Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4/16/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes = TCWN


16, Assessing the aftermath of the battle of Shiloh; the impressions of Charles Alley, 5th Iowa Cavalry

Crossed to Pittsburgh Landing and in moving to our camp we crossed the battle field. If the east side showed the destruction caused by troops on the march, here everything told of the terrible physical struggle. Large trees shot off in the middle, and the bark of about every tree riddled by musket balls, in fact almost every twig shot away. It looks to be almost an impossibility for men to live in such a storm of shot as was raging here, and so indeed it would be if the men were right here at the time the balls flew so thickly. But they generally go over those they are aimed at. The ground was torn up by shot and shell, and close to each other an all sides were graves of men and horses. The stench that arose from the field was almost sickening and a great deal of sickness prevailed among the troops after the battle….We were almost defeated, but than God for His blessing on the strong arms of our brave soldier, we were victors. May we praise Him.

Alley Diary




16, Colonel John T. Wilder's letter home to his wife in Indiana, relative to activities concurrent with the battle of Shiloh and its aftermath

Camp at Pittsburg [sic] Tenn., Apr. 16th '62

Dear Pet,

I telegraphed you immediately after the great battle to let you know there was nothing the matter with us. Our Reg't [sic] did not get here until Monday night, too late for the fight. We, that is, Gen. Hascall, with the 17th Ind., 26th O., and 600 cavalry were send from Columbia to Lawrenceburg Tenn. to disperse a gang of rebels, at the same time that the rest of the Division came on here, we went down there and done [sic] it, capturing 5000 lbs of bacon, a couple dozen guns two drums a flag, 6 horses & saddles and wounding two secesh cavalry also getting their mail – the balance ran – we then made our way for this place to get here after marching 10 days continuously. (the last three, 25 miles a day) to be too late for the fight- well, the fight was terrible, they whipped Grant the first day, and Buell drove them from the ground the next day, soundly thrashed, our division took the advance tuesday [sic] morning after the fight. I have had it ever since – we lay in the wood without tents, and have to carry our provisions 5 miles on our backs – our teams and tents will be over the river tomorrow – I will not attempt to tell you of the awful destruction of the battle ground which covered a space of about 25 square miles – the dead lay on every acre of it when we came home – there was just about two rebels for each one of ours – probably about 3,000 in all dead – hundreds of trees shattered to splinters, gun carriages torn to bits, dead horses by the drove, heads, arms, legs and mangled bodies strewn around, all combined to make up a picture of horrors that it would be well for infernal political leaders to look on, and if they did not then learn to mind their own business, to be made a part of [sic] – you cannot imagine how little value one puts upon human life after riding among such scenes for day, as I have, in tracing roads, placing pickets &c. the rebels are reported as very much demoralized, they haven fallen back to Corinth and are busily entrenching – but they cannot stand our determined attack, which will be made within a short time – We have them now cut off from the east by R.R. and will soon have full possession of the Mississippi River – I think their cause is nearly used up, at least their army is – my health is good, Jake is complaining a little, but all the rest are well – it is too late & I must close, as we get up at 4 every morning and form a line of battle to prevent any surprise at daylight – good Bye [sic] remember me to all –

As ever, your true husband

J. T. Wilder

Write to me at Pittsburg Tenn. did your bird (?) get through safe –

Wilder Collection.[1]




        16, One Hoosier's experience at the Battle of Shiloh; the letter of Private William Richardson, Company H, 25th Indiana Regiment, to his uncle

Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., April 16th, 1862

Mr. Thomas Jones:

Respected Uncle -- With delight do I grasp my pen in order to write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along -- how I enjoy a soldier's life and how time is passing off with me. Also to let you know of our great battle that we have had here.

I am in good health and have generally enjoyed good health, though I have for a few days past been troubled with toothache considerably. The health of the soldiers is not very good at present. The diarrhea is very bad among the boys. One of Co. E died last night and was buried this morning. Cousin Davy Turnham is as fat as a bear and came through the fight all right. I too came out without a scratch.

This was a terrible battle that we had here. Old Gen. Beauregard chose to attack us on last Sabbath morning a week ago, April 6, 1962, and did accordingly about 7:00 in the morning. We never knew anything of an attack till we heard the cannon begin to roar, and then the rebels were already inside of our lines. I think that our General was a little careless by not having out picket guards in order to give us sufficient time to prepare for an attack. But instead of this our General let the rebels advance upon us in columns of thousands, whip and cut up our men before we could get out and get the movements of their flanks. We had to march some two miles, regiment after regiment, before we could open fire upon them; and by the time we could all get out and get the run of their movements, they had our men retreating. Therefore I think they had superior advantage over us.

