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The March of Lew Wallace's division to Shiloh.

Circumstances and character of the order.

As General Grant passed up from Savannah on the Tigress on the 6th of April to the battle-field of Shiloh, he found General Lew Wallace awaiting him at Crump's Landing, the troops of his division having been ordered under arms at the sound of the battle. [For General Grant's statements, see pages 467-8.] General Wallace in his official report places the hour at which General Grant reached Crump's at about 9, while General Grant gives the hour of his arrival at Pittsburg Landing as about 8. Grant left Wallace a direction to hold himself in readiness for orders. In anticipation of the receipt of them, a horse was saddled at Crump's for the use of the expected messenger, the First Brigade having been already sent from Crump's to join the Second at Stony Lonesome (marked A on the map), General Wallace following about 9:15. To this point, at an hour which has been variously stated by the officers of the command at from 11 o'clock to noon (Wallace says, “exactly 11:30” ), came Captain A. S. Baxter, quartermaster on Grant's staff, with the order. Concerning the time, dispatch, and character of this order there is much disagreement. General Grant says that the order was verbal; that it was given after riding out to the front, and that Baxter made a memorandum of it, though he does not say that he saw Baxter. Furthermore Rawlins says that the order was taken by him back to the Landing, half a mile away, and given verbally to Baxter, and afterward dictated to him, at the latter's request, and that Baxter started on the steamer not later than 9 o'clock. Rowley states that Grant gave the order verbally and in person to Baxter at once upon arriving at the Landing, and then rode immediately to the front. Wallace states that Baxter delivered an unsigned order and said that “it had been given to him verbally, but that in coming down the river he had reduced it to writing.”

Concerning the circumstances and character of the order Captain Baxter made the following statement in the New-York Mail and Express for November 4th, 1886:

I will give my own recollection of the event at Pittsburg Landing. On Sunday, between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock A. M., April 6th, 1862, Adjutant-General Rawlins, of General Grant's staff, requested me to go to Crump's Landing (five miles below) and order General Lew Wallace to march his command at once by the River Road to Pittsburg Landing, and join the army on the right. At the same time General Rawlins dictated the order to General Wallace, which was written by myself and signed by General Rawlins.

On meeting General Wallace I gave the order verbally, also handed to him the written order. General Wallace said he was waiting for orders, had heard the firing all the morning, and was ready to move with his command immediately-knew the road and had put it in good order.

My stay with Lew Wallace did not exceed three minutes. I had no further conversation with him, and I returned immediately to Pittsburg Landing.

As to the character of the order: General Grant's statement (see page 468) is that the order as given was “to march immediately to Pittsburg by the road nearest the river.” Captain Rowley says, “to march with his division up the river, and into the field on the right of our line, as rapidly as possible.” Rawlins says it read “substantially as follows” : “Major-General Wallace: You will move forward your division from Crump's Landing, leaving a sufficient force to protect the public property at that place, to Pittsburg Landing, on the road nearest to and parallel to the river, and form in line at right angles with the river, immediately in rear of the camp of Major-General C. F. Smith's division on our right [W. H. L. Wallace's], and there wait further orders.” General Wallace says, that as received, it directed him “to come up and take position on the right of the army, and form my line of battle at a right angle with the river,” and “to leave a force to prevent surprise at Crump's Landing.” Colonel James R. Ross says, “I very distinctly remember that this order directed you to move forward and join General Sherman's right on the Purdy Road, and form your line of battle at right angles with the river, and then act as circumstances would dictate.” 1 General Fred. Knefler says, “It was a written order to march and form a junction with the right of the army.” 2 Captain Addison Ware says it was “to move your division up and join General Sherman's right on the road leading from Pittsburg Landing to Purdy.” 3 General Knefler adds, “The order was placed in my hands as Assistant Adjutant-General; but where it is now, or what became of it, I am unable to say. Very likely, having been written on a scrap of paper, it was lost.” 4

Route and limit of the March.

