Battle of Shiloh: General Johnston

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Order For Battle At Shiloh

Order For Battle At Shiloh, Or Pittsburg Landing,
April 6 And 7, 1862
by General A. S. Johnston*,
The Confederate Soldier In The Civil War
Edited by Ben La Bree
Originally Published at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1895

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
CORINTH, MISS., April 3, 1862.
Special Orders, No. 8.
 
IN the impending movement the corps of this army will march, assemble and take order of battle in the following manner, it being assumed that the enemy is in position about a mile in advance of Shiloh Church, with his right resting on Owl Creek and his left on Lick Creek.

I. The Third Corps, under Major-General Hardee, will advance as soon as practicable on the Ridge Road, from Corinth to what is known as the Bark Road, passing about half a mile northward of the workhouse. The head of this column will bivouac, if possible, to-night at Mickey's house, at the intersection of the road from Monterey to Savannah. The cavalry, thrown well forward during the march, to reconnoiter and prevent surprise, will halt in front of the Mickey house, on the Bark Road.

2. Major Waddell, aid-de-camp to General Beauregard, with two good guides, will report for service to Major-General Hardee.

3. At 3 o'clock A. M. to-morrow the Third Corps, with the left in front, will continue to advance by the Bark Road until within sight of the enemy's outposts or advanced positions, when it will be deployed in line of battle, according to the nature of the ground, its left resting on Owl Creek, its right toward Lick Creek, supported on that flank by one-half of its cavalry, the left flank being supported by the other half. The interval between the extreme right of this corps and Lick Creek will be filled by a brigade or division, according to the extent of the ground, from the Second Corps. These troops during the battle will also be under the command of Major-General Hardee. He will make the proper disposition of the artillery along the line of battle, remembering that the rifled guns are of long ranges and should be placed on any commanding position in rear of the infantry, to fire mainly on the reserves and second line of the enemy, but will occasionally be directed on his batteries and heads of columns.

II. The Second Corps, under Major-General Braxton Bragg, will assemble on Monterey, and move thence as early as practicable, the right wing, with left in front, by the road from Monterey to Savannah, the head of column to reach the vicinity of Mickey's house, at the intersection of the Bark Road, before sunset. The cavalry with this wing will take position on the road to Savannah, beyond Mickey's as far as Owl Creek, having advanced guards and pickets well to the front. The left wing of this corps will advance at the same time, also left in front, by the road from Monterey to Purdy, the head of the column to reach, by night, the intersection of that road with the Bark Road.

This wing will continue the movement in the morning as soon as the rear of the Third Corps shall have passed the Purdy Road, which it will then follow.

The Second Corps will then form the second line of battle about one thousand yards in rear of the first line. It will be formed, if practicable, with regiments in double columns at half distance, disposed as advantageously as the nature of the ground will admit, and with a view to facility of deployment, the artillery placed as may seem best to Major-General Bragg.

III. The First Corps, under Major-General Polk, with the exception of the detached division at Bethel, will take up its line of march by the Ridge Road, hence to Pittsburg, half an hour after the rear of the Third Corps shall have passed Corinth, and will bivouac to-night in rear of that corps, and on to-morrow will follow the movements of said corps with the same interval of time as to-day. When its head of column shall reach the vicinity of the Mickey house it will be halted in column or massed on the line of the Bark Road, as a reserve.

Meantime one regiment of its cavalry will be placed in observation on the road from Johnston's house to Stantonville, with advance guards and pickets thrown out well in advance toward Stantonville. Another regiment or battalion of cavalry will be posted in the same manner in the road from Monterey to Purdy, with its rear resting on or about the intersection of that road with the Bark Road, having advanced guards and pickets in the direction of Purdy.

The forces at Bethel and Purdy will defend their positions, as already instructed, if attacked; otherwise they will assemble on Purdy, and thence advance with advanced guards, flankers, and all other prescribed military precautions, by the road thence to Monterey, forming a junction with the next of the First Corps at the intersection of that road with the Bark Road leading from Corinth.

