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Who deserves the credit?: Ruggles' Grand Battery

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  • Who deserves the credit?: Ruggles' Grand Battery

    This is the first of a new polls series where I hope to promote discussion about the notable battlefield and strategic achievements and who really deserves credit for them. Sometimes it is not always what who you think. I hope to cover all sorts of topics across the Civil War.

    My first poll is from the Battle of Shiloh.

    Late in the afternoon of April 6th, infantry from Major General Braxton Bragg's Second Corps of the Army of the Mississippi attacked a Federal Position that would famously be known as the Hornet's Nest. Each assault was bloodily repulsed. For more than three hours the attacks went like this, as units from various commands joined in the attacks. Seeing the futility of further infantry attacks, at 3:30 P.M., Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles, commanding Bragg's First Division, dispatched his entire staff with orders to round up every gun they could fine.

    Within two hours, more than 52 guns from eleven artillery batteries had gathered across the Duncan Field and began to pound the Hornet's Nest. This was the largest concentration of guns in combat on the North American Continent up to that point. Although the effect of the "Grand Battery" is debated, the guns did play a key role in keeping Union troops in nest occupied while their position was flanked by other Confederate troops.

    Ruggles has been traditionally credited with the "gathering of the guns that brought the Hornet's Nest down". However, new evidence has come to light that would throw doubt on Ruggles' claim. First, that Ruggles filed an amended official report a year after the battle in which he enhanced his own role in the battle. Second, that writing after the war in a private letter, Major Francis Shoup, who commanded Hardee's Third Corps Artillery in the fight wrote: "By the way, I find in the War Records that General Ruggles claims the credit of making this concentration of artillery. I remember he was there at the time, but I thought he was a spectactor, and I was under the impression that I conceived and executed it myself."

    Shoup however did not publicly challenge Ruggles' claim. One can make a compelling case for Shoup. He was an artillery officer (unlike Ruggles who commanded Infantry) who already had authority over a battalion of guns. He also was Hardee's Chief of Artillery.

    Additional evidence suggests that Brigadier General James Trudeau and Hardee, under Beauregard's orders, were ordering artillery to mass to support the Confederate center.

    So the question I put forth is who deserves credit for Ruggles' Grand Battery? Was it Ruggles who first made the call for artillery? Shoup for moving and directing artillery? Or Trudeau and Beauregard's Staff? Or do you think it was something else like a combination?
    14
    Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles
    7.14%
    1
    Major Francis Shoup
    71.43%
    10
    Brigadier General James Trudeau
    0.00%
    0
    Other
    21.43%
    3
    Last edited by semperpietas; 15 Oct 12, 15:48.
    "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

    Pyrrhus Travels West:
    Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

  • #2
    Originally posted by semperpietas View Post
    This is the first of a new polls series where I hope to promote discussion about the notable battlefield and strategic achievements and who who really deserves credit. Sometimes it is not always what who you think. I hope to cover all sorts of topics across the Civil War.
    Great idea, but I'll need to do some research before I can respond semi-intelligently. I'll be back but it will take several days.
    Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by semperpietas View Post
      This is the first of a new polls series where I hope to promote discussion about the notable battlefield and strategic achievements and who really deserves credit for them. Sometimes it is not always what who you think. I hope to cover all sorts of topics across the Civil War.

      My first poll is from the Battle of Shiloh.

      Late in the afternoon of April 6th, infantry from Major General Braxton Bragg's Second Corps of the Army of the Mississippi attacked a Federal Position that would famously be known as the Hornet's Nest. Each assault was bloodily repulsed. For more than three hours the attacks went like this, as units from various commands joined in the attacks. Seeing the futility of further infantry attacks, at 3:30 P.M., Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles, commanding Bragg's First Division, dispatched his entire staff with orders to round up every gun they could fine.

      Within two hours, more than 52 guns from eleven artillery batteries had gathered across the Duncan Field and began to pound the Hornet's Nest. This was the largest concentration of guns in combat on the North American Continent up to that point. Although the effect of the "Grand Battery" is debated, the guns did play a key role in keeping Union troops in nest occupied while their position was flanked by other Confederate troops.

      Ruggles has been traditionally credited with the "gathering of the guns that brought the Hornet's Nest down". However, new evidence has come to light that would throw doubt on Ruggles' claim. First, that Ruggles filed an amended official report a year after the battle in which he enhanced his own role in the battle. Second, that writing after the war in a private letter, Major Francis Shoup, who commanded Hardee's Third Corps Artillery in the fight wrote: "By the way, I find in the War Records that General Ruggles claims the credit of making this concentration of artillery. I remember he was there at the time, but I thought he was a spectactor, and I was under the impression that I conceived and executed it myself."

