April 8 – 10, 1862

April 8th  Early in morning we were alarmed by some advance Brigade firing of their guns   we thought the rebels were coming back to retrieve their lost honors  there was great stir and bustle in our part of the camp  we were camped on the road leading from Pitsburg landing to Corinth and on that morning teams with and without drivers artillery and Ambulances went by at full speed  our reg was ordered into line immediately 

our Co officers were in bed yet  many of our reg run for the woods  our Capt and Second Lieut jumped up and run with their unmentionables in their hands  they did not run far however until they Saw how ridiculous they looked  so they came back and dressed  our line of Battle was soon formed  we marched out about a quarter of a mile towards the firing…we stayed here about a half hour till we found out the occasion of our alarm  then we went back to camp  the rest of this day was spent in burying the dead 

I wandered over nearly all of this vast burying ground and witnessed Scenes of Suffering and Misery such as I hope never be called on to witness again  men wounded in every conceivable place with evry conceivable implement of war  it had rained hard most all night before and some of them lay almost covered in water  the ground on which the battle was fought was thickly strewn with dry leaves and before the rain on Sunday the 6th apr   the bursting of the Shells set the leaves on fire and many of the wounded were burned to death  I saw several dead rebels with all their clothes burned off and their boddies roasted in a shocking manner  we did not get all the dead buried and the wounded taken off the field till the evening of the 10th Apr  in fact I believe they were never all buried for two weeks  after we found several dead rebels where we supposed they had crawled away and hid themselves to die alone and in peace 

nothing of importance occurred now for some time  the Rebels had gone back to Corinth and began to fortify the town  genl Halleck came and took command of our army about this time and we commenced moving on Corinth fortifying as we went  we had a great deal of Sickness in our reg at this time  our Co only mustering from nine to fourteen men for dress parade and Battallion Drill  My health was very poor but I managed to keep on duty nearly all the time we had drill evry day  While in this camp Battallion in the forenoon and company drill in the afternoon


Aftermath of Shiloh

The bloodiest battle of the war to date, Shiloh cost the Union 1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded, and 2,885 captured/missing.  The Confederates lost 1,728 killed (including General Johnston), 8,012 wounded, 959 captured/missing.  In spite of a stunning victory, Grant was initially vilified for being taken by surprise, while Generals Buell and Sherman were hailed as saviors.  President Abraham Lincoln was pressured to remove General Grant, but he replied, “I can’t spare this man; he fights.” [1]

[1] American Civil War: Two Days That Changed the War [http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/civilwarinthewest/p/shiloh.htm]

Battle of Shiloh – April 6 & 7, 1862

On the morning of the 6th of april about 7 Oclock we heard firing in the direction of Corinth but as it had been nothing uncommon to hear firing in camp we thought it was only guards shooting the load out of their guns on being relieved till it began to get closer and steadier  a little after 8 Oclock the long roll was beat in our reg and we soon got into line 

I had just come from the Surgeons tent and had my daily ration of Quinine  I took a hearty dose of it  threw the rest away and got my gun and accoutrements and fell in with the Co 

Our Lieut Col Wm Hall of Davenport Iowa  genl Lew Wallace’s troops had come in from Purdy on our right thus reinforced our men went in to the fight with renewed vigor and the first onset drove the rebels back half a mile  our reg was not ordered out till about 10 AM and then we were kept in reserve  we were under fire some of the time but none of our reg hurt  we continued to gain ground on the enemy till about half past three PM when the rebs started in full retreat leaving us in undisputed possession of the battle field 

we did not pursue them for the roads were very muddy and our army not in a very good condition for a race but I believe we felt better than the rebs and I always shall think that had we closely pursued them we might have captured nearly all of them  at any rate it would not have hurt us much to try that evening after the rebs had retreated 

our reg moved back into our old camp  many of the tents had been badly shattered with both cannon musket balls & shells pieces of shells and grape and canisters lay thick on the ground  the trees were marked from the ground up as high as we could see  among the leaves with the bullets  the dead and wounded lay round in all directions  some dead lay all night in our streets not having time to bury them that evening  as soon as we got in the camp we started out on to the field of battle to look for those of our own Co that were missing  We found two laying dead and one badly wounded  we carried the wounded man to the hospital and buried the dead  our loss in this battle that is our reg in killed and wounded amounted to a little over 200 

