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The American Civil War Timeline- 150th Anniversary

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Artillery continued

Another good link, including descriptions of what a typical battery consisted of and other interesting tidbits.

http://ehistory.osu.edu/uscw/features/regi...l/artillery.cfm

Introduction To Civil War Artillery

At the onset of the Civil War, the Confederacy had to scramble to meet the demands of the need for artillery and ammunition in the field. The Union had on hand 4,167 pieces of artillery, of which 163 were field guns and howitzers. "When the Confederates took over Federal arsenals, they acquired a considerable amount of heavy guns, but only 35 field pieces." (Boatners -121) Most of the country's powder mills were located in the North, and little ammunition had been made in the South for some fifty years. Starting almost from scratch, the South built some remarkably efficient mills and arsenals in places such as Augusta, Georgia; Nashville and Manchester, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; Marshall, Texas; and Petersburg, Virginia. The mill in Augusta didn't go into production until September of 1862, but managed to produce a total of two and three-quarter million pounds of fine quality powder. (Coggins-65)

Artillery was generally classed by its weight and caliber. Also taken into consideration was its mobility and the form of its carriage or mounting. "Field" artillery was the class name for ordnance light and mobile enough to move with the army, and to be maneuvered during battle. "Mountain" artillery was included in this class, as these guns had to be exceptionally light to be manhandled or transported over steep and rough terrain. "Heavy" artillery included siege guns and mortars. Although these guns were considered mobile, they were slow and unwieldy. Weighing up to 117,000 pounds, the Rodmans were considered the largest of these guns, firing a 1080-pound projectile.

After being divided into classes, ordnance was again divided into types. Those types were "Guns," "Howitzers" and "Mortars." A rare exception to these types was the 12-pound Napoleon model of 1857, which was a gun-howitzer. Guns were fairly heavy, had a long range and flat trajectory, while Howitzers were lighter, shorter and fired a heavy shell. Mortars were the shortest of the three, heavy and fired large projectiles with high trajectory.

Guns were either smoothbore or rifled, firing solid shot, shell, spherical, grapeshot and canister (or "case" shot). The smoothbore Howitzers fired shell and case, while the smoothbore mortars fired only shell and spherical case. Few guns during the Civil War, were breechloaders, since they could be loaded "down the spout" just as fast as operating a breech mechanism.

In this period there were no recoil mechanisms, and when guns were fired they would leap back in recoil and have to be redirected for the next round. Gunners had to push their pieces back into position after each round, a tiring process. Aiming, rather than loading the gun, was the most time consuming of the process. Accuracy degenerated over time as cannoneers got tired and smoke blotted the battlefield.

The most lethal load of a field artilleryman was canister. Canister consisted of tin cylinders filled with iron shot, or musket balls, which would explode into a mass of troops, wreaking devastation.

To be effective on the battlefield, gunners had to get the piece within range of the enemy. Rarely though was an artillery battery ordered to gallop up at close range and unlimber their gun. Officers, knowing this was suicidal for the gun crews and their horses, did so only in moments of absolute necessity.

At the Bloody Angle, Spotsylvania, an artilleryman of Battery C, 5th U. S. Artillery, recounted an episode where just such an order was given. "...We were a considerable distance in front of our infantry, and of course artillery could not live long under such a fire as the enemy were putting through there. Our men went down in short order...Our men went into action with 23 men and one officer. The only ones who came out sound were the lieutenant and myself. Every horse was killed, 7 of the men were killed outright, 16 wounded; the gun carriages were so cut with bullets as to be of no further service... 27 balls passed through the lid of the limber chest..."

Many of the larger guns in both North and South were tied up in permanent fortifications. The Washington defense alone contained 807 guns and 98 mortars. (Coggins-63) A majority of these fortification guns never fired a shot at the enemy through the entire war

FIELD ARTILLERY

Field guns were grouped into batteries. Although six guns to a battery was considered ideal, it wasn't uncommon for a battery to have only four guns. The organization of field artillery often differed within the two armies. The battery was usually commanded by a captain, while two guns formed a section commanded by a lieutenant. When on the move, each gun or "piece" was hooked up behind a limber, which carried the ammunition chest, and was drawn by six horses. Each gun had its caisson, carrying three ammunition chests, and also drawn by six horses. These two units made up a platoon, which was commanded by a sergeant (Chief of Piece) and two corporals. A battery was also accompanied by a forge, a wagon carrying the tents and supplies, and generally six additional caissons with reserve ammunition.

There were three drivers for each six-horse team, who rode the horses on the left side. A typical gun crew was made up of nine men. Where the artillery was designated as light artillery, the cannoneers either rode on the ammunition chests or walked beside their piece. With horse artillery (sometimes called flying artillery), the cannoneers each rode a horse, with two additional men acting as horse-holders in action.

In addition to the lieutenants commanding each section, another lieutenant usually commanded the line of caissons. There was also an orderly and quartermaster sergeant, five artificers, two buglers, and a guidon-bearer.

Four batteries were usually assigned to a division. When several divisions were organized into a corps, half of the divisional artillery was generally grouped as corps reserve. There was an army reserve of some one-hundred guns. (Coggins-63) When the horse artillery wasn't attached to the cavalry corps it was held in the army reserve.

Up until 1863, the Confederate armies and the western army of the Union assigned a battery to each infantry brigade. This was found to be a bad system since it eliminated the concentration of fire that was needed to beat back an attack. A good example of the effectiveness of the Federal divisional and reserve system was Malvern Hill, where 60 pieces of Federal artillery were amassed to smash one Southern battery after another as it was thrown piecemeal into action.

Edited by Rovers

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Field Artillery continued

The composition of the individual batteries themselves varied in both armies and there was no set standard for either. Initially, a six-gun battery would have two howitzers; a 12-pounder battery thus had four 12-pound guns and two 24-pounder howitzers. A 6-pounder battery would have four 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers. The 6-pounder was used mainly by the South, and was later replaced by 3-inch rifles and 12-pounder smoothbores. There wasn’t much extra metal needed to make a 12-pounder, and over the winter of 1862-63 the Tredegar Works in Richmond (among others) was busy melting and re-casting guns.

Since Confederate batteries were often made up of captured pieces, and a mixture of types of weapons, the work of the ordnance department to supply ammunition became a complex one.

The Northern armies, more uniformly equipped, were usually armed with the 3-inch rifle, the 10-pounder parrot, the 20-pounder parrot, or the 12-pounder Napoleon. However, artillery batteries on both sides often had a few non-standard rifles, and all guns required several types of ammunition.

Among artillerists, there was a difference of opinion as to which weapon was more effective, rifled guns or smoothbores. While the rifled gun had longer range and far greater accuracy, the smoothbore was thought to be more effective in wooded and broken country, its larger bore inflicting more damage at close range. The large windage and loss of velocity of the smoothbore’s roundshot made long-range accuracy impossible. Some artillerists reported that a disadvantage with the rifled gun was the fact its projectile would burrow itself into the ground if it had the slightest angle on it, yet it had a slightly higher rate of fire than the smoothbore.

The ammunition used for a smoothbore varied from solid shot to cannister. Solid shot was used for battering and against massed troops, while shell was used against earthworks and troops under cover. Spherical case, or shrapnel, was used against bodies of troops at a distance, usually from 500 to 1500 yards, while canister was used at close range, usually 350 yards or less. In some instances, double-canister with a single charge was used.

The most commonly used ammunition for the rifled gun was the 3-inch Parrot Shell, 3-inch Reed Shell, 3-inch Confederate Shell, 3-inch Absterdam Shot, the 12-pounder Blakely, Whitworth 12-pounder shot (also referred to as "bolts"), 4-inch Hotchkiss Shell, the James Shell, the 2.4 inch Pattison Shot, 3-inch Schenkl Shell, 2.25-inch Confederate Shell, 3.75-inch Sawyer Shell, 24-pound Dyer Shell and the Confederate 3.5-inch Winged Shot. Also used was the Confederate 4.2-inch Flanged Percussion Shell.

Fuses were used to explode shell and spherical case shot. These fuses were either ignited by the flash of the discharge, timed to set off the bursting on or near the target, or fired by the impact of the projectile striking the target (percussion). The majority of the smoothbores used the first type of fuse, as the percussion fuse only worked if the projectile struck the target nose-first. The rifled guns used either the timed or percussion fuse, and sometimes both. Neither kind of fuse was very reliable since black powder doesn’t burn at an entirely reliable rate, but they improved during the war.

During the Civil War, few breechloaders were used, as their breech mechanisms were thought to be clumsy and complicated. However, two of the breechloaders that did see usage were the Armstrong and the Whitworth. Both of these guns proved to have a far better accuracy than any of the muzzle-loading smoothbores.

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SIEGE AND GARRISON ARTILLERY

Heavy artillery was divided into two classes -- siege and garrison, and seacoast. The siege and garrison pieces could be moved on carriages by road, while the seacoast artillery was much heavier and had to be moved on special carriages. There were times where siege guns were brought into action and used on the battlefield, such as Shiloh and Malvern Hill.

As a siege gun, the smoothbores were eventually replaced or rifled, due to the greater accuracy of the rifled gun. Their destructive firepower also made the old brick and stone forts of a thing of the past. Although attempts were made to convert some of these smoothbores to rifled guns by reinforcing them with wrought-iron rings, the cast iron of the gun was not strong enough to stand the increased pressures. Many of these converted guns burst, proving deadlier to the crew than their enemies.

As in heavy artillery, mortars were classed as "siege" or "seacoast" guns. The 8-inch and light model 10-inch mortar siege guns, while cumbersome, could be transported on mortar wagons. The longer and heavier models of the 10-inch and the giant 13-inch mortars were classified as "seacoast," as they could only be moved with great difficulty by rail or ship. Mortars typically used spherical shells, and both timed and percussion fuses. Although experiments were made using canister shot as shells, the gun crews were unable to remain at their guns under the shower of metal.

Although there was great technological advances made during the Civil War, such as the improved casting method by Major Rodman, real progress would come along later with the introduction of nitroglycerin-based propellants. Still, the artillery proved pivotal and deadly in almost every major engagement during the war. From the massed Union batteries at Stones River and Malvern Hill, to the work of a few guns during Hood's 1864 Campaign, the cannoneers bravely and laboriously performed their work.