All reports agree that the march of the two brigades began at 12 o'clock, along the road “A B C”. Wallace not arriving at Pittsburg Landing, General Grant sent Captain Rowley of his staff to hurry him forward. Rowley went by the River Road almost to Crump's Landing, and then “a distance of between five and six miles,” when he reached the rear of Wallace's division by the road A B C, and passing the resting troops continued to the head of the column, where he found Wallace and delivered the orders, and gave him the first information that the right of the army had been driven back. Wallace then ordered a counter-march of the troops. The point at which this turning took place is fixed by General Wallace at D, half-way between the Purdy crossing and the Owl Creek bridge. (This identification is fully confirmed by letters of October 5th and 6th, 1887, written by Generals Fred. Knefler and G. F. McGinnis, Captains Thomas C. Pursel and George F. Brown, and Dr. S. L. Ensminger, all of whom took part in the march, and the last two of whom examined the ground in 1884 to determine the point.) In the Official Records is a sketch map, without scale, by Colonel James B. McPherson, placing the [608]

Map of the routes by which General Grant was reenforced at Pittsburg Landing. Authorities: (1.) The Official or Thom map (p. 508), for roads and distances on the south side of Snake Creek; (2.) the Union Camp map (pp. 496-7), for the location of camps morning of April 5th, 1862; (3.) the Shiloh map in General Badeau's Military history of U. S. Grant, for the main roads on the north side of Snake Creek, that map also agreeing with General McPherson's sketch map without scale in Official Records, Vol. X., p. 183; (4.) General Wallace's statement to the editors, 1887, based on investigations and measurements in 1884, by Captain George F. Brown and Dr. S. L. Ensminger, for the roads from G to C and from C to E, and for the point D as the limit of the march toward Owl Creek. N. B.-No detailed survey appears to have been made.

Key to routes of Wallace's division:

Route of First Brigade, morning of April 6th-F A.

Route of First and Second brigades to the battlefield, afternoon-A B C D C H E K.

Route of Third Brigade, afternoon — G C H E K.

limit of march at C. This was probably intended for the point where Rowley came up with the rear of the column, which must have covered a distance of two miles or more; but if intended for the limit of the advance, it could not have been fixed on McPherson's own knowledge, for when Rawlins and McPherson, who were also sent by General Grant (McPherson says at 2:30) to hasten the movement, following Rowley's course, came up with the division (Rawlins says about 3:30), the First Brigade had passed across toward E and the Second was passing. Some mystery attaches to the inaction of the Third Brigade during the morning. General Wallace states in his report that it was concentrated on the Second, meaning, as he explains to the editors, that the order for the concentration had been sent, and, he presumed, obeyed. Colonel Ross delivered the order to Colonel Charles R. Woods, then in command at Adamsville, and Captain Ware, Wallace's second aid, carried a repetition of it — both during the morning. [Ross to Wallace, January 25th, 186 8, and Ware to Wallace, 1868.] Yet Colonel Whittlesey,who during the day, by seniority of commission, succeeded to the command of the brigade,says in his report that three of the four regiments “received orders to march with their trains about 2 P. M., and to advance toward Pittsburg Landing in advance of the trains at 4 P. M.” This they did (General Wallace informs us) by the route shown on the map. The fourth regiment went to Crump's to guard the public property.

The Official Records (Vol. X., p. 177) also tain a rough sketch map, submitted by General con-Wallace to General Halleck, accompanying a memorandum dated March 14th, 1863. That map is manifestly imperfect in representing but one bridge between A and the right of the army, the junction of Owl and Snake creeks being placed above the upper Snake creek bridge, instead of below it. General Wallace himself has informed the editors that that map is incorrect, and that its inaccuracy arose from a prevalent confusion of the names of Snake and Owl creeks. That map, however, faithfully represents General Wallace's claim that the head of his column advanced to within a mile of what had been the right of the army. This confusion of the two creeks has given ambiguity to General Wallace's statement in his [609] report, made five days after the battle, which he informs us should read as bracketed:

Selecting a road that led directly to the right of the lines, as they were established around Pittsburg Landing on Sunday morning, my column started immediately, the distance being about six miles. The cannonading, distinctly audible, quickened the steps of the men. Snake Creek [Owl Creek], difficult of passage at all times on account of its steep banks and swampy bottoms, ran between me and the point of junction. Short way from it [Owl Creek] Captain Rowley, from General Grant, ... overtook me. ... It seemed, on his representation, most prudent to carry the column across to what is called the “River Road.” ... This movement occasioned a counter-march, which delayed my junction with the main army until a little after nightfall.

