- Daniel's "Shiloh" seems to be very good on most fronts: quite
comprehensive, generally fair, and with many detailed maps
(although, as has been pointed out here, the maps may not be to
There is the strange inclusion, however, of a version of the famous
dented scabbard incident. Daniel wrote that "a cannonball had
completely passed through the back" of McPherson's horse, and this
hole, and its effect on the horse, hadn't been noticed until a
little later. That seems most unlikely.
Grant's memoirs, excerpted below, stated that "a ball" had passed
through McPherson's horse, and also that "a ball" had struck his own
Daniel's note indicates that Albert Richardson was the source of
some of this account. I don't remember whether Richardson's book
mentioned the cannonball but, IIRC, he--as did Daniel--wrote that
Grant's sword fell to the ground when he scabbard was hit; Daniel
also asserted that it was hit by shrapnel, as opposed to a ball.
The memoirs don't appear to say any such thing on either count, and
one would think that Grant would know better than others in such a
matter (although Daniel does correct Grant as to which day the
Daniel's version, and his use of such an undependable source as
Richardson, suggest a curious--and unusual--lack of judgement.
The memoirs read: "During this second day of the battle I had been
moving from right to left and back, to see for myself the progress
made. In the early part of the afternoon, while riding with Colonel
McPherson and Major Hawkins, then my chief commissary, we got beyond
the left of our troops. We were moving along the northern edge of a
clearing, very leisurely, toward the river above the landing. There
did not appear to be an enemy to our right, until suddenly a battery
with musketry opened upon us from the edge of the woods on the other
side of the clearing. The shells and balls whistled about our ears
very fast for about a minute. I do not think it took us longer than
that to get out of range and out of sight. In the sudden start we
made, Major Hawkins lost his hat. He did not stop to pick it up.
When we arrived at a perfectly safe position we halted to take an
account of damages. McPherson's horse was panting as if ready to
drop. On examination it was found that a ball had struck him
forward of the flank just back of the saddle, and had gone entirely
through. In a few minutes the poor beast dropped dead; he had given
no sign of injury until we came to a stop. A ball had struck the
metal scabbard of my sword, just below the hilt, and broken it
nearly off; before the battle was over it had broken off entirely.
There were three of us: one had lost a horse, killed; one a hat and
one a sword-scabbard. All were thankful that it was no worse."