Our regiment met the rebels and fought them bravely, but as they had a superior force to us we were obliged to retreat, but according to order we fell back a few rods and formed again and gave the scoundrels a terrible fight. We succeeded in driving them back a little, but they came again upon us in much greater numbers, and we had to retreat inch by inch almost till about 4:00 in the evening when we got reinforced by a few thousand. We then made another charge upon them and made them fall back about a mile. This ended the fight for the night. During the night, Gen. Buell arrived with a part of his forces and placed them, regiment after regiment, in front of our columns, all ready to renew the fight. At daylight we moved forward about a mile when we met the rebels ready for battle again; but in less than a hour, we had them getting back faster than they advanced the day before. But they fought like mad dogs. They would fall back a little and rally again, and fight desperately. I just thought that they would fight us till they were all killed. They would come up in such good order. We would flank them and we sometimes would nearly have them surrounded, but they would fight their way out. But they fought more bravely than they would have done had they not drunk so much whiskey mixed with gunpowder. The wounded rebels nearly all had whiskey in their canteens as I was told. We drove them until about 4:00 in the evening when the stampede became general with them, and they all took leg bail, each man for himself. Our cavalry followed them until dark, when they returned with several prisoners. Many of the rebels threw their guns and knapsacks away, and I expect are at their homes very well satisfied. I believe I would be at least if I were a rebel. They have returned back to Corinth, where they formerly were-about 18 miles from here. Their loss is said to be about 15,000 and ours 10,000. Oh uncle, this was a terrible battle. I have heard thunder storms and other great noises, but nothing to compare with the noise that we made here. It was a continual roaring. It put me in mind of a steamboat letting off steam with one clap of thunder right after another continuously for two days. I could see the fire blazing from the cannon and one dense fog of smoke continuously rising all the time. I tell you if this was not enough to make a man feel a little scary I do not know what would. In many places one could stand and see the dead and wounded lying so think that he could count 30 or 40 without moving out from his tracks. Some with their brains shot out, some with their whole heads shot off, some with legs and arms shot off and such a groaning was never heard before I suppose as was heard here. An in many places the trees and bushes are cut off like grass almost. Many large trees are cut down by cannon balls. Oh I do not see how as many of us escaped as well as we did. I will tell you now of those that were killed and wounded although I suppose you have heard before this time. Capt. Baltsman of Co. A, 1st Lieut. Brickett of Co. C and 1st Lieut. Patterson of Co. G were killed. These were all the commissioned officers in our regiment that were killed. Henry Morris, Henry Wright, E. B. Wilson, Geo, McKinsey and I J. Vanwinkle of Co. E were killed; also Thomas B. Handy and Chandley Redfield of Co. H and Samuel Smith of Co. K were killed. Several others of different companies were killed. Our Lieutenant Colonel was wounded slightly in the leg. Will Jones was wounded in the leg so badly that his leg will have to come off.

Your true friend.

William Richardson

Letter of William Richardson[2]




16, A suggestion for recycling

Taking into consideration the limited supply of leather, would it not be practicable to save the skins of the horses slain in battle, and those that die in service? A large number of hides could be saved in this way, and it is to be hoped that the proper authorities will consider this matter promptly.

Fayetteville Observer, April 16, 1863.



16, "Altogether it was the most dismal ride I ever took in my life, to say nothing of being uncomfortable."

I crossed the mountains during the night, and arrived at Jacksboro at 4 o'clock this morning without any mishap. A drizzling rain fell the entire night, and it was so dark that I could not discern any object; but my faithful horse, being well acquainted with the trail, brought me safely through to Big Creek. There were places on the trail which were so steep and rocky that we have been in the habit of dismounting and leading our horses down over them, lest a horse should stumble and kill both horse and rider, but in my trip last night I dared not dismount, for the reason that it was so dark that I could not possibly find my way in the trail, and therefore had to stay on my horse and trust it all to him. Owing to the overhead foliage of the pine trees, and other overhanging growth, the darkness was at times so pitchy that it gave me the sensation of passing through a tunnel, or dark underground passage; but of course there was some light else my horse could not have found his way, but such light was not discernible to my senses. Altogether it was the most dismal ride I ever took in my life, to say nothing of being uncomfortable. Met Col. Palmer at Jacksboro, delivered the dispatch, and re-crossed the mountain to my regiment at Pineknot[3], where I arrived this evening. My company is gone down on Clear Fork.

Diary of William E. Sloan.




16, Burning of Federal steamer St. Paul in the Hatchie River, Tenn.

Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, with enclosures, referring also to the probable destruction of steamers Sylph and Anna Everton.

FLAGSHIP BLACK HAWK, Mound City, April 20, 1865.

SIR: Acting Master James Fitzpatrick, commanding U. S. S. Siren, reports, under date of 16th April, the burning of the steamer St. Paul and the capture and probable burning of the steamers Sylph and Anna Everton by guerrillas, in the Hatchee [sic] River, on the morning of the 16th instant.

Under Major-General Washburn's General Order No. 31, of which I enclosed a copy, boats have been ascending the Hatchee [sic] for trading purposes.