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In case you didn't get it, and it took me a while, when someone would say UNLIMBER, they meant to detatch the artillery piece from it's 2 wheeled carriage, in so many words, meaning get it ready to fire. A "limber" was the two wheeld carriage with a storage box of ammunition which was attached to a Cannon. To unlimber meant detaching the cannon from the limber. Some limbers were attached to a caisson, instead of a cannon which was another two wheeled vehicle that carried more ammunition. This two wheel limber, attached to either cannon or caisson was easier to transport than a fixed 4 wheeled wagon, especially over rough terrain. These facts are covered in the previous posts, but are impotant enough to repeat here, particulasrly to understand what unlimbering meant. A limber and cannon or caison needed 6 horses or mules to transport it.

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Rovers - great stuff.

Limbers and Caissons

I'd have to look for it, but somewhere on the web there is a site with pencil drawings of how they unlimber and go into battery. There were 6 or 8 (its one or the other, think it was 6) stations, each man with a specific task and prescribed position (e.g., x feet to the left rear).

ETA: nevermind - you have it in the narrative

We did cover artillery (briefly) and and small arms early in the thread, but no harm whatsover having another presentation. You used different sources and a greater level of detail, so its very useful for both those that missed the earlier posts and folks who have read through the entire thread.

I sent timschochet a PM with links to topics through post #200. We will edit the first post to include an index to make it easier to find stuff.

Edited by BobbyLayne

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Rovers - great stuff.

Limbers and Caissons

I'd have to look for it, but somewhere on the web there is a site with pencil drawings of how they unlimber and go into battery. There were 6 or 8 (its one or the other, think it was 6) stations, each man with a specific task and prescribed position (e.g., x feet to the left rear).

We did cover artillery (briefly) and and small arms early in the thread, but no harm whatsover having another presentation. You used different sources and a greater level of detail, so its very useful for both those that missed the earlier posts and folks who have read through the entire thread.

I sent timschochet a PM with links to topics through post #200. We will edit the first post to include an index to make it easier to find stuff.

Although I have read the entire thread, I had forgotten that artillery was already touched upon. :blush: I must be getting old and forgetful... no, I'm definitely old... but these two links, especially the second one I found useful. Perhaps if I had been involved in the thread earlier, I would have remembered? :yawn:

I didn't know what the heck unlimbering was. Basically, I just wanted to keep things going with something I thought was useful, while not having to turn it into a term paper. Cut and paste is easy. Writing from several sources takes time. I did that for Shiloh, and it was a bear! BTW, I often refer back to your post about how big a brigade is, a company, a regiment. Terms often refered to, and a good understading of troop strength has to be possessed, or one can get lost in the narratives, even though so many units were often under-manned.

I love the idea of an index. Sometimes it takes me a half hour to find that post of yours that I like to refer back to. I suppose I could just note the post number.... but obviously, age brings ecentricity! And laziness! An index would be great.

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Will post Belmont and wrap up 1861 in the West tonight.I am in a bit of quandry here. I can't really post several lengthy writeups per day - between work, helping with the little, etc. I don't want to hold us up too much. On the other hand, I felt a bit rushed doing the second half of First Bull Run. So I kind of want to take it slow and steady, one or two posts per day. But that holds up everyone - just getting through the river fort campaigns (3 months in the west only) might take several days.Feedback/opinions/peanuts/rotten fruit?

A slow pace is good for me since the amount of material is mind numbing. Honestly if I come in here and there is a new post that is really long I'm more likely to not read it until later in the night. If the same story is posted in several smaller posts I find it easier to read throughout the day.

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Will post Belmont and wrap up 1861 in the West tonight.I am in a bit of quandry here. I can't really post several lengthy writeups per day - between work, helping with the little, etc. I don't want to hold us up too much. On the other hand, I felt a bit rushed doing the second half of First Bull Run. So I kind of want to take it slow and steady, one or two posts per day. But that holds up everyone - just getting through the river fort campaigns (3 months in the west only) might take several days.Feedback/opinions/peanuts/rotten fruit?

A slow pace is good for me since the amount of material is mind numbing. Honestly if I come in here and there is a new post that is really long I'm more likely to not read it until later in the night. If the same story is posted in several smaller posts I find it easier to read throughout the day.
Try posting it! LOL, J/K. I think shorter posts work better for most people, at least based on responses in the thread. It's a balance of keeping it moving vs. getting too wordy and overwhelming. I know the artillery posts were long, but they were hard to break up on the other hand. Battles are easier to break up because they have a time line. There are points were it makes sense to take a break in the story, like chapters in a book. Generic stuff like artillery is more difficult to sort of "spoon feed". Does that make sense?

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I love the idea of an index. Sometimes it takes me a half hour to find that post of yours that I like to refer back to. I suppose I could just note the post number.... but obviously, age brings ecentricity! And laziness! An index would be great.

Working on it...will send timschochet another list in a minute that will take us up through page 8/post #400.Just wanted to add that even though I'm a ACW nut, I'm the same as Mjolnirs; if its a long, long post, I skim or skip it. Just thought I would mention it so you can go through your Shiloh writeup and find some logical breaks. I wouldn't worry about the length at all; we're going to have a mere handful of multi-day engagements (Shiloh, Fredericksburg, Stones River, Chickamauga, etc), and each will take days/weeks just to breeze through.Can't even imagine how we are going to handle the six week Getttysburg campaign. Vicksburg was seven failed campaigns until Grant figured out a way to get below the fortress - and THEN a series of running battles, and THEN a six week seige!Bottom line - however long it takes, it is what it is. Even if the nor'easter knocked one of us offline, we could spend a couple weeks just going over the state of things as 1861 concluded, McClellan's buildup, et al...timschochet could post for a week just talking about random subjects. IOW, we'll keep the timeline moving along at a steady clip, but never any rush to get through anything.I generally (I think) have been keeping my battle summaries to 4-6-8 paragraphs, find a good place to pause, and throw a teaser line at the end to foreshadow where we are going next.Going through the indexing, I just realized that timshchochet posted the Dred Scott decision in something like 8 parts.So, however many parts Shiloh ends up being, no worries.

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Try posting it! LOL, J/K. I think shorter posts work better for most people, at least based on responses in the thread. It's a balance of keeping it moving vs. getting too wordy and overwhelming. I know the artillery posts were long, but they were hard to break up on the other hand. Battles are easier to break up because they have a time line. There are points were it makes sense to take a break in the story, like chapters in a book. Generic stuff like artillery is more difficult to sort of "spoon feed". Does that make sense?

Oh I completely understand. When I was doing the writeups for the Military Category in the Greatest American Draft I had to fight to not write pages of stuff on each entry.

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When I get to my next post (prolly tonight), I'll be going over the State of the Disunion 12-31-1861, and the status of all the armies, North and South.

timchochet has even more topics that he'll be throwing in from time to time, but here is the general outline for 1862:

(primarily order of discussion for the battles)

Jeff Thompson, John Morgan Hunt, and Nathan Bedford Forrest

Johnston's defensive arrangements

Tilghman's fortification of Fort Henry and Donelson

Battle of Mill Springs (aka Logan's Run or Fishing Creek)

Ironclads and timberclads

Commodore Foote

Western theatre: Grant takes Fort Henry

West: Donelson - the loss of of Kentucky

(not certain but that looks like 3-6 days worth, depending on how often I can post)

West: ASJ concentrates his forces

West: Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing)

Washington City: Buildup for McClellan's First Major Campaign

Virginia: Johnston evacuates Manassas

VA: McClellan lands on the Peninsula; siege of Yorktown

Trans-Mississippi theatre: Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) and Island No. 10

West: New Orleans

West: Corinth campaign

VA: drive up the Peninsula; Williamsburg

VA: the Valley Campaign

VA: Seven Pines/Fair Oaks

VA: Lee takes command; concentration on the Chickahominy

VA: The Seven Days; Richmond redeemed

VA: Lee v. Pope

VA: Second Manassas/2nd Bull Run

West Invasion: Munfordville

East Invasion: Maryland My Maryland

MD: Special Orders No. 191; Harpers Ferry

MD: South Mountain

MD: The bloodiest day in American History - Antietam (Sharpsburg)

Washington City: The Proclamation

KY: Perryville; Bragg retreats

Lincoln puts McClellan to the test

VA: Fredericksburg

T-M: Prairie Grove

West: Mufreesboro (Stones River)

Edited by BobbyLayne

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BL, That was my plan... posting Shiloh in short passages, but it will take a long time. So much happened before, during and after Shiloh, it would be wrong to skip over too many things. I think some other topics should be covered during the Shiloh narrative just to break things up a little. Artillery was another ballgame altogether, like I said, battles have a time line, and there are obvious places to break the story up. Small bites. What else to intersperse during Shiloh (and other lengthy battles) is the question, I think. Politics in Richmond and Washington works, but what else? Maybe start on the eastern battles at the same time? I dunno....

Mj, what is this Geatest American Draft you refer to?

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When I get to my next post (prolly tonight), I'll be going over the State of the Disunion 12-31-1861, and the status of all the armies, North and South.

timchochet has even more topics that he'll be throwing in from time to time, but here is the general outline for 1862:

(primarily order of discussion for the battles)

Jeff Thompson, John Morgan Hunt, and Nathan Bedford Forrest

Johnston's defensive arrangements

Tilghman's fortification of Fort Henry and Donelson

Battle of Mill Springs (aka Logan's Run or Fishing Creek)

Western theatre: Grant takes Fort Henry

West: Donelson - the loss of of Kentucky

(not certain but that looks like 3-6 days worth, depending on how often I can post)

West: ASJ concentrates his forces

West: Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing)

Washington City: Buildup for McClellan's First Major Campaign

Virginia: Johnston evacuates Manassas

VA: McClellan lands on the Peninsula; siege of Yorktown

Trans-Mississippi theatre: Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) and Island No. 10

West: New Orleans

West: Corinth campaign

VA: drive up the Peninsula; Williamsburg

VA: the Valley Campaign

VA: Seven Pines/Fair Oaks

VA: Lee takes command; concentration on the Chickahominy

VA: The Seven Days; Richmond redeemed

VA: Lee v. Pope

VA: Second Manassas/2nd Bull Run

West Invasion: Munfordville

East Invasion: Maryland My Maryland

MD: Special Orders No. 191; Harpers Ferry

MD: South Mountain

MD: The bloodiest day in American History - Antietam (Sharpsburg)

Washington City: The Proclamation

KY: Perryville; Bragg retreats

Lincoln puts McClellan to the test

VA: Fredericksburg

T-M: Prairie Grove

West: Mufreesboro (Stones River)

OK, I have the bolded stuff written and done. I think the next topic on the list should be done while I post about Shiloh, and maybe even the next topic after that as well. I have 102 kb on MS word on my two topics. that will take at least a week to post, probably 2 weeks. In the interim, I can do something else before I do Fredricksburg.

