Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4.8.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        8, Reconnaissance from Shiloh battlefield

APRIL 8, 1862.-Reconnaissance from Shiloh Battle-field.

Report of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, Tuesday, April 8, 1862.

SIR: With the cavalry placed at my command and two brigades of my fatigue troops I went this morning out on the Corinth road. One after another of the abandoned camps of the enemy lined the roads, with hospital flags for their protection. At all we found more or less wounded and dead.

At the forks of the road I found the head of Gen. Wood's division. At that point I ordered cavalry to examine both roads, and found the enemy's cavalry. Col. Dickey, of the Illinois cavalry, asking for re-enforcements, I ordered Gen. Wood to advance the head of his column cautiously on the left-hand road, whilst I conducted the head of the Third Brigade of the Fifth Division up the right-hand road.

About half a mile from the forks was a clear field, through which the road passed, and immediately beyond a space of some 200 yards of fallen timber, and beyond an extensive camp. The enemy's cavalry could be seen in this camp, and after a reconnaissance I ordered the two advance companies of the Seventy-seventh Ohio, colonel Hildebrand, to deploy forward as skirmishers, and the regiment itself forward into line, with an interval of 100 yards. In this order I advanced cautiously until the skirmishers were engaged. Taking it for granted this disposition would clean the camp, I held Col. Dickey's Fourth Illinois Cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy's cavalry came down boldly to the charge, breaking through the line of skirmishers, when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets, and fled. The ground was admirably adapted to a defense of infantry against cavalry, it being miry and covered with fallen timber.

As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey's cavalry began to discharge their carbines and fell into disorder. I instantly sent orders to the rear for the brigade to form line of battle, which was promptly executed. The broken infantry and cavalry rallied on this line, and as the enemy's cavalry came to it our cavalry in turn charged and drove them from the field.

I advanced the entire brigade upon the same ground, and sent Col. Dickey's cavalry a mile farther on the road. On examining the ground which had been occupied by the Seventy-seventh Ohio we found 15 dead and about 25 wounded. I sent for wagons, and had all the wounded sent back to camp and the dead buried; also the whole camp to be destroyed. Here we found much ammunition for field pieces, which was destroyed; also two caissons, and a general hospital, with about 280 Confederate wounded and about 50 of our own. Not having the means of bringing these off, Col. Dickey, by my orders, took a surrender, signed by Medical Director Lyle and all the attending surgeons, and a pledge to report themselves to you as prisoners of war; also a pledge that our wounded would be carefully attended and surrendered to us tomorrow as soon as ambulances could go out.

I inclose the written document, and a request that you will cause to be sent out wagons or ambulances for the wounded of ours tomorrow; also that wagons be sent out to bring in the many tents belonging to us, which are pitched all along the road for 4 miles. I did not destroy these, because I know the enemy cannot remove them. The roads are very bad, and the road is strewn with abandoned wagons, ambulances, and limber-boxes. The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns, but has crippled his batteries by abandoning the hind limber-boxes of at least twenty guns.

I am satisfied the enemy's infantry and artillery passed Lick Creek this morning, traveling all last night, and that he left behind all his cavalry, which has protected his retreat, but the signs of confusion and disorder mark the whole road.

The check sustained by us at the fallen timbers delayed our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were provided for and dead buried, and our troops being fagged out by three days' hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I ordered them back to camp, where all now are.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Division.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 639-640.


APRIL 8, 1862.--Reconnaissance from Shiloh Battle-Field.

Report of Thomas Harrison, Texas Rangers [unattached].

CAMP, NEAR CORINTH, April 11, 1862.

[COL.:] I have to report that, being left by you in command of the Texas Rangers, 220 strong, on the morning of Tuesday last, I remained in the rear of our retiring army until the evening of that day, when information was brought me by a member of Col. Forrest's cavalry that a small body of the enemy's cavalry had appeared on our right flank.

