The 44th Indiana Infantry at the Battle of Shiloh

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

AUG

Major
Retired Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
6,998
Location
Texas
44th Indiana, Shiloh.jpg

Period sketch of the 44th Indiana Infantry in action at Shiloh by artist Henry Lovie, who was working for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and was present at the battle. (Source)

Description: "The woods on fire. The 44th Regt. Ind. Voltr. Col. H.B. Reed commdg. Left Wing near the Peach Orchard."


I have posted this before, within my thread on the 44th Indiana, but thought it would also be a good addition to the Shiloh forum. I've always liked this sketch, partly because it matches up so well with this account by Col. Hugh B. Reed:

Early on Sunday morning, April 6th, the "long roll" called us to arms. We were soon in rank, ready for "forward to meet the enemy." General Hurlbut sent part of our 4th division to General Sherman's aid. With the 1st and 3d brigades we moved forward at about 7:30 A. M., and had gone but a little distance before meeting General Prentiss's regiments rushing back from the front pell-mell, holding up their gory hands, shouting: "You'll catch it!--we are all cut to pieces--the rebels are coming." Passing by these panic-stricken wretches without a reply or with muttered curses at their cowardice, we marched on, the men setting their teeth hard and grasping their guns more firmly, feeling for their cartridge-boxes, to be sure they were prepared to meet this victorious enemy and welcome him "with bloody hands to hospitable graves." . . . .
We went forward about a mile, and formed our line of battle a short distance in rear of General Prentiss's camp, the left wing of the 44th reaching to "Peach Orchard." Our line was formed along a country road. In our front were bushes and saplings, with a few trees of large size scattered here and there. We were soon fiercely attacked with musketry. The enemy charged up to within a few rods of our line, and were repulsed with heavy loss. After some delay they again renewed the attack, and charged up to within a few yards, and were again driven off. The musketry firing here was as fierce and continuous as any during the battle; the brush and small saplings were cut off by bullets, giving it somewhat the appearance of a Southern corn-field that had been topped, as is the custom there. Our men fought as coolly and effectively as if it had always been their occupation. They required no urging. I found it irksome sitting on my horse with nothing to do but be shot at.
It was a curious study to note the manners of the different officers. Lieutenant-Colonel Stoughton sat his horse like a statue, neither swerving right nor left, keeping his face to the front, as if his only thought was to be shot with his face to the enemy. Captain Heath (acting Major) was all movement. He could not be still. He rode up and down the line, at times, as fast as his horse would carry him. If an order was to be repeated, it did him much good to cry it along the line. Captain Williams kept up his martial bearing, moving with a more stately step than was his wont, trim and erect, grasping his sword with a firm hand. If he was to be killed, he wanted it done "with his martial cloak around him." This was his first battle-field, and he displayed great gallantry. . . .
All of these, as well as other commissioned officers, were too proud to follow the example of their men, who had been ordered to "fall and fire," but stood erect, facing the enemy. The men being fully occupied with their fighting, had no time for other thoughts. When one was hit he would quietly crawl back, or be helped to the rear by a comrade, into the hands of our Surgeons, who were at hand, exposed to the same bullets and as much interested as any in the fight. . . .

- The Forty-Fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, History of Its Services in the War of the Rebellion by John H. Rerick (Lagrange, Indiana: 1880), pp. 230-34


This was only one place the 44th fought at during the battle. After being recalled from this position they were engaged several other times throughout the day, going through several cartridge boxes worth of ammunition. They also saw action on the second day. According to Col. Reed's official report, the regiment's losses were 34 killed, 177 wounded, and only one taken prisoner out of 478 men engaged.


In the above-mentioned regimental history, Rerick tells how the regiment earned its nickname at Shiloh:

Once when it made one of the brilliant stands against overwhelming odds, on Sunday, while companions fell back on either hand, a captain of one of the retiring companies of Wisconsin soldiers, said the Forty-fourth "fought like iron men--they wouldn't run." Perhaps that was the origin of the phrase, or it may have been a general thought--but however it came, it stuck, and for a long time the Regiment was known as the "Iron Forty-fourth."

