Talk:Army of the Tennessee

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I added George Thomas into the Command History because any detailed history of the siege of Corinth will still list him as commander of the army during this time. (Jeremy Bentham)

I'll look around the ORs for more info. Generally, Eichers' High Commands is extremely accurate about command histories of individuals and armies. They list Thomas as in command for 1 day, but note that it was rescinded. For the army, they show Grant in command the entire period; I am speculating that the records were retroactively modified. So perhaps this will end up as a footnote. Hal Jespersen 16:48, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Army organization[edit]

OK, this is quite confusing. I found in the Official Records [series 1, Vol X/1, S#10] that on April 30, 1862, the Department of the Mississippi was reorganized by Halleck into wings. Grant describes this in his memoirs:

GENERAL HALLECK arrived at Pittsburg landing on the 11th of April and immediately assumed command in the field. On the 21st General Pope arrived with an army 30,000 strong, fresh from the capture of Island Number Ten in the Mississippi River. He went into camp at Hamburg landing five miles above Pittsburg. Halleck had now three armies: the Army of the Ohio, Buell commanding; the Army of the Mississippi, Pope commanding; and the Army of the Tennessee. His orders divided the combined force into the right wing, reserve, centre and left wing. Major-General George H. Thomas, who had been in Buell’s army, was transferred with his division to the Army of the Tennessee and given command of the right wing, composed of all of that army except McClernand’s and Lew. Wallace’s divisions. McClernand was assigned to the command of the reserve, composed of his own and Lew. Wallace’s divisions. Buell commanded the centre, the Army of the Ohio; and Pope the left wing, the Army of the Mississippi. I was named second in command of the whole, and was also supposed to be in command of the right wing and reserve.

A biography of Thomas ( says:

After that battle[ [Shiloh], General H. W. Halleck united the three armies of his department and the detached forces on the field before Pittsburgh Landing, and partially re-organized them before advancing against the enemy at Corinth, Mississippi. In the main he preserved the identity of his armies; but his changes tended to complexity rather than unity in the relations of his immense forces as a whole. Under the semblance of a general army organization, he divided his forces into five parts, designated, "Right Wing," "Centre," " Left Wing," " Reserves," and "Cavalry," each comprising two or more divisions. General Grant was relieved from the command of the Army of the Tennessee, and announced as second in command. The "Right Wing," comprising four divisions of the Army of the Tennessee and the First division of the Army of the Ohio, was given to General Thomas; the "Centre," including four divisions of the latter army, to General Buell; the "Left Wing," or Army of the Mississippi, with additional divisions, to General Pope; the "Reserves" to General McClernand, and the "Cavalry" to General Gordon Granger. General Thomas had been appointed a major general of volunteers April 25th at the solicitation of General Halleck, who had urged his promotion, that he might assign him to the command of his "Right Wing." His division commanders were Major General W. T. Sherman, Brigadier Generals Hurlbut, T.W. Sherman, Davies, and McKean.

So although it is obvious to all that Grant was in the doghouse being Halleck's second-in-command, it is unclear that Thomas was given formal command of the Army of the Tennessee per se. He was given command of some of the divisions from that army and a division from another, organized as a wing. In that same OR, correspondence from Thomas is labeled "Headquarters Right Wing Army of the Tennessee" for the operations against Corinth. Special Field Order #90 from Halleck on June 10 says:

I. The order dividing the army near Corinth into right wing, center, left wing, and reserve is hereby revoked. Major-Generals Grant, Buell, and Pope will resume the command of their separate army corps, except the division of Major-General Thomas, which till further orders will be stationed in Corinth as a part of the Army of the Tennessee. General Thomas will resume the immediate command of his division on its arrival at Corinth, and Brig. Gen. T.W. Sherman will report to Major-General Buell for duty with the Army of the Ohio.

It is interesting that he says "Army Corps". Another source, Who's Who in the Civil War ( actually credits Thomas with command of the Army April 30-June 10, 1862, but the Eichers do not. Their bio entries for Grant and Thomas and their command history of the Army of the Tennessee do not mention this change of command.

I will think about an appropriate footnote. Hal Jespersen 02:13, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Another interesting data point: I browsed through the new book by Steven Woodworth, Nothing but Victory : The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865, and he asserts that Grant remained nominally in command of an army that technically did not exist during this period. That would comport with the Eichers' record. Hal Jespersen 21:54, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Prentiss/Hornet's Nest[edit]

I have called for citation after the sentence giving so much credit to Prentiss and the Hornet's Nest. Is this really so clear cut? I don't mean to deprecate the heroism of the Hornet's Nest, only to ask whether the struggle there was really so pivotal as to justify such a definitive statement? What about other efforts -- like Sherman's staunchness on the Union right, also amidst very hard fighting? Hartfelt (talk) 19:59, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Reinforcements for Vicksburg Siege[edit]

Please note that the details given here seem to disagree with statements about reinforcements made in Grant's Memoirs, pp. 366-67 (Lib. of Am. edition). Hartfelt (talk) 14:13, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


In your references, you have * Simon, John Y., ed., The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Southern Illinois University Press (1967- ) multivolume complete edition of letters to and from Grant.

What does the date refer to? —Ed (TalkContribs) 20:31, 22 May 2009 (UTC) -- Ed: Date is publication of first volume in series; they're still coming out. Hartfelt (talk) 15:08, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

"On 20 December 1861, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (already headquartered at Cairo, Illinois, and with the November Battle of Belmont behind him) was appointed to command the newly created District of Cairo, Department of the Missouri.[7]"
What does "District of Cairo, Department of the Missouri" mean? —Ed (Talk<font color="800000">Contribs) 20:33, 22 May 2009 (UTC) -- Ed: The District of Cairo was part of the Department of the Missouri. In other words, Grant reported to Halleck, not to Washington. Hartfelt (talk) 15:08, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

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