Douglas Putnam Jr.
- Speaking of the reliability of sources and stories about Forrest, I am
always surprised to see Douglas Putnam Jr.'s recollections of Shiloh
cited so frequently (I think Catton and Daniel, at least, utilized him
repeatedly). As opposed to the Forrest tale, which is uncorroborated
and maybe somewhat implausible, Putnam offers a number of "facts"
which are unarguably false.
The worst examples are probably his heading upstream on the Tigress
April 6th and finding Lew Wallace on the shore at Crump's Landing (as
opposed to Lew being on a boat) and then finding Rawlins on the shore
at Pittsburg Landing (as opposed to Rawlins being on the Tigress with
With the substantial number of other absurdities, one would think that
his article would have been dismissed outright as rubbish.
Although it's in the Forbidden Zone (and not the cult movie, either),
there apparently was an even worse case: Frank Wilkeson, according to
William Marvel, has one of "the most audaciously embroidered memoirs
still enjoy enduring, if undeserved, credibility." He noted that the
ORs shows the 11th NY battery in Fredericksburg from 5/4-20 when
"[t]he battery missed all the action in the Wilderness--and at
Spotsylvania, where Wilkeson also insinuated himself and his unit into
Civil War writing is problematic enough without relying on the unreliable.