 our Co went on to the fight Sunday morning with sixty four men all told  of these twenty one were killed or wounded   we had two killed on the field  two mortally wounded and seven severely wounded and ten slightly wounded  Vis [?] killed Corporal G I Barn and private John R Miley [sp.?]  Mortally wounded Corporal Martin A McLean and Private Theodore Campbell  severely wounded 1st lieut D Miles Danl Gibson Wiley Wicher [sp.?] Samuel S Blythe Jackson Scott 1st Sergt N S McKinney I Cochran  slightly Alx [Alex] Capen John Ralston John Williams David Jones T Thomas John Keating Sergt E I Jackson John Martin Wm Shelton Danl M Anderson

April 4, 1862

On the evening of the 4th of apr we were called into line of battle then were formed in Column by Division and stayed in the position till nearly midnight  The news was reported through camp that the rebels were marching on us from Corinth but little attention was paid to the report at that time but we thought of it often afterwards

[Isaac’s words are in bold for emphasis]

March 24 – April 3, 1862

Sketch of a typical wedge tent drawn by my nephew, Kevin Cox
Sketch of a typical wedge tent drawn by my nephew, Kevin Cox

On the morn of March 24th we struck tents and moved out 2 ½ miles from the landing in the direction of Corinth  in 2 or 3 days just as we had got rightly fixed we were ordered to strike tents and move about one hundred yards to the rear  we were camped in an open field and had no shade whatever  some days the sun came down very warm  many of our reg were Sick and most of those that were not reported off duty were far from being well  very few appeared to have the same life and energy they had   and any little luxury we wanted we had to pay 3 or 4 prices for it  we then had the small wedge tents 5 or 6 men slept in each tent  we then did not understand much about fixing up tents making bunks etc  and as we had no lumber to make bunks of we slept on the ground  it rained very often so that our beds were very damp  this I think was one of the main causes of so much sickness at that time, here we drilled  Battallion drill every fore noon and Co drill in the afternoon  at this camp our reg was put in to a Brigade for the first  the Brigade consisted of the 11th & 13th Iowa and the 11th and 18th Ills [Illinois] and was commanded by genl Oglesby  he however in a few days went home on leave of absence and our Col A M Hare was appointed to take command of the Brigade We were only 22 or 23 miles from Corinth where the rebels had assembled in strong force  

Events Leading to the Battle of Shiloh

The next several passages that I will be posting from Isaac’s journal describe the events leading up to the battle.

The Battle of Shiloh was fought on April 6 and 7, 1862 in southwestern Tennessee.  It was also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing.  The above image is a chromolithograph of the battle by Thure de Thulstrup (1848-1930).

The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi.  The U. S. Army had 13,047 casualties and losses and the Confederate States had 10, 699 casualties and losses.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shiloh

Isaac Newton Carr was very much affected by this battle at the time, as well as in his later years.  Evidently, General Grant’s memoirs touched a nerve with him as you will read in an upcoming post.


March 23, 1862

March 23, 1862  we struck tents and went on board the West Moreland and up the Ten [Tennessee] River fifteen miles to Pitsburg landing  we got to the landing a little before Sundown but it was about dark when we got off the boat  we then climbed a hill about two hundred feet nearly Straight up and down and pitched our tents for the night  Several other regiments of Iowa troops were camped here  many of us found friends we had not seen for some time  the rebels had been driven from this landing only a week or two before we came there  our gun boats had went up and shelled them out  the trees were marked in many places with cannon balls and one large cotton wood tree had a cannon ball clear through about 80 feet from the ground where the tree was two feet through 

 Quite a number of rebels had been killed and from all appearances had been buried in a hurry as in looking around among the graves we saw where many of the bodies had been buried so shallow that the rain had washed the dirt off so as to leave parts of the body entirely exposed  some a hand  some the feet and some even the face and head  all blackened and disfigured were exposed to view a horrible sight to look upon