Character of the March.

Rowley, McPherson, and Rawlins report that they represented the need of haste, and that the march was slow:
Of the character of the march, after I overtook General Wallace, I can only say that to me it appeared intolerably slow, resembling more a reconnoissance in the face of an enemy than a forced march to relieve a hard-pressed army. So strongly did this impression take hold of my mind, that I took the liberty of repeating to General Wallace that part of General Grant's order enjoining haste. [Rowley.]
After I had reached the head of the column, I must say it seemed to me that the march was not as rapid as the urgency of the case required. Perhaps this arose in a great measure from my impatience and anxiety to get this force on the field before dark. ... [McPherson ]
Colonel McPherson and I came up to him about 3:30 o'clock P. M. He was then not to exceed four or four and a half miles [two and a half miles?] from the scene of action; the roads were in fine condition; he was marching light; his men were in buoyant spirits, within hearing of the musketry, and eager to get forward. He did not make a mile and a half an hour, although urged and appealed to, to push forward. Had he moved with the rapidity his command were able and anxious to have moved after we overtook him, he would have reached you [Grant] in time to have engaged the enemy before the close of Sunday's fight. [Rawlins.]

General Wallace denies this last conclusion and the statement about the condition of the road. General Knefler says [letter to Wallace]: “After some hard marching over execrable roads, we reached our position about dusk.” Col. James R. Ross says [letter to Wallace, January 25th, 1868]: “We had to march over the worst road I ever remember to have seen. In many places it was almost impossible to get artillery through.”

The head of the column did not arrive at K until after dark, probably at 7:15, sunset being at6 : 30. The total time of the march was about 7 hours. The total distance traveled to the lower bridge (K) was, according to our map, 11 miles. It is possible that a detailed survey of the field would indicate the distance as somewhat greater. General Wallace estimates it as “over 14 miles, of which quite 5 miles were through mire so deep that the axles of my guns left wakes behind them as if mud-scows had been dragged that way.” Captain Brown, who studied the route in 1884, estimates it at between 13 and 14 miles. Not considering the comparative difficulties of the two marches, the map indicates little difference in the speed of Wallace's division and that of Nelson's leading brigade (Ammen) from Savannah to Pittsburg Landing (1:30 to 5). Ammen in his diary dwells on the extreme difficulties of his route, which lay largely through swamps impassable by artillery.

Documents submitted by General Wallace.


Letter found on the person of General W. H. L. Wallace, after he had received a mortal wound at Shiloh, and sent by his widow to General Grant [see foot-note, page 468; printed also in the Century and in the Personal memoirs of U. S. Grant ]:

Headquarters, Third Division, Adamsville, April 5th, 1862.
General W. H. L. Wallace, commanding Second Division.
Sir: Yours received. Glad to hear from you. My cavalry from this point has been to and from your post frequently. As my Third Brigade is here, five miles from Crump's Landing, my Second two and a half miles from it, I thought it would be better to open communication with you from Adamsville. I will to-morrow order Major Hays, of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, to report to you at your quarters; and, if you are so disposed, probably you had better send a company to return with him, that they may familiarize themselves with the road, to act in case of emergency as guides to and from our camps.--I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lewis Wallace, General Third Division.

General Wallace says: “As I was ignorant of the position of W. H. L. Wallace's camp, this letter was sent by way of Owl Creek. I knew Wallace, and did not know Sherman, whose camp was nearer.”

