14th Wisconsin Infantry at Shiloh

Ole Miss

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I have always enjoyed supporting the underdog and I believe the 14th​ Wisconsin found themselves in that position 30 years after the Battle of Shiloh and I wanted to present their story which as all stories do has faded with time.

The 14th​ Wisconsin was formed on January 30, 1862 at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The regiment was soon sent to St. Louis and soon after reported to Savannah, TN. on March 28 and set up camp. Serving as provost guard the regiment spent all day Sunday, April 6 listening to the increasing roar of battle upriver at Pittsburg Landing. With the arrival of General Buell’s Army of the Ohio, the 14th​ was temporarily assigned to Colonel William Sooy Smith’s 14th​ Brigade of General Crittenden’s 5th​ Division. It participated in the 2nd​ day’s fighting suffering 93 casualties for a 12% loss rate.
Regards
David

To paraphrase a legend, Now for the rest of the story:

At the battle of Shiloh, on the second day, my brigade consisted of four regiments, three of which were in line, and one was in reserve in a sheltered position a couple of hundred yards to the rear. On our right was Barnett’s Battery, supported by my strongest regiment. This regiment had just come to the front a full thousand strong. It was perfectly green, and without drill, discipline, or experience. It had received its arms but a few days or weeks before the battle; but this I did not know, as it was assigned to my brigade only the day before the fight. In the morning we were fiercely attacked by the enemy, and this regiment broke and ran away in spite of every effort that could be made to rally it (14th Wisconsin). Barnett’s Battery was left without support, and was for a time in imminent danger of capture. My reserve regiment, numbering about five hundred men, was brought up as quickly as possible, and took its place in the line, opening fire just in time to repulse the enemy. I saw nothing more of my big regiment of raw recruits during the fight. A year or two after the war closed, I saw in the principal hotel of a neighboring city a large picture representing a regiment charging in gallant style. It alignment was perfect, and all its company and field officers were in their proper places. And what was my surprise when I read the legend, “Gallant charge of the ----- regiment at the battle of Shiloh,” the very regiment whose conduct I have described!


Later in the day it was the good fortune of my brigade to capture Standford’s Mississippi Battery of six guns. We bivouacked on the field that night about the position that had been occupied by this battery. The next morning it was found that two of the guns had disappeared. Search was made for them, and it was discovered that one of the pieces had gone to replace a gun that had been lost by one of our batteries during the first day’s fight. No trace of the other could be found; but I have since been informed that it is now at the Capitol of the State from which my big regiment came, bearing the inscription, “Captured at the Battle of Shiloh,” by this very regiment. I could perhaps pardon the conduct of the regiment on the field; but the lying picture and the theft are without excuse or palliation.”


THE UNREMEMBERED SOLDIER
By
William Sooy Smith, Late Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers
Insignia Number 8295, Illinois Commandery
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Read October 13, 1892


http://suvcw.org/mollus/warpapers/ILv2p489.htm
To Be Continued
 

Ole Miss

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Colonel Sooy Smith was very candid in his Official Report regarding his opinion regarding the 14th​ Wisconsin’s performance in battle. One is able for themselves what was written. I must add though that the 14th​ entered battle with 750 men and suffered 16 KIA, 74 WIA and 3 MIA a total of 93 which I must mentioned succeeded more than any regiment in Smith’s Brigade!
Regards
David

