artillery. Later with Col. Wheeler's command formed rear guard of retreat. Casualties both days, 127. Erected by a private of Co. B.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Echoes of Thunder: A Guide to the Seven Days Battles by Matt Spruill. Signed by the author. I can have this one personalized too if you'd like. Roundtable price $23, retail $24.95
Winter Lightning: A guide to the Battle of Stones River by Matt Spruill. Signed by the author. I can have this one personalized too if you'd like. Roundtable price $23, retail $24.95
Stones River: Bloody Winter in Tennessee by James Lee McDonough. Signed by the author. Roundtable price $21, retail $23.95
A Southern Boy in Blue: The Memoir of Marcus Woodcock, 9th Kentucky Infantry (USA) by Kenneth Noe. Signed by the author. Roundtable price $15, retail $18
Doctor Quintard, Chaplain C.S.A. and Second Bishop of Tennessee: The Memoir and Civil War Diary of Charles Todd Quintard by Sam Davis Elliott. Signed by the author. Roundtable price $35, retail $42.95
Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg by Timothy B. Smith. Signed by the author. Roundtable price $18, retail $22.95
Memoirs of the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion by Robert J. Trout. Roundtable price $35, retail $45
Chimborazo: The Confederacy's Largest Hospital by Carol C. Green. Roundtable price $18, retail $22.95
This post also appears at http://rmcwrt.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This book suffers from one huge flaw, the war in the West is essentially ignored. Every so often there will be a sentence about a big battle in the West, but basically the author feels that if the Confederates win in the East they win the war. I would have liked at least a chapter explaining how an Eastern theater win translates into a war victory. I'm willing to buy that early in the war a huge Eastern theater win might have ended the war, but by 1863 too much has been lost in the West, that I don't think Lincoln would have quit after one huge Eastern theater loss.
But I did like this book. Even if you don't buy all of Alexander's arguments (and I didn't) it made you think about things in a different light. In fact I agreed with most of his points until the Gettysburg chapter. In there he keeps making the point that Lee should have done everything he could to get to Philadelphia first. That once he knows Meade is close he should have continued towards Philly instead of concentrating at Gettysburg, Lee is at least a few days march ahead of Meade and he should continue north, select the good ground and make Meade fight him. That Meade will be forced into a battle to save Philadelphia as Lincoln/Stanton/Halleck will be burning up the telegraph lines with messages to him to attack. I don't think this is true because even with Harrisburg out of the picture Philadelphia is not isolated and troops could have been rushed there from the north or from Washington to defend the place until Meade arrived. Then Lee might have found himself between two armies.
Then if Lee selects Gettysburg as his area for the battle Alexander feels that Lee should have retreated to Cashtown and used that ridge line to make his stand. Or even sat on Seminary Ridge and let Meade attack him. I don't think these would have worked out so well. It might have, but Meade had his cavalry with him and could have scouted for the best flank to hit. Lee's cavalry was at least a day away yet, but maybe Meade would have waited until the 3rd to strike, and then Stuart would have been in place to block Meade's cavalry. A whole lot of what ifs which I don't think Alexander deals with too well. In all of these Alexander makes the point that the defender usually wins the battle. But its much more than Lee going on the defensive at Seminary Ridge to guarantee victory, and Alexander makes it seem that simple. That once Lee is done maneuvering Meade (or any of the previous army commanders) into the spot he wants to fight at all he has to do is become the defender and he's the winner. This is too simplistic, it does not account for an Antietam at which McClellan might have won the day as the attacker if only he had kept attacking.