I immediately proceeded with my command, accompanied by a company [about 40 men] of Col. Forrest's cavalry, to the point occupied by the enemy, and finding him apparently in considerable force, and having formed my command in line of battle to his front, I made a personal reconnaissance of his lines. This revealed his cavalry, about 300 strong, with a line of infantry in its rear, the extent of which I could not determine, owing to a dense brush-wood in which the latter was placed. I discovered too, as I thought and still think, artillery almost entirely concealed by the thick undergrowth of timber.[1] I could not ascertain the strength of this battery.

Deeming it unadvisable to attack a force so strong and advantageously situated-their position and the nature of the ground rendering a charge by cavalry extremely hazardous-I retired to a more favorable position, and learning here that the enemy was attempting to pass my flank in force I commenced to retire again to a point beyond that which it was supposed they would reach my rear. At this time I met Capt. [Isaac F.] Harrison, of Col. Wirt Adams' cavalry, commanding about 40 men of that regiment. He informed me that his regiment was so situated as to prevent the flank movement attempted by the enemy.

Being joined by him I returned to my position near the hospital, where I found Col. Forrest commanding in person the company of his cavalry above named. On consultation with him it was determined to charge the enemy then formed for battle to our front. The charge was immediately executed. The front line of the enemy's infantry and his cavalry in its rear was put to flight; a portion of the latter only after a hand-to-hand engagement with the Rangers had attested their superior skill in the use and management of pistol and horse. My command not having sabers and our shots being exhausted I ordered a retreat on the appearance of a strong line of infantry still to our front, which was well executed by the Rangers. I rallied and reformed them on the ground where the charge was begun, but the enemy did not advance. Shortly afterward I was ordered by Gen. Breckinridge to the rear of his infantry and artillery.

I suppose 40 or 50 of the enemy were killed on the ground and doubtless many more were wounded. We captured 43 prisoners. My loss was 2 killed [Champion and Earnest] and 7 wounded, among them Capt. [G.] Cook, Lieut.'s [H. E.] Storey and Gordon; none mortally. Private Ash is missing.

I cannot state the loss of the companies co-operating with me. Col. Forrest I learn, was slightly wounded.

The Rangers acted throughout the affair with admirable coolness and courage. I cannot say more than that they fully sustained the ancient fame of the name they bear; they could not do more. I cannot discriminate between them, because each one displayed a heroism worthy of the cause we are engaged for.

Very respectfully,

THOS. HARRISON, Maj., Cmdg. Texas Rangers.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 923-924.



We have to record another brilliant victory for the Confederate arms, which occurred on Tuesday [8th] last, and was achieved by a small force of our cavalry, composed of a detachment of Col. FORREST'S regiment and a party of Texas Rangers under Maj. THOS. HARRISON. The whole force was about nine hundred, and was under command of Col. FORREST.

When our army commenced retiring from Shiloah [sic] on Monday [7th] evening, Gen. BRECKINRIDGE'S brigade, with the cavalry, was ordered to bring up the rear, and prevent the enemy from cutting off an of our trains. On Tuesday afternoon the cavalry mentioned were attacked by a Federal force of two regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, the latter being in the advance. After receiving the enemy's fire, which killed and wounded ten, Col. FORREST, in a few spirited words, called upon his men to advance upon the enemy, which they did in the most gallant style.

At the first fire the cavalry of the enemy turned and fled, actually breaking the ranks of their own infantry in endeavoring to escape the missiles of the Confederates. The result of this dashing affair was – Federal loss, killed and wounded, two hundred and fifty, and forty-eight prisoners; Confederates, ten killed and wounded.

In this affair Col. FORREST received a painful, though not dangerous wound. Just as he had brought down the colonel of the Federal cavalry, one of the enemy fired at him with effect. The next instant a bullet from the colonel's pistol revenged the personal injury have had received. The colonel will be with his command in a few days.

Memphis Appeal, April 11, 1862.