Report of Col. William B. Smith, Thirteenth Ohio Infantry, commanding
Fourteenth Brigade.
Shiloh Fields, Tenn., April 11,1862.
“Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Fourteenth Brigade in the engagement of Monday, the 7th instant, at this place:
The brigade, after having bivouacked during the night of the 6th instant on the hill near the Pittsburg Landing, was put in motion at 6 o’clock a. m. on the 7th and marched to the front, and placed in position in prolongation of the line of General Nelson’s division, then hotly engaged. The Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, temporarily attached to my brigade, was drawn up in line of battle on the right, Thirteenth Ohio on the left, and the Twenty-sixth Kentucky in the center. The Eleventh Kentucky was held in reserve, and placed 200 yards in the rear of the center of our line of battle, in a position covered by the crest of a hill, along which our line of battle extended. Two companies of skirmishers, one from the Eleventh and one from the Twenty-sixth Kentucky, were then deployed to the front. The skirmishers on our right soon engaged those of the enemy in an open field in front of the right of our line. The enemy’s skirmishers retired, and all was quiet in front of our line for nearly one hour, when our skirmishers again engaged those of the enemy, and this was soon followed by a furious attack upon our whole front. The right recoiled (14
th Wisconsin), while the left and center stood firm. The Twenty-sixth Kentucky was then sent forward to support our right, and a heavy cross-fire to our front was opened from Bartlett’s battery, which was in position on our right. The enemy soon yielded, when a running fight commenced, which extended for about one mile to our front, where we captured a battery and shot the horses and many of the cannoneers. Owing to the obstructed nature of the ground, the enthusiastic courage of the majority of our men, the laggard discharge of their duty by many, and the disgraceful cowardice of some (14th Wisconsin), our line had been transformed into a column of attack, representing the various grades of courage from reckless daring to ignominious fear (14th Wisconsin).
At the head of this column stood a few heroic men, not adequately supported, when the enemy returned to the attack with three fresh regiments in good order. We were driven back by these nearly to the first position occupied by our line, when we again rallied and moved forward toward the battery. Reaching a ravine to the right, and about 600 paces from the battery, we halted and awaited the assistance of Mendenhall’s battery, which was brought into action on a knoll within half a mile of the enemy’s battery, which it immediately silenced. We then advanced and captured it the second time, and succeeded in holding it, despite the efforts of the enemy to repulse us. One of the guns was at once turned upon the enemy, and Mendenhall’s battery was advanced to nearly the same position and opened fire upon the flank of the enemy’s column, then retiring before General McCook’s division on our right. This occurred at about half past 3 o’clock p. m., and up to this time, from 8 o’clock in the morning, my brigade had been almost constantly engaged.
The Thirteenth Ohio and Eleventh and Twenty-sixth Kentucky Regiments seemed to vie with each other in determined valor, and while they each have cause to regret and detest the conduct of a few of their officers and men (14
th Wisconsin), they may proudly exult over the glorious part which they took as regiments in the bloody engagement of Shiloh fields.
I beg leave to make a special mention of the gallant conduct of the field and staff officers of the Thirteenth Ohio and Eleventh and Twenty-sixth Kentucky Regiments, who without exception bore themselves as true soldiers and efficient officers through the dangers of the day. I desire also to mention the gallant conduct of Lieut. Frank J. Jones, of the Thirteenth Ohio, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. R. E. Hackett, of the Twenty-sixth Kentucky, acting aide-de-camp, whose conduct throughout the day was marked by great coolness and courage.

I herewith inclose the reports of the commanders of the several regiments constituting my brigade, and would beg to refer to them for lists of killed, wounded, and missing; which in the aggregate amount to, in killed, 23; in wounded, 156; in missing, 9; making a total of 188,* Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,”

W. S. SMITH,
Colonel Thirteenth Ohio, Comdg. Fourteenth Brigade.
Official Records of the Rebellion
Series 1, Volume X, Part 1
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160&view=1up&seq=383&q1=365
Pages 365-367

To Be Continued
 

ucvrelics

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but the lying picture and the theft are without excuse or palliation.”

Here is the gun in question and there has always been a little controversy as to if Lt Stanley captured it from the CS or the US in the middle of the night :D

Field gun, 6-pounder, M1841. Bronze tube sits upon reproduction carriage. Tube is engraved "Captured by the 14th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers Col. D.E. Wood Commanding at the Battle of Pittsburg Landing Tenn. April 7, 1862 Spiked by 1st Lieut Geo. Stanley Company D". This cannon was captured from Harper's Mississippi Battery. It was made by Leeds & CO. in New Orleans. La.
1610312066650.png
 

Ole Miss

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@lupaglupa: Is it honesty? Or making baseless charges against a young, inexperienced regiment?
@UCV: I hope to share more about this "Shioh Beauty" and the true story behind her travels from Shiloh to Wisconsin. Might it change your mind? Let's see!
Regards
David
 
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lupaglupa

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@lupaglupa: Is it honesty? Or making baseless charges against a young, inexperienced regiment?
@UCV: I hope to share more about this "Shioh Beauty" and the true story behind her travels from Shiloh to Wiscinsin. Might it change your mind? Let's see!
Regards
David
I doubt it's baseless - I think any group of men in that situation would show a range of emotions. I didn't read it as insulting, just a very honest portrayal.
 

Ole Miss

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@lupaglupa you said:
"I doubt it's baseless - I think any group of men in that situation would show a range of emotions. I didn't read it as insulting, just a very honest portrayal."
Allow me to post a responese from a member of the 14th Wisconsin when he read the transcript of General Smith's speech.
This is where the story gets a little heated. I am attemoting to edit some of 14th's response but it's taking more skill than I posses!
Down South we would say that Captain Magdeburg "bowed up" on Ole Sooy Smith.
Regards
David
 

Ole Miss

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This paper was read before the Wisconsin Commandery of the MOLLUS in 1897 by Captain F. H. Magdeburg formerly of the 14th Wisconsin in defense of his regiment and companions after seeing General Sooy's criticism of his unit at the Battle of Shiloh.