I enclose a copy of Acting Master Fitzpatrick's report.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, yours,

S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


U. S. S. SIREN, Mississippi River, April 16, 1865.

SIR: I have just been informed of the capture and burning of the steamer St. Paul by a party of guerrillas whilst up the Hatchee [sic] River, also of the capture of the steamers Sylph and Anna Everton. Below please find statement of the captain of the St. Paul:

On Monday, the 10th instant, Lieutenant [Joseph] Luxton, who claims to belong to Bill Forrest's command, and a half brother of General Forrest, with 6 men, came on the steamer St. Paul at Brownsville Landing; said they had gone down on the Elwood and protected her out. Left Brownsville on Tuesday, the 11th, stopped at Lowry's Landing, waiting for cotton. They shot one of the deck hands at Lowry's and he either got overboard himself and swam ashore or they threw him overboard. On Wednesday, the 12th, 6 more men came on hoard with horses at Lowry's and got off at Bond's Landing; claimed to belong to Lee's company of [W. C.] Quantrill's guerrillas. On 15th met steamer Sylph aground below Bragg's Landing in possession of party of about 20 of Quantrill's men. Three miles below, at Bryant's Ferry, another party, about 20 of Quantrill's men, under Jo. Lee, took possession of the Anna Everton; Jo. Lee was on board. They put the freight ashore and tore up the cabin, barn, etc.; said they intended burning her. Started up the river with her to go to the Sylph. Said they intended burning both boats. The St. Paul came down to Morgan's Landing (which is about 40 miles from the mouth), and they burned the St. Paul Sunday morning at that point. Saw citizens who reported seeing smoke from the other two boats; that they were fired Sunday morning. Quantrill's men captured the Anna Everton and Sylph, and Lieutenant Luxton's men the St. Paul. Believe this was the real Luxton. He was joined by two or three others at Morgan's Landing. Part of the crew of the Anna Everton came on the St. Paul to Morgan's Landing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES FITZPATRICK, Acting Master, Commanding.

Commander A. BRYSON, Comdg. Essex and 8th Dist., U. S. S. Fairy, Mound City, Ill.

Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, transmitting additional report from the commanding officer of the U. S. S. Siren, showing that the steamers Sylph and Anna Everton were not destroyed.

FLAGSHIP TEMPEST, Mound City, April 26, 1865.

SIR: Referring to my No. 183, of 20th instant, reporting the destruction of the steamer St. Paul and the probable destruction of two other steamers by guerrillas in Hatchee [sic] River, I enclose a report (copy) from Acting Master Fitzpatrick, commanding U. S. S. Siren, dated 22d April, respecting an expedition sent by Brigadier-General [E. D.] Osband to Brownsville, one column of which captured the guerrilla who has been passing for Luxton, but whose proper name was Wilcox, who burned the St. Paul. He was immediately hung by General Osband's order. It appears from this report that the Sylph and Anna Everton were not burned, but had come out of Hatchee [sic] River.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, yours,

S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


U. S. S. SIREN, Off Randolph, Tenn., April 22, 1865.

SIR: I most respectfully make the following report:

April 19 an expedition under command of Brigadier-General Osband started for Brownsville, Tenn., in three columns; one from this place, one by way of Hatchee [sic] River, and one from Fulton, Tenn.

They returned this afternoon, having been successful in capturing 1 colonel, 1 major, 4 captains, 2 lieutenants, and 12 men, and killing General Shelby's adjutant. One of the men captured is the fellow that has been passing for Luxton. General Osband[4] hung him from a cottonwood tree at this place this evening [22nd]; his body is still hanging from the tree.

He confessed to burning the St. Paul and to killing one man on board of her. His proper name is Wilcox. His father lives in Memphis, Tenn.

The steamers Anna Everton and Sylph were not burned by the guerrillas. They came out of Hatchee [sic] River this afternoon.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES FITZPATRICK, Acting Master, Commanding.

Commander A. BRYSON, Commanding Essex and Eighth District, Mound City, Ill.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 27, pp. 146-149





        16, Parade and badges of mourning for man and horse prescribed in Memphis in honor of Abraham Lincoln



COL.: In memory of the immortal man murdered upon the 14th instant, the troops of this command will parade mounted to-morrow morning, the 17th instant, at 10 a. m. promptly, upon the open ground at the south extension of Shelby street. Each officer and enlisted man will wear upon his left arm and upon his saber hilt the appropriate badge of morning. Upon the forehead of each horse and attached to the bridle will be fastened a festoon, one-half of black carpe and one-half of white cambric, each three inches wide and one yard long. Sabers will be carried in reserve when the command "march" is given.

By order of Bvt. Brig. Gen. E. D. Osband:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 375



[1] University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library Special Collections.

[2] As cited in: http://www.indianainthecivilwar.com/letters.htm, with permission from Cyndee Wagner.

[3] Kentucky.

[4] E. D. Osband, Brevet Brig.-Gen. In command of the Third U. S. Colored Cavalry, District of West Tennessee. Osband is not referenced in Generals in Blue.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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