Book Chat
"Perryville:
The Grand Havoc of Battle"
by
Kenneth W. Noe

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 05/17/09 and covered Chapters 9 & 10.

5/17/2009 9:10 pm (et) mobile_96: Welcome to the May 17 book chat on Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle, by Kenneth Noe. Please....no pms during the discussion

5/17/2009 9:10 pm (et) mobile_96: Chapter 9. A Small Sized Hell

5/17/2009 9:11 pm (et) mobile_96: comments on this chapter

5/17/2009 9:11 pm (et) bluelady: I am thinking that this chapter took place in a rather cramped ravine?

5/17/2009 9:11 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I have an overall general question to begin with. At some point in time after the battle, were any of these officers investigated or court-martialed for not obeying orders?

5/17/2009 9:12 pm (et) mobile_96: series of them

5/17/2009 9:12 pm (et) bluelady: never mind that was the next chapter.

5/17/2009 9:12 pm (et) bluelady: LF..my comment was going to be that Polk was at it again.

5/17/2009 9:12 pm (et) mobile_96: The ones that lived? not that I've seen, either side.

5/17/2009 9:13 pm (et) bluelady: LF believe it or not...no.

5/17/2009 9:13 pm (et) mobile_96: Both armies were playing Who's on First. neither side knew where anyone was.

5/17/2009 9:14 pm (et) bluelady: Polk made it a habit of not following Bragg's orders...even a year later and still gets away with it because of his ties with Jeff Davis.

5/17/2009 9:14 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Bragg refused to believe he was outnumbered and Buell refused to believe he wasn't outnumbered.

5/17/2009 9:14 pm (et) bluelady: I think that is the underlying theme of this whole battle...hide and go seek.

5/17/2009 9:14 pm (et) mobile_96: Agree Blue, and a huge problem for the Confederacy during the entire war.

5/17/2009 9:16 pm (et) mobile_96: Anyone have problems keeping track of where everyone was?

5/17/2009 9:16 pm (et) Babs: Yes, indeed. It helped to skip ahead to the map in the next chapter.

5/17/2009 9:16 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The terrain seemed to be more of a factor in this battle than in most battles I've read about. And, yes, I was having an awful time in this chapter keeping track of everyone.

5/17/2009 9:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I had the book open and the B&G map open right next to me the whole time. Also needed to refer constantly to the order of battle in the back of the book, which really was a big help.

5/17/2009 9:18 pm (et) mobile_96: LF, when you see the battlefield you will understand how big a factor the terrain will be.

5/17/2009 9:18 pm (et) bluelady: The thing I can't believe is that Bragg basically say ok you didn't follow this order and now we are here well I will change my plan and not censure you.

5/17/2009 9:18 pm (et) Babs: DUH! There's an order of battle in the back of the book.

5/17/2009 9:19 pm (et) mobile_96: Optical illusions galore.

5/17/2009 9:19 pm (et) bluelady: I had to agree about being confused as to who was on what side and should have looked at the order of battle more often.

5/17/2009 9:19 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Appendix I, Babs. It's your scorecard.

5/17/2009 9:20 pm (et) bluelady: Another problem I had and that was because of lack of sleep and my tendency to nod off on FFF books.

5/17/2009 9:20 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I was looking at the pictures and need to make a list of all the points I want to check out in person. Can't wait.

5/17/2009 9:20 pm (et) Babs: Maybe I can tell the player with a scorecard.

5/17/2009 9:20 pm (et) mobile_96: Blue, the lack of communication, along with obtuse subordinates was bad on both sides.

5/17/2009 9:21 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I guess it really didn't make any difference if one obeyed Bragg's orders or not, because by the time they were put in place, new orders would arrive.

5/17/2009 9:21 pm (et) Babs: I think even I could get a message 14 miles in eight hours.

5/17/2009 9:22 pm (et) mobile_96: Maybe there was no follow up on people disobeying orders because everyone was very happy to just get out alive.