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I can do something else before I do Fredricksburg.

Call it out, you can take any battle you want. Ditto for anyone else who wants to participate.The default mode is timchochet does the naval engagements, politics and timeline - plus any subject he thinks are interesting. I do army battles unless someone else wants it.So, that's a lot of heavy lifting...I personally would be grateful for any other volunteers who might want to step forward.

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Civil War Snapshot- Andrew Hull Foote

"The Gunboat Commodore"

Here's the best bio I could find:

Young Andrew Foote was eager for the military life. After attending West Point for a short time, he joined the navy as a Midshipman in 1822 at the age of 16.

While in the navy, Foote traveled the world including China, Africa, and the South Pacific. He saw action in each location including an anti-slavery patrol that had trouble with restrictive laws (American slavers intercepted by foreign ships had to be released. This required the US Navy to work closely with the British Navy.) When the American Civil War began he was in New York, on more mundane duty in charge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

In August 1861, at the outset of the Civil War, Foote was put in charge of naval defense on the upper Mississippi River.

Quickly Foote was in action. In August 1861, he was stationed on the upper Mississippi River. Foote was charged with naval defense which include the building and manning of ships, and leading them into action. Even though the fleet was improvised from whatever ships could be converted or built in a hurry, Foote was brilliantly effective in command.

McPherson barely mentions him, beyond stating that Foote "worked well with Grant". Shelby Foote pays a bit more attention in his description of Forts Henry and Donelson, and I'm hoping BobbyLayne will as well. Apparently this Admiral, who died in 1863, revolutionized the way gunboats were used, and may be even more responsible than Grant for the military victories in the West. Yet he is not remembered today.

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Oh, sorry, my outline was a cut and paste of previous posts...I forgot that later I found a bunch of resources to do the river squadrons.

Ironclads and timberclads will be a separate post, and I'll add one more on Commodore Foote.

Foote was quite a character. Very righteous man, held services on board his flagship every Sunday. In between Henry and Donelson he steamed back to Cairo for repairs, and upon being told the parson was indisposed, mounted the pulpit and preached the sermon himself.

Grant worked well with any willing naval commander. He truly revolutionized joint and amphibious operations.

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BL, That was my plan... posting Shiloh in short passages, but it will take a long time. So much happened before, during and after Shiloh, it would be wrong to skip over too many things. I think some other topics should be covered during the Shiloh narrative just to break things up a little. Artillery was another ballgame altogether, like I said, battles have a time line, and there are obvious places to break the story up. Small bites. What else to intersperse during Shiloh (and other lengthy battles) is the question, I think. Politics in Richmond and Washington works, but what else? Maybe start on the eastern battles at the same time? I dunno....

Mj, what is this Geatest American Draft you refer to?

Greatest American Draft

Another great thread started by Tim last year. I linked to post 3 because 1 and 2 have the results of the draft and if you decide to read it, (all 152 pages) you might not want to see the results of the draft, but rather see as they unfold.

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BL, That was my plan... posting Shiloh in short passages, but it will take a long time. So much happened before, during and after Shiloh, it would be wrong to skip over too many things. I think some other topics should be covered during the Shiloh narrative just to break things up a little. Artillery was another ballgame altogether, like I said, battles have a time line, and there are obvious places to break the story up. Small bites. What else to intersperse during Shiloh (and other lengthy battles) is the question, I think. Politics in Richmond and Washington works, but what else? Maybe start on the eastern battles at the same time? I dunno....

Mj, what is this Geatest American Draft you refer to?

Greatest American Draft

Another great thread started by Tim last year. I linked to post 3 because 1 and 2 have the results of the draft and if you decide to read it, (all 152 pages) you might not want to see the results of the draft, but rather see as they unfold.

Mjolnirs excellent writeup of Greatest American general/military figure starts on page 142; great drama leading up to the showdown of Grant v. Lee for the top spot.

Just realized timschochet started a Civil War thread two years ago (before my FFA time). Haven't read through it, but petered out after about 6 weeks, and died after 7 pages.

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Mjolnirs excellent writeup of Greatest American general/military figure starts on page 142; great drama leading up to the showdown of Grant v. Lee for the top spot.

Thank you kind sir.

Just realized timschochet started a Civil War thread two years ago (before my FFA time). Haven't read through it, but petered out after about 6 weeks, and died after 7 pages.

Good times.

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1861 State of the Disunion

As custom had dictated since George Washington, President Lincoln sent congress a year end written report on December 3 detailing the State of the Union. He began almost as if there were no war at all, pointing out that the land had been blessed with good health and abundant harvests; he discussed certain vacancies on the Supreme Court, suggested changes in the Federal judicial system, proposed that the nation's industrial interests be represented at an exhibition which was to be held in London, and told how territorial organization was progressing in Colorado, Dakota and Nevada. Then, at last, he got down to it.

"The war continues," said Mr. Lincoln. "In considering the policy to be adopted for suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and most careful that the inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have therefore, in every case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union prominent as the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving all questions which are not of vital military importance to the more deliberate action of the legislature." For the time being the President would stand on the policy previously announced: the war was being fought for reunion and would not be waged so as to interfere with any domestic institution.

The war which was not being fought to end slavery was somehow about slavery; or at the very least, slavery lay underneath everything, ready to be turned up whenever the plowshare cut through the thin sheltering crust. This meant that the remorseless revolutionary struggle which Mr. Lincoln was so anxious to avoid lay likewise just beneath the surface. How could it be avoided?

The hard reality was that if the Federal government waged war to destroy a government based on slavery it could not, by any imaginable maneuver, keep the war from revolving about the fundamental concept of human freedom. No disclaimer could hide the fact that a class which lived by the slavery of one group of people, on the acquiescence of another group which enjoyed personal freedom, had taken up arms to maintain its privileges. Here was the inescapable dilemma, and President Lincoln brooded over it as he continued to reject radical and extreme measures which were forever being proposed by radical members of his own political party. Mr. Lincoln closed by saying: "The struggle of today, is not altogether for today - it is for a vast future also."

As Lincoln looked back upon 1861, he found want of success on the fields of battle - no where from Bull Run to Wilson's Creek or any point in between could be viewed as an unqualified success. The war was moving, and Mr. Lincoln felt that the men whom he had appointed to direct it ought to moving with it. This they were not doing.

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The Want of Success

General McClellan had come down with typhus, bringing strategy - and the 163,000 strong Army of Potomac - to a standstill. While he could hardly be blamed for contracting typhoid fever, the fact remained he had been general-in-chief for two months and the Federal effort was still going by piecemeal. In Missouri, General Halleck was methodically restoring order to the administrative chaos left by General Frémont, but if he had any plans for waging vigorous war no one knew what they were, least of all General Buell, who commanded in Kentucky and who would inevitably be concerned in any offensive General Halleck might undertake. General Buell, in his turn, was as busy as a man could be making preparations, but he did not seem ready to do anything and neither Mr. Lincoln nor McClellan himself had been able to persuade him that there was any merit in the plan to invade eastern Tennessee.

Almost desperately, Mr. Lincoln had written to Halleck and Buell, asking them if they were "in concert"; each man had replied, in effect, that he had no idea what the other man was doing. General Buell added that he supposed General McClellan would look after all of this, and General Halleck Halleck warned the President that "too much haste will ruin everything"; and Mr. Lincoln found as the New Year began he was running three separate wars - in Missouri, in Kentucky, and in Virginia - and that there was no apparent connection between any two of the three. Halleck went so far as to read the President a little lecture on military art, pointing out that if he and Buell tried to mount simultaneous offensives they would simply be operating on exterior lines against a centrally placed enemy, a thing which "is condemned by every military authority I have ever read." In the margin of this letter the President wrote: "It is exceedingly discouraging. As everywhere else, nothing can be done."

Missouri and Kentucky were a long way off, to be sure, but Virginia was right under the President's eyes. It was the showcase, watched by Congress and the press and the country, and although the Army of Potomac had grown large and had begun to look and feel like a real army, displaying excellent drill and high morale in an endless series of colorful reviews, the fact remained it was not actually doing anything. McClellan had assured Treasury Secretary Chase he planned a bold swift movement of 50,000 men to Urbanna, a little town near the mouth of the Rappahannock River some fifty miles east of Richmond, and then a second force of 50,000 more; the combined forces would then march west and capture Richmond before the Confederate Army around Manassas could get back to defend the places. Little Mac assured him the whole thing would be done by February 1, and began consulting with his engineers.

The whole business was most interesting, but the fact remained that nothing whatever had come of it. What McClellan had said would be done was not being done and nobody was preparing to do it, and it was beginning to be clear that it was not just the attack of typhoid fever - which, fortunately, was a rather mile case - that was causing the delay. What followed was both pointless and odd, testifying to nothing except the President's desperation.

If General McClellan, sick or well, did not plan to use the Army of Potomac right away, the President decided 'he would like to borrow it'. On the night of January 10, Mr. Lincoln held a White House meeting, talking to General Irvin McDowell, who in a way was second-in-command, and to General William B. Franklin, a sober regular who commanded a division in the AoP, Secretary Chase, Secretary of War Seward, and the latter's Assistant Secretary, Mr. Thomas Scott. He bluntly admitted he had to do something - he at least had to talk to somebody - and he was fielding suggestions what ought to be done with the inert army in and around Washington City. The two generals - subordinates of the absent McClellan but answerable also to the President - made constrained suggestions, and seem to have been more or less embarrassed. This is understandable enough; in the history of the Republic no White House conference quite like this one was ever held, before or since.