CDV of Col. Hugh B. Reed (Source):
reed2-mark-at-acpl-jpg.jpg


Here is the later woodcut engraving of the sketch:
shilohbattle_11035_lg.gif
 

Rogue

Corporal
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
253
Location
Indiana
Thanks for sharing this story. I am interested in the history of the 44th Indiana. Have not done it yet though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AUG

Ole Miss

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
2,900
Location
North Mississippi
@AUG I thought I might add the Regimental History of the 44th Indiana at Shiloh from
Indiana at Shiloh Monument Committee of 1904.
Regards
David

THE Forty-fourth Regiment was raised in the old Tenth Congressional District and rendezvoused at Fort Wayne, where the organization of the regiment was completed on the 24th of October, 1861, with Hugh B. Eeed as Colonel. On the 22nd of November the regiment was mustered into the United States service by Lieutenant H. E. Stansbury, U. S. A. On November 23rd it was ordered to Indianapolis, where it went into camp, and on the 26th left for Evansville, from thence to Henderson, Kentucky. Reporting to General Thomas L. Crittenden, it was assigned to Colonel Charles Cruft's Brigade and went into camp at Calhoun, on Green River, and made numerous marches on scouting expeditions in search of marauders. It broke camp February 9, 1862, and was transported by steamer to Paducah, Kentucky, and from there to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River.



February 11th it was assigned to General Lew Wallace's Division, which, with Commodore Foote's fleet of gunboats, was sent to Fort Donelson by way of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and landed five miles below Fort Donelson, where it disembarked on the 14th and moved to the right of the Union lines in a fierce and raging snowstorm. It formed at once into line of battle and participated in the siege in all its fury. On the following day it was in the hottest of the battle, losing many men in killed and wounded. The regiment was the first to march into the town of Dover, and had the honor of receiving and stacking the guns of a number of Confederate regiments. From Fort Donelson it marched in advance across the country to Fort Henry, and on March 10th embarked on board the steamer Memphis, forming a part of General Grant's army, which embraced a fleet of eighty steamers and gunboats, arriving at Pittsburg Landing on the 15th, and was assigned to the Third Brigade of General S. A. Hurlbut's Division, Army of the Tennessee. Its camp was established one,mile from the river landing, at a point where the Hamburg and Savannah road crosses the road from Pittsburg Landing to Corinth, Mississippi. A picket line was established and the Forty-fourth was one of the first regiments on the picket line on the great Battlefield of Shiloh, which was three weeks before the battle took place. It became thus familiar and conversant with the locations and surroundings of the country in front of the Union forces prior to the battle. On the 5th of April, 1862, General Lauman Avas assigned and took command of the brigade
(the Third).

At 6.30 o'clock, Sunday morning, April 6, 1862, the booming of cannon and roar of musketry began without any warning whatever in front and on the extreme left, near the river, and spent cannon balls came rolling through the regimental camp grounds. The regiment was then hurriedly formed into line of battle, numbering four hundred seventy-eight men. In the midst of excitement and the beating of the long roll it was moved forward to the attack, and on its advance was met by a large body of fleeing and panic stricken men. Guns, knapsacks and blankets were strewn everywhere. An entire division was seen scattered and retreating, which looked as though the whole Union army had been surprised. The enemy at this time was already a mile within the Federal Army camps. The regiment and brigade formed into line of battle again at 8.30 o'clock a.m., west of a peach orchard, in an old sunken road in a dense woods (where its monument is now erected), facing west. In its front through the woods in an open field the Third Brigade was formed in the following order: The Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky Regiments on the left, the Forty-fourth Indiana on the right center, with the Thirty-first Indiana on the right, joining the left of General Prentiss' Division, which had been driven back. The First Brigade of General Hurlbut's Division took position on the left of General Lauman's Brigade, facing south, supported by Mann's and Ross's Batteries, and became known as the "Hornets' Nest" (now a matter of history). This location was occupied by General Prentiss, General W. H. L. Wallace and the right of General A. S. Hurlbut's Divisions. The position occupied by the Forty-fourth Regiment was the geographical left center of the Union Army, called the key position.

Here the enemy advanced in force and commenced the attack in front, right and left. Generals Gladden and Stephens, Confederate Brigades, made two desperate charges, and both were repulsed and the enemy was driven back with heavy loss. The fighting, however, continued with desperation and without cessation. At this point the Confederate General Bragg became determined to force the Federal troops back, it being considered the key position, and rode with his staff to the front for the purpose of investigating the situation, and ordered Gibson's Brigade to the front with orders to charge the Federal lines and if possible drive them back.