Ii.--Letter from General Grant to General Lew Wallace, in 1868, after examining statements by the latter and by the following officers of his command, touching the character of the order and march: Generals Fred. Knefler, George F. McGinnis, Daniel Macauley, John A. Strickland, John M. Thayer, Colonel James R. Ross, and Captain Addison Ware:

Headquarters, Army of the United States, Washington, D. C., March 10th, 1868.
My Dear General: Inclosed herewith I return you letters from officers of the army who served with you at the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, giving their statement of your action on that occasion. I can only state that my orders to you were given verbally to a staff-officer to communicate, and that they were substantially as given by General Badeau in his book. I always understood that the staff-officer referred to, Captain Baxter, made a memorandum of the orders he received, and left it with you. That memorandum I never saw.

The statements which I now return seem to exonerate you from the great point of blame, your taking the wrong road, or different road from the one directed, from Crump's Landing to Pittsburg Landing. All your subsequent military career showed you active and ready in the execution of every order you received. Your promptness in moving from Baltimore to Monocacy, Maryland, in 1864, and meeting the enemy In force far superior to your own when Washington was threatened, is a case particularly in point. There you could scarcely have hoped for a victory, but you delayed the enemy, and enabled me to get troops from City Point, Virginia, in time to save the city. That act I regarded as most praiseworthy. I refer you to my report of 1865, touching your course there. In view of the assault made upon you now, I think it due to you that you should publish what your own staff and other subordinate officers have to say in exoneration of your course.

Yours truly, U. S. Grant, General. To Major-General L. Wallace.


Iii.--Letter from General Wallace to General Grant, in 1884, referring to the whole controversy. The omissions are made by the editors, for lack of space:

Crawfordsville, Ind., September 16th, 1884.
Dear General: The Century Co. people inform me that they have engaged you to write a paper for them on Pittsburg Landing. Such a contribution from your hand will be important as well as most interesting. Probably I ought not to trouble you touching the subject; still, I trust you will appreciate the anxieties natural to one who has been so bitterly and continuously criticised in the connection, and pardon me a few lines of request.

The letter of exoneration you gave me some years ago is not permitted to be printed in the volume of reports published by the Government, though I earnestly sought the favor of the Secretary of War. The terrible reflections in your indorsement on my official report of the battle, and elsewhere, go to the world wholly unqualified. It is not possible to exaggerate the misfortune thus entailed upon me. But now you have it in power to make correction, in a paper which will be read far more generally than the compilation of the department. May I hope you will do it?

Since my return from Europe I have for the first time read the reports of Generals Rawlins and McPherson, and Major Rowley, touching my march the first day of the battle. I shall regret all my remaining days not previously knowing their tenor; for I think I could have explained to the satisfaction of those gentlemen every mystery of my conduct during their ride with me the afternoon of the 6th April. They did not understand that there was a mistake in your order as it was delivered to me, and while with them I supposed they knew why I was where they found me. Consequently, no explanation took place between us. I see now, they really supposed me lost, and wandering aimlessly about. Had the correctness of the order been mooted, no doubt the order itself could have been produced. I would not have rested until my adjutant-general had produced it. Is it to be supposed for an instant that, knowing their thoughts of me during the hours of that ride, I could have been indifferent to them? As it is, you Will observe that neither of them pretends to explain my behavior. Neither makes allusion to a theory of explanation. The truth is, I all the time supposed the necessity for the change of direction in my movement was simply due to the bad turn of the battle after the order was dispatched to me. The whole time I was in their company I thought myself entitled to credit for the promptness with which I was obeying your orders. It never occurred to me that there was anything to explain, and I was wholly given up to the movement of the division, which was urgent business in hand.

With reference to Major Rowley's statement, that I had no knowledge of any other road than that by the old mill, and his other statement, that I retained him as a guide, the explanation is that I was speaking of a. crossroad to the River Road. I had no knowledge of such a road. In hopes of finding one, I countermarched instead of facing column to the rear. One of my captains of artillery has since gone over the entire route we took, from Stony Lonesome, the place at which I received your order to march, to Pittsburg Landing, and he finds me mistaken in saying we countermarched back nearly to the initial point of movement. He not only found the cross-road taken, but measured the whole march, chain in hand, making it a little more than fifteen miles ...

