Historian Jim Woodrick talks with Chris Mackowski about The Civil War Siege of Jackson, Mississippi, in July 1863.
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Podcast: The Siege of Jackson, Mississippi
“Joseph Johnston had not improved the earthworks at Jackson…”
One of the curiosities of the July 1863 operation in vicinity of Jackson: nearly the identical ground had been struggled over earlier, in May 1863. That part of U.S. Grant’s Vicksburg campaign, the Battle of Jackson was the furthest east Grant and his Vicksburg-bound forces penetrated (while Grierson’s Raid had passed just east and south of Jackson in April.) The culmination of the May 1863 action witnessed Generals Grant, Sherman and McPherson together in discussion (14 May) at the Bowman House hotel (across the street from the Mississippi State House.)
One of the unsavoury events of the July operation is touched on in the podcast (28-minute mark): “Pugh’s failed attack on the Confederate left.” The advance of Pugh’s Brigade was ordered by MGen EOC Ord; and relayed through Division Commander BGen Jacob Lauman. There existed bad blood between Ord and Lauman, dating from the October 1862 action at Hatchie’s Bridge (where Ord directed a foolhardy advance; and Stephen Hurlbut retrieved the situation after Ord was wounded and removed from the field.) Afterwards, reports critical of EOC Ord circulated; and Ord blamed Lauman. Forever after, Ord referred to Lauman as “Lanman” and submitted petty charges against Lauman during the Vicksburg Campaign. Just prior to the July operation against Jackson, Lauman and elements of his division were detached from Washburn’s 16th Corps and assigned to Ord.
Sherman, Ord and Halleck had known each other at West Point, and in California. Lauman was with Grant at Belmont (seriously wounded); part of Smith’s Charge at Fort Donelson; and one of the star performers on the Sunken Road at Shiloh. After the disaster of Pugh’s Brigade at Jackson, Sherman reported that, “He did not know the cause; but he felt it necessary to support his Corps Commander (Ord) over a Division commander (Lauman.)” Grant accepted Sherman’s recommendation; and Jacob Lauman, one of the warhorses for the Union in the West, was sent home to Burlington, Iowa “to await orders.”
I think there is no doubt that the feud between Ord and Lauman was the root cause of his (Lauman’s) dismissal.
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