Saturday, April 7, 2012

Shiloh, Apr 7, 1862 (Part 1),

All through the rain-soaked night of April 6th, there was little sleep to be had among members of the Seventeenth.  The knowledge that the enemy was sleeping dry and in relative comfort in the Cloud Field encampment that had only yesterday been their home embittered them almost as much as the news of wounded and dead comrades.  Colonels McHenry and Stout were wounded. McHenry remained in command but ordered Stout to retire from the battle on Sunday night.  Captain Preston Morton of ST Brown's Company A was mortally wounded at the Peach Orchard.  As Sam Cox carried him all the way back to the landing, the captain expressed his wishes for the disposal of his property.  His wounds dressed, he was placed on a boat where he died that evening. Capt. Morton was delivered to Hartford by his faithful servant, Horace, and laid to rest in his family cemetery. [Blackburn]

Addressing the company Monday morning, Sam Cox said, "This regiment has lost it's brightest ornament...there he will repose amid the scenes of his early labors and triumphs, away from the busy hum of life, far away from the thunder of conflict and no clarion note will ever more disturb his slumbers or call him forth to battle.  Peace to his ashes, and may the undying laurel of glory grow green over his grave." *

As dawn approached, their thoughts began to focus on the day to come.  The eastern portion of the field they had defended so bravely was now to be the primary focus of Buell's Army of the Ohio.  Grant's remaining troops were to make a coordinated advance southward and westward in a  sweeping motion,  driving the Confederates from the field.  If not for Hurlbut's holding the secondary line at Wicker Field, none of this would be possible as the landing and surrounding bluffs would have been in enemy hands.  McHenry and his men took some satisfaction in this success and prepared to give the rebels more than they had bargained for on this Monday morning.  The praise that General Lauman received for the professional performance of the brigade was quickly passed on to the regiments, having been in command for just the two days.  To a volunteer regiment, there was no praise greater than to be lauded as professional soldiers by the regular army officers.

Grant's last line of defense at Corinth-Pittsburg Road.  The Confederates expected a complete victory here on Monday morning.  The Seventeenth's position is just out of frame to the right.
Photo by the author- all rights reserved

*  Blackburn, John, A Hundred Miles, A Hundred Heartbreaks, 1972, p.77
LOC 72-93774

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