Question of the Week: 4/10-4/16/17

In your opinion, who was the best battlefield commander at the Battle of Shiloh? Why?

8 Responses to Question of the Week: 4/10-4/16/17

  1. Col. Everett Peabody who raised the alarm of the Confederate attack, and in delaying the Confederate advance, lost his life.

  2. Although to say Sherman many people will argue I don’t know the battle and Sherman is the only name I know. But in reality for those who know the battle down to every regimental commander Shiloh is the battle that made Sherman. Grant hand sent him several rookie brigades who had not seen “the elephant ” . The confederacy (Sidney Johnston and Beagaurd) decided on a plan to concentrate there forces to turning the Union’s right flank, which is where Sherman and his all green brigades were. Not only did Sherman hold all day with his green brigades even as the confederacy made his position the point of attack but he did it while injured. As night fell the brigades had all seen the “elephant” and prevented the flank being turned and only had to wait until morning for reinforcements. So Shiloh made Sherman and Sherman made Shiloh

  3. Since we apparently can go below the level of division command, I’ll give the nod to Col. Joseph D. Webster. Notwithstanding questionable (a/k/a false) postwar claims for credit by Buell, Webster played a large party in the timely collection of guns from all over to establish an impregnable final line late on April 6.

  4. It has to be Brig. Gen William H. L. Wallace’s. His defense of the Hornet’s Nest provided critical time for Grant to stabilize the line near Pittsburg Landing. Brig Gen Benjamin Prentiss deserves honorable mention, his division fought along side Wallace’s division but Wallace gave his life defending the Hornet’s nest. Today if you visit the Hornet’s Nest you’ll get a understanding of their precarious positions and you can still hear the minie balls buzzing bye! Gen A. S. Johnson would have been the best but he let his boot fill up blood and die! If Maj. Gen Don Carlos Buell’s were asking the question he would have asked, who is second best behind me!

  5. I tend to focus on the Union side, and it’s easier to find negatives in this battle. But accolades have to be given to the Sixth Division 1st bde Commander, Peabody, for his Sunday morning actions. Sixth Division Commander Prentiss also stubbornly retreated then held his Division in place at the Hornets Nest, just a bit too long in hindsight. Sherman also rallied and performed admirable leadership. But I still go back to General Grant. For all his failings in not being prepared (almost to the point of criminally negligent leadership ) and poor intelligence gathering, his stoic steadfastness and refusal to bow to circumstances when other Federal commanders in his place would have withdrawn or otherwise given the field to the Confederates helped ensure victory the next day. “Lick them tomorrow, though”

  6. I say General Lew Wallace. He was smart (?) enough to stay out of the battle and live to fight another day…the next day.

  7. Actually, I would vote for McClernand. His division fought throughout the day in five seperate lines, conducting both a fighting retreat and a counter-attack; executing the most complex manuevers of any division (on either side) at Shiloh. And he had a division at the end of it.

  8. I know this will cause some to question my sanity, but I’ll go with Ulysses S. Grant. Sure, Grant (and Sherman) gravely misjudged the intentions of the Confederates by discounting reports that the Rebs were about to attack.

    But Grant rebounded magnificently, as he would do so often later in he war. At the end of the first day, Grant refused call it quits. The next day, he attacked and routed the Confederates. It’s almost certain that Grant would then have continued to pressure Beauregard and quickly taken Corinth, if Halleck had not intervened and slowed everything to a crawl.

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