Alexander says that the best method of fighting was to anchor one flank on a hill or river, fight a defensive battle and then to strike the enemy's flank by using your flank that was not pinned down to a topographic item. That this was the method Jackson advocated but not what Lee always chose. At one point he says Longstreet also came to see Jackson's point and that after Jackson's death Longstreet advocated the same sort of battles to Lee. In one of those "what if Jackson had been at Gettysburg" moments Alexander says that Jackson might have been able to convince Lee to fight the battle differently, more along the Jackson model, that Longstreet tried to talk Lee into that sort of battle and that Jackson had more influence with Lee than Longstreet to convince him to fight differently. I thought it weird that Longstreet and Jackson were being compared similarly, but I can see his point. Alexander points out at every battle how Jackson's method was applied, and sometimes was not at all. At some battles it just was not possible because the position chosen did not allow the Confederates to make the flanking counter attack. Alexander stresses the point that better ground should have been chosen that would allow for this. That defeating the enemy is only part of the equation, that the Confederates need to score huge wins to win the war and the easiest way to knock out an army is to deliver a huge blow on the heels of a defeat. For instance, just imagine the destruction Jackson could have done to the battered elements of Burnside's army after Fredericksburg if a flanking counter attack had been possible. Instead the big guns across the river kept Lee's army away.
Alexander had one statement that I thought was particularly interesting. In a section on the Shenandoah campaign (page 63) he wrote: "War is fundamentally a struggle between two intellects rather than a conflict of masses. Jackson, in his surprise descent on Front Royal, was attacking the mind of Nathaniel Banks more than the forces of Colonel Kenly. Jackson had chosen a long and roundabout march rather than hazard a direct attack on Banks at Strasburg. He did this because physical obstacles are inherently less formidable than the hazards of battle. Human resistance is the one great incalculable in warfare. No general can predict human response, and therefore great generals avoid battles whenever they can." I thought this was a very interesting point and one I agree with. The truly successful generals in the war tended to avoid battles, instead achieving their aims through maneuver. Sherman seems to be the poster boy for this style as once he's an army commander his forces mainly maneuver to gain territory instead of relying on winning huge battles.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Our final speaker was Sam Davis Elliott talking about General Alexander P. Stewart, about whom he has written a fine biography. I'll admit I have not read the biography, but I have a copy and will one day soon read it.
Stewart is one of those commanders who have largely been forgotten. This is a bit strange in that he was one of the few a corps commanders in the Army of Tennessee. There are artillery captains in the Army of Northern Virginia that have had more written about them.
One thing I did know about Stewart is that he largely escaped most of the bickering in the Army of Tennessee. While much of the high command was dividing into pro or anti Bragg factions Stewart somehow managed to walk a thin line between both groups.
Sam mentioned that he got the bug to write about Stewart after passing his statue on the courthouse grounds in Chattanooga. Somehow I did not know about this statue, and I've been to Chattanooga a number of times. Next time I'm there I'll make a point of visiting the courthouse to see the statue.
The last time I was in Chattanooga I happened to meet Sam. I had gone back there for a week of wandering and on my last day there I participated in a ranger led hike of the Wauhatchie. As we gathered in the parking lot we introduced ourselves to each other and we finally met in person after exchanging emails over the various message boards we both belong to. The idea of the symposium was in my mind at that time, I think at that point we were still discussing if we though we could pull it off. As we walked up Tyndale Hill the ranger asked if we wanted to do some bushwhacking to the very top (the trail was not officially open yet). I think Sam was the first to speak and his answer was something along the lines of "how else would we spend our time, lets go up there, be among the first to see it." That sort of bushwhacking mentality is the same as our study groups' have and I knew right then that he was one of us. Once we started inviting people to the symposium he was one of the first ones we asked, he cemented it that day on Tyndale Hill. I knew if he had that sort of enthusiasm about bushwhacking to see entrenchments he could easily project that enthusiasm into a talk. And I was right, I really enjoyed the talk and mentally moved the Stewart book to the top of my to-read-list.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Our fourth speaker was fellow round table member Matt Spruill. Even though he's a member he was no slouch when it came to presentations. I've always enjoyed discussing the war with Matt because he offers a perspective from a modern military officer. Also Matt does a good job of giving a balanced view of things. He will not blast a general's decisions without first exploring the position that general was in; what did he know of the situation, what were the options available to him? Then if a general still made a poor decision he will not hold back with his opinion, but he makes you think critically of what options really did face the general in the heat of the moment. The decision might seem bad at first but when you look at all the sides of the issue often times you come away with a greater appreciation of what the general faced and what he finally decided to do. This is what Matt has added to my thinking of the war.
