Vignettes of Shiloh

farrargirl

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The 8th Independent Battery, Ohio Light Artillery though little used during the Battle of Shiloh, yet it was still valuable asset for the Union Army. The unit was unassigned but was placed at the extreme left flank of Grant's forces along the bluff of the Tennessee River where it assisted in repulsing the last Confederate effort on Sunday evening.

Listed below are 2 letters he wrote to his mother while stationed at Shiloh shortly after the bloody fight.
Regards
David


a)

...”As soon as it was known they were retreating I got ready three of the teams and started out upon the battle field to bring in the wounded. Such a sight I never want to witness again. Hundreds of the dead and wounded were lying around—some with arms, others with legs, and some their heads shot off. One poor fellow had the whole of his face, excepting his eyes, shot away. A great many died of their wounds before they could be conveyed to the Hospital, and others upon the way. The number is immense, and can only be counted by the thousands.”

b)

...Some of the dead still lay about unburied—they are nearly all rebels. It is a pitiful sight. Some are so advanced in decay that the sight is loathsome in the extreme. The wounded are still being conveyed to the boats and sent down the river. So great was the number of wounded, and so little preparation made for the wounded previous to the battle, that a great many died before they could be cared for. On yesterday I was down at the landing for forage, and in passing by one of the hospitals, I counted ten or twelve dead rebels in one pile who had died of their wounds and were not yet buried. The way they bury is to dig a long ditch about three feet deep and then throw in as many as will cover the bottom, turning their faces downward, and put the dirt in again and turn away as if they had been paying the last offices of respect to a dog, instead of a human being.

Source
Faces of War
https://facesofthecivilwar.blogspot.com/2012/06/private-putnam-eyewitness-to-shiloh.html?m=1
a) April 11, 1862
b) April 14, 1862
“dead still lay about unburied—they are nearly all rebels. It is a pitiful sight. Some are so advanced in decay that the sight is loathsome in the extreme. The wounded are still being conveyed to the boats and sent down the river. So great was the number of wounded, and so little preparation made for the wounded previous to the battle, that a great many died before they could be cared for. On yesterday I was down at the landing for forage, and in passing by one of the hospitals, I counted ten or twelve dead rebels in one pile who had died of their wounds and were not yet buried. The way they bury is to dig a long ditch about three feet deep and then throw in as many as will cover the bottom, turning their faces downward, and put the dirt in again and turn away as if they had been paying the last offices of respect to a dog, instead of a human being.”......
..............................................................
I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying your series on Shiloh. My son and I were there last Saturday. What well-laid out grounds and well-described markers the NPS has done on this unique battle.
I was not well versed in this battle, as it had few Alabama units that I was familiar with. In fact, I was SO not versed in this battle, that after having seen the magnificent National Cemetery there on the bluff, I then started looking for the Confederate one!!
I later figured that with what with 11,000 or so Confederate casualties, they surely must have re-interred some of them. But then, I saw “ The Trenches”..... 4 or 5 of them,right?
Here’s a few:

8D16AA0F-3BE9-4ECC-9DB3-3475729ADEA8.jpeg

This one was quite a hike down in the woods but....worth it.



1EEF9D30-72D5-4941-AB7C-AB3A4503B1B5.jpeg
and behind the UDC stone was this.....
54A2AD55-03A8-40D3-A7A6-9EE0869560F0.jpeg


later, I saw another “burial ground”. I believe it was almost the entirely of the 6th Mississippi:
95636F34-6BC8-40B1-8F47-9763F992183B.jpeg


I began to come to my senses and understand the impossibility of creating a little cemetery for these dead Rebels. But then, back in my motel room, I was reading an old copy of the Savannah ( Tennessee ) newspaper,
and just wish someone could help me understand this correspondence:
56B6AE93-6293-44B6-AF1D-B6190A63667D.jpeg

What a commander! He has accomplished the burials of both armies together in one day!

I love the beauty and horror of that Shiloh battlefield. Will post my photos ( without a snarky commentary )
of all the beautiful scenes I saw there last week....
 

Ole Miss

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@farrargirl I am so glad you had a great visit to Shiloh! Maybe we can meet there next time you are up this way and we can see all the hidden gems you missed. @16thAL and his wife @MS2623 live in Corinth and really know the park very well.

As to your question regarding the correspondence between Beauregard and Grant it is emblematic of the passing of the days of chivalry and the concept of modern war. Beauregard expected Grant would allow the removal of selected dead confederates (officers and gentlemen) but Grant had no desire to let the Rebels see the condition of his army so denied the request politely. Yet he did not tell the truth as there are accounts of bodies being buried as late as Tuesday and this was just on the battlefield. Countless Rebels were buried all along the 22 miles back to Corinth.