IV. The reserve of the forces will be concentrated by the shortest and best routes at Monterey as soon as the rear of the Second Corps shall have moved out of that place. Its commander will take up the best position whence to advance, as required, either in direction of Mickey's or of Pratt's house, on the direct road to Pittsburg, if that road is found practicable, or in direction of the Ridge Road to Hamburg, throwing all its cavalry on the latter road as far as its intersection with the one to Pittsburg, passing through Guersford, on Lick Creek. This cavalry will throw well forward advanced guards and vedettes toward Guersford and in the direction of Hamburg, and during the impending battle, when called to the field of combat, will move by the Guersford Road. A regiment of the infantry reserve will be thrown forward to the intersection of the Gravel Hill Road with the Ridge Road to Hamburg, as a support to the cavalry.

The reserve will be formed of Breckinridge's, Bowen's and Statham's brigades as now organized, the whole under command of Brigadier-General Breckinridge.

V. General Bragg will detach the Fifty-first and Fifty-second regiments Tennessee volunteers, Blount's Alabama and Desha's Arkansas battalion, and Bain's battery from his corps, which, with two of Carroll's regiments, now en route for these headquarters, will form a garrison for the post and depot of Corinth.

VI. Strong guards will be left at the railroad bridges between luka and Corinth, to be furnished in due proportion from the commands at luka, Burnsville and Corinth.

VII. Proper guards will be left at the camps of the several regiments of the forces in the field. Corps commanders will determine the strength of these guards.

VIII. Wharton's regiment of Texas cavalry will be ordered forward at once to scout on the road from Monterey to Savannah, between Mickey's and its intersection with the Pittsburg-Purdy Road; it will annoy and harass any force of the enemy moving by the latter way to assail Cheatham's division at Purdy.

IX. The chief engineer of the forces will take all due measures and precautions and give all requisite orders for the repair of the bridges, causeways and roads on which our troops may move in the execution of these orders.

X. The troops, individually so intelligent, and with such great interests involved in the issue, are urgently enjoined to be observant of the orders of their superiors in the hour of battle. Their officers must constantly endeavor to hold them in hand and prevent the waste of ammunition by heedless, aimless firing. The fire should be slow, always at a distinct mark. It is expected that much and effective work will be done with the bayonet.

By command of
GENERAL A. S. JOHNSTON.

THOMAS JORDAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* General Albert Sidney Johnston was mortally wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and he was the highest or most senior ranking Confederate officer killed during the course of the Civil War. (See List of Confederate Generals Killed or Mortally Wounded.)

Recommended Reading: Shiloh--In Hell before Night. Description: James McDonough has written a good, readable and concise history of a battle that the author characterizes as one of the most important of the Civil War, and writes an interesting history of this decisive 1862 confrontation in the West. He blends first person and newspaper accounts to give the book a good balance between the general's view and the soldier's view of the battle. Continued below…

Particularly enlightening is his description of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander who was killed on the first day of the battle. McDonough makes a pretty convincing argument that Johnston fell far short of the image that many give him in contemporary and historical writings. He is usually portrayed as an experienced and decisive commander of men. This book shows that Johnston was a man of modest war and command experience, and that he rose to prominence shortly before the Civil War. His actions (or inaction) prior to the meeting at Shiloh -- offering to let his subordinate Beauregard take command for example -- reveal a man who had difficulty managing the responsibility fostered on him by his command. The author does a good job of presenting several other historical questions and problems like Johnston's reputation vs. reality that really add a lot of interest to the pages.

