Sue, this is really cool! Great selection! This is just the right size, you
wouldn't want to post anything much larger than this at one time, or some
people's email providers might try to put it into an attachment format.
Rootsweb (which is where our mailing list originates) does not allow
attachments due to virus control. (Most viruses come in email attachments.)
If you have a real big article, split it into two or more messages like I
have done. This is a great set of letters. (What happened to the gentlemen
of yore?) I can't think of anything else to tell you--you did this just
Subject: [IA-CIVIL-WAR] 12th Iowa Infantry & 9th Mississippi, Shiloh
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 22:46:07 EST
This article, dated May 6, 1884, describes a set of letters exchanged
Colonel William Tuckerman Shaw, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, and the Confederate
officer, F. E. Whitefield, 9th Mississippi Infantry, to whom Col. Shaw
tendered his sword in surrender at the battle of Shiloh, April 6, 1862.
Twelfth Iowa Infantry was one of the last regiments to surrender, having
out at the Hornet's Nest with other Iowa regiments until late afternoon.
These letters were exchanged 22 years after that battle.
The Vinton Eagle
Vinton, Benton Co., Iowa
Tuesday, May 6, 1884
Another Scrap of History Regarding The Battle of Shiloh
The following letter from Col. Whitefield, to whom Col. Shaw
at the battle of Shiloh, is of unusual interest, especially to the 14th
boys who made such a brave stand in that memorable conflict. Col. Shaw's
comments and explanations are also pertinent and equally interesting.
Corinth, Miss., April 10, 1884
Col. Wm. T. Shaw, Anamosa, Iowa.
--My dear sir: I cannot exaggerate the expression of my regret when I
learned that you had visited the Shiloh battle field on the 6th and 7th
inst., and I had missed the opportunity of meeting you again and knowing as
friend the man and officer who won my admiration as an enemy.
Our encounter at Shiloh is one of the most striking episodes of my war
experience. It was a curious vicissitude of war that repaid with captivity
the courage and gallantry that held its position last upon the field, when
you held your regiment (and part of another) fighting gallantly in open
with perfect line and well-dressed ranks, long after the regiments on your
flanks had fled, and yielded only when assailed both in front and rear.
fortunes of war owed you something better, but after all, one can never
safely count on any reward save that which comes from the satisfaction of
knowing that we have performed our duty well.
I was very much in hopes that you would extend your visit to Corinth
accept from me for a few days that hospitality that you once declined as a
prisoner, because it could not be shared by your "boys." I even heard that
you were coming over, and I placed a man to intercept you and bring you
directly to my house, where my wife had prepared a chamber for you, and
the camp-kettle, with some very excellent Glen Cevat and lemons in waiting
the mantel. But you did not come, and I seek refuge from my disappointment
in this letter to you, which I trust will find you reciprocating my desire
for a more intimate acquaintance.
Very truly yours,
F. E. WHITEFIELD
EDITOR EUREKA: In handing you the letter of Col. F. E. Whitefield, of
Corinth, Miss., for publication, it is due the suffering public to say that
we who fought, bled and died so many times, feel great interest in one of
principle scenes of our oragic fate, and those who were not there to suffer
must do the suffering now; besides this letter of Col. Whitefield's only
justice to my command, and I feel, I hope, a proper pride in doing all in
power to place them right on the record. The part of a regiment mentioned
Col. Whitefield was about sixty men of the 21st Missouri, under Lieut.
Whittemore, now of Monticello, Iowa, and Lieut. Tobin, who died in prison,
believe. The Twenty-first Missouri was the first to receive the attack of
the enemy on the morning of the 6th, and by 8 a.m. was knocked all to
Lieutenants Whittemore and Tobin gathered about sixty of their men
and just as I was going into action Lieutenant Whittemore reported to me
his men had been cut to pieces, that he had been able to gather up about
sixty men and would like to have a chance to go in and get even. I ordered
him to form on my left, which he did, and if he did not get even it was his
own fault, as there was a good chance for the next eight hours. I will
say in regard to the circumstances of my surrender mentioned by Col. W.
it was owing to the forbearance and humanity of Col. W. that the greater
portion of my command was not killed on the spot.
Making a rapid movement to clear myself from the enemy who pressed me
closely in rear and flank, I suddenly struck the 9th Mississippi, commanded
by Col. Whitefield, drawn across my left flank. Immediately comprehending
the hopelessness of the situation, I drew a white handkerchief from my
and raised it on my sword in token of surrender.
Now, as Col. W. had time to give me at least two volleys in flank at
range before I surrendered, and which he would have been justified in
and I may here say almost any other officer would have done, I feel that I
but doing justice to a brave and generous enemy when I say that to his
humanity I owe the lives of the greater part of the men that were with me
In the action of the 7th, the next day, Col. W. was severely wounded
taken to his father's house, near Corinth; and notwithstanding his wounds
had his father come to Corinth through the rain and mud, look me up and
me the hospitalities of his home. This I declined on the ground that I
not leave the boys who had stood by me so bravely in the fight, as long as
there was any chance of my being of any service to them.
I had neither seen nor heard of Col. W. from that time to the 6th,
when I met some of his neighbors on the field of Shiloh, which resulted in
the above letter.
In my visit to the battlefield, I ditinctly recognized every position
occupied by my regiment during the day and I was able also to verify most
the lies as lies that were written since, on the battle of Shiloh. And
let me warn the suffering publick that I intend some day to write a true
history of the part taken by the 12th and 14th Iowa infantry in that
In closing this article I will say that I surrendered my command; that
private or officer offered to yield till I gave the signal, and that during
the three years I commanded the 14th Iowa I never gave an order that was
promptly obeyed. There is not a single act of the regiment that I can not
think of with pride, whether it be in the many well-fought battles in which
they were engaged, or in camp or on the march, always doing honor to
themselves and their country. But to no act do I look back with more just
pride than that after strugglling for nearly half a mile over broken and
heavily timbered ground against greatly superior numbers, I was able when
necessity compelled it, to surrender with well closed ranks and line well
dressed. My regiment at the time of capture was reduced to about two
WM. T. SHAW.
Sue Trout Reisdorph
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