I have cited 2 threads below that might be of interest to you. If you have other questions I might assist you with just ask. I know of others who are far more knowledgeable than me so fire away!
Regards
David

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/th...urial-trenches-at-shiloh.170670/#post-2218096
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/confederate-burial-trenches-at-shiloh-nmp.147350/#post-1841713
 

farrargirl

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@farrargirl I am so glad you had a great visit to Shiloh! Maybe we can meet there next time you are up this way and we can see all the hidden gems you missed. @16thAL and his wife @MS2623 live in Corinth and really know the park very well.

As to your question regarding the correspondence between Beauregard and Grant it is emblematic of the passing of the days of chivalry and the concept of modern war. Beauregard expected Grant would allow the removal of selected dead confederates (officers and gentlemen) but Grant had no desire to let the Rebels see the condition of his army so denied the request politely. Yet he did not tell the truth as there are accounts of bodies being buried as late as Tuesday and this was just on the battlefield. Countless Rebels were buried all along the 22 miles back to Corinth.

I have cited 2 threads below that might be of interest to you. If you have other questions I might assist you with just ask. I know of others who are far more knowledgeable than me so fire away!
Regards
David

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/th...urial-trenches-at-shiloh.170670/#post-2218096
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/confederate-burial-trenches-at-shiloh-nmp.147350/#post-1841713
David,
As to being “not well versed” with regard to this battle, you have absolutely versed me up!! Thank you so much for directing me to your, and several other forum leaders’ postings and threads on the Confederate burial situation there at Shiloh.
I will take to heart you and @16thAL for your willingness to help. I look forward to seeing @16thAL ’s markers off the beaten path...and again, appreciate your response so much :+))
Marty

Somehow, I went down the rabbit hole of the Tennessee Virtual Archives. Wow....here is an 1870 Shiloh Confederate Reunion photo.These soldiers look a good bit older than I would have guessed, just 5 years after the surrender. But...these dear men, no doubt, had a lotta miles on them!

D53FB866-4B29-411B-B005-4513451638F6.jpeg

https://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15138coll6/id/4237/rec/6
 

Ole Miss

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"double-charge cannister"

Ross’ Battery “B” 1st​ Michigan Light Artillery was captured late in the afternoon of Sunday, April 6 just after the collapse of General Prentiss' line along the Sunken Road. The 1st Mississippi Cavalry was the unit that surrounded the Wolverines. The battey was armed with two 6-pounders and four 10-pounder Parrott Rifles.

As is evidenced by the quote above these men from Michigan had put up quite a fight.
Regards
David

"The first engagement in which our battery participated was Shiloh. April
6th, 1862, where I was duly initiated into the realities of warfare. I was
ordered with my section to the open field near the Shiloh church. Hardly
had we come into action when the rebels advanced in line of battle, determined to capture our battery. I gave the command "Cannister — Double Charge." When they came within about 200 yards I gave the order "Low Range— Ready — Fire." This command was immediately repeated. By this time the advancing column discovered that "double-charge cannister" at close range was altogether too unhealthy, and made a precipitate retreat. Had my guns been Roddman or Parrot, the rebels would have, in all probability, succeeded in persuading me to move my battery over to theirmforces.

Each cannister holds 75 balls, double charge 150, two guns 3OO balls; this scattered in the ranks of advancing troops is apt to hurt a few, and scare the rest. Besides a Howitzer or Napoleon gun is loaded more rapidly than a rifle gun."

Source
Reminiscences of an Artillery Officer
By A. F. R. Arndt, January 2, 1890
War Papers Read before the Michigan Commandery. Volume 1, 1893
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015008319587&view=1up&seq=315&q1=shilohPages 4-5
 

Ole Miss

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I can only imagine the surprise being notified that that my body had been recovered! That is what happened to Lieutenant Corneilus Cadle a day after the Battle of Shiloh. His unit the 11th Iowa fought on the Union right flank where 3 of the 5 known Confederate Burial Trenches are located.
Regards
David

"The report of my death was an exaggeration." Mark Twain

I had an experience at Shiloh, a minor one . Upon Tuesday, April 8, 1862, when the thirty - five hundred dead were being buried and the fifteen thousand wounded were being cared for, an officer of one of the burial squads came to the camp of the Eleventh Iowa and said : “I have found the body of Lieutenant Cadle , your Adjutant.” He was told that I was the Adjutant of the brigade , and was at the brigade headquarters . He came and showed me a memorandum book and a number of letters that he had found in the coat of a dead man in a First Lieutenant's uniform. The book and letters were mine . I rode with him to the spot , and there was a body with my best coat on , but with butternut trousers , and I knew at once that it was not Cadle . He had been in my tent on Sunday , and had “ captured " my best coat , and had a bullet through my coat and his heart .