        8, Capture of Island No. 10 and surrender of Confederates at Tiptonville

Covered by Federal gunboats, Major-General John Pope landed part of his army of 25,000 on the west shore of Madrid Bend, outflanking Confederate defenses, causing Confederate forces to abandon the fortified island. Confederate Brigadier-General W.W. Mackall, retreating south, finding himself cut off by gunboats and high water, surrendered the remnant of the Confederate force on the northern outskirts of Tiptonville.


Maj.-Gen. HALLECK:

Enemy in rapid retreat, leaving artillery, baggage, supplies, and sick. Paine is near Tiptonville; Stanley within mile [sic] of him; Hamilton 3 miles in rear of Stanley; Plummer now at landing on this side; our gunboats below Tiptonville on the bank. Think we shall bag whole force, though not certain. No escape for them below Tiptonville, except by wading shoulder deep in swamp. Whole command well in hand and will move forward at daylight. Captured eleven heavy guns, and enemy's famous floating battery, carrying fourteen guns, which drifted down from Island 10. I think rebels are trying desperately to escape; many of them must be captured. Have already taken 100 prisoners. Will occupy Island 10 early to-morrow unless enemy is assembled there in force; capture it anyhow by evening. Send down all transports you can get at once. Do not believe enemy will make another stand this side of Memphis. If I can get transportation, I will be in Memphis in seven days.

JNO. POPE, Maj.-Gen., Commanding.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 8, p. 670.


UNITED STATES FLAG-SHIP BENTON, Island No. 10, April 8, 1862.

Maj.-Gen. HALLECK:

SIR: I have the honor to inform the department that since I sent the telegraph last night announcing the surrender of Island 10 to me possession has been taken of both the island and the works upon the Tennessee shore by the gunboats and the troops under command of Gen. Buford. Seventeen officers and 368 privates, besides 100 of their sick and 100 men employed on board transports, are in our hands unconditional prisoners of war.

I have caused a hasty examination to be made of the forts, batteries, and munitions of war captured. There are eleven earthworks, with seventy heavy cannon, varying in caliber from 32s [sic] to 100 pounders rifled. The magazines are well supplied with powder, and there are large quantities of shot and shell and other munitions of war, and also great quantities of provisions. Four steamers afloat have fallen in our hands, and two others, with the rebel gunboat Grampus, are sunk, but will be easily raised. The floating battery of sixteen heavy guns turned adrift by the rebels is said to be lying on the Missouri shore below New Madrid.

The enemy upon the main-land appear to have fled with great precipitation after dark last night, leaving in many cases half-prepared meals in their quarters, and there seems to have been no concert of action between the rebels upon the island and those occupying the shore, but the latter fled, leaving the former to their fate.

These works, erected with the highest engineering skill, are of great strength, and with their natural advantages would have been impregnable if defended by men fighting in a better cause. A combined attack of the naval and land forces would have taken place this afternoon or to-morrow morning had not the rebels so hastily abandoned this stronghold. To mature these plans of attack have absolutely required the past twenty-three days' of preparation. Gen. Pope is momentarily expected to arrive with his army at this point, he having successfully crossed the river yesterday under a heavy fire, which no doubt led to the hasty abandonment of the works last night.

I am unofficially informed that the two gunboats which so gallantly run the fire of the rebel batteries a few nights since, yesterday attacked and reduced a work of the enemy opposite New Madrid mounting eight heavy guns. I regret that the painful condition of my foot, still requiring me to use crutches, prevented me from making a personal examination of the works. I was therefore compelled to delegate that duty to Lieut.-Commanding S. L. Phelps, of the flag-ship Benton.

A. H. FOOTE, Flag Officer, Commanding Naval Forces Western Waters.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 8, p. 674.


MEMPHIS, TENN., April 9, 1862.

[Gen. POLK:]

DEAR GEN.: I sincerely congratulate you upon the glorious victory that you and your command have acted so conspicuous a part. Since I left Island 10 I have had a severe attack of pneumonia. I am able to write to-day.