I find his defense to be very detailed and persuasive and I present it for everyone's perusal these excerpts from his paper.
Regards
David

"On the 13th day of October , 1892 , General William Sooy Smith read a paper before the Commandery of Illinois, ilitary Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, entitled, “The Unremembered Soldier," in which the
following passage occurs :

“ At the battle of Shiloh , on the second day , my brigade consisted of four regiments , three of which were in line , and one was in reserve in a sheltered position a couple of hundred yards to the rear . On our right was Barnett ' s Battery , supported by my strongest regiment (14th Wisconsin). This regiment had just come to the front a full thousand strong . It was perfectly green , and with out drill , discipline or experience . It had received its arms but a few days or weeks before the battle ; but this I did not know , as it was assigned to my brigade only the day before the fight . In the morning we were fiercely attacked by the enemy , and this regiment broke and ran away in spite of every effort that could be made to rally it . Barnett ' s Battery was left without support , and was for a time in iminent danger of capture . My reserve regiment , numbering about five hundred men , was brought up as quickly as possible , and took its place in line , opening fire just in time to repulse the enemy . I saw nothing more of my big regiment of raw recruits during the fight . A year or two after the war closed , I saw in the principal hotel of a neighboring city a large picture representing a regiment charging in gallant style . Its alignment was perfect , and all its company and field officers were in their proper places . And what was my surprise when I read the legend , “ Gallant charge of the — regiment at the battle of Shiloh , ” the very regiment whose conduct I have described !

Later in the day it was the good fortune of my brigade to capture Standiford's (Stanford's) Mississippi Battery of six guns . We biv ouacked on the field that night about the position that had been occupied by this battery. The next morning it was found that two of the guns had disappeared . Search was made for them , and it was discovered that one of the pieces had gone to replace a gun that had been lost by one of our batteries during the first day 's fight . No trace of the other could then be found ; but I have since been informed that it is now at the capitol of the state from which my big regiment came , bearing the inscription , " Captured at the Battle of Shiloh , ” by this very regiment . I could perhaps pardon the conduct of the regiment on the field; but the lying picture and the theft are without excuse or palliation . And yet , without knowledge of the facts , hundreds and thousands of people have doubtless given this regiment the hom age of their admiration and gratitude . "


This paper has been published by the Commandery of Illinois in its second volume of war papers , and has undoubtedly been read by many who have looked up the record and have ascertained from it that the regiment referred to by General William Sooy Smith was none other than my own , the 14th Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry .

On or about January 27th , 1896 , I became cognizant of the existence of the passage above quoted . For years past I have had the honor of being President of our regimental society , and it there devolved upon me to refute the charges , in the most emphatic terms , made against the honor and valor of my regiment , whose record from the beginning to the end of its service was without blemish . Application was immediately made by me to the Illinois Commandery for an opportunity to refute the charges at one of its meetings , but I was informed that no chance could be given me till after their annual election , as programs were full to that time . After their election in May last , I again applied and was , after very long delay , informed that my application had been overlooked or mislaid and that all dates were again filled to the next annual meeting . Thereupon I applied to our Commander for a chance to defend my regiment and have been accorded this opportunity . I will be as brief as the circumstances will permit and ask for your kind indulgence more on behalf of my comrades so greatly wronged , than on my own .

The 14th Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry went into camp at Fond du Lac , Wisconsin , during the latter part of November , 1861 , where it received its arms during the first week of January , 1862 , and was mustered into the United States serv ice during the last half of that month . The regiment received company and regimental instruction and drill from time of en tering camp till March 8th , 1862 , when it left for Benton Bar racks , near St . Louis . Here the thorough drill of the regiment was continued till it left for Savannah , Tenn . , at which place drill and instruction continued till April 6th , when the regiment left for Shiloh , where it joined the army and there , with out order or assignment , but by request of its commanding officer , served during April 7th with the 14th Brigade , 5th Division , Army of the Ohio , commanded by General , then Colonel , William Sooy Smith , of the 13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry .

This fully disproves General Smith ' s statement in regard to the 14th Wis . Vet . Vol Infantry , when he says :

“ It was perfectly green , and without drill , discipline , or experience . It had received its arms but a few days or weeks before the battle ; but this I did not know , as it was assigned to my brigade only the day before the fight . ”

The official records show that , of all regiments belonging to the Army of the Ohio , engaged in the battle of Shiloh , April 7th , 1862 , only two lost more killed , only eight lost more wounded , only seven lost more killed and wounded , and only six lost more killed , wounded and missing , than the 14th Wis. Vet. Vol. Inf. , as per subjoined tables compiled from War of the Rebellion Records, Series 1, Vol. 10, Part 1.
(Go to page 184 for this table of information)

...The two reports made by Colonel D. E. Wood to his superior officers, accepted and forwarded by them to higher authorities, without adverse comment of any kind whatsoever , must forever stand in the history of this country as the true version of the part taken on April 7th , 1862 , by the 14th Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the battle of Shiloh .

The official reports and figures of losses here given will, to any unprejudiced mind, clearly disprove all the brutal charges so wantonly made against the 14th Wis. Vet. Vol. Inf. by
General William Sooy Smith in his paper entitled , “The Unremembered Soldier.”

Source

War Papers Read Before the Commandery of the State of Wisconsin,
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Pub. under Direction of the Commandery. Vol. III

The Fourteenth Wisconsin Infantry at the Battle of Shiloh
By F. H. Magdeburg, Captain 14th​ Wisconsin Infantry, U. S. V
Read March 3 , 1897 .
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044090105412&view=1up&seq=194&q1=175
Pages 176-187
 

ucvrelics

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The official records show that , of all regiments belonging to the Army of the Ohio , engaged in the battle of Shiloh , April 7th , 1862 , only two lost more killed , only eight lost more wounded , only seven lost more killed and wounded , and only six lost more killed , wounded and missing , than the 14th Wis. Vet. Vol. Inf
I can tell you from my US Army days that if you have untrained, undisciplined and inexperienced men you are going to loose more men. I still would like to find out how that gun got from Shiloh to Wisconsin.
 

ucvrelics

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From the diary of Pvt. James K. Newton Co. F 14th Wisconsin.

The gun spiked by Lieutenant Staley was afterwards sent to Wisconsin as a trophy. During the whole of the engagement, the Fourteenth displayed such conspicuous gallantry, that they received the commendation of those who witnessed their heroism. They fought like veterans, and received the sobriquet of "Wisconsin Regulars", for their soldierly conduct on the field. After remaining until the rebels were retreating on all sides, the regiment retired towards the Landing, when Colonel Wood again assumed command, having sufficiently recovered to do so. Arms were stacked, the roll was called, and every man was present, or was accounted for as killed or wounded except a few, who reported during the night.

In this battle, the Fourteenth established a character for bravery and endurance, which it sustained throughout the war. For over ten hours, they fought, without being relieved, until there was no more fighting to do. Captain Waldo, of Company E, was killed, while bravely leading his men to the charge. Lieutenant Post, of Company B, was mortally wounded. Lieutenant Smith, of Company C, was seriously wounded, but retained command till night. Captain McCall, of Company K, when the regiment left the field, was ordered to take a detachment of the left wing of the regiment, and examine the ground, and bring in the wounded, if to be found, rejoining the regiment at the Landing. Captains Ward and Polloys, and others, were mentioned for their conspicuous gallantry.
 

Ole Miss

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I wonder how good a view General Smith had looking out a couple of thousand men in various uniforms with smoke, gunsmoke and the dirt/dust swirling?
I gather the accolades go with who ever is choking the chicken at the time!
Regards
David
 

Ole Miss

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Richard I found a few photos of the various cannons on display at Camp Randall which includes the "Shiloh Cannon" but am unable to discover how it was transported North. I suspect it was sent by steamer to St. Louis then by rail to Wisconsin but no details as to who/what/how etc.
Regards
David


Camp Randall Memorial Park
https://d1t7dpw65z19lw.cloudfront.n...7/05/Camp-Randall-Memorial-Park-_rev-2011.pdfPage 55-60
 

ucvrelics

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Richard I found a few photos of the various cannons on display at Camp Randall which includes the "Shiloh Cannon" but am unable to discover how it was transported North. I suspect it was sent by steamer to St. Louis then by rail to Wisconsin but no details as to who/what/how etc.
Regards
David


Camp Randall Memorial Park
https://d1t7dpw65z19lw.cloudfront.n...7/05/Camp-Randall-Memorial-Park-_rev-2011.pdfPage 55-60
I would still love to find out how they pulled that off as it wasn't like shipping a trunk on a steamboat and shipping it north.
 
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