After this had gone on for three meetings, the general-in-chief himself got wind of it, found that he was well enough to attend conferences, and showed up at last, pale, still rather weak, full of dignity and reserve, casting a spell on his subordinates. When Chase applied pressure McClellan said that he had a plan and a time schedule but that he would prefer not to talk about them at a meeting so large and (though he did not say it quite that way) as disorganized as this one. The business flickered out, finally, with the President saying that he would adjourn the meeting. Everyone's feathers had been ruffled and nothing much had been done.

Meanwhile, the President went back to letter-writing.

Edited by BobbyLayne

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Lincoln: Lessons Learned

On January 13, the final day of his unique series of conferences regarding offensive strategy in the east, Mr. Lincoln wrote to Halleck and Buell, trying to tell them what his notions of strategy were. Throughout 1861 he had gone to the Library of Congress and checked out dozens of books on military tactics and warfare; in this remarkable letter, we see the fruits of a man who had labored hard to achieve a thorough understanding of his responsibilities as commander-in-chief. He pointed out that he was giving no orders; these would come (no doubt) from McClellan; he was just trying to show how his mind was working.

"I state my general idea of this war to be that we have the greater numbers, and the enemy has the greater facility of concentrating forces upon points of collision," he wrote; "that we must fail, unless we can find some way of making our advantage an overmatch for his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior forces at different points, at the same time, so that we can safely attack, on one, or both, if he makes no change,; and if he weakens one to strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but seize and hold the weakened one, gaining so much."

What the two generals thought of this is not on record, but the fact remains that Mr. Lincoln had been doing his homework. He had got, after nine months of war, a good grasp of the basic strategic principle that would have to guide him for the duration of the war, however long that may be; though nobody in Richmond saw his letter it got a strange, corroborative echo from the city in the very week that he wrote it.

Revolutionary Struggle

There were anxious men in Richmond as well as in Washington this winter, the cause of the anxiety being not so much the inaction of generals as the strange conduct of state governors. Federal operations along the exposed Atlantic coast had created much alarm, and governors of seacoast states were demanding that weapons and men which had been sent to the Virginia theatre be returned at once so that the coast could be defended. This impressed Jefferson Davis as a recipe for disaster, and Attorney General Bragg wrote in his diary: "The President was much irritated and declared if such was to be the course of the States toward the Government the carrying on of the war was an impossibility - that we had better make terms as soon as we could, and those of us who had halters around our necks had better get out of the Country as speedily as possible."

It seemed to Mr. Bragg that the Confederacy had been saved, so far, only because the Federal government did not press its advantages - "we profit more from their blunders and want of spirit to use the great advantage they have, than from our own feeble means and good conduct" - but he did not think this was going to go on much longer, and he confessed: "The plan of the enemy seems to be to attack us at any given point, they outnumbering us at every point of attack. If they now fail, they can hardly make another such effort - But will they fail? or if they partially succeed now, what is to be the effect? It is vain to disguise the fact that we are in imminent peril..."

Like President Lincoln, Mr. Bragg lacked a military education, but the two men knew what they were talking about. The Federal government had at last reached a point where it could apply an unendurable pressure.

The Thing Begins to Get Underway in earnest

At Hampton Roads it had assembled a large amphibious expedition - 15,000 soldiers on transports, with assorted gunboats to lead the way - and just when General McClellan's subordinates were trying to explain what might be done with the AoP this expedition sailed out pate the Virginia Capes, bound for Hatteras Inlet. It would enter the North Carolina sounds, break up Confederate installations there, occupy the mainland, and repeat the Port Royal thrust at a point much closer to the Confederate capital. At the same time an even stronger expedition was being made ready to attack New Orleans itself, largest city in all the South, the foundries in Pittsburgh were casting a score of big mortars and 30,000 shells to batter the forts which defended that place; and on January 20 a wiry, elderly naval officer, Flag Officer David Farragut, was given his orders for this force. Finally, parts of the western armies were on the move at last. A division of Buell's troops under General George Thomas was laboriously marching along the muddy Kentucky roads, thought cold rains, to attack Confederate Zollicoffer's force which anchored the eastern end of Sidney Johnston's undermanned defensive line. General Grant, at the same time, was moving south from Cairo to menace the western end of that line, while Federal gunboats were prowling the Tennessee River to see whether the Confederate defenses there were as strong as they were supposed to be. (They would discover that they were not, and much would come of the discovery.)

Slowly but surely the war was getting off dead center.

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Good narrative, BL. Jefferson Davis also gave an important State of the Confederacy address in early 1862, but since this took place after the Forts (though prior to Shiloh) we'll wait on it for now.

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Good narrative, BL. Jefferson Davis also gave an important State of the Confederacy address in early 1862, but since this took place after the Forts (though prior to Shiloh) we'll wait on it for now.

Thanks.I didn't find a way to work it in, but one thing that always fascinated me is Lincoln (keeping a custom started by other Presidents) opened the White House to the public every year on New Year's Day. First they had a big reception, with all the cabinet members, Supreme Court Justices, foreign dignitaries, and many Army and Navy officers in full dress uniform. Then they threw open the doors and let in throngs of people, and Lincoln would stand in the receiving line for hours (along with other members of the administration and prominent Congressman). This would continue up past midnight.Maybe we'll cover it in later years...it was an annual tradition...but the whole scene is fascinating to me.Anyway, look forward to you posting the Confederate President's remarks...and as always, jump in with anything you find interesting if it appears I have overlooked something.

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McClellan's troops and subordinates loved the guy. He was as charismatic as any general there ever was. Sure, he had a few enemies in the army, but not many. What is difficult to understand was how independently the three Union armies operated. It seems to me that the Union Army was a multi-handed one , where the left hand didn't know what the right was doing and didn't even know it had a third hand.

Orders were often written ambiguously. Generals would find ways to "misinterpret" them all the time. This happened on the micro level too, in battles like Fredricksburg. The goals were always unclear. Each army had it's own idea of how to fight the war. McClellan may have been charismatic, but it seems he didn't like to issue orders, for fear or respect of his subordinates. He must have been a very nice guy, having saved Gen Burnside from financial ruin, near destittuion before the war by giving him employment.

Interestingly, Lee often issued orders that read more like suggestions than orders too. He'd ask Jackson to do something, and Jackson would pretty much decide what he thought was most appropriate, often in conflict with Lee's plans. Despite that, Lee didn't complain. He deferred instead. It was like an old boy network, except when generals were in competition for promotion, like Halleck and Buell. Buell wasn't even supposed to be near Shiloh. He had orders to go into eastern Tennessee, but there he was. McClellan wrote the order for Buell in a way that allowed him to basically ignore the order and do as he pleased. Crazy way to run a war.

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January 1862 - situation in the western theatre

(click on the LRH corner to enlarge)

Johnston's Defensive Line

I want to go off the cuff (and off shaky middle aged memory) here a moment to discuss why Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were such vital points for the Confederates to defend and the Union forces to defeat. I've repeated the link above because it illustrates completely both the Department of Missouri and Department of Ohio. For now, focus on the left side, following the course of the Mississippi River beyond the confluence of the Ohio River.

Remember that Polk had committed a political blunder by being the first to move into neutral Kentucky; his move to secure the bluffs at Columbus had allowed him to create a Gibraltar-type defense that controlled the Mississippi, disallowing any Union gunboats from venturing any further south. But while Polk's gaffe was disaster politically - allowing the Union to claim (and the Unionist state legislature to justify) the Federal armies were coming to the defense of a neutral border state - from a military standpoint he didn't go far enough.

Returning to the map, and going back upstream from where the Ohio meets the Mississippi, you see readily why Grant moved so quickly from Cairo to seize Paducah. He hired wired Frémont asking permission to do so, but then moved before the Pathfinder had a chance to reply. He informed his superior what he had done, at the same time notifying the Kentucky legislators that he was moving into Kentucky to save them from the Southern invaders. It was an astute political move by Grant, but militarily it was brilliant.

Follow the Ohio River upstream to just beyond Paducah and you will find the headwaters of the Tennessee River, and just a bit further to the right, the beginning of the Cumberland River. Here was Polk's fatal error. While he could quickly make Columbus impregnable from an amphibious operation (and Belmont was nearly as secure), he could do nothing if the Union army could take Fort Henry and approach his bastion from the rear. If Donelson fell, the entire right flank of Albert Sidney Johnston's lengthy line would be threatened.

Johnston recognized this immediately. Yet for some reason he did not ensure that the defenses at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were being completed in a timely manner. After a brief detour to discuss some romantic dashing cavalry figures, we'll discuss the fortification efforts at the river forts next.

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Great stuff BL!

That map is great, and I'm having trouble finding good maps. Even the maps in my newly arrived Fredricksburg book are in many cases pretty poor. I tried to navigate around the USMA site looking for maps, but without success. Do you have a link for it? Do you have to suscribe or something?

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Great stuff BL!That map is great, and I'm having trouble finding good maps. Even the maps in my newly arrived Fredricksburg book are in many cases pretty poor. I tried to navigate around the USMA site looking for maps, but without success. Do you have a link for it? Do you have to suscribe or something?

Finding good maps that you can link to is pretty tough sometimes. If you want to view some great battle maps, take a look at the Library of Congress online catalog. You have download the Mr. SID viewer to look at them in detail (you can browse them online, but the viewer makes it easier to navigate). Unfortunately, you can't link directly to the LoC maps.My usual method is going to Google images and searching with key words such as "map Battle of XXXX" to see what comes up. Often times you discover a national military park, state university repository or army college site that has uploaded maps.

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1861 Exploits of Confederate Cavalry in the West

Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson

I'll be honest, this guy is mentioned in passing within every ACW book that covers events in Missouri circa 1861, but for some reason I have never taken note of him. He sounds like a fascinating figure, and having just discovered a short biography about him, I'll put it in my reading queue.