The pressure upon me for my report was so great that I was forced to dictate most of it from a sick bed, and of course it is not full, and is imperfect. I regret, too, that Gen. Stewart and Gen. Walker have not made reports to me. However, I attribute it to official duties on the part of Gen. S. and to sickness on the part of Gen. Walker.

If any reports have been sent direct to your office will you send me the reports or copies?

I regret the sad news I hear from Island 10. The poor fellows worked and fought without murmur as long as I was with them. I parted with them with regret. It is a matter of mortification to me to find myself situated as I now am-accused of drunkenness, &c. Nothing but an investigation of all my acts will now satisfy me.

Yours, sincerely,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 8, pp. 131-132.


The conclusion of the Federal siege of Island No. 10 on April 8, 1862 can be said to have begun on April 4. The following excerpt from the Report of Major-General John Pope is illustrative of the events leading to the surrender of Confederate forces at Tiptonville.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Camp five miles from Corinth, Miss., May 2, 1862.

* * * *

On the 4th Commodore Foote allowed one of the gunboats to run the batteries at Island No. 10, and Capt. Walke, U. S. Navy, who had volunteered (as appears from the commodore's order to him), came through that night with the gunboat Carondelet. Although many shots were fired at him as he passed the batteries, his boat was not once struck. He informed me of his arrival early on the 5th.

On the morning of the 6th I sent Gen. Granger, Col. Smith, of the Forty-third Ohio, and Capt. L. H. Marshall, of my staff, to make a reconnaissance of the river below, and requested Capt. Walke to take them on board the Carondelet and run down the river, to ascertain precisely the character of the banks and the position and number of the enemy's batteries. The whole day was spent in this reconnaissance, the Carondelet steaming down the river in the midst of a heavy fire from the enemy's batteries along the shore. The whole bank for 15 miles was lined with heavy guns at intervals, in no case exceeding 1 mile. Intrenchments for infantry were also thrown up along the shore between the batteries. On his return up the river Capt. Walke silenced the enemy's batteries opposite Point Pleasant, and a small infantry force, under Capt. L. H. Marshall, landed and spiked the guns.

On the night of the 6th, at my urgent request, Commodore Foote ordered the Pittsburgh also to run down to New Madrid. She arrived at daylight, having, like the Carondelet, come through untouched. I directed Capt. Walke to proceed down the river at daylight on the 7th with two gunboats, and if possible silence the batteries near Watson's Landing, the point which had been selected to land the troops, and at the same time I brought the four steamers into the river, and embarked Paine's division, which consisted of the Tenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-second, and Fifty-first Illinois Regiments, with Hougtaling's battery of artillery.

The land batteries of 32-pounders, under Capt. Williams, First United States Infantry, which had established some days before, opposite the point where the troops were to land, were ordered to open their fire upon the enemy's batteries opposite as soon as it was possible to see them.

A heavy storm commenced on the night of the 6th, and continued with short intermission for several days. The morning of the 7th was very dark, and the rain fell heavily until midday. As soon as it was fairly light our heavy batteries on the land opened their fire vigorously upon the batteries of the enemy, and the two gunboats ran down the river and joined in the action.

* * * *

The whole force designed to cross had been drawn up along the river bank, and saluted the passing steamers with cheers of exultation. As soon as we began to cross the river the enemy commenced to evacuate his position along the bank and the batteries along the Tennessee shore opposite Island No. 10. His whole force was in motion towards Tiptonville, with the exception of the few artillerists on the island, who in the haste of retreat had been abandoned.

As Paine's division was passing opposite the point I occupied on the shore one of my spies, who had crossed on the gunboats from the silenced battery, informed me of this hurried retreat of the enemy. I signaled Gen. Paine to stop his boats, and sent him the information, with orders to land as rapidly as possible on the opposite shore and push forward to Tiptonville, to which point the enemy's forces were tending from every direction. I sent no force to occupy the deserted batteries opposite Island No. 10, as it was my first purpose to capture the whole army of the enemy.