Four desperate charges were now made in succession across an open field, exposed to a heavy fire, clear into the woods, with its right in front of the Forty-fourth, where each charge was repulsed and driven back with great loss. The regiment held its position during all the desperate charges and continuous fighting, without cessation, for six hours. The firing w^as so fierce and the bullets so thick that the brush and saplings were cut off as though it had been done with a sickle, while the larger trees were torn by cannon shot and shell. From the excessive heat caused by constant infantry and cannon firing during the six hours of continuous firing the dry leaves in the woods caught fire and were consumed in flames among the Confederate dead and wounded. On account of the excessive heat and smoke, and the danger of the left of the division being flanked, the regiment and brigade were ordered to fall back, which it did, and then formed its second line in a peach orchard in conjunction with the First Brigade, which was held for thirty minutes by fierce charges made upon it, in consequence of which it fell back to the rear of the historic Bloody Pond, where it formed its third line. Here the regiment was ordered to charge the advancing enemy, but, being overpowered, fell back to its third line, losing many men, among them seven flag-bearers. In front of this charge General Albert Sidney Johnston, Commander of the Confederate Army, lost his life, having being struck by a minie ball About 3 o'clock p.m., General Ruggles, in command of the Confederate Artillery, massed on a commanding position ten batteries of artillery and a section of two small siege guns, in all sixty-two cannons, in front of the "Hornets' Nest," and in front of the Forty-fourth's third position. This vast and deadly array of artillery opened fire on the "Hornets' Nest" and on the Union lines in its front with shot, grape and canister, compelling them, with its artillery, to recede. The rebels here tried to cause a stampede by flank movements.

At 4.30 o'clock P.M., the regiment fell slowly back toward the landing, where it formed its last line behind the Federal siege guns supporting them, where one hour of heavy cannonading, the gunboats in the river, Tyler and Lexington, assisting, was continued until darkness shaded the bloody field, which stopped the further advance of the enemy and the battle of the day closed. The Forty-fourth was then, without any rations in their haversacks, ordered on the picket line, where it performed its duty during the night in a drenching rain.

On Monday morning, April 7th, the regiment was ordered to the front, and at 8 o'clock a.m. was in the "Perry Field" and reported to General Sherman. It fought in the right center of the army in the fiercest part of the battle until the engagement was at an end — 3 o'clock p.m. Its loss during the two days' engagement was appalling, being over forty-four per cent., as is shown by the historical inscription on its monument. During the two days' battle one hundred sixty rounds of cartridges to a man were fired. The regiment was highly praised in the official reports of its brigade and division commanders for its bravery and patriotic valor displayed during the two days' battle.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Ole Miss

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
2,900
Location
North Mississippi
The 44th Indiana Monument at Shiloh
Regards
David
1554949811946.png

(front of monument)
44th
REGIMENT
INFANTRY,
Commanded by
Col. HUGH B. REED,
3d BRIGADE--Gen. LAUMAN--
4th DIVISION--Gen. HURLBUT--
ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE.
INDIANA.
(back of monument)
44th INFANTRY, [cont'd]
Commanded by Col. HUGH B. REED. This regiment formed in this line Sunday, April 6, 1862, at 8.30 a.m. It repulsed several charges made by the enemy, which, under orders of Gen. Bragg, was attempting to force this part of the line back. During these engagements the woods caught fire. At 2.30 p.m. regiment fell back to a line with 1st Brigade, then to rear and left of Bloody Pond, where it charged on enemy's infantry and artillery. Here seven flag- bearers were shot down. At 4.30 p.m. slowly fell back and supported siege guns. Monday, April 7th, regiment fought the enemy till 3 p.m. Number of men in action, 478. Casualties-- killed, 1 officers and 33 men; wounded, 6 officers and 171 men; missing, 1 man; total, 212.
 

Pima

Private
Joined
Dec 3, 2018
Messages
78
Location
Italy, Piedmont
This is amazing !

The images really rappresent how the battle was by being on the battlefield: no recostruction there !

You know, paintings require lots of time to be done so I imagine a reconstruction of what you see by a recollection of thoughs. A sketch is created on the moment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AUG
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top