5/17/2009 9:23 pm (et) mobile_96: Wonder if the lack of water and very tired horses and men might have been a factor in those late messages.

5/17/2009 9:23 pm (et) mobile_96: These runners had to be about falling in their tracks.

5/17/2009 9:23 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Don't know how many times I read that McCook (or Bragg) or another general had to ride and check things out for himself because he was receiving no communication.

5/17/2009 9:24 pm (et) Pvt Miles: I can see where Polk did not follow orders, due to changing situations on the battlefield, but his failure to communicatewith Bragg was inexcusable.

5/17/2009 9:24 pm (et) mobile_96: Miles, very true.

5/17/2009 9:25 pm (et) Pvt Miles: No wonder Bragg was ill tempered.

5/17/2009 9:25 pm (et) mobile_96: Also, Braggs failure to check up on the possible pickets at Cornishville was a failure.

5/17/2009 9:27 pm (et) bluelady: One has to wonder since no one knew where each other was how many of those messengers were possibly captured?

5/17/2009 9:28 pm (et) mobile_96: Thought most, if not all got thru, just took forever to get where sent.

5/17/2009 9:28 pm (et) Babs: Or lost.

5/17/2009 9:28 pm (et) bluelady: It looks to me that this chapter was then about the gathering and placing of the armies at Perryville.

5/17/2009 9:29 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Ha! Can you imagine the troops who captured the messages trying to make sense of them. lol

5/17/2009 9:29 pm (et) bluelady: Ok that is true and I should have remembered that the dispatches were read by the eyes meant to see them...just much later.

5/17/2009 9:30 pm (et) bluelady: Ha..can you imagine the one who was supposed to see them making sense of them?

5/17/2009 9:30 pm (et) mobile_96: And some of the first contact, especially the cannonade.

5/17/2009 9:30 pm (et) bluelady: Right Terrell and his pride and joy.

5/17/2009 9:31 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Noe puts the batteries in the maps, B&G did not. Thanks, Ken, wherever you are.

5/17/2009 9:31 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That's next chapter, blue.

5/17/2009 9:32 pm (et) 4eyes: What kinda cannons?

5/17/2009 9:32 pm (et) bluelady: Well I know but the cannonade was with his cannon, so to speak.

5/17/2009 9:32 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Seems like some of the greenest troops were put in some of the riskiest positions.

5/17/2009 9:32 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Napoleons and parrots, few howitzers.

5/17/2009 9:33 pm (et) 4eyes: How many on each side?

5/17/2009 9:33 pm (et) bluelady: And that was the mistake I think was stated earlier in the book

5/17/2009 9:33 pm (et) mobile_96: Good amount of fighting over by squire Bottom's home.

5/17/2009 9:34 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Don't remember how many 4eyes. It's in the book.

5/17/2009 9:35 pm (et) mobile_96: Agree Blue.

5/17/2009 9:35 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Did anyone notice that the whole battlefield seemed to be owned by various members of one family?

5/17/2009 9:36 pm (et) Babs: But they didn't all get along.

5/17/2009 9:37 pm (et) bluelady: And with differences in allegiance.

5/17/2009 9:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, Babs, one was an abolitionist, another a secessionist.

5/17/2009 9:38 pm (et) mobile_96: Neither Widow Gibson, nor, Widow Bottom's homes are standing today.

5/17/2009 9:39 pm (et) mobile_96: Anymore on Chapter 9??

5/17/2009 9:39 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I thought it was interesting that the Federals thought the line of dust in the distance was the rebels retreating when it was (who was it, Cheatham) moving to the right flank.

5/17/2009 9:39 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Wonder if the foundations are there. At least a marker.

5/17/2009 9:40 pm (et) mobile_96: Marker for the Gibson home.