      Shoup however did not publicly challenge Ruggles' claim. One can make a compelling case for Shoup. He was an artillery officer (unlike Ruggles who commanded Infantry) who already had authority over a battalion of guns. He also was Hardee's Chief of Artillery.

      Additional evidence suggests that Brigadier General James Trudeau and Hardee, under Beauregard's orders, were ordering artillery to mass to support the Confederate center.

      So the question I put forth is who deserves credit for Ruggles' Grand Battery? Was it Ruggles who first made the call for artillery? Shoup for moving and directing artillery? Or Trudeau and Beauregard's Staff? Or do you think it was something else like a combination?
      No vote yet on another great idea from you sir! A question regarding the bold text. Does Shoup offer any more evidence to support his claim like written or even a statement of verbal orders he may have given?

      Regards,
      Dennis
      If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

      Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by D1J1 View Post
        No vote yet on another great idea from you sir! A question regarding the bold text. Does Shoup offer any more evidence to support his claim like written or even a statement of verbal orders he may have given?

        Regards,
        Dennis
        No written evidence remains beside what Shoup wrote in private letters and a book he published that was not widely read entitled "The Art of War in '62 - Shiloh" (in which he didn't contest Ruggles' claims), but oral testimony from multiple witnesses indicates that brought he up not only his own battalion but gave orders to Byrne's and Swett's Battery about position and direction as well. Shoup was acting under simple written orders from Hardee to support the Confederate Center with artillery. Whether or not Hardee gave those orders in response to Beauregard's effort or in response directly to Ruggles' call, is yet to be seen. Cunningham's book on Shiloh states that Hardee was responding directly to Ruggles, while the evidence from Trudeau on Beauregard's staff was suggest he was responding to Beauregard. We know that Shoup ordered the placement of Swett's Battery from Swett's Memoirs. Shoup's own battalion consisted of 12 guns from Arkansas; Trigg's, Calvert's, and Hubbard's batteries. It is also reasonable to believe that he directed the deployment of Bryne's Battery, as it was on the far right of the line where Shoup's Battalion deployed.
        Last edited by semperpietas; 17 Oct 12, 10:02.
        "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

        Pyrrhus Travels West:
        Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

        Comment


        • #5
          I voted Shoup, but it could easily have been other. I'm now thinking that Ruggles, Hardee, Beauregard all indicated to Shoup a need, but it was Shoup who conceived and executed the grand battery idea.
          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

          Comment


          • #6
            I thought it might be interesting to elaborate on the historical personage involved to inspire more people to vote in the poll:

            Of the three officers in the poll, two's careers went down hill after Shiloh. One would rise to Division command and then to chief of staff of the Army of Tennessee.

            Of the three participants:

            Major (later Brigadier General) Francis Shoup:



            Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles:



            No known image of Trudeau exists.

            Shoup and Ruggles were both northerners, interestingly. Ruggles was stationed in a variety of garrisons throughout the south, notably Florida. During the secession crisis he resigned his commission and was afterward placed in charge of Confederate forces in Louisiana. When his command was integrated with the Army of the Mississippi, he was made a division commander under Bragg. He fought in the Confederate center at Shiloh and with the exception of calling for artillery, without distinction. After Shiloh, he and Breckinridge were sent to Louisiana to retake Baton Rouge. The effort failed, and Ruggles found himself briefly in command of the Port Hudson Garrison before being assigned to administrative duties for the rest of the war.

            Shoup was a Indiana lawyer and militia officer who had fought in the Seminole War. He greatly admired the Southern Aristocracy, probably the reason he took up a commission in the Confederate Army at Bowling Green. He became the chief of artillery for Hardee and after Shiloh was promoted to Brigadier General by Beauregard. He was sent across the Mississippi River and briefly commanded a division in the Trans-Mississippi Army under Hindman at Praire Grove before he was transferred to Pemberton's Mississippi Department during the Vicksburg campaign. Paroled after the capture of Vicksburg, he took charge of engineering the entrenchments for Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee for the Atlanta Campaign. He later was selected to be chief of artillery and later became chief of staff to John B. Hood when Hood relieved Johnston of command of the Tennessee Army.