Meriwether Jeff Thompson (January 22, 1826 – September 5, 1876) was a brigadier general in the Missouri State Guard during the American Civil War. He served the Confederate Army as a cavalry commander, and had the unusual distinction of having a ship in the Confederate Navy named for him.

from Wiki:

Thompson served as Mayor of St. Joseph from 1857–1860. He presided over the ceremony inaugurating the first ride of the Pony Express on April 3, 1860. Thompson was a colonel in the Missouri state militia at the outbreak of the Civil War. In late July 1861, he was appointed brigadier general of the First Division, Missouri State Guard. He commanded the First Military District of Missouri, which covered the swampy southeastern quarter of the state from St. Louis to the Mississippi River. Thompson's battalion soon became known as the "Swamp Rats" for their exploits. He gained renown as the "Swamp Fox of the Confederacy."

When Union General John C. Fremont issued an emancipation proclamation purporting to free the slaves in Missouri, Thompson declared a counter-proclamation and his force of 3,000 soldiers began raiding Union positions near the border in October. On October 15, 1861, Thompson led a cavalry attack on the Iron Mountain Railroad bridge over the Big River near Blackwell in Jefferson County. After successfully burning the bridge, Thompson retreated to join his infantry in Fredericktown. Soon afterwards, he was defeated at the Battle of Fredericktown and withdrew, leaving southeastern Missouri in Union control.

After briefly commanding rams in the Confederate riverine fleet in 1862, Thompson was reassigned to the Trans-Mississippi region. There, he engaged in a number of battles before returning to Arkansas in 1863 to accompany Gen. John S. Marmaduke on his raid into Missouri. Thompson was captured in August in Arkansas, and spent time in St. Louis' Gratiot Street prison, as well as at the Fort Delaware and Johnson's Island prisoner-of-war camps, before being exchanged in 1864 for a Union general. Later that year, Thompson participated in Major General Sterling Price's Missouri expedition, taking command of "Jo" Shelby's famed "Iron Brigade" when Shelby became division commander. He served competently in this role. In March 1865, Thompson was appointed commander of the Northern Sub-District of Arkansas. He surrendered his troops on May 11, 1865, in Jacksonport, Arkansas.

Although Thompson frequently petitioned for the Confederate rank of brigadier general it was never granted. His brigadier rank came from his Missouri State Guard service.

A ship in the Confederate Navy, the CSS General M. Jeff Thompson, was named in Thompson's honor. The side-wheel river steamer was converted at New Orleans to a "cottonclad" ram in early 1862. It was commissioned in April and sent up the Mississippi River to join the River Defense Fleet in Tennessee waters, seeing its first action in the Battle of Plum Point Bend. After being set afire by gunfire from Union warships in the Battle of Memphis on June 6, 1862, the ship ran aground and soon blew up.

from The Struggle for Missouri (1909)

A striking figure among them was M. Jeff Thompson, called the "Missouri Swamp Fox" by his admirers, and who aspired to become the Francis Marion of the Southern Confederacy. He was a tall, lank, wiry man, at least six feet high, about 35 years old, with a thin, long, hatchet face, and high, sharp nose, blue eyes, and thick, yellow hair combed behind his ears. He wore a slouch white hat with feather and bob-tailed coat, short pantaloons, and high rough boots. A white-handled bowie-knife, stuck perpendicularly in his belt in the middle of his back, completed the armament, and he was never seen without it. His weakness was for writing poetry, and the "threw" a poem on the slightest provocation. Unfortunately none of these has been preserved.

Quite a dandy character! However, it is doubtful we will return to him the remainder of the thread - he was a thorn in the side of various Union commanders early in the war, but seems to fade into relative obscurity thereafter.

Now to introduce/reintroduce a couple of 'regular' cavalrymen, who will be prominent in many accounts of the Western theatre:

Captain John Hunt Morgan

Though he had fought in the Mexican War as a youth and later commanded his hometown militia company, he did not have a formal military education. Near the end of the year Morgan, who was thirty-six, took thirteen of his troopers on a reconnaissance completely around Don Carlos Buell's army and returned with thirty-three prisoners. We'll have much to say about Morgan throughout 1862.

Lt Col Nathan Bedford Forrest

We have previously posted a bio, and he will become a familiar figure to anyone reading this thread - he is, deservedly so, one of the great figures of the American Civil War. He enlisted as a private in June. Tapped by the governor, he then raised a mounted battalion at his own expense, and was made Lt Col; he would become a full Colonel in March, and earn his Brig Gen star by mid-summer 1862. Not only did this former Memphis slave dealer and Mississippi planter have no military training prior to the war, he in fact had little formal schooling of any kind. But by the end of 1861 he had already shown an aptitude for war. In his first fight, the forty-year-old Forrest improvised a double envelopment, combined with a frontal assault - classic maneuvers which he could not identify by name and of which he had most likely never heard - and scattered the survivors of a larger enemy force. Standing in the stirrups, swinging his sword and roaring "Charge! Charge!" in voice that rang like brass, the colonel personally accounted for three enemy officers, killing two and wounding one; he shot the first, sabered the second, and dislocated the shoulder of a third by knocking him off his horse. The legend of everybody's favorite bad ### will only be enhanced at the ignominious defeat at Fort Donelson.

Ordinarily, infantrymen had small liking for any trooper. A favorite idiom on both sides was "Whoever saw a dead cavalryman?", because once their duty of reporting the presence of enemy infantry was complete, they scattered to the flank and rear. These two lithe, violent six-footers, however, caught their fancy, and soldiers of all arms predicted brilliant futures for them both - if they lived, which seemed unlikely.

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For anyone late coming into the thread...first post has an index of topics through page 8, which will be updated through page 12 shortly. Hopefully by early next week we'll have it completed up to the current page.

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Somebody PM me when you guys get to the part where Lee gets the AK-47s.

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Somebody PM me when you guys get to the part where Lee gets the AK-47s.

I skipped that one; anybody else read it?

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Somebody PM me when you guys get to the part where Lee gets the AK-47s.

I skipped that one; anybody else read it?
:thumbup: Shouldn't skip it. Aside from the whole alternative history/time travel thing it is a very good take on the South's POV.

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Maybe a good time for this:

William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman was born in 1820 in Lancaster Ohio, his father Charles Robert Sherman, a successful lawyer who sat on the Ohio Supreme Court, died unexpectedly in 1829. He left his widow, Mary Hoyt Sherman, with eleven children and no inheritance. Following this tragedy, the nine-year-old Sherman was raised by a Lancaster neighbor and family friend, attorney Thomas Ewing, a prominent member of the Whig Party who served as senator from Ohio and as the first Secretary of the Interior. Sherman was distantly related to the politically influential Baldwin, Hoar and Sherman family and grew to admire American founding father Roger Sherman.

Apparently, Sherman’s father was fond of the chief of the Shawnees, Tecumseh. Despite some other accounts regarding Sherman’s named, he was likely baptized by a Presbyterian minister as a child, with the given name of William, but he was called “Cump” by friends, making it likely that in fact, his family usually called him Tecumseh.

The Ewing family who raised Sherman was influential and powerful. He would eventually marry his “step sister“, Ellen Ewing. Using his political influence, Thomas Ewing got Sherman admitted to West Point.

Senator Ewing secured an appointment for the 16-year-old Sherman as a cadet and he became good friends with another important future Civil War General, George H. Thomas. Fellow cadet William Rosecrans would later remember Sherman at West Point as "one of the brightest and most popular fellows" and "a bright-eyed, red-headed fellow, who was always prepared for a lark of any kind". About his time at West Point, Sherman says only the following in his Memoirs:

"At the Academy I was not considered a good soldier, for at no time was I selected for any office, but remained a private throughout the whole four years. Then, as now, neatness in dress and form, with a strict conformity to the rules, were the qualifications required for office, and I suppose I was found not to excel in any of these. In studies I always held a respectable reputation with the professors, and generally ranked among the best, especially in drawing, chemistry, mathematics, and natural philosophy. My average demerits, per annum, were about one hundred and fifty, which reduced my final class standing from number four to six."

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Sherman, cont....

Upon graduation in 1840, Sherman entered the Army as a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery and saw action in Florida against the Seminole tribe. He was later stationed in Georgia and South Carolina. As the foster son of a prominent Whig politician, in Charleston, the popular Lt. Sherman moved within the upper circles of Old South society. Tecumseh was very well connected.

Sherman would resign from the Army after holding a support command position in California during the Mexican-American war. He was one of the very few high profile commanders in the Civil War that did not see combat in that war. He tried his hand at banking, developing real estate and practicing law, and found little success in any of these endeavors.

Finally, In 1859, Sherman accepted a job as the first superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy in Pineville, LA., a position he sought at the suggestion of Major D.C. Buell and secured because of General G. Mason Graham. He proved an effective and popular leader of that institution, which would later become Louisiana State University (LSU). Col. J. P. Taylor, the brother of the late President Zachary Taylor, declared that "if you had hunted the whole army, from one end of it to the other, you could not have found a man in it more admirably suited for the position in every respect than Sherman."

On hearing of South Carolina’s secession from the United States, Sherman observed to a close friend, Professor David Boyd of Virginia, an enthusiastic secessionist, almost perfectly describing the four years of war to come:

"You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it... Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail."

Instead of complying to accept receipt of arms surrendered to the State militia by the U.S. Arsenal at Baton Rouge, he resigned his position as superintendent and returned to the North, declaring to the governor of Louisiana, "On no earthly account will I do any act or think any thought hostile ... to the ... United States."

to be continued.

Edited by Rovers

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Sherman...

After the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Sherman hesitated about committing to military service and ridiculed Lincoln's call for 75,000 three-month volunteers to quell secession, reportedly saying: "Why, you might as well attempt to put out the flames of a burning house with a squirt-gun." However, in May, he offered himself for service in the regular army, and his brother (Senator John Sherman) and other connections maneuvered to get him a commission in the regular army. On June 3, he wrote that "I still think it is to be a long war – very long – much longer than any Politician thinks." He received a telegram summoning him to Washington on June 7.

Sherman was first commissioned as a colonel, effective May 14, 1861. His new regiment yet to be raised, and Sherman's first command was actually of a brigade of three-month volunteers. With that command, he was one of the few Union officers to distinguish himself at the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) on July 21, 1861, where he was grazed by bullets in the knee and shoulder. The disastrous Union defeat led Sherman to question his own judgment as an officer and the capacities of his volunteer troops. President Lincoln, however, was impressed by Sherman while visiting the troops on July 23 and promoted him to brigadier general of volunteers (effective May 17, 1861, with seniority in rank to U. S. Grant, his future commander).