During the symposium Matt presented the battle of Stones River, subject of his most recent battle field guide (and I've reviewed it here previously). Matt had two statements that I thought were interesting and needed more contemplation.
The first was that "successful commanders need to make judgement decisions and take acceptable risks." This goes along with things I've been taught by Matt before but I've never heard him phrase it quite that way. In some ways it seems so simple, the good generals make decisions after weighing the different options, figure out what risks they are willing to take and choose accordingly.
The Stones River statement Matt offered was that Bragg should have weighted his main attack on the left by adding Breckinridge's force behind Cleburne. Bragg would have been taking a gamble that Rosecrans would not attack his weakened right wing but it would have increased the odds of a successful attack by the left wing. We could all debate whether doing so would have been an acceptable risk. I believe that it would be an acceptable risk because if the attack had succeeded the results might have been extraordinary. Rosecrans might have been completely surrounded and forced to fight for his survival, and Bragg might have dealt the major blow that the Confederacy needed in the West to revive its sinking fortunes. As it happened Bragg did not manage the battle well enough to provide a major victory and ended up with a tactical draw and a strategic defeat.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
But on a serious note Ken talked about the Perryville campaign. I thought he did a very good job of laying it all out. He got a little into the blow-by-blow stuff but not so much that your head is swimming with details. I especially liked how he detailed the various options available to Bragg at the beginning of the campaign and how the boldest option somehow became the best option. One of his gems of insight was when he said that it impossible to understand the Civil War if you separate the military, political and social elements. That they are all connected, in fact these separate forces are what ends up pushing Bragg to select the option he does select (instead of swinging from Tupelo to Chattanooga and then north into Kentucky, he could have struck Buell between Corinth and Chattanooga or he could have assaulted Corinth directly).
Ken also talked a bit about how weather played such a huge role in this campaign, as well as the other campaigns of 1862 in the West. He said that if he was doing the book now he’d try to explain the toll of drinking very little water (and then having substandard water when it was available) had on the soldiers and animals of both armies.
I’ve read his book, and have tramped those fields. As a sign of how well his talk was received by the rest of the audience, as soon as his talk was over his book sold out from our book room. I was glad to hear about that as I knew it meant we made a good choice in selecting him as a speaker.
A theme that kept popping up during the day was memory, and Perryville is no exception to the memory debate. In Perryville’s case its a matter of how a pretty major battle somehow falls out of the public memory. Perryville started to disappear from the newspapers right away as other events quickly filled the paper, things like the battles of Iuka and Corinth, the fall Congressional elections and the debate of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Then after the war it remained a lesser battle. But the locals have worked hard to protect it. They have done their best to prevent it from being changed, and last week they actually did so again by rejecting a request from a developer to build many homes.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The second speaker of the day was Tim Smith. Not to slight any of our other fine speakers but this was the presenter I was most anxious to see. Tim is a former Shiloh ranger who I’ve bumped into a few times before at the park, I’ve enjoyed all of his books and he was talking about my favorite battle to study. He did not disappoint.
Basically Tim talked about the “battle after the battle,” the historiography of Shiloh. This is the sort of thing I love and I was worried that others might find it not as interesting. But the few people I’ve talked to about this so far liked it, it was not the normal for them. They adapted well to a Shiloh talk that was not about the movements of regiments and batteries.
He laid out that there are four main schools of Shiloh historiography. The first is the veterans school and it started as soon as men had a chance to sit down and talk about what happened that day. This school lasted into the 1890s when the number of veterans dwindled.
The second school began with the formation of the park and the appointment of David W. Reed as the first historian. This is when the first mentions of the Hornets’ Nest emerge at all and it will soon grow to legendary status as, perhaps, the most important part of the battle. Reed’s regiment fought in the Hornets’ Nest which would explain why Reed put more emphasis on this than any previous author. This school dominates current thinking and Tim brought up the story that at the Visitor’s Center are two large maps (made by Reed) that visitors can touch and the spots that Reed emphasized have been touched so often that they have been rubbed off the map. Next time I’m there I’ll be sure to check this out. The spots are Shiloh Church, Pittsburg Landing, the Hornets’ Nest and the Sunken Road.