            Trudeau was the child of a prominent Louisiana family who had gone to Military School in Switzerland and was a close friend of Beauregard and Leonidas Polk. He was selected by Polk to command the artillery for the defense of Island No. 10. Trudeau escaped when Federal troops invested Island No. 10 and fled to Corinth. He was welcomed on the staff of Beauregard where he remained until June. Disapproving of Trudeau as a Beauregard crony, Bragg fired the Louisianian shortly after taking command of the army. Davis refused to affirm Trudeau's commission as a brigadier general. Trudeau returned home after this for the duration of the war.

            Just a little insight on the people in the poll.
            "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

            Pyrrhus Travels West:
            Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

            Comment


            • #7
              Another vote for Shoup. Putting an idea into practice, regardless of whose idea it may have been, is the critical component to me.

              Regards,
              Dennis
              If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

              Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

              Comment


              • #8
                From my research over the weekend, I voted for Shoup as well. I think his is the best case for it.
                The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Heading to the battlefield for a 10-mile hike on April 5, discussing artillery employment at Shiloh. Maybe I'll get an insight to this question then.

                  I sure wish that the National Park staff there would put out a schedule of hikes for the 151st anniversary of the battle.
                  Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Shoup is my vote also based on what you have submitted. Good job.
                    In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.
                    Robert E. Lee

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by semperpietas View Post
                      I thought it might be interesting to elaborate on the historical personage involved to inspire more people to vote in the poll:

                      Of the three officers in the poll, two's careers went down hill after Shiloh. One would rise to Division command and then to chief of staff of the Army of Tennessee.

                      Of the three participants:

                      Major (later Brigadier General) Francis Shoup:



                      Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles:



                      No known image of Trudeau exists.

                      Shoup and Ruggles were both northerners, interestingly. Ruggles was stationed in a variety of garrisons throughout the south, notably Florida. During the secession crisis he resigned his commission and was afterward placed in charge of Confederate forces in Louisiana. When his command was integrated with the Army of the Mississippi, he was made a division commander under Bragg. He fought in the Confederate center at Shiloh and with the exception of calling for artillery, without distinction. After Shiloh, he and Breckinridge were sent to Louisiana to retake Baton Rouge. The effort failed, and Ruggles found himself briefly in command of the Port Hudson Garrison before being assigned to administrative duties for the rest of the war.

                      Shoup was a Indiana lawyer and militia officer who had fought in the Seminole War. He greatly admired the Southern Aristocracy, probably the reason he took up a commission in the Confederate Army at Bowling Green. He became the chief of artillery for Hardee and after Shiloh was promoted to Brigadier General by Beauregard. He was sent across the Mississippi River and briefly commanded a division in the Trans-Mississippi Army under Hindman at Praire Grove before he was transferred to Pemberton's Mississippi Department during the Vicksburg campaign. Paroled after the capture of Vicksburg, he took charge of engineering the entrenchments for Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee for the Atlanta Campaign. He later was selected to be chief of artillery and later became chief of staff to John B. Hood when Hood relieved Johnston of command of the Tennessee Army.

                      Trudeau was the child of a prominent Louisiana family who had gone to Military School in Switzerland and was a close friend of Beauregard and Leonidas Polk. He was selected by Polk to command the artillery for the defense of Island No. 10. Trudeau escaped when Federal troops invested Island No. 10 and fled to Corinth. He was welcomed on the staff of Beauregard where he remained until June. Disapproving of Trudeau as a Beauregard crony, Bragg fired the Louisianian shortly after taking command of the army. Davis refused to affirm Trudeau's commission as a brigadier general. Trudeau returned home after this for the duration of the war.

                      Just a little insight on the people in the poll.
                      I voted for Shoup, since he was the man running the battle on the field. This was a badly planned battle which took all of the first day to reach a conclusion. Had it been finished sooner then the CSA might have been able to hold off the Union reinforcements which arrived the next day. This is to say, why was not the artllery called on and used from the very beginning? Nice note on the personality of Braxton Bragg
                      Last edited by Nickuru; 07 Feb 13, 20:05. Reason: syntax
                      When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nș 8
                      Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
                      "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nickuru View Post
                        I voted for Shoup, since he was the man running the battle on the field. This was a badly planned battle which took all of the first day to reach a conclusion. Had it been finished sooner then the CSA might have been able to hold off the Union reinforcements which arrived the next day. This is to say, why was not the artllery called on and used from the very beginning? Nice note on the personality of Braxton Bragg
                        The organization at the time attached a battery of artillery to each brigade rather than combining batteries into battalions or brigades and assigning the aggregation to division, corps, or army control. Thus, it was difficult to concentrate batteries as was done with Ruggle's Grand Battery, as each brigade commander would be loathe to give up control of his battery.