Having succeeded Anderson at Louisville as head of the Department of the Cumberland in Kentucky, Sherman now had principal military responsibility for a border state (Kentucky) in which Confederate troops held Columbus and Bowling Green and were present near the Cumberland Gap. He became exceedingly pessimistic about the outlook for his command, and he complained frequently to Washington, D.C., about shortages and provided exaggerated estimates of the strength of the rebel forces. Very critical press reports appeared about him after an October visit to Louisville by the then Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, and in early November Sherman insisted that he be relieved.

He was promptly replaced by Buell and transferred to St. Louis.. In December, however, he was put on leave by Maj. Gen. Halleck. Sherman was prone to angry outbursts and generally erratic behavior. Halleck considered him unfit for duty. Sherman went to Lancaster, Ohio, to recuperate. Some consider that, in Kentucky and Missouri, Sherman was in the midst of what today would be described as a nervous breakdown. . While he was at home, his wife, Ellen, wrote to his brother Senator John Sherman seeking advice and complaining of "that melancholy insanity to which your family is subject."

Sherman himself later wrote that the concerns of command “broke me down," and he admitted contemplating "suicide". His problems were further compounded when the Cincinnati Commercial described him as "insane".

By mid-December, however, Sherman was sufficiently recovered to return to service under Halleck in the Department of the Missouri. Operating from Paducah KY, he provided logistical support for the operations of Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to capture Ft Donelson. Grant, the previous commander of the District of Cairo, had recently won a major victory at Ft Henry and been given command of the ill-defined District of West Tennessee. Although Sherman was technically the senior officer at this time, he wrote to Grant, "I feel anxious about you as I know the great facilities [the Confederates] have of concentration by means of the River and R Road, but have faith in you — Command me in any way."

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THE RIVERBOATS

Given the relative lack of good roads and railroads, the war in the west was very reliant upon controlling the rivers for tactical, strategic and logistics reasons. General Scott knew this, and was a part of his Anaconda Plan. The Anaconda Plan is the name widely applied his strategy outline for subduing the seceding states. The plan emphasized the taking of the Southern ports, and called for an advance down the Mississippi River to cut the South in two.

The riverboats would be a cornerstone in achieving the goals of the Anaconda plan as far as the Mississippi was concerned. Both the north and south would build and modify vessels for this purpose. The gunboats can be categorized. The western rivers would see the use of ironclads, timberclads tinclads and cottonclads. Some were modified river steamboats, but some were “purpose” built.

The French were the first to use “floating batteries” in the Crimean war in 1855. These were large, slow moving steamships that had successfully attacked Russian coastal fortifications. These French ships were very heavy, large difficult to maneuver warships, but very heavily armed.

In the civil war, aside from river ship to ship battles, gunboats would also often be used offensively to attack forts and infantry in the civil war. There were several types, but the earliest ones used in the civil war were converted civilian riverboats.

Edited by Rovers

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TIMBERCLADS

The timberclads were the earliest gunboats, usually modified from civilian side paddle steamboats. These were broad-beam, shallow-draft vessels that mounted as many as four guns forward and two aft with others in broadsides. The North had superior manufacturing resources, and in early June 1861 the U.S. Navy contracted to buy and convert three wooden side-wheel steamers - the Tyler, Lexington, and Conestoga - that would be under Army control. Strengthened to carry heavy guns and bolstered by 5-inch-thick oak siding to withstand at least small-arms fire, these so-called timberclads were ready by late July.

http://histpres.mtsu.edu/tncivwar/steamboa..._lexington.html

Timerclads were generally used for assaulting land fortifications. In a fight against an ironclad, they had no chance.

James Buchanan Eads was contracted to build not only these conversions, but would also built virtually every riverboat in the Union Flotilla of the west.

IRONCLADS

Eads built several types of ironclads.

CONVERTED IRONCLADS

http://histpres.mtsu.edu/tncivwar/steamboats/uss_essex.html

These conversions look very similar to the CSS Virginia. The Essex and Benton, the later being one of the most powerful riverboats of the war, also had some drawbacks: it’s size and weight gave it a deep draft, and it could not operate in the upper Mississippi. They were not as heavily armored as purpose built ironclads, but had successful service records.

CITY CLASS IRONCLADS

The powerful vessels within this highly successful class of ironclads were named for cities along Northern rivers. First launched in 1861 and eventually completed in early 1862. They were also constructed under a contract with James Eads.

They were heavily armored and heavily armed, and were the backbone of the Federal river forces. James Eads directed the construction of seven ironclads, designed by John Lenthall and modified by Samuel Pook and Eads, each was propelled by a stern paddlewheel located amidships. They were called "Pook Turtles" for their rectangular casemates, designed by Pook, that covered the ships with sloped, armored sides. The ironclads, all named for towns on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers—the Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis—were protected with 2.5 inches of armor on the casemate and 1.25 inches on the conical forward pilothouse.

When the vessels were completed and commissioned in January 1862, each mounted three 8-inch smoothbores, four Army 42-pounder coast defense rifled guns (7-inch bores), and six 32-pounder rifled guns. Like all U.S. warships on inland waters, the vessels would remain under the overall jurisdiction of the Army until October 1862.

http://histpres.mtsu.edu/tncivwar/steamboa...louisville.html

“MONITOR STYLE” IRONCLADS

Eads built two of these for the riverboat war on the Mississippi and Tennessee. They were ironclads with a rotating turret and lower profile for use on the rivers of the western theater. Two such vessels were commissioned in 1863, one of which operated extensively in Tennessee.

TINCLADS

The Federal river forces took advantage of a number of lightly armored vessels known as tinclads, which were commercial vessels to which thin iron plates were added for protection. Though less heavily armored and armed than ironclads, the tinclads participated in major river engagements as well as patrols on Tennessee's river and their tributaries.

The Union ironclads played an important role in the Mississippi and tributaries by providing tremendous fire upon Confederate forts, installations and vessels with relative impunity to enemy fire. They were not as heavily armored as the ocean going monitors of the Union, but they were adequate for their intended use. More Western Flotilla Union ironclads were sunk by torpedoes (mines) than by enemy fire, and the most damaging fire for the Union ironclads was from shore installations, not Confederate vessels.

COTTONCLADS

Used exclusively by the South, they were relatively unmodified civilian riverboats that used bales of cotton on the bullwarks, which did offer protection from small arms fire, but tended to catch fire.

Edited by Rovers

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Good narrative, BL. Jefferson Davis also gave an important State of the Confederacy address in early 1862, but since this took place after the Forts (though prior to Shiloh) we'll wait on it for now.

I found this Address to the Confederate Congress from Jefferson Davis on Nov 18, 1961, and I was actually shocked at some of Davis' statements. Some of the excepts that blew me away:

" Since your adjournment the people of Missouri have conducted the war in the face of almost unparalleled difficulties, with a spirit and success alike worthy of themselves and of the great cause in which they are struggling. Since that time Kentucky, too, has become the theatre of active hostilities. The federal forces have not only refused to acknowledge her right to be neutral, and have insisted upon making her a party to the war, but have invaded her for the purpose of attacking the Confederate States. Outrages of the most despotic character have been perpetrated upon her people; some of her most eminent citizens have been seized and borne away to languish in foreign prisons without knowing who were their accusers, or the specific charges made against them, while others have been forced to abandon their homes, families, and property, and seek a refuge in distant lands."

***

Talk about spin.... it was the Confederate Army that first entered Kentucky, and it was considered to be a major blunder, giving the Union the excuse to enter ther "nuetral state".

***

"Finding that the Confederate States were about to be invaded through Kentucky, and that her people after being deceived into a mistaken security, were unarmed, and in danger of being subjugated by the Federal forces, our armies were marched into that State to repel the enemy and prevent their occupation of certain strategic points which would have given them great advantages in the contest -- a step which was justified, not only by the necessities of self-defense on the part of the Confederate States, but, also, by a desire to aid the people of Kentucky."

"Our people have now looked with contemptuous astonishment on those with whom they had been so recently associated. They shrink with aversion from the bare idea of renewing such a connection. When they see a President making war without the assent of Congress; when they behold judges threatened because they maintain the writ of habeas corpus so sacred to freemen; when they see justice and law trampled under the armed heel of military authority, and upright men and innocent women dragged to distant dungeons upon the mere edict of a despot; when they find all this tolerated and applauded by a people who had been in the full enjoyment of freedom but a few months ago,-- they believe that there must be some radical incompatibility between such a people and themselves. With such a people we may be content to live at peace, but the separation is final and for the independence we have asserted we will accept no alternative."

"The nature of the hostilities which they have waged against us must be characterised as barbarous wherever it is understood. They have bombarded undefended villages without giving notice to women and children to enable them to escape, and in one instance selected the night as the period when they might surprise them most effectually whilst asleep and unsuspicious of danger. Arson and rapine, the destruction of private houses and property, and injuries of the most wanton character even upon non-combatants have marked their forays along our borders and upon our Territory. Although we ought to have been admonished by these things that they were disposed to make war upon us in the most cruel and relentless spirit, yet we were not prepared to see them fit out a large naval expedition with the confessed purpose not only of plunder to pillage, but to incite a servile insurrection in our midst.

"If they convert their soldiers into criminal incendiaries and robbers and involve us in a species of war which claims non-combatants, women and children as its victims, they must expect to be treated as outlaws and enemies of mankind. There are certain rights of humanity which are entitled to respect even in war, and he who refuses to regard them upon all occasions forfeits his claims, if captured, to be considered as a military prisoner of war but must expect to be dealt with as an offender against all law human and divine."

***

This was before Fredersicksburg, where at least some of these kinds of accusations hold water, but here Davis has basically said that the Union and it's soldiers are no better than criminals, perhaps even worse than that. Was this propoganda to keep the south worked up, or was there any basis in fact that the Union soldiers were doing things, terrible things, that the Confederates were not?

Even in Fredericksburg, which I will get to, it was actually the Conferates who broke the promise of avoiding turning the town itself into a battlefield, the first urban fighting this country ever participated in. This speech seems to be quite radical to me.