5/17/2009 9:40 pm (et) mobile_96: Anyway, onward...Chapter 10. Forward

5/17/2009 9:40 pm (et) bluelady: Cool...mobile you are going to guide us right??? :)

5/17/2009 9:40 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: You are going to be our guide, aren't you?

5/17/2009 9:41 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I'm an echo.

5/17/2009 9:41 pm (et) mobile_96: Think Kurt Holman will probably have the honors, on Sat at least.

5/17/2009 9:42 pm (et) bluelady: Here we have the armies totally confused by the terrain.

5/17/2009 9:42 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Who is he?

5/17/2009 9:42 pm (et) bluelady: Probably a ranger.

5/17/2009 9:42 pm (et) Babs: I thought that was interesting where Noe said a house on one hill and a barn on another appeared to be side by side.

5/17/2009 9:43 pm (et) mobile_96: Although, there are probably members of the Perryville Association that could also do the tour.

5/17/2009 9:43 pm (et) mobile_96: Kurt heads the site.

5/17/2009 9:43 pm (et) bluelady: No only confused but rookie troops seeing the elephant for the first time...didn't work out too great.

5/17/2009 9:43 pm (et) Pvt Miles: Mention is made of archeological evidence for the movement and firing of artillery batteries (pp 174, 190). Any thoughts as to what that might be?

5/17/2009 9:44 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: This chapter really is interesting. Begins with Walker's Bend. Just go the top they are ordered. No one looked at the terrain before giving that order. Saw the picture. Really steep bank.

5/17/2009 9:44 pm (et) mobile_96: Kurt is a nice guy, tried to help me locate a local cemetery for a friend of mine.

5/17/2009 9:44 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: How can they tell troop movements from archeology.

5/17/2009 9:45 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I hope Kurt can point out all the points where the first Corp Ohio regiments were.

5/17/2009 9:46 pm (et) bluelady: I was wondering that...I want to keep that in mind the next time Ken comes in.

5/17/2009 9:46 pm (et) Babs: I'm guessing from fragments found.

5/17/2009 9:46 pm (et) mobile_96: Fan, that whole strip is like that, majority of the cannon had to move to the right a ways before finding a place they could get past the bluffs.

5/17/2009 9:46 pm (et) bluelady: The archeological evidence that is.

5/17/2009 9:47 pm (et) mobile_96: Am sure he can, as he also helped Noe understand some of the movements.

5/17/2009 9:47 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Blue, we should make that our first question. Hope he reads the log of this chat.

5/17/2009 9:47 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Is the terrain easy to "read" in person?

5/17/2009 9:48 pm (et) bluelady: Hey I think I found the answer look on page 418 in the appendix notes.

5/17/2009 9:48 pm (et) mobile_96: What do you say Ole, besides moving from 1 hill to the next and discover what's on the other side

5/17/2009 9:49 pm (et) mobile_96: Which note Blue.

5/17/2009 9:49 pm (et) ole: Distances can be deceiving. Was that two hills between the one we started from to the one we got to?

5/17/2009 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: "The presence of a single 12 pound solid shot found on private property near a 10 pounder suggests that both batteries were engaged.

5/17/2009 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: I cut the note short...it is near the top of the page.

5/17/2009 9:50 pm (et) mobile_96: Fan, depends on where you are standing, rolling hills there.

5/17/2009 9:51 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It was great meeting you also, cw. Jana's book was delivered to her yesterday.

5/17/2009 9:51 pm (et) mobile_96: Correct Ole, over on the Union Right, near the Squire Bottom home.

5/17/2009 9:52 pm (et) bluelady: Number 31.

5/17/2009 9:52 pm (et) Pvt Miles: Thanks, blue that sheds some light on my question.

5/17/2009 9:53 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Again, troops misread what they saw, Parson's battery and Wharton's cavalry saw each other and it never seemed to occur to either of them that there were more troops.

5/17/2009 9:53 pm (et) cwbksell: Thank you for doing that Lincoln Fan. Was she surprised all three authors signed the book? I'm sure she will enjoy reading that one.