It is perhaps well that I left my best coat in my tent that Sunday morning , April 6 , 1862 , on the theory “ that every bullet has its billet . "

Source

An Adjutant’s Recollections

Sketches of War History, 1861-1865;

Papers Read Before the Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1883

Volume V

By Cornelius Cadle , Late Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General 17th Army Corps
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000622227Pages 385-386
 

Ole Miss

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I wonder just how close Sherman came to being killed at Shiloh on the opening morning, when he approached the front line just as the Confederates emerged from the woods. The course of the ACW probably would not have been altered over all had Sherman been killed but surely would have been lengthened while Grant sought an aggressive man to replace him?
Regards
David


“Ball , Sherman will be shot."

General Sherman with his glass was looking along the prolongation of the line of the regiment at the troops march ing across the end of the Rea field , and did not notice the line on his right . Lieutenant Eustice H . Ball , of Company E of our regiment , had risen from a sick bed , when he heard Colonel Appler ' s command , and was walking along in front of the line of his company . I saw the Confederate skirmishers emerge from the brush which fringed the little stream in front of the regiment ' s camp , halt and raise their guns . I called to him , “Ball , Sherman will be shot." He ran toward the general , crying out , “ General , look to your right . ” General Sherman dropped his glass , and looking to the right saw the advancing line of Hardee ' s corps , threw up his hand , and exclaimed , “ My God , we are at tacked ! ” The skirmishers fired ; an orderly fell dead by the general ' s side . Wheeling his horse , he galloped back , calling to Colonel Appler , as he passed him,
“Appler, hold your position ; I will support you.”


“My First Day Under Fire at Shiloh”,
Sketches of War History, vol. IV, Ohio Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1903
By Ephraim C. Dawes
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000622227Pages 7-8
 

Andy Cardinal

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I wonder just how close Sherman came to being killed at Shiloh on the opening morning, when he approached the front line just as the Confederates emerged from the woods. The course of the ACW probably would not have been altered over all had Sherman been killed but surely would have been lengthened while Grant sought an aggressive man to replace him?
Regards
David


“Ball , Sherman will be shot."

General Sherman with his glass was looking along the prolongation of the line of the regiment at the troops march ing across the end of the Rea field , and did not notice the line on his right . Lieutenant Eustice H . Ball , of Company E of our regiment , had risen from a sick bed , when he heard Colonel Appler ' s command , and was walking along in front of the line of his company . I saw the Confederate skirmishers emerge from the brush which fringed the little stream in front of the regiment ' s camp , halt and raise their guns . I called to him , “Ball , Sherman will be shot." He ran toward the general , crying out , “ General , look to your right . ” General Sherman dropped his glass , and looking to the right saw the advancing line of Hardee ' s corps , threw up his hand , and exclaimed , “ My God , we are at tacked ! ” The skirmishers fired ; an orderly fell dead by the general ' s side . Wheeling his horse , he galloped back , calling to Colonel Appler , as he passed him,
“Appler, hold your position ; I will support you.”


“My First Day Under Fire at Shiloh”,
Sketches of War History, vol. IV, Ohio Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1903
By Ephraim C. Dawes
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000622227Pages 7-8
I really enjoyed reading Dawes's full account.
 

Ole Miss

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Dawes was a brave and valiant man who fought to protect the reputation of his regiemnt and the men who served at Shiloh. Unfortunately Appler's behavior was clouded the fight the 53rd Ohio put up against the Rebels.
Regards
David
 

Ole Miss

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farrargirl

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I would suggest going to the thread cited below for some good advice for Shiloh books. Personnaly my favotie is Wiley Sword's Bloody April. I also recommend getting a Trailhead map of Shiloh to help better see the flow of the battle and where the units were located.
Regards
David

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/shiloh-book-question.158006/#post-2053936
Thanks, David. Will do...the bookshop there at Shiloh was nice. I bought a book I had been wanting..”A Soldier to the Last”, Edward G. Longacre. Haven’t read it yet, but was glad to find it, being a Joe Wheeler fan :+)
 