There were atrocities committed, but most often it was not soldiers as I understand it, but "civilian" Unionists and Secessionists that burned each others' houses and chased people into the hills. That happened in quite a few states, in particular KY and TN. So correct me if I'm wrong... but Davis it seems was either misinformed or much of this address was a very calculated fabrication or twisting of the facts to an end. There were occassions where Union troops showed great restraint as they were accosted by southern sympathizers. The Baltimore riots, etc. Was there widespread arson, rape,and pillaging going on? This was before the strategy of "Total War".

For the full address:

http://jeffersondavis.rice.edu/resources.cfm?doc_id=1512

Any thoughts on this before Tim talks about the "State of the Conferacy" Address that would come several months later? I see this speech as being as inflamatory as one could possibly be, I'd even call it near to being radically extreme. I also have to wonder if it didn't stir up the north some, unintentionally, for even I recoiled when I read it.

Edited by Rovers

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Fortification of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson

In May 1861, Isham G. Harris, the governor of Tennessee, appointed the state's attorney, Daniel S. Donelson, as a brigadier general and directed him to build fortifications on the rivers of Middle Tennessee. Donelson found suitable sites to locate twin forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland River but they were within the borders of Kentucky, then still neutral. Moving upriver to just inside the Tennessee border, he selected the site of the fort that would bear his name on the Cumberland River. Colonel Bushrod Johnson of the Tennessee Corps of Engineers approved of the site.

As construction of Fort Donelson began, Donelson moved 12 miles west to the Tennessee River and selected the site of Fort Henry, naming it after Tennessee Senator Gustavus Adolphus Henry Sr. Since Fort Donelson was on the west bank of the Cumberland, he selected the east bank of the Tennessee for the second fort so that one garrison could travel between them and be used to defend both positions, which he deemed unlikely to be attacked simultaneously. Unlike its counterpart on the Cumberland, Fort Henry was situated on low, swampy ground, dominated by hills across the river. On the plus side, it had an unobstructed field of fire two miles downriver. The surveying team employed by Donelson, Adna Anderson, a civil engineer, and Major William F. Foster from the 1st Tennessee Infantry, objected strongly to the site and appealed to Colonel Johnson, who inexplicably approved it.

Fort Henry was a five-sided, open-bastioned earthen structure covering 10 acres on the eastern bank of the Tennessee River, near Kirkman's Old Landing and Standing Rock Creek, nearly opposite the mouth of the Sandy River.

The design of the fort was meant to stop traffic on the river, not to withstand infantry assaults, certainly not at the scale that armies would achieve during the war. Construction began in mid-June, using men from the 10th Tennessee Infantry and slaves, and the first cannon was test fired on July 12, 1861. After this flurry of activity, however, the remainder of 1861 saw little more because forts on the Mississippi River had a higher priority for receiving men and artillery. In late December, additional men from the 27th Alabama Infantry arrived along with 500 slaves. They constructed a small fortification across the river on Stewart's Hill, within artillery range of Fort Henry, naming it Fort Heiman.

On November 17, 1861 Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman was sent to assume command of both Forts Henry and Donelson. Tilghman seemed the perfect man for the task, having fought in Mexico, and later serving as an engineer in Paducah. But the forts were not equipped and were in horrible shape.

Tilghman wrote to Confederate General Leonidas Polk, the district commander, that he needed more manpower to complete the forts, but none came. Tilghman worked diligently in building earthworks and rifle pits as well as securing the approaches to the forts. By January 1862 Tilghman felt that work on the forts had progressed, but still he had many men who were unarmed, and he knew that the Union troops would soon arrive to try and take the forts. At Fort Henry were approximately 2,800-3,400 men, two brigades commanded by Colonels Adolphus Heiman and Joseph Drake. They were armed primarily with antique flintlock rifles from the War of 1812.

Seventeen guns were mounted in Fort Henry by the time of the battle, eleven covering the river and the other six positioned to defend against a land attack. There were two heavy guns, a 10-inch Columbiad and a 24-pounder rifled cannon, with the remainder being 32-pounder smoothbores. There were two 42-pounders, but no ammunition of that caliber was available. When the river was at normal levels, the walls of the fort rose 20 feet about it and were 20 feet thick at the base, sloping upward to about 10 feet thick at the parapet. But in February 1862, heavy rains caused the river to rise and most of the fort was underwater, including the powder magazine.

The Confederates deployed one additional defensive measure, which was then unique in the history of warfare: several torpedoes (in modern terminology, a naval minefield) were anchored below the surface in the main shipping channel, rigged to explode when touched by a passing ship. (This measure turned out to be ineffective, due to high water levels and the leaking metal containers of the torpedoes.

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Of note regarding the twin river forts is the Kentucky sites would have been located only three miles of each other - close enough to have been mutually supporting of each other. The Tennessee sites, on the other hand, were twelve miles apart. Once the neutrality of Kentucky had been broken, the Confederates elected not to relocate the site of the forts since work had already begun on Henry and Donelson.

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Battle of Mill Springs

Also known as the Battle of Fishing Creek in Confederate terminology, and the Battle of Logan's Cross Roads in Union terminology, this small but important battle represented the first unqualified victory by northern forces in the Civil War. More importantly, it had a galvanizing effect upon the Union efforts in the western theatre.

In 1861 the critical border state of Kentucky had declared neutrality in the fight to maintain the Union. This neutrality was first violated on September 3, when Confederate Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, acting on orders from Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, occupied Columbus and two days later Union Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant seized Paducah. Henceforth, neither adversary respected the proclaimed neutrality of the state and the Confederate advantage was lost; the buffer zone that Kentucky provided was no longer available to assist in the defense of Tennessee.

Albert Sidney Johnston, commanded all forces from Arkansas to the Cumberland Gap. His forces were spread thinly over a wide defensive line. His left flank was Polk in Columbus with 12,000 men. The center consisted of two forts under the command of Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, with 4,000. Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were the sole positions to defend the important Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, respectively. His right flank was in Kentucky, with Brig. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner's 4,000 men in Bowling Green, and about 4,000 in the Military District of East Tennessee under Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, which had the responsibility for guarding the Cumberland Gap, the gateway for entering pro-Unionist East Tennessee.

Crittenden's 1st Brigade was commanded by Brig. Gen. Felix Zollicoffer, whose main responsibility was to guard the Cumberland Gap. Assuming that the gap was fortified satisfactorily, in November 1861 he advanced west into Kentucky to move closer to the Confederate forces in Bowling Green and to strengthen control in the area around Somerset. The southern bank of the Cumberland River at Mill Springs was a bluff and a strong defensive position, whereas the northern bank was low and flat. Zollicoffer, a colorful politician with no prior military experience, chose to move most of his men to the north bank where they would be closer to nearby Union troops, incorrectly assuming that it was more defensible. Both Crittenden and Albert Sidney Johnston ordered Zollicoffer to relocate south of the river, but he could not comply - he had insufficient boats to cross the unfordable river quickly and was afraid his brigade would be caught by the enemy halfway across.

Union Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas received orders to drive the Confederates across the Cumberland River and break up Crittenden's army. Thomas left Lebanon and slowly marched through rain-soaked country, arriving at Logan's Crossroads on January 17, where he waited for Brig. Gen. Albin F. Schoepf's troops from Somerset to join him. Crittenden, who until early January had remained in his headquarters in Knoxville, arrived at Mill Springs and realized that his inexperienced subordinate was in a dangerous situation. When he questioned Zollicoffer why he had positioned his troops with its back to an unfordable river with no means to safely recross it, his subordinate told him the north bank offered a better winter camp site.

He devised a plan to attack the Union force before it could concentrate against him; one section of the Union Army, three brigades under Thomas, was located at Logan's Crossroads; Schoepf's brigade was at Somerset, separated by rain-swollen Fishing Creek, which might be a sufficient barrier to prevent the forces from joining together quickly. Crittenden ordered Zollicoffer to attack the Union camp at Logan's Crossroads at dawn on January 19.

The Confederate march through the night was hampered by rain and mud and the troops arrived at Logan's Crossroads cold and miserable. Many of the men carried antique flintlock muskets, which became almost useless in the wet weather. The slowness of the march had cost them the element of surprise. Nevertheless, they launched a spirited attack, led from the front by Zollicoffer, and achieved some initial success. The 15th Mississippi Infantry and the 20th Tennessee pushed back the 4th Kentucky Infantry, under Col. Speed S. Fry, as well as the 2nd Minnesota and 10th Indiana and some Union cavalry.

In the poor visibility of the dark woods, clouded with gunsmoke, confusion reigned. Zollicoffer, who was conspicuous in front of his men with a white raincoat, mistakenly approached the 4th Kentucky, believing they were Confederates firing on their own men. Zollicoffer was shot and killed, allegedly by Col. Fry. The sudden death of their commander and heavy fire from Fry's regiment caused the center of the Confederate line to fall back momentarily in confusion. Crittenden rallied his men and ordered a general advance by Zollicoffer's brigade and the brigade of Brig. Gen. William H. Carroll.

At this point, Thomas arrived on the field and ordered the 9th Ohio to advance while the 2nd Minnesota maintained heavy fire from the front line. Col. Robert L. McCook, commanding Thomas's 3rd Brigade, wrote that the lines were so close that the "enemy and the Second Minnesota were poking their guns through the same fence." When the 9th Ohio turned the Confederate left flank, the battle was decided. The Confederate troops streamed back toward Mill Springs in a disorderly rout, and Crittenden, who was rumored to be inebriated during the battle, was powerless to stop them. They frantically crossed to the south side of the Cumberland, abandoning twelve artillery pieces, 150 wagons, more than 1,000 horses and mules, and all of their dead and wounded. The retreat continued until the troops reached Chestnut Mound, Tennessee, (near Murfreesboro), about 50 miles due east of Nashville.

Aftermath

Casualties were relatively light: Union losses were 39 killed and 207 wounded, Confederate 125 killed and 404 wounded or missing. Crittenden's military career was also a casualty. Accused of drunkenness and treason, his army was disbanded and he was reassigned to be a corps commander under Buckner at Bowling Green. Within two months he was relieved of his command and arrested for a subsequent episode of drunkenness.

