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Orders for Prentiss to fall back

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  • josepharose
    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 Shiloh. I have never
    Message 1 of 95 , May 24, 2002
      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
      Shiloh.

      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
      biographers.

      What primary source--or even secondary source--citations are there
      which would lend any credence whatsoever to the supposition above?

      Thank you,
      Joseph
    • bobaldrich2001
      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
      Message 95 of 95 , Jun 4, 2002
        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
        were captured?

        Bob Aldrich


        --- 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
        > shifting
        > > > left, not falling back. At the point that Hurlbut shifts to
        meet
        > > > the attackers massing to his left , Prentiss speaks with
        Wallace,
        > > > 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
        shot
        > > > dead and his men routed. Hurlbut was thrown back in a near-
        > rout.
        > > > At that point, troops were converging on roads *behind*
        Prentiss'
        > > > position. Even if Prentiss had wanted to escape at the instant
        > > > that Hurlbut began to withdraw, his path would have been
        blocked.
        > > >
        > > > 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,
        > the
        > > > disintegration was probably more a result of the sudden and
        > > > overwhelming artillery bombardment by the entire Confederate
        > first
        > > > corps than the death of Wallace. At this point, the
        Confederate
        > > > reports read that Prentiss' men attempted to fight their way
        out,
        > > > but were finally overpowered.
        > > >
        > > > In light of Prentiss' self-serving claim to have saved the day,
        > and
        > > > his belated attempt to abandon the position, I think his claim
        > that
        > > > he was sacrificing his command in order to hold the position to
        > the
        > > > 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.
        >
        > Slippy,
        >
        > I completely agree with Joe H. Very interesting description of the
        > final stages of Prentiss' stand. It does appear that once the
        flanks
        > 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
        for
        > a courageous stand, but I do think Prentiss may have overstated his
        > case somewhat.
        >
        > JB Jewell
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