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Lew Wallace's Destination

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  • josepharose
    In the correspondence concerning the confusion over Wallace s orders, Grant had repeatedly noted that Wallace s destination was to be Pittsburg Landing. That
    Message 1 of 92 , Mar 30, 2003
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      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.

      Joseph

      P.S. A longer excerpt of his article, in the on-line version I used
      stated:

      "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
      road."
    • Will
      ... He was also a general in the war of 1812, Secretary of War under Jackson, Secretary of State under Buchanan [until he resigned during the secession crisis]
      Message 92 of 92 , Apr 11 10:56 AM
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, GnrlJEJohnston@a... wrote:
        > ...Lewis Cass (first governor of
        > Michigan I believe)...

        He was also a general in the war of 1812, Secretary of War under
        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)
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