The Battle of Mill Springs, along with the Battle of Middle Creek, broke the main Confederate defensive line that was anchored in eastern Kentucky. Mill Springs was the larger of the two Union Kentucky victories in January 1862. With these victories, the Federals carried the war into Middle Tennessee in February.

In St. Louis, Union commander Henry Halleck - head of the Department of Missouri - viewed Mill Springs as a victory that could propel Don Carlos Buell - head of the Department of the Ohio - to the head of all forces in the west. A few days earlier he had wired general-in-chief McClellan that it would take 60,000 troops to move into Kentucky and attack Fort Henry.

After Mill Springs, he authroized Brig. Gen. U.S. Grant to invest the fort on the Tennessee River with 15,000 troops. Grant would be assisted in his efforts by seven ironclad and timberclad gunboats under Commodore Foote.

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Even though Mills Springs was a small battle, perhaps because there were so few battles in KY, it is a preserved battlefild with an impressive museum and an association tthat commemorates the events. From their site:

http://www.millsprings.net/history/the-bat...prings-kentucky

After advancing nearly to the ridgeline on the west of the road, almost flanking the Federals on their right, the Confederate advance stalled. Most of the soldiers had never been in a battle before, and the dark rainy morning, coupled with the smoke and din of battle and the lack of visibility in the dense woods, produced quite a bit of confusion. Gen. Zollicoffer, leading his brigade from the front with the 19th Tennessee Infantry, was sure that his men were firing on another Confederate regiment, and he rode forward in the road to reconnoiter. There he met Col. Fry, who had ridden to his right for the same purpose. Neither recognized the other (Zollicoffer was said to have been extremely nearsighted, and his own uniform was hidden from Fry's view by a raincoat), and Zollicoffer ordered Fry to cease firing on his friends.

Fry, assuming Zollicoffer was a Federal officer whom he did not know, and also unsure of who the troops to his right were, answered that he would never intentionally fire on a friendly unit. As Fry moved back toward his own regiment, Capt. Henry M.R. Fogg of Zollicoffer's staff suddenly rode out of the woods to warn Zollicoffer, firing his pistol at Fry. Fry and the Union soldiers near him immediately returned the fire, and Zollicoffer fell dead in the road. (Capt. Fogg was also killed in the battle, probably at this time.)

The Confederates were further demoralized by the failure of many of their weapons to fire in the intermittent rain. Most of the Confederate force, particularly the Tennessee regiments, were armed with obsolete flintlock muskets. Only the 15th Mississippi, 16th Alabama, and 29th Tennessee were partially armed with percussion muskets and rifles. One participant estimated that only a fifth of the Confederate muskets would fire. In their frustration, many of the Tennesseans were seen to smash their useless flintlocks against trees.

The outmatched Southerners withdrew back down the road toward their camps. They rallied at their Beech Grove entrenchments, but Gen. Thomas arrived with his forces in the afternoon and promptly opened a bombardment on the Confederate camp, including a steamboat at the ferry on the river below. This fire was from a rifle battery that the Southern artillery could not match in range or accuracy. With their backs to the river, this steamboat was the Confederates' only lifeline for any withdrawal. Recognizing that his position was untenable, Crittenden ordered a withdrawal across the river that night.

The Confederates left behind all of their artillery pieces and wagons, and most of their horses and camp equipment. When dawn on January 20th arrived and the Federals moved against the Confederate works, they found the camps abandoned and Crittenden's force safely across the river.

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"Our people have now looked with contemptuous astonishment on those with whom they had been so recently associated. They shrink with aversion from the bare idea of renewing such a connection. When they see a President making war without the assent of Congress; when they behold judges threatened because they maintain the writ of habeas corpus so sacred to freemen; when they see justice and law trampled under the armed heel of military authority, and upright men and innocent women dragged to distant dungeons upon the mere edict of a despot; when they find all this tolerated and applauded by a people who had been in the full enjoyment of freedom but a few months ago,-- they believe that there must be some radical incompatibility between such a people and themselves. With such a people we may be content to live at peace, but the separation is final and for the independence we have asserted we will accept no alternative."

Any thoughts on this before Tim talks about the "State of the Conferacy" Address that would come several months later? I see this speech as being as inflamatory as one could possibly be, I'd even call it near to being radically extreme. I also have to wonder if it didn't stir up the north some, unintentionally, for even I recoiled when I read it.

Yeah, Jefferson Davis would change his tune on the habeas corpus issue pretty darn quickly. His criticism of Lincoln over this issue disappeared rather abruptly a little later in the war.

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BL and Rovers- the sources I have are somewhat critical of Albert Sidney Johnston for his overall strategy in the western theater at this time which helped lead to the Union victories. But they're not real specific on what he should have done. Like so many Confederate commanders, he was spread awfully thin with fewer troops than his opponents. Do you agree with the criticism, and what do you think he should have done differently?

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"Our people have now looked with contemptuous astonishment on those with whom they had been so recently associated. They shrink with aversion from the bare idea of renewing such a connection. When they see a President making war without the assent of Congress; when they behold judges threatened because they maintain the writ of habeas corpus so sacred to freemen; when they see justice and law trampled under the armed heel of military authority, and upright men and innocent women dragged to distant dungeons upon the mere edict of a despot; when they find all this tolerated and applauded by a people who had been in the full enjoyment of freedom but a few months ago,-- they believe that there must be some radical incompatibility between such a people and themselves. With such a people we may be content to live at peace, but the separation is final and for the independence we have asserted we will accept no alternative."

Any thoughts on this before Tim talks about the "State of the Conferacy" Address that would come several months later? I see this speech as being as inflamatory as one could possibly be, I'd even call it near to being radically extreme. I also have to wonder if it didn't stir up the north some, unintentionally, for even I recoiled when I read it.

Yeah, Jefferson Davis would change his tune on the habeas corpus issue pretty darn quickly. His criticism of Lincoln over this issue disappeared rather abruptly a little later in the war.
Yeah, no great shock there. Always is the problem with revolution and rebellion - just ask the French.

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BL and Rovers- the sources I have are somewhat critical of Albert Sidney Johnston for his overall strategy in the western theater at this time which helped lead to the Union victories. But they're not real specific on what he should have done. Like so many Confederate commanders, he was spread awfully thin with fewer troops than his opponents. Do you agree with the criticism, and what do you think he should have done differently?

Probably the biggest error was leaving the twin forts in Tennessee, where they were 12 miles apart. Once Kentucky neutrality was broken in early September, they should have moved up to the other sites that had been considered (3 miles apart, and thus mutually supportive of one another).Johnston had far too long of a line to defend, and not enough troops. The only thing he accomplished in 1861 was bluffing - and he was pretty effective at that, Buell and Halleck consistently overestimated how many troops were in their front. Of course, that was a double edged sword. The Union commanders were thankful the massive rebel hordes didn't swoop down on them...and in the South, the people wondered why Johnston didn't attack.Interestingly, one of his bluffs eventually backfired. When Beauregard came west, he put forth a rumor that he was bringing 15 Virginia regiments of infantry with him. This, to be sure, was not the case; but the fact that this false report came on ahead of him was one of the things that triggered the Federal offensive in Kentucky.Once the river forts were gone, his rail line was doomed. It was an odd defensive posture to begin with - Columbus and Bowling Green were both salients, meaning he was operating on the outside of an arc - the exact opposite of what is desired. You can step back and see that was a consistent overall failing of Confederate military policy - to take advantage of shorter interior lines to quickly reinforce different threatened points, and force the North to operate on longer exterior lines. Edited by BobbyLayne

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BL and Rovers- the sources I have are somewhat critical of Albert Sidney Johnston for his overall strategy in the western theater at this time which helped lead to the Union victories. But they're not real specific on what he should have done. Like so many Confederate commanders, he was spread awfully thin with fewer troops than his opponents. Do you agree with the criticism, and what do you think he should have done differently?

BL is much more knowledgable than I, but I'll throw my 2 cents in. Polk was already in KY. I think Johnston should have abandoned the construction which had started of Forts Henry and Donelson, and built them in KY instead since Polk had violated the neutrality of KY anyway. The sighting of Fort Henry was abominable, but that really can't be blamed on Johnston. His engineers failed him. He should have sent more troops to Fort Donelson. That would be my only harsh critisism. He was stretched extremely thin, and I think he should have had Polk abandon Columbus far earlier to reinforce Henry and Donelson instead. Another thing you can't blame on Johnston was the selection of some of his subordinates. Zollicoffer had no business being a general. He blundered into an untenable position at Mills Springs. These politically appointed officers often got their forces into bad situations. Other than believing Johnston should have forgotten KY, other than to protect the Tennessee river further upstream by building a fort in KY on the western bank of the river and another downstream (north) of the Fort Henry site, (TN) I find it hard to critisize his actions. If he was going to violate the neutrality of KY, he might have just gone ahead and done it with river forts in better tactical positions. As noted earlier, the north, even Lincoln knew that it was better to spread the Confederates out and attack simultaneously at several locations. Johnston knew this too. His later consolidation of his armies at Corinth was the right thing to do. In retrospect, perhaps Johnston should have consolidated at Nashville, instead of Corinth. Corinth was a transportation center, Nashville was producing much needed munitions. That might be a strategic mistake, but would be debatable. The ctritisism of Johnston is unwarranted IMO. However at Shiloh....PS for edit: As you can see from the simultaneous posts by BL and myself, he has a much greater understanding of CW tactics than I, although I am happy to see I wasn't too far off, as we agree on the mistaken positioning of the forts. Edited by Rovers

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I found this to be an extremely interesting read. Harper's Weekly was a very widely read and influential pro Union publication in the North. If you want to get a feel for the media of the day, read this: (click on the battle of Mills Springs for a reproduction of the actual 2 pages, and click again at the bottom of the of the first page illustration for the copy from Harper's)

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation...et-kentucky.htm

It includes a release from the Union War Dept that claims the Confederate forces at Mill Springs "greatly" outnumbered the Federals. It also makes other independent claims, such as the Southern press denying having even lost a battle.

Both Richmond and Washington would spin any news of the war so much so, that I think much of it qualifies as unadulterated propoganda, but I think this is a great keyhole view of the media during the CW. Public opinion of the war, especially in the North was a very delicate and fragile thing, manipulated as much as either side could possibly get away with, and then some.

Edited by Rovers

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