5/17/2009 9:53 pm (et) mobile_96: Come up out of the creek, then 1 steep hill, deep valley, another steep hill, followed by a long valley rising up to the Dix Crossroads.

5/17/2009 9:54 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Terrain made for hide and seek.

5/17/2009 9:55 pm (et) mobile_96: Correct, enemy was almost on you, before you even knew they were around.

5/17/2009 9:55 pm (et) ole: If you can run a mile in 3 minutes.

5/17/2009 9:55 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yes, she was. I have a funny story to tell you after the chat about what they wrote.

5/17/2009 9:56 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That was true for both armies, mobile.

5/17/2009 9:56 pm (et) mobile_96: Not sure there is a 3 min. mile in that terrain.

5/17/2009 9:57 pm (et) 4eyes: With all their eqips and a 10 pound musket they could probably go a mile in 12 minutes.

5/17/2009 9:58 pm (et) cwbksell: With as many hills as mobile mentions, I doubt a horse could cover a mile in 3 minutes.

5/17/2009 9:58 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I read this chapter trying to imagine what it would be like to have to be ready to attack and be alert because your life, and others, depended on it, and be hungry, dead tired, and parched from eating dust for several hours. Wonder they were still standing.

5/17/2009 9:59 pm (et) bluelady: It looked in the beginning of the chapter that the Union army was having a better time of it until...

5/17/2009 9:59 pm (et) 4eyes: How many encounters were there? I didn't read the book but Wikipedia seems like 3 stages in fighting over 2 days.

5/17/2009 9:59 pm (et) bluelady: Adrenaline does wonders.

5/17/2009 10:00 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That being said, was it wrong of the commanders to order them into battle without rest?

5/17/2009 10:00 pm (et) mobile_96: Yea, until the Confederates were in their face.

5/17/2009 10:00 pm (et) bluelady: LF...they had no choice...it was either fight or die.

5/17/2009 10:01 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Don't know 4eyes. Haven't finished the book and only know what we've read so far.

5/17/2009 10:01 pm (et) bluelady: And Terrell gets tunnel vision.

5/17/2009 10:01 pm (et) mobile_96: Bragg thought it was going to be a fast little fight, then he could move everyone North to fight the main army

5/17/2009 10:02 pm (et) bluelady: Another this was mentioned in this chapter ..green troops had a t4endancey to keep loading their guns and not firing them.

5/17/2009 10:02 pm (et) 4eyes: Bragg wanted Skyline Chile maybe a 6

5/17/2009 10:02 pm (et) mobile_96: After he re-aligned everyone, I'm surprised he didn't head back North.

5/17/2009 10:02 pm (et) bluelady: Glezen did that to his gun and had to try 7 others before he found one that would work.

5/17/2009 10:03 pm (et) cwbksell: Mobile, you sayin' they should have done a skidaddle?

5/17/2009 10:03 pm (et) mobile_96: Happened in a lot of battles, but was surprised at how many did it here.

5/17/2009 10:03 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Well, that's what I mean about not giving troops rest. Even after engaging his troops in battle, no matter how small he thought the battle would be, Bragg would march his troops out of Perryville to meet Kirby Smith the same day. What did Bragg and Buell think these guys were made of?

5/17/2009 10:03 pm (et) mobile_96: Not at all, cwbk.

5/17/2009 10:05 pm (et) mobile_96: That's not what I meant, but, with hindsight, of course, they should have headed south.

5/17/2009 10:06 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: A lot of wierd things happened in that battle. How about the bullets that collided in some guys mouth, knocking out his teeth, but not damaging his face.

5/17/2009 10:07 pm (et) bluelady: That was weird.

5/17/2009 10:07 pm (et) mobile_96: Am sure weird things happen in every fight, just not everything gets recorded.

5/17/2009 10:07 pm (et) bluelady: Or the guy rolling the ball down the hill because he was afraid it would explode.

