Orders for Prentiss to fall back
- It has been asserted that, "Grant always insisted that he did give
orders for Prentiss to fall back" from the Hornet's Nest position at
I have never seen any reference to such a "fact" in Grant's writings
(especially his after-action report, his article on the battle, or
his memoirs) or in those of Civil War historians or Grant's
What primary source--or even secondary source--citations are there
which would lend any credence whatsoever to the supposition above?
- This has been a most interesting discussion. Based on what Slippy
says, and the general chorus of agreement, am I correct in drawing
the conclusion that the pow-wow between Prentiss and Wallace was not
over whether to retreat, but whether to "shift left"? And how long,
approximately, were Prentiss's men out there on their own before they
--- In civilwarwest@y..., "bjer50010" <bjewell@i...> wrote:
> --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
> > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "slippymississippi" wrote:
> > >
> > > Hurlbut only states that he notified Prentiss that he was
> > > left, not falling back. At the point that Hurlbut shifts to
> > > the attackers massing to his left , Prentiss speaks with
> > > and together they shift left to cover the position left by
> > > Hurlbut.
> > >
> > > Simultaneous to this, two massive assault columns are moving
> > > through the thickets towards Prentiss' left (Hurlbut) and right
> > > (Wallace). Soon after the shift was completed, Wallace was
> > > dead and his men routed. Hurlbut was thrown back in a near-
> > > At that point, troops were converging on roads *behind*
> > > position. Even if Prentiss had wanted to escape at the instant
> > > that Hurlbut began to withdraw, his path would have been
> > >
> > > The fact of the matter is that Prentiss did *indeed* attempt to
> > > flee the position after realizing his situation. However, the
> > > envelopment was complete and he was unable to cut his way out.
> > > I still maintain that the thickets and smoke prevented Prentiss
> > > from realizing both the urgency of Hurlbut's withdrawal and the
> > > extent to which Wallace's division had disintegrated. In fact,
> > > disintegration was probably more a result of the sudden and
> > > overwhelming artillery bombardment by the entire Confederate
> > > corps than the death of Wallace. At this point, the
> > > reports read that Prentiss' men attempted to fight their way
> > > but were finally overpowered.
> > >
> > > In light of Prentiss' self-serving claim to have saved the day,
> > > his belated attempt to abandon the position, I think his claim
> > > he was sacrificing his command in order to hold the position to
> > > bitter end is a bit overblown.
> > Slippy,
> > I think this is an excellent analysis of the events leading to
> > Prentiss' surrender. Thanks!! I think we should all just give
> > Prentiss credit for a courageous, hard-fought fight which,
> > incidentally, also helped save Grant's butt, whether or not
> > Prentiss' "sacrifice" was intentional.
> > Joe H.
> I completely agree with Joe H. Very interesting description of the
> final stages of Prentiss' stand. It does appear that once the
> gone there was almost no chance for Prentiss to get out. It also
> makes the issue of whether Grant issued orders to withdraw or not
> almost irrelevant. Prentiss and Wallace certainly deserve credit
> a courageous stand, but I do think Prentiss may have overstated his
> case somewhat.
> JB Jewell