Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4.16.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        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, 1862, 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[1]

        16, Skirmish near Eagleville
APRIL 16, 1863.-Skirmish near Eagleville, Tenn.
No. 1.-Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, U. S. Army.
No. 2.-Brig. Gen. William T. Martin, C. S. Army.
No. 1.
Report of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, U. S. Army.
FRANKLIN, April 16, 1863.
GEN.: Steedman says he had sharp skirmishing south of Harpeth to-day; killed some and took some prisoners, from whom he learns that Unionville has been re-enforced from Shelbyville, and that they intend attacking him in the morning. Perhaps they will give us both a trial.
G. GRANGER, Maj.-Gen.

No. 2.
Report of Brig. Gen. William T. Martin, C. S. Army.
MAJ.: Yesterday a skirmish occurred between the reserve of Col. [Josiah] Patterson's pickets on the Chapel Hill and Union pike. The enemy in force (about 300) advanced upon the pickets and were driven back 3 miles. We lost none in killed, but 4 were decoyed into an ambuscade and captured. The enemy lost a number of horses, and are supposed to have lost several killed. They were carried from the field. Col. P. [Patterson] reports that his officers and men, only 80 in number, behaved gallantly. The enemy's force (one regiment) is at College Grove, and is thought to have infantry supports. Col. P. thinks the party is foraging. On this pike our scouts and a small scouting party of the enemy had a skirmish in sight of our picket lines; no casualties reported. I have ordered Capt. [J. H.] Wiggins to turn in two of his old pieces as soon as the two howitzers arrive (now expected), and thus to save the old guns, as I have doubts about being able to carry them off in case of an advance.
Very respectfully,
WILL. T. MARTIN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 261-262.

        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, "…I suffered horribly in anticipation of trouble." Smuggling goods to the Confederate army through Federal lines in Shelby County; a page from the diary of Belle Edmondson

March, Wednesday 16, 1864

Went up Street directly after Breakfast to finish a little job I forgot on yesterday. At one o'clock Mrs. Facklen, Mrs. Kirk and I began to fix my articles for smugling [sic], we made a balmoral of the Grey cloth for uniform, pin'd [sic] the Hats to the inside of my hoops-tied the boots with a strong list, letting them fall directly in front, the cloth having monopolized the back & the Hats the side-All my letters, brass buttons, money, &c in my bosom-left at 2 o'clock to meet Anna at Mr. Barbie's-started to walk, impossible that-hailed a hack-rather suspicious of it, afraid of small-pox, weight of contrabands ruled-jumped in, with orders for a hurried drive to Cor[ner of] Main & Vance-arrived, found Anna not ready, had to wait for her until 5 o'clock, very impatient-started at last-arrived at Pickets, no trouble at all, although I suffered horribly in anticipation of trouble. Arrived at home at dusk, found Mr. Wilson & Harbut, gave them late papers and all news. Mrs. Harbut here to meet her Bro. bro't [sic] Mr. Wilson a letter from Home in Ky. Worn out. 8 yds. Long cloth, 2 Hats, 1 pr Boots, 1 doz. Buttons, letters, &c. 2 Cords, 8 tassels.
Laura, Beulah & Tippie Dora, all in.

Diary of Belle Edmondson

        16, Cherokee Indians Take Advantage of Amnesty Program
Knoxville, Tenn., March 15.
~ ~ ~
Peace has been ratified with the North Carolina Cherokees. Those recently captured say the were induced to take up arms and the belief the were fighting for the United Stated government.
Two were permitted to go in search of the band and represent to facts to their Chief (Too-kannic.) Thirty of the tribe have since come in and accepted the amnesty.
~ ~ ~
Boston Herald, March 16, 1864. [2]

        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

        16, Observing Lincoln's death in Pulaski
In honor to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, of whose death official notice has been received, the general commanding directs that on to-morrow all drills and other duties except those which are indispensable, such as picket and interior guard, be suspended throughout this command; that religious services be held in every regiment having a chaplain; that the public offices, all stores, shops and other places of business and amusement at this post be closed, and that the day be scarcely observed, both by citizens and soldiers, in a manner becoming the mournful occasion. The provost-marshal and the officer of the day for the post are enjoined to see that this order is duly observed. This order to be read at the head of every regiment and detached company in the command at the dress parade of this day.
E. T. WELLS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 368.

[1] As cited in:, with permission from Cyndee Wagner.
[2] As cited in PQCW.

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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