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Recommended Reading: Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862. Review: The bloody and decisive two-day battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The stunning Northern victory thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict. The conflagration at Shiloh had its roots in the strong Union advance during the winter of 1861-1862 that resulted in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee. Continued below…

The offensive collapsed General Albert S. Johnston advanced line in Kentucky and forced him to withdraw all the way to northern Mississippi. Anxious to attack the enemy, Johnston began concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with another Union army on the way to join him. On the morning of April 6, Johnston boasted to his subordinates, "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee!" They nearly did so. Johnston's sweeping attack hit the unsuspecting Federal camps at Pittsburg Landing and routed the enemy from position after position as they fell back toward the Tennessee River. Johnston's sudden death in the Peach Orchard, however, coupled with stubborn Federal resistance, widespread confusion, and Grant's dogged determination to hold the field, saved the Union army from destruction. The arrival of General Don C. Buell's reinforcements that night turned the tide of battle. The next day, Grant seized the initiative and attacked the Confederates, driving them from the field. Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, with nearly 24,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Edward Cunningham, a young Ph.D. candidate studying under the legendary T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University, researched and wrote Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 in 1966. Although it remained unpublished, many Shiloh experts and park rangers consider it to be the best overall examination of the battle ever written. Indeed, Shiloh historiography is just now catching up with Cunningham, who was decades ahead of modern scholarship. Western Civil War historians Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith have resurrected Cunningham's beautifully written and deeply researched manuscript from its undeserved obscurity. Fully edited and richly annotated with updated citations and observations, original maps, and a complete order of battle and table of losses, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 will be welcomed by everyone who enjoys battle history at its finest. Edward Cunningham, Ph.D., studied under T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University. He was the author of The Port Hudson Campaign: 1862-1863 (LSU, 1963). Dr. Cunningham died in 1997. Gary D. Joiner, Ph.D. is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A. M. Pate, Jr., Award, and Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. About the Author: Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D., is author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (winner of the 2004 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Non-fiction Award), The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield, and This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park. A former ranger at Shiloh, Tim teaches history at the University of Tennessee.

 

Recommended Reading: Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War (Simon & Schuster). From Publishers Weekly: The bloodbath at Shiloh, Tenn. (April 6-7, 1862), brought an end to any remaining innocence in the Civil War. The combined 23,000 casualties that the two armies inflicted on each other in two days shocked North and South alike. Ulysses S. Grant kept his head and managed, with reinforcements, to win a hard-fought victory. Continued below…

Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston was wounded and bled to death, leaving P.G.T. Beauregard to disengage and retreat with a dispirited gray-clad army. Daniel (Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee) has crafted a superbly researched volume that will appeal to both the beginning Civil War reader as well as those already familiar with the course of fighting in the wooded terrain bordering the Tennessee River. His impressive research includes the judicious use of contemporary newspapers and extensive collections of unpublished letters and diaries. He offers a lengthy discussion of the overall strategic situation that preceded the battle, a survey of the generals and their armies and, within the notes, sharp analyses of the many controversies that Shiloh has spawned, including assessments of previous scholarship on the battle. This first new book on Shiloh in a generation concludes with a cogent chapter on the consequences of those two fatal days of conflict.

 

Recommended Reading: Seeing the Elephant: RAW RECRUITS AT THE BATTLE OF SHILOH. Description: One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, the two-day engagement near Shiloh, Tennessee, in April 1862 left more than 23,000 casualties. Fighting alongside seasoned veterans were more than 160 newly recruited regiments and other soldiers who had yet to encounter serious action. In the phrase of the time, these men came to Shiloh to "see the elephant". Continued below…

Drawing on the letters, diaries, and other reminiscences of these raw recruits on both sides of the conflict, "Seeing the Elephant" gives a vivid and valuable primary account of the terrible struggle. From the wide range of voices included in this volume emerges a nuanced picture of the psychology and motivations of the novice soldiers and the ways in which their attitudes toward the war were affected by their experiences at Shiloh.

 

Recommended Reading: Shiloh: A Novel, by Shelby Foote. Review: In the novel Shiloh, historian and Civil War expert Shelby Foote delivers a spare, unflinching account of the battle of Shiloh, which was fought over the course of two days in April 1862. By mirroring the troops' movements through the woods of Tennessee with the activity of each soldier's mind, Foote offers the reader a broad perspective of the battle and a detailed view of the issues behind it. Continued below…

The battle becomes tangible as Foote interweaves the observations of Union and Confederate officers, simple foot soldiers, brave men, and cowards and describes the roar of the muskets and the haze of the gun smoke. The author's vivid storytelling creates a rich chronicle of a pivotal battle in American history.