Ole Miss

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The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War till Stone's River. April 6 and 7, 1862 over 24,000 young men from both South and North lost their lives, were maimed or captured stunning both countries with the ferocity of this raging conflict. The author of this quote reached the battlefield on the second day and his unit was one of many tasked with the dreadful duty to bury the dead men and burn the many dead horses. His comments are very striking!
Regards
David


“On Tuesday I was detailed with others two hundred yards in advance. I had charge of- digging the grave, if a trench over sixty feet long and four feet deep, can be called a grave. The weather was hot, and most of the dead had been killed early Sunday morning, and dissolution had already commenced. The soldiers gathered up the bodies and placed them in wagons, hauling them near to the trench, and piling them up like cord wood. We were furnished with plenty of whiskey, and the boys believed it would have been impossible to have performed the job without it. When the grave was ready, we placed the bodies therein, two- deep; the father, brother, husband and lover, all to lie till Gabriel’s trumpet shall sound. All the monument reared to those brave men was a board, nailed to a tree at the head of the trench, upon which I cut with my pocket knife, the words: ‘125 rebels.’ We buried our Union boys in a separate trench, and on another board were these words: ’35 Union.’ ” Wilbur F. Crummer 45th​ Illinois

Eyewitnesses at the Battle of Shiloh by David Logsdon

Page 101
 

Ole Miss

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Letter to Mother from Pittsburg Landing

This post is a little longer than the normal vignettes but I found this letter to be fascinating and an excellent first hand account about the Battle of Shiloh. The author, M. Ebenezer Westcott, was a member of Company E, 16th​ Wisconsin in Colonel Everett Peabody’s 1st​ Brigade of General Benjamin Prentiss’ 6th​ Division. The 16th​ was in the fight from early morning till late Sunday afternoon. Please note that he mentions that John and Henry Thomas from his company E were killed. Henry Thomas is one of the fallen Color Guards of the 16th​ Wisconsin cenotaphs in the National Cemetery.
Regards
David

“Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 13, 1862. Dear Mother: — SINCE I last wrote you we have been in a tight place, but got out of it all right. I cannot tell you a great deal about the battle except what happened near us. The sun never rose brighter than it did that Sunday morning, April 6th. We had got up an'd had roll call and some of the companies had had breakfast when we heard heavy firing on our left. Our brigade fell into line and had loaded their guns when the pickets were driven in, but they did not attack our part of the line for perhaps twoi hours, when they came on in a rush, but we were partly prepared for them and we held them off for a short time when the troops on our left fell back and we did the same. We fell back probably one half mile and formed another line and held them until about 10:00 o'clock when we fell back again a short distance and that is the way it went all day until about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when we had been driven to within one half mile of the river. That was a bad position for the army. .Just think of a deep river behind us and a victorious army in front of us. There were three things to do, surrender, swim the river or fight to the death. However, at that time, there was for some unknown cause, a lull in the fighting for the first time, since early morning and the time was put to good use on our side. All the artillery that could be got in position was placed on the high ground around the Landing, probably 50 or 60 pieces, with all the army that could be got in shape for support and then waited for the enemy. It was 6 o'clock or maybe a little after when they were seen advancing and coming from their right and left and firing as they advanced. They were about as far from us as our place is from the Colonel's. Then it was that our artillery thundered out its welcome and the infantry poured in its fire and at the same time they came so near to the river that two gun boats that were there opened their broadsides and for about half an hour that awful fire was kept up, then the Rebs fell back and the battle was over for that day at least and we had checked them. We had not swam the river, nor surrendered and were not all dead. We got reinforcements from Buell's army that night and the next morning Buell's fresh troops took the advance and we were in reserve. We did not have as much hard fighting as the first day but drove them steadily until about 2 o'clock, when they began to retreat and we had gained all the ground we had lost the day before, but oh! mother, the less. We lost about 25. Our captain is gone somewhere, but I guess in some field hospital. He was not seen after we formed our first line of battle, but our other company officers are the stuff. Our 1st Lieutenant is a brick and as brave as a lion. John and Henry Thomas were both killed and Jack Case wounded. These are all that you know. Sam and I are both all right and well. Sam is on the skirmish line today and my turn comes tomorrow. Guess I have written enough this time and if I should happen to get a Rebel bullet some time I will bid you all farewell.

Your affectionate son.
Direct your letter to Pittsburg Landing. Tenn. Vol. Inft.“

Source
https://ia800906.us.archive.org/5/items/civilwarletters100wesc/civilwarletters100wesc.pdf
 
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Cycom

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I’m amazed at the numbers. My town is 25K and the city near me is 125K. I’m trying to imagine the city population basically all gathered and in a huge fight. It just seems inconceivable now to picture that.

