Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lick Creek, April 25th, 1862

The 17th Kentucky Infantry, newly assigned to the brigade commanded by Jacob Ammen, had struck their old campground and taken position in the middle of Halleck's combined armies a few miles south of the Shiloh battlefield.  Nearby, the rest of the volunteers from Calhoun were in position under General Thomas Crittenden's division, also in Buell's Army of the Ohio.  With General John Pope's Army of the Mississippi on their left and Grant's Army of the Tennessee on their right, they were again feeling the false confidence that overwhelming force provides.  Surely such an army will provide a quick end to this rebellion.

As "retreat" was sounded on this spring evening an announcement was made to all regiments.  General C.F. Smith, who had led the Army of the Tennessee from Fort Henry to Savannah passed away at the Cherry Mansion.  The spreading infection from his injured lower leg, aided by the strain of chronic dysentery defeated the general on this date, 55 years and one day after his birth in Philadelphia.

Smith had boldly led his men on the Union's right flank at the Battle of Fort Donelson adjacent to the Seventeenth and Cruft's brigade, gaining recognition and admiration for his performance.  He was unable to return to field command at the Battle of Shiloh.  The weighty task of leading his troops fell upon his senior brigadier, W.H.L. Wallace, who was mortally wounded at the Hornet's Nest and also died at the Cherry Mansion in Savannah, TN.

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