The third school Tim called the Johnston/Sword school. To this school the death of Johnston was the most important event of the battle. Wiley Sword’s book came out in the 1970s and he recently revised edition spends a great deal of time trying to determine conclusively where Johnston was killed. Long story short, Sword believes its much farther north than where its marked at the park. I’m not convinced and I got the impression that very few others agree with Sword.
The final school would be revisionist. This first appeared in the 1960s with Cunningham’s dissertation but it remained largely unread until recently (in an edited version by Tim and Gary Joiner). The first published book in this school would be Larry Daniel’s. This school is still developing but it is reevaluating the other schools and putting more emphasis on events in other locations, like what Sherman and McClernand accomplished on the Union right.
If I had to guess (and I should have just asked the question but didn’t think of it then) I would say that Tim is of the revisionist school. I think he’s willing to accept parts of Reed and Johnston’s school but feels that their emphasis is not the whole story.
Something else I had never thought about is that the Confederacy was roughly twice the size of the colonies of 1776. One of the reasons the British lost that war was because fighting on that scale is difficult, not only in space but everything that goes along with it (logistics being the major consideration). Of course since then numerous railroads had been built and the river system in the West favored the Union. But even so there was some belief that the size of the project might be enough to prevent the Union from winning.
He also went into Kentucky’s geographic importance. I’ve heard this before, but to paraphrase a Confederate Kentucky makes invasion of the West more difficult because the Ohio River forms a natural defensive line and would prevent the Union from exploiting the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (at least until they breached the forts that would likely be built at the confluence of each of those with the Ohio.
He also made two statements I found interesting discussion fodder. One is that Shiloh was a “narrow tactical victory with major strategic importance.” I don’t have a problem with that statement at all, I think it fits, but I can see that others might not agree. The other is, “If the Kentucky line [the reality line thru Bowling Green not the imagined line on the Ohio] was intact at the time of Antietam would that battle have as much importance, would Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation?” His point being that nothing about Antietam makes it vastly important than that the Emancipation Proclamation follows. I’m not so sure about this one. I can understand that the situation would then basically be a small Union foothold throughout all theaters but Antietam would still have significance as an invasion turned back. I don’t know if that would be enough of an event for Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, but since he probably still had it in a desk drawer waiting for his moment me might have seized on this event as the big moment again.
The presenters themselves were fantastic. We had selected authors we thought would be good but we truthfully had no idea how well it would turn out. Just because a guy writes a good book does not mean he can speak in front of a crowd. But our guys were a good batch, I’ll post a bit more about each one this week as they all brought up some insights and questions I’d like to share and comment on.
They were also highly complimentary of what we had put together. I’m not sure if they were just being nice but I’d like to believe they were being honest. Down the road we’ll send out surveys to speakers and attendees to gauge reactions to our event, I think then we’ll have a complete picture.
The hall was pretty good sized, I took this first thing in the morning. Eventually we'd fill about half the place. The Community College of Aurora videotaped the first half of the day for their community cable access station, hopefully we'll get a copy of that. I'd love to share it on here or youtube but we'll see if that's possible.
Here is our book room. We had books for all of our presenters. I'd like to thank the University of Tennessee Press, Kentucky University Presss and Savas-Beatie for helping us out with this. The University of Tennessee Press did the most for us as they also sent catalogs, bags, a table cloth, and other promotional materials. We've dealt with them from the very beginning on this, back when it was just a kernel of an idea.
One of our roundtable members, Bob Moulder, set up a display showing a fraction of his impressive collection. My favorite aspect of Bob's collection is that there is a personal story behind each item. He just doesn't have a certain model of sword, he knows who carried it in the war and what happened to him, that's impressive. That's a Bob behind the table, but not Bob Moulder, its his friend and day's assistant Bob Huddleston.