Lew Wallace's Destination
- In the correspondence concerning the confusion over Wallace's
orders, Grant had repeatedly noted that Wallace's destination was to
be Pittsburg Landing.
That was in clear contrast to almost all--if not all--of the other
major actors; General Grant, unlike the others, never seemed to
directly state that the orders were for Wallace to go to the "right."
Whether, as my notes indicate, it was to "the right of the army"
[Wallace], "on our right" [McPherson], "into the field on the right
of our line" [Rowley], "the army on the right" [Baxter], "General
Sherman's right on the Purdy Road" [Ross], "the right of the army"
[Knefler], or "General Sherman's right on the road leading from
Pittsburg Landing to Purdy" [Ware], the others describe a position
on Sherman's right flank.
Rawlins is an exception to that common use of the word, "right," by
stating that the orders called for Wallace to form in line at right
angles "on the right of our lines . . . immediately in rear of the
camp of Major General C. F. Smith's division on our right." Forget
for a moment that the Union line was no place near Smith's camp at
this point in time.
Grant, in his later article on the battle, contradicted his own and
Rawlins' assertions that Wallace's destination was not to the right
of the Union lines as defined by Sherman's position. Grant
wrote: "If the position of our front had not changed, the road which
Wallace took would have been somewhat shorter to our right than the
River road." Grant hereby conceded that "our right" was a reference
to Sherman's flank and not to Smith's camp [Rawlins' version] or
Pittsburg Landing [Grant's version]. Both the camp and the landing--
unlike Sherman's flank--were closer to Crump's by way of the River
Road than by way of Sherman and, therefore, the latter route to them
could not have been "somewhat shorter"; in fact, it was miles longer
that way. Furthermore, the distance from Crump's to the camp and to
the landing by the River Road was not at all impacted by the
changing position of the front, but the distance to Sherman's right
via either road was changed by the Federal retreat.
Whether the orders which reached Wallace mentioned a particular road
may still be arguable, but it appears that the destination Grant
intended is plain. Wallace was to go to Sherman's right flank.
Unless Wallace disobeyed a direct order in not taking the River
Road, he can not be faulted for taking the route which led, in the
most direct way possible, to the "right."
By implicitly defining the "right" in this way, Grant contradicted
Rawlins version and he came into agreement, although probably
unintentionally, with the other individuals who indicated that it
meant to the right of the Federal lines as they were around 9:00 AM.
P.S. A longer excerpt of his article, in the on-line version I used
"The mistake he [Wallace] made, and which probably caused his
apparent dilatoriness, was that of advancing some distance after he
found that the firing, which would be at first directly to his front
and then off to the left, had fallen back until it had got very much
in rear of the position of his advance. This falling back had taken
place before I sent General Wallace orders to move up to Pittsburg
Landing, and, naturally, my order was to follow the road nearest the
river. But my order was verbal, and to a staff-officer who was to
deliver it to General Wallace, so that I am not competent to say
just what order the general actually received.
"General Wallace's division was stationed, the First Brigade at
Crump's Landing, the Second out two miles, and the Third two and a
half miles out. Hearing the sounds of battle, General Wallace early
ordered his First and Third brigades to concentrate on the Second.
If the position of our front had not changed, the road which Wallace
took would have been somewhat shorter to our right than the River
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, GnrlJEJohnston@a... wrote:
> ...Lewis Cass (first governor ofHe was also a general in the war of 1812, Secretary of War under
> Michigan I believe)...
Jackson, Secretary of State under Buchanan [until he resigned during
the secession crisis] and the Democratic Party's Presidential
Candidate in 1848 (lost to Taylor), in addition to a bunch of other
sutff (amassador, congressman, senator)