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1862 April 16: Wisconsin Regiments in the Battle of Shiloh

April 17, 2012

From the April 16,1862, issue of The Hudson North Star comes three articles on the battle that became better known as the Battle of Shiloh.  The first article also appeared in The Prescott Journal on April 23, 1862, minus the first sentence about the report being from the Daily Wisconsin.  For a more detailed account of the Wisconsin regiments at Shiloh, see the April 30 posting.

The second article here calls the fight the Battle of Corinth.  Corinth is located in northern Mississippi, about 20 miles southwest of Grant’s starting position at Pittsburg Landing.  The Confederate troops will retreat to Corinth.

The Savannah that is mentioned is in Tennessee, not the one in Georgia.

The Battle of Pittsburg.

WISCONSIN REGIMENTS IN THE FIGHT.

MILWAUKEE, April 14.—The following is a special in the Daily Wisconsin, this forenoon, from a Chicago correspondent:

CAIRO, April 13, 10 P.M.—The 14th, 16th, and 18th Wisconsin regiments were all in the fight.  The 16th Wisconsin regiment was in Prentiss [Benjamin M. Prentiss] division and with the others in the division were mostly dispersed or captured.  What remained of them fought bravely and suffered terribly.

The 18th Wisconsin reached Pittsburg on Saturday evening and immediately marched to the front of Sherman’s division [William Tecumseh Sherman].  They were exposed on Sunday to the heaviest and most deadly kind of fire and yet they returned it with an energy worthy of veterans.

[The Prescott Journal adds a paragraph here:  “This regiment was entirely raw, and had only been paraded a few times, had been hurried down from Milwaukee into the heat of the fight, and many had never loaded a gun till they did it before the enemy.”]

All these regiments, those we have named, did splendidly. [The Journal used “nobly.”]  Let Wisconsin glory in the unflinching bravery and patriotism of her noble sons.  [The Journal continues with: “The hard fought field of Pittsburgh [sic] will bear immortal record of their devotion to freedom.”  The Journal’s coverage ends here.]

It is impossible as yet to procure a complete list of all the casualties.

Gov. Harvey1 and the party from Wisconsin with a boatload of hospital stores, left late Saturday night or early Sunday morning to relieve the wounded of the Wisconsin regiments.

The hospital steamer Louisiana arrived today from Pittsburg Landing.  It was filled with wounded soldiers in the charge of Dr. Wagner, U.S.A.  The wounded have every possible attention.

CAIRO, April 13.—The 14th Wisconsin regiment, Col. Wood, very slightly ;  and Lieut. Col. Messmore wounded.  Major Hancock not hurt ;  he was not in the battle until Monday ;  he behaved with great steadiness and bravery.2

Men speak in the most enthusiastic terms of the conduct of our regiment and company officers in the field.  The loss is thirty killed about seventy wounded, who are at Savannah.  No line officers killed except Captain Waldo, Lieutenant Foot of Company B, severely Wounded,3 Colonel Allen slightly wounded in the arm.4

NEW YORK, April 14th.—A correspondent of the Philadelphia Enquirer after being captured by the rebels at Pittsburg Landing and afterwards escaped, has arrived at Cairo.  He states our loss at 4,000 killed and 12,000 wounded.5

The battle lasted thirteen hours and a half on Sunday and eight hours on Monday.  We captured all but two of their cannon, including the famous Washington artillery of New Orleans.6

BALTIMORE, April 14.—In deference to Beauregard’s dispatches alluded on in the Old Point letter, enquiries have been made of the War Department, and we are authorized to say that the reports from Pittsburg Landing already given to the public, contradict the report in the Norfolk paper.  All reports received at the War department confirm the statements that the rebels were routed and pursued as far as the previous orders of General Grant would permit, and the enemy are now put up in Corinth.

IN THE FIGHT AT PITTSBURG.

It will be seen by the telegraph report that four of the Wisconsin Regiments took part in the battle of Pittsburg, and are highly complimented for their exhibition of bravery.  The 16th Regiment, (Col. Allen) had a severe time of it, and was completely scattered, and a number of the men taken prisoners by the rebels.  Col. Allen is reported wounded.  Capt. A. D. Gray of this place is a member of the 16th Regiment, and was in the fight.4

Map of the Battle Field of Shiloh, from “Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” plate XIV. (see footnote 7.) This map shows the positions of the Union (blue) and Confederate (red) forces.

What the Battle of Corinth Amounts to

CINCINNATI, Ohio, April 12.

The Gazette’s Pittsburg correspondent says: The sum and substance of the battle is —On Sunday we were pushed from disaster to disaster, till we lost every division camp we had and were driven within half a mile of the landing, where the approach of night, the timely aid of the gunboats, the tremendous efforts of our artillerists and Buell’s [Don Carlos Buell] approach saved us.  On Monday, after nine hours hard fighting, we simply regained what we had lost on Sunday.  Not a division advanced half a mile beyond our old camp on Monday, except Lieut. Wallace’s.

The lowest estimates place our loss in killed and wounded at 3,00 and the prisoners from 3 to 4,000.

The rebel loss in killed and wounded is probably a thousand more.

The rebels in their retreat left acres covered with their dead, who they carried to the rear, and destroyed the heavy supply trains they had brought up.

1.  Louis P. Harvey (1820-1862) was the seventh governor of Wisconsin. He had only been in office a few months in 1862 before deciding to organize a group to deliver medical supplies to wounded Wisconsin soldiers. Harvey himself even went to visit the wounded soldiers. While boarding a boat headed back North on the Tennessee River he fell into the river and drowned.
2.  David E. Wood, from Fond du Lac, died June 17, 1862.
      Isaac E. Messmore, from La Crosse, resigned on April 7, 1862.
      John Hancock, from Oshkosh, became major of the 14th on October 3, 1861; lieutenant colonel of the 14th on April 7, 1862, when Messmore resigned; and colonel on June 17 when Wood died. He resigned on January 23, 1863, due to a disability.
3.  George E. Waldo, from Manitowoc, captain of Company E of the 14th Wisconsin, was killed in action on April 7, 1862.
      The only Foot/Foote in the 14th Wisconsin was Charles, a sergeant with Company I, but he was not killed or wounded at Shiloh.  The first lieutenant of Company B was Joseph D. Post, from Waupaca. He was wounded at Shiloh and died from his wounds on May 27, 1862.
4.  Benjamin Allen, from Pepin, colonel of the 16th Wisconsin, was wounded at Shiloh and will eventually resign because the wound never healed properly.  Although not mentioned here, Colonel Allen’s lieutenant colonel, Cassius Fairchild, was also wounded at Shiloh.
     Allen’s son-in-law, Almon D. Gray, was also his law partner. Gray was captain of the 16th’s Company H.
5.  A grand total of 23,746 casualties occurred during the Battle of Shiloh, with 13,047 on the Union side and 10,699 on the Confederate side.
6.  Washington Artillery of New Orleans formed in 1838 and served in both the Mexican War and the Civil War (in the Confederate Army). They were equipped privately and they were an incredibly popular artillery; the Governor of Louisiana even donated a Napoleon Cannon to the regiment.
7.  Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,  published under the direction of Redfield Proctor, Stephen B. Elkins, and Daniel S. Lamont, Secretaries of War, by George B. Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph W. Kirkley, Board of Publication ; compiled by Calvin D. Cowles (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891-1895). Available in Special Collections, UWRF University Archives & Area Research Center (E 464 .U6); also available digitally at Ohio State University’s eHistory.

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