                        Lee recognized the necessity of concentrating batteries, and, by Sharpsburg (maybe sooner), I believe, he had established artillery battalions.

                        Both Bragg's Army of the Mississippi and Buell's Army of the Ohio continued to assign batteries to infantry brigades at Perryville (October 8, 1862). I don't know off the top of my head when artillery battalions and brigades were established in the Western Theater.

                        Hagerman in his The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare states that "Beauregard after the war said he had intended his corps commanders to use masses of twelve guns at a point on the offense to clear the way for his infantry." (p 171) I am going to do a quick review of the battle in a month or so in preparation for an April visit to the battlefield. I'll try to remember to look for an evidence of such concentrations in my review and when on the battlefield. I anticipate that the employment of artillery there is going to be a focus of my visit.
                        Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by guthrieba View Post
                          The organization at the time attached a battery of artillery to each brigade rather than combining batteries into battalions or brigades and assigning the aggregation to division, corps, or army control. Thus, it was difficult to concentrate batteries as was done with Ruggle's Grand Battery, as each brigade commander would be loathe to give up control of his battery.

                          Lee recognized the necessity of concentrating batteries, and, by Sharpsburg (maybe sooner), I believe, he had established artillery battalions.

                          Both Bragg's Army of the Mississippi and Buell's Army of the Ohio continued to assign batteries to infantry brigades at Perryville (October 8, 1862). I don't know off the top of my head when artillery battalions and brigades were established in the Western Theater.

                          Hagerman in his The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare states that "Beauregard after the war said he had intended his corps commanders to use masses of twelve guns at a point on the offense to clear the way for his infantry." (p 171) I am going to do a quick review of the battle in a month or so in preparation for an April visit to the battlefield. I'll try to remember to look for an evidence of such concentrations in my review and when on the battlefield. I anticipate that the employment of artillery there is going to be a focus of my visit.
                          Hardee had organized his three batteries into a battalion under Shoup at Corinth before Shiloh, but this battalion was broken up when Shoup was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department in the aftermath of Shiloh. Bragg like-wise continued to assign batteries to brigades, though in the summer of 1863 he took steps to reform his artillery by establishing a reserve battalion under Robertson and appointing James Hallonquist as his chief of artillery. He also undertook steps to organize divisional artillery into single battalions, but did not complete this until after Chickamauga and the combat debut for the Army of Tennessee's newly organized artillery battalions at Missionary Ridge wasn't exactly laurel filled.

                          Lee had battalions by the Second Manassas Campaign, with Walton's Battalion (Washington Artillery) reporting directly to Longstreet, and with S.D. Lee's Battalion reporting directing to Lee.

                          Have you read Larry J. Daniel's Cannoneers in Gray by chance?
                          Last edited by semperpietas; 07 Feb 13, 23:44.
                          "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

                          Pyrrhus Travels West:
                          Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by semperpietas View Post
                            Hardee had organized his three batteries into a battalion under Shoup at Corinth before Shiloh, but this battalion was broken up when Shoup was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department in the aftermath of Shiloh. Bragg like-wise continued to assign batteries to brigades, though in the summer of 1863 he took steps to reform his artillery by establishing a reserve battalion under Robertson and appointing James Hallonquist as his chief of artillery. He also undertook steps to organize divisional artillery into single battalions, but did not complete this until after Chickamauga and the combat debut for the Army of Tennessee's newly organized artillery battalions at Missionary Ridge wasn't exactly laurel filled.

                            Lee had battalions by the Second Manassas Campaign, with Walton's Battalion (Washington Artillery) reporting directly to Longstreet, and with S.D. Lee's Battalion reporting directing to Lee.

                            Have you read Larry J. Daniel's Cannoneers in Gray by chance?
                            Thanks for the clarifications. I was too lazy last night to break out my resources to confirm when the Army of Northern Virginia organized its artillery into battalions.

                            Just by chance, Daniel's tome arrived on my doorstep today. I need to prepare for a trip to Chattanooga and Chickamauga next month, and then Daniel's opus will gain my attention.
                            Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by guthrieba View Post
                              Thanks for the clarifications. I was too lazy last night to break out my resources to confirm when the Army of Northern Virginia organized its artillery into battalions.

                              Just by chance, Daniel's tome arrived on my doorstep today. I need to prepare for a trip to Chattanooga and Chickamauga next month, and then Daniel's opus will gain my attention.
                              Are you coming to the seminar in the woods?
                              The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

                              Comment

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