At 8 or 9 o'clock that night (the 7th) the small force abandoned on the island, finding themselves deserted, and fearing an attack in the rear from our land forces, which they knew had crossed the river in the morning, sent a message to Commodore Foote, surrendering to him. The divisions were pushed forward to Tiptonville as fast as they were landed, Paine leading. The enemy attempted to make a stand several times near that place, but Paine did not once deploy his columns. By midnight all our forces were across the river and pushing forward rapidly to Tiptonville.

The enemy, retreating before Paine and from Island No. 10, met at Tiptonville during the night in great confusion, and were driven back into the swamps by the advance of our forces, until, at 4 o'clock a. m. on the 8th, finding themselves completely cut off, and being apparently unable to resist, they laid down their arms and surrendered at discretion. They were so scattered and confused that it was several days before anything like an accurate account of their number could be made.

Meantime I had directed Col. W. L. Elliott, of the Second Iowa Cavalry, who had crossed the river after dark, to proceed as soon as day dawned to take possession of the enemy's abandoned works on the Tennessee shore opposite Island No. 10. and to save the steamers if he possibly could. He reached there before sunrise that morning, the 8th, and took possession of the encampments, the immense quantities of stores and supplies, and of all the enemy's batteries on the main-land. He also brought in about 200 prisoners. After posting his guards and taking possession of the steamers not sunk or injured he remained until the forces from the flotilla landed. As Col. Buford was in command of these forces, Col. Elliott turned over to his infantry force his prisoners, batteries, and captured property for safe-keeping, and proceeded to scour the country in the direction of Tiptonville, along Reelfoot Lake, as directed.

It is almost impossible to give a correct account of the immense quantity of artillery, ammunition, and supplies of every description which fell into our hands. Three [Confederate] generals, 273 field and company officers, 6,700 privates, 123 pieces of heavy artillery, 35 pieces of field artillery) all of the very best character and latest patterns), 7,000 stand of small-arms, tents for 12,000 men, several wharf-boat loads of provisions, an immense quantity of ammunition of all kinds, many hundred horses and mules, with wagons and harness, &c., are among the spoils. Very few, if any, of the enemy escaped, and only by wading and swimming through the swamps.

The conduct of the troops was splendid throughout, as the results of this operation and its whole progress very plainly indicate. We have crossed this great river, the banks of which were lined with batteries and defended by 7,000 men. We have pursued and captured the whole force of the enemy and all his supplies and material of war, and have again recrossed and reoccupied the camps at New Madrid, without losing a man or meeting with any accident.

* * * *

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. POPE, Maj.-Gen., Commanding.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 8, pp. 88-90.



8, "Mrs. Smith is a very talkative woman and a regular rebel. I have lots of fun with her." Frank M. Guernsey's letter to Fannie


16th Division, of the Department of the Tennessee,

Memphis, April 8, 1863

[Dear Fannie,]

You need not be alarmed at the style of the heading of this sheet for there is nothing very serious intended. This is the only kind of paper the Adjutants office furnishes at present.

I received your letter day before yesterday and to use a southern phrase was mighty glad to hear from you. I had been waiting patiently for a long time and was finally rewarded with success. I am taking things very easy at present. I have recovered almost entirely from my sickness but am somewhat weak. I have not yet reported for duty and do not intend to for the present. I am going to wait until I get my strength and get fully recruited up. I am having a fine time. I go down Town when I please and stay as long as I have a mind to. The Col. places no restraint upon me what ever. I am boarding with a family by the name of Smith who live near our camp. They are very fine people but like all other southerners are more or less tinctured with secessionism. Mrs. Smith is a very talkative woman and a regular rebel. I have lots of fun with her. She is so plain and candid that it is hard to take offence at any thing she says. She appears to be very sincere in her belief that the Rebels are right and that we are wrong.