5/17/2009 10:08 pm (et) bluelady: After it killed someone else.

5/17/2009 10:08 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Also, I can't believe how much some of these officers hated each other. If one could actually plan a battle, would never put this bunch together. Was it true that Sheridan and Terrill made up the night before the battle. That incident was one of our trivia questions not too long ago.

5/17/2009 10:09 pm (et) mobile_96: Terrill, if he hadn't lost it, might have been able to stop the attack at the end, for a while at least.

5/17/2009 10:09 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Terrill had a meltdown for sure.

5/17/2009 10:10 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Some of the dumbest commands, like his bayonet charges, are obeyed however.

5/17/2009 10:11 pm (et) mobile_96: Fan, didn't Ken document the Sheridan-Terrill makeup??

5/17/2009 10:11 pm (et) bluelady: He did some things right at the beginning and later as I said had tunnell vision just for the guns.

5/17/2009 10:11 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I need to look. Don't know exactly where it is in the book, but will find it later. Thanks.

5/17/2009 10:12 pm (et) Pvt Miles: I'd say the green troops as a whole performed well.

5/17/2009 10:12 pm (et) mobile_96: When you see his position, you will wonder how, or why, anyone would try to run up that Open Knob.

5/17/2009 10:13 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: How about Maney's men charging up to take over Terrill's guns.

5/17/2009 10:13 pm (et) mobile_96: Miles, once they got Started, yes I agree

5/17/2009 10:13 pm (et) bluelady: Mobile...the picture in the book makes that pretty clear...and it amazes me that Terrill could not hold it.

5/17/2009 10:14 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yes, the green troops did well. One of the Ohio units balked at first. I'm waiting to see how Gilbert's troops do - they should be a factor later on in the book.

5/17/2009 10:14 pm (et) Pvt Miles: And when Maney's men did take the hill, there was another even more formidable.

5/17/2009 10:15 pm (et) mobile_96: Blue, that's where his pre-occupation with the cannon got him into trouble, the Melt Down.

5/17/2009 10:15 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The picture taken from the top of the hill is somewhat deceiving, but the one taken from the bottom of the hill is awesome.

5/17/2009 10:15 pm (et) bluelady: Yep you are right mobile.

5/17/2009 10:16 pm (et) mobile_96: On my last trip, had to take a break to catch my breath, after climbing it.

5/17/2009 10:16 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Wish I had a topographical map.

5/17/2009 10:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Will we be able to get to most of these places?

5/17/2009 10:17 pm (et) mobile_96: Fan, that is a plus, for sure.

5/17/2009 10:18 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The map or being able to access the sites?

5/17/2009 10:19 pm (et) mobile_96: both

5/17/2009 10:19 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: ole, have you been to Perryville yet?

5/17/2009 10:19 pm (et) mobile_96: Complete access to every point, No, not in a half day.

5/17/2009 10:20 pm (et) ole: Was there with mobile, about 5 years ago.

5/17/2009 10:20 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I think Susan and I, and anyone else who wants to join us, are driving over on Friday also.

5/17/2009 10:20 pm (et) mobile_96: However, you will be able to see everything, by driving to several [parts of the field.

5/17/2009 10:21 pm (et) ole: I'll join you.

5/17/2009 10:21 pm (et) bluelady: Hey babs don't leave right away I had an OT comment for you.

5/17/2009 10:22 pm (et) mobile_96: anymore comments, on the book??

5/17/2009 10:23 pm (et) mobile_96: If not, I want to thank everyone for putting up with me tonight, I had a great time and hope all of you did also.

5/17/2009 10:23 pm (et) bluelady: Next 2 chapters are HW for next week

5/17/2009 10:23 pm (et) mobile_96: So ends tonights "discussion" on Perryville.

GO TO BOOK CHAT FOR CHAPTERS 11 & 12

RETURN TO INTRO PAGE