April 6, 1906 (conclusion)

This concludes Isaac’s speech on April 6, 1906…

now it is more than likely, it is very probable, that one Shot from an Iowa boy brought that leader down, & consternation at his loss, & the delay incident to a change of Commanders, consumed the time & greatly helped to Save the day,  genl Johnston is represented at that time as being in the prime of life, 6-2 in tall Strong & active a born leader of men, & it was feared the news of his death might have a demoralizing Effect on their men, So the word was given out that it was another Johnston – Geo M. Johnston who had been provisional gov of Ky,[1] but he too was Soon mortally wounded & their Story was too quickly confirmed, had Albert Sidney Johnston lived to carry out the plans So well begun, Buregard would probably have watered his horse in the Tenn riv, but where would Grant have watered his,  So I say that that one Shot & in all probability fired by an Iowa Soldier had much to do with Saving the day at Shiloh,  one reason given by genl Sherman in his memoirs for not fortifying was we had no orders to do so,  now who Should these orders have Come from & who Should they have been issued to,  in the usual order of military affairs they Should have come from the Commanding genl, & been issued to Divis Comdrs & while this localizes the responsibility in a measure, I fail to See wherein it is any Excuse at all for the oversight,  genl Grant in his memoirs States that Criticism has been often made that the union troops Should have been intrenched at Shiloh, but after taking the matter under consideration he Says I concluded the troops needed discipline & drill more than they did Experience with the Shovel & axe,  after weighing well all the circumstances I concluded he Says that drill & discipline were worth more to our men than fortifications,  now however that maybe we needed no experience with the Shovel & axe we had that before the war & Could have thrown up a breast work in one day, yes in ½ a day that would have cost many a Johny reb his life before he got on our Side of it & the Cracking of the guns on the Skirmish line only helped to hasten Such work, & the closer it got the more we hastened,  I have Seen Soldier boys who gave Evry Evidence of being constitutionally tired, born tired, but who would work with all the vim & Energy they had under Such circumstances,  the failure to throw up breastworks here Cost the Country dear & nearly changed the fate of the war, but it taught our Commander a lesson he never forgot,  from that day he never moved his army any distance to the front without intrenching it, & if the mistake of one genl did imperil the whole army it was more than Rectified by the men that carried the guns, & who tho raw in discipline & drill & needed instruction in both as the Commander Said, yet they were united in purpose & Steadfast in the faith of a noble cause the Preservation of the union, the valor of the American volunteer Soldier was fully Established at Shiloh, & we heard no more the boast that 1 reb could lick 5 yanks,  also the question of whose Soil was going to be invaded was Settled then & there for good,  from that day on the war in the SW was waged on the Enemys Soil, 

[1] Neace, James Clell & Harnard, Edgar Porter, Kentucky Had Two Confederate Governors, 2000, published at the Breathitt County, Kentucky website – http://www.breathittcounty.com/JCN-2governors.html

Shiloh Battlefield - Sign showing the battlefield diagram and an explanation of what occurred the first day of the battle.
Shiloh Battlefield – Sign showing the battlefield diagram and an explanation of what occurred the first day of the battle.

So that Shiloh is considered by many one of the most decisive battles of the war, & nearly ¼ of the federal army there Engaged was from Iowa,  history Says that of the 73000 men Engaged on both Sides more than 20000 were Killed wounded or prisoners,  now to get a better Idea of the magnitude of this battle let us rember [remember] that the population of this co [Washington County, Iowa] was 20718, & just imagine if you please all the people of Washington co geathered on one TP [Township?] or less, & all Killed wounded or prisoners, men women & children  it would require them all to Equal in numbers the casualties at Shiloh, & in adition the ground Strewn with all the diferent weapons & Equipments used, guns napsax dismounted canon artillery wheels 6 mule teams with big government wagons upset & part of the mules killed with dead horses in all directions & the noblest animals we had at that time, now this picture is not over drawn but just gives a fair Idea of that terrible 2 days

Map of the first day of battle at Shiloh
Map of the first day of battle at Shiloh

Courtesy – Civil War Preservation Trust





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