I’m sure the little drummer boys had some PTSD for the rest of their life. I posted a story, long time ago, on one at Gettysburg who was put in the hospital corps and suddenly he was holding an amputated limb! Writing as an adult man, you could tell it still effected him greatly. He was certainly sickened by it and when asked to hold the limb by the surgeon, he didn’t know what was coming.
It’s incredible. And to think that this was peanuts compared to some military offensives of the 20th century involving hundreds of thousands/millions of men.

What I think makes battles like these stand out, though, are the masses of soldiers in relatively small areas bunched up and shooting at each other in neat rows. It must have been awful seeing the person next to you in line dropped, wondering if you are next.
 

Ole Miss

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Gladden’s left arm was taken off

The citation below from Sergeant Horatio Wiley's letter of April 11, 1862 provides a vivid picture of this horric slaughter along the Tenneessee River. Wiley's unit, the 22nd Alabama was in Gladdens brigade on the Confederate right flank. They came to a small open filed owned by the Spain family and encountered the fire of 3 Union regiments and 2 batteries of aritillery. This fight with approximately 5,000 participants lasted about an hour then the Federals withdrew North towards a small sunken road position also known as "The Hornet's Nest"
Regards
David

“The 21st Ala. & the 1st La. suffered more than any other Reg’t engaged. Gen. Gladden’s left arm was taken off about the first fire & Col. Adams of the 1st La. took com’d. Soon afterwards Maj. Armstead fell by a grape shot thro’ his bowell [sic]. In a few minutes more Col. Deas rec’d a slight wound in his left hand. Then Col. Adams had his horse shot from under him while leading a charge. He soon rec’d a severe wound in the head & Col. Deas took command of the brigade & not long afterwards had his horse killed & rec’d a wound in his—arm & one, I beleive [sic], in his hip, tho’ neither of them at all serious. On both sides the slaughter was heavy until the Com’d to charge was given & as soon as our columns began to move the enemy fled & our forces took possession of their camp. Here was a perfect curiosity shop. Every thing in the eating & wearing line, in fact every tent told of high & extravagant living.”

Source
Shiloh Staff Ride
https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/educational-services/staff-rides/StaffRideHB_Shiloh.pdf
Page 88
 

Ole Miss

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The “Bloody 6th“ Mississippi

On Sunday April 6, early in the morning the 6th​ Mississippi moved forward against the Union position along Rhea Field just across from from Rhea Creek to the North. This unit of 425 men attacked the camp of the 53rd​ Ohio Volunteers, 635 muskets strong, who had formed their line of defense in front of their camp. From atop the Shiloh Plateau, Waterhouse’s Battery Battery E, 1st​ Illinois Light Artillery, fired into the left flank of the 6th​ from just a few hundred yards away. The battery was armed with four 3 1/2-inch and two 4 1/2-inch James rifled cannon which were unleashed on the Mississippians. During the 3 charges the gallant 6th​ made across Rhea Filed, artillery and musket fire made a deadly crossfire.

The losses of the 6th​ were 61 KIA, 239 WIA Total 300 Percentage Loss 71. In Corinth after the retreat from Shiloh only 100 men were present for duty. A Confederate Burial Trench at the South edge of Rhea Filed is large enough to hold the remains of the dead Rebels of the 6th​ Mississippi.*

This description of the battle is by William Thompson, the Ensign from Company H:

Presently I began to see men on the ground and soon realized the were hurt. At first I couldn’t see their faces. Maybe I didn’t want to see them. The first wounded man I recognized was my Uncle Henry’s son, Cousin James Mangum, a private in my company. He had been shot in the face. I wanted to stop and help him, but everyone was moving forward – all seemed to be hollering at the top of their lungs. We just had to get at those Federals who were firing at us; there was no time to help the wounded. I did manage to tell James as I stopped briefly beside him, to take shelter behind a large oak.’

Most of these men on the ground were our friends, neighbors, kinfolk. I saw Stephen Gordon but knew I could not help him. His eyes were glazing over. He was dead. Next, I came to Elias McLendon. He was badly wounded. It was awful, but I had to keep on moving.”

I had not gone far when a sudden pain hit me. My legs folded and I was on the ground. I had been yelling, but the fall knocked the breath out of me and I was quiet... I must have fainted for the next thing I knew, someone had me by the shoulders and was dragging me out of the line of fire. He helped me get back to the hospital area.”^
Regards
David

Sources”
*The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged
by David Reed

https://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=utk_utpress

^https://www.facebook.com/ShilohNMP/...son-was-born-on-february-6-/3526831197406841/
 
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