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Daniel's "Shiloh"

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  • josepharose
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2003
      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
      incident occurred).

      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."
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