 

Recommended Reading: The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged (Hardcover). Description: How can an essential "cornerstone of Shiloh historiography" remain unavailable to the general public for so long? That's what I kept thinking as I was reading this reprint of the 1913 edition of David W. Reed's “The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged.” Reed, a veteran of the Battle of Shiloh and the first historian of the Shiloh National Military Park, was tabbed to write the official history of the battle, and this book was the result. Reed wrote a short, concise history of the fighting and included quite a bit of other valuable information in the pages that followed. The large and impressive maps that accompanied the original text are here converted into digital format and included in a CD located within a flap at the back of the book. Author and former Shiloh Park Ranger Timothy Smith is responsible for bringing this important reference work back from obscurity. His introduction to the book also places it in the proper historical framework. Continued below…

Reed's history of the campaign and battle covers only seventeen pages and is meant to be a brief history of the subject. The detail is revealed in the rest of the book. And what detail there is! Reed's order of battle for Shiloh goes down to the regimental and battery level. He includes the names of the leaders of each organization where known, including whether or not these men were killed, wounded, captured, or suffered some other fate. In a touch not often seen in modern studies, the author also states the original regiment of brigade commanders. In another nice piece of detail following the order of battle, staff officers for each brigade and higher organization are listed. The book's main point and where it truly shines is in the section entitled "Detailed Movements of Organizations". Reed follows each unit in their movements during the battle. Reading this section along with referring to the computerized maps gives one a solid foundation for future study of Shiloh. Forty-five pages cover the brigades of all three armies present at Shiloh.

 

Wargamers and buffs will love the "Abstract of Field Returns". This section lists Present for Duty, engaged, and casualties for each regiment and battery in an easy to read table format. Grant's entire Army of the Tennessee has Present for Duty strengths. Buell's Army of the Ohio is also counted well. The Confederate Army of the Mississippi is counted less accurately, usually only going down to brigade level and many times relying only on engaged strengths. That said, buy this book if you are looking for a good reference work for help with your order of battle.

 

In what I believe is an unprecedented move in Civil War literature, the University of Tennessee Press made the somewhat unusual decision to include Reed's detailed maps of the campaign and battle in a CD which is included in a plastic sleeve inside the back cover of the book. The cost of reproducing the large maps and including them as foldouts or in a pocket in the book must have been prohibitive, necessitating this interesting use of a CD. The maps were simple to view and came in a PDF format. All you'll need is Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free program, to view these. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit. Maps are an integral part of military history, and this solution is far better than deciding to include poor maps or no maps at all. The Read Me file that came with the CD relays the following information: 

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The maps contained on this CD are scans of the original oversized maps printed in the 1913 edition of D. W. Reed's The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged. The original maps, which were in a very large format and folded out of the pages of this edition, are of varying sizes, up to 23 inches by 25 inches. They were originally created in 1901 by the Shiloh National Military Park under the direction of its historian, David W. Reed. They are the most accurate Shiloh battle maps in existence.

 

The maps on the CD are saved as PDF (Portable Document Format) files and can be read on any operating system (Windows, Macintosh, Linux) by utilizing Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visit http://www.adobe.com to download Acrobat Reader if you do not have it installed on your system.

 

Map 1. The Field of Operations from Which the Armies Were Concentrated at Shiloh, March and April 1862

 

Map 2. The Territory between Corinth, Miss., and Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., Showing Positions and Route of the Confederate Army in Its Advance to Shiloh, April 3, 4, 5, & 6, 1862

 

Map 3. Positions on the First Day, April 6, 1862

 

Map 4. Positions on the Second Day, April 7, 1862

 

Complete captions appear on the maps.

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Timothy Smith has done students of the Civil War an enormous favor by republishing this important early work on Shiloh. Relied on for generations by Park Rangers and other serious students of the battle, The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged has been resurrected for a new generation of Civil War readers. This classic reference work is an essential book for those interested in the Battle of Shiloh. Civil War buffs, wargamers, and those interested in tactical minutiae will also find Reed's work to be a very good buy. Highly recommended.

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