We are encamped in one of the most beautiful places you ever saw. There is a small ravine running through the center of our camp, the banks on either side sloping gently down to the little stream. On one side of the ravine is pitched in exact order the tents of the Regiment, on the other the tents of the Regimental and company officers. There is quite a heavy growth of trees on the camp ground which are just leaving out. In a week or two our grounds will be splendid. The leaves will be out and we lazy soldiers will be abundantly protected from the scorching rays of a southern sun.

I think Fanny [sic] that it would be almost impossibility for me to get a furlough. Genl. Grant has issued an order prohibiting the granting of furloughs except in extreme cases, and we are in his department, so the order includes us of course. Perhaps I shall be able to get away on detached service. We are expecting a pay day now very soon and there is two Captains who want me to go home and take the money for their companies.

Most of the men in our Regiment have alotted [sic] their money to their families. I shall know in a few days whether I can go or not. I would not accept of a discharge now unless my health was poor. No Fanny I enlisted for the war and have staked my all on the issue, and although I have such dear ties at home to call me there, yet I think I owe my country a deeper debt of gratitude and I have resolved to stand or fall with her. I don't [sic] want to leave the service until the stars and stripes float over every foot of secessia [sic] in triumph. I should like to have seen you very much when I was sick and should not if it were possible, but I have learned patience since I have been in the Army, but it is nearly mail time so I must close for this time. Now dear Fanny you must write soon, remember that I am always anxious to hear from you. I shall get a leave of absence if it is possible and make you a visit. It is very uncertain though. Please give my best regards to all your people, and accept much love to yourself

From your friend

Frank M. Guernsey

Guernsey Collection.



        8, Confederate Coney-Catching near Wartrace

Gen. Liddel's command, stationed near Wartrace, Tenn., are having a good deal of sport in catching a large number of rabbits daily. An old friend of ours says that on last Friday the boys captured about four hundred of the "molly cottontails." They manage the thing well. Two or three regiments march out and surround a thicket, then cavalry men with dogs enter the thicket and put the rabbits to flight, when our boys close in with clubs, sticks, etc., making a clean sweep of the varments [sic]. Quite a Luxury, and a great saving in a commissary point of view.—Chat. Rebel.

Montgomery Weekly Advertiser, April 8, 1863.[2]



        8, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7 relative to relations between officers and men in Federal Army in Middle Tennessee

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7. HDQRS. SECOND DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS, Pulaski, Tenn., April 8, 1864.

The general commanding regrets that the state of discipline in this command has become so loose as to compel him to publish a general order on the subject. No officer having the good of the service at heart can fail to see the pernicious effect of a too free social intercourse between officers and men. All officers are therefore strictly forbidden to associate on terms of equality with enlisted men. This applies especially to officers messing, playing at games of any description, or visiting with their men, as also permitting them to visit their quarters except upon business, which is to be done in the proper manner. In a general sense this order will make it the duty of officers to require respectful and courteous treatment from enlisted men on all occasions. Whenever company officers or officers connected with regiments or batteries are guilty of violating this order it shall be the duty of regimental commanders to place such officer or officers in arrest, and prefer the proper charges against the same without delay, and any regimental commander neglecting to do this will be placed in arrest by his brigade commander and the charge of neglect of duty preferred against him.

This order applies to staff officers who may have enlisted men directly under their charge, and any violation of this order will subject them to the same penalty as above prescribed, the general commanding division and commanders of brigades being the proper officers to execute the same.

Officers of the inspector-general's department are charged with the responsibility of seeing this order properly executed, and will report without favor any officer who violates its requirements.

This order will be read to each regiment and battery composing this command at the evening parade following its receipt.

By order of Brig. Gen. T. W. Sweeny, commanding:

LOUIS H. EVERTS, Capt. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 304-305.




[1] This is also known as the "Fallen Timbers" skirmish or engagement or affair some secondary sources. It is treated by many enthusiasts as a great day for Confederate arms, and the fight in which Nathan Bedford Forrest was wounded, near Michie.

[2] As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu.

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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