As to my requiring a written order from you, I repeat my absolute denial of the statement. The order I acted upon was unsigned, and it is susceptible of proof that when the young Illinois cavalryman overtook me I was already on the march.

As to the slowness referred to by McPherson, Rawlins and Rowley, please try that point by comparisons. ... From 11 : 30 o'clock till just dusk my march was quite fifteen miles. I refer the argument to your calm judgment. I do not wonder my movement seemed slow to your officers. With their anxieties quickened by what they had seen on the field, it must have seemed intolerable to them. They describe me correctly as at the head of the column, and I did several times dismount, but only to wait the closing up of the division and reports of my own staff-officers, who were kept urging the column through the mud and mire.

There is another point your officers seem not to have understood, and that was my determination not to send the division piecemeal into the battle. The whole division was what I supposed you wanted, and I was resolved to bring you the whole division. I paid no attention to contrary suggestions from anybody. I think you will justify this pertinacity of purpose by the fact that it was impossible to tell the moment I might be attacked en route. The chances of such an occurrence grew sharper as I drew nearer Pittsburg Landing. For you must remember, general, that from the moment Major Rowley overtook me with the information, then first received, that our army had been driven from the line it occupied in the morning, and was back far towards the river, I supposed it utterly unable to help me. Then whether the enemy attacked me or I them, it was only my division, and not a part of it, that could have achieved your desires .

At your table at City Point we one day sat listening to the comments of some officers upon the battle of Pittsburg Landing. After a while you remarked to me in a low tone, “ It I had known then what I know now, I would have ordered you where you were marching when stopped.” The remark was made at your table, and in a confidential manner, so that I have never felt at liberty to repeat, much less publish, it. But times innumerable since then I have wished that Rowley had not overtaken me for another hour that afternoon. The enemy had used the last of his reserves. I would have taken the bluff on which Sherman had been camped in the morning and, Without opposition, effected my deployment. The first of the rebels struck would have been the horde plundering the sutlers and drinking in the streets of the camp. Their fears would have magnified my command, and rushing to their engaged lines they would have carried the word that Buell's army was up and on their lines of retreat. For your sake and my own, general, and for the cause generally, it was unfortunate that Rowley had not lost his way, as it was said I had mine.

Finally, general, did you ever ask yourself what motive I could have had to play you falsely that day? It couldn't have been personal malice. Only a few weeks before I had been promoted major-general on your recommendation. It couldn't have been cowardice. You had seen me under fire at Donelson, and twice the second day at Pittsburg Landing you found me with my division under fire. It couldn't have been lack of resolution. I certainly showed no failing of that kind at Monocacy Junction, where my situation was quite as trying as at any hour of the 6th of April of which I am writing. The fact is, I was the victim of a mistake. Captain Baxter's omission from the order you gave him for transmission to me — the omission of the road you wanted me to take in coming up — viz., the lower or River Road to Pittsburg Landing, was the cause of my movement at noon. It is also the key of explanation of all that followed. That I took the directest and shortest road to effect a junction with the right of the army, and marched promptly upon receipt of the order, are the best evidence I could have furnished of an actual desire to do my duty, and share the fortunes of the day with you, whether they were good or bad.

In all the years that have followed I have been patient and uncomplaining, because, as you had shown the will to exonerate me, I believed you would follow it up on all proper occasions. And I submit to you if this is not one of them. For the sake of the hundreds of survivors of my old division, as well as that justice may be finally and completely done to me individually, I presume to present the matter to you in this letter.

Very respectfully, your friend,

1 Ross to Wallace, January 25th, 1868.

2 Knefler to Wallace, February 19th, 1868.

3 Ware to Wallace [1868].

4 Ross to Wallace, January 25th, 1868.

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