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 Generals Who Commanded the 5th Minnesota

Banks * Buckland * Canby * Grant * Halleck * Hamilton * HurlbutMcArthur * McPherson * Mower * Plummer * Pope * Rosecrans * Sherman * Smith, A. J. * Smith, John E. * Stanley * Thomas * Tuttle * Washburn


Major General Nathaniel P. Banks

General Nathaniel Prentice Banks commanded the Red River Campaign from March 10 to May 22, 1864. The 5th Minnesota and the rest of A. J. Smith's 16th Corps were "loaned" to Banks to assist in the task of destroying Dick Taylor's Confederate army at Shreveport, Louisiana. It was likely Banks' men who applied the term "Smith's Guerrillas" to the soldiers of the 16th Corps. Following the Union victory in the Battle of Pleasant Hill on April 9, Banks turned his army around and retreated while Taylor also made a forced march in the opposite direction. On April 22, 1864, Grant wired Chief of Staff Halleck asking for Banks to be removed. General Sherman called the Red River Campaign "one damn blunder from beginning to end."

Brigadier General Ralph Pomeroy Buckland

Buckland commanded the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division (Tuttle), 15th Army Corps (Sherman), during an expedition against Forrest through west Tennessee in late December 1862. Though not officially a part of the 15th Amy Corps, the 5th Minnesota was sent with Buckland on this expedition.



Major General Edward Richard Sprigg Canby

Canby commanded the Army of West Mississippi (MCIW, p. 278) with the 5th Minnesota under Canby's command starting March 1865. He led the Siege and Battle of Spanish Fort (March 27 to April 8, 1865) and the Battle of Fort Blakely (April 2 to April 9, 1865). The G.A.R. Post #47 at Farmington, Minnesota, was known as the Canby Post.



Major General Ulysses S. Grant

Grant was second-in-command under General Halleck during the Siege of Corinth (April 29 - June 10, 1862). When Halleck was promoted to general-in-chief of the Union Army and called to Washington in July 1862, Grant was promoted to commander of the Army of the Tennessee. Grant commanded the Army of the Tennessee, including the 5th Minnesota Infantry Regiment, during the battles of Iuka (September 19, 1862) and Corinth (October 3-4, 1862) and the Siege of Vicksburg (May 19 - July 4, 1863). The G.A.R. Post #80 at Edgerton, Minnesota, was known as the U.S. Grant Post.


Major General Henry Wager Halleck

Halleck commanded the Department of the Mississippi during the Siege of Corinth (April 29 - May 30, 1862). The 5th Minnesota joined his army on May 24, 1862. Halleck would be named General-in-Chief of all the Union armies on July 23, 1862.



Major General Charles S. Hamilton

Hamilton commanded the 16th Army Corps starting January 10, 1863 during the absence of General Hurlbut. Then on January 15, the 16th Corps was incorporated into the District of West Tennessee under Hamilton's command. During this time, the 5th Minnesota was detached under General Buckland in Tennessee, but they left Jackson, Tennessee to rejoin their normal 2nd Brigade (Mower) on February 1.


Major General Stephen Augustus Hurlbut

Hurlbut commanded the 16th Army Corps during the Meridian Campaign (February 3 - March 2, 1864). He subsequently commanded the Department of the Gulf, succeeding Nathaniel P. Banks and serving in that capacity for the remainder of the war. The G.A.R. Post #56 at Beardsley, Minnesota, was known as the Hurlbut Post.


Brigadier General John McArthur

McArthur commanded the 1st Division, 16th Army Corps (Right Wing) Detachment Army of the Tennessee (Smith), Army of the Cumberland (Thomas) during the Battle of Nashville (December 15-16, 1864). McArthur had replaced Joseph Mower on November 2, 1864.

Anecdotes:
"Directly in front of our division were two small redoubts, containing field batteries, supported by lines of infantry. Gen. A. J. Smith turned to Gen. McArthur, our division commander, and quietly asked him if he thought he could carry the redoubts. The old Scotchman's prompt response
was "Yes, sir!" and without further orders from Smith he directed his brigade commanders to assault them. The result was an astonisher to the rebels." [Lucius F. Hubbard, Narrative of the Fifth Regiment, Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, Volume I, page 275, regarding December 15, 1864]


"McArthur, with that powerfully knit frame, and that intelligent and well-developed Scotch face, firmness amounting almost to stubbornness visible in every feature, sat on his horse awaiting the proper moment to give the final order." [J. P. Owens, in an article describing the Battle of Nashville for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, as reprinted in Hubbard's Narrative of the Fifth Regiment, Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, Volume I, page 276.]

"Gen. McArthur, his Scotch cap pulled down, and his swarthy face illuminated with a look of stern determination, was sending final instructions to his brigade commanders." [immediately prior to the charge on Shy's Hill, December 16, 1864, Battle of Nashville; Hon. C. F. MacDonald, Narrative of the Ninth Regiment, Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, Volume I, p. 432]

Major General James B. McPherson

On March 12, 1864, General James McPherson was given command of the Army of the Tennessee, after its former commander, General Sherman, was promoted to command of all armies in the West.  At this point the 5th Minnesota was participating in the Red River Expedition under Joseph Mower and A. J. Smith. McPherson would be killed at the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864, and was the highest ranking Union officer killed during the war. The G.A.R. Post #17 at Benson, Minnesota, was known as the McPherson Post.


Brigadier General Joseph Anthony Mower

The 5th Minnesota spent much of their time brigaded under J. A. Mower along with the 11th Missouri (his original regiment), the 8th Wisconsin, and the 47th Illinois Infantry Regiments and the 2nd Iowa Battery. Mower commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division (Stanley), Army of the Mississippi (Rosecrans) at the Battle of Iuka (September 19, 1862) and the (Second) Battle of Corinth (October 3-4, 1862); he was captured, wounded, and escaped during the course of the battle. Byron Cloyd Bryner, author of Bugle Echoes: the Story of Illinois 47th, described Mower's capture and escape at Corinth:

Mower had ridden forward to the skirmish lineóno lover more impatient for his mistress than Mower for war's troubles. The 5th Minnesota half-breeds (Hubbard's Indians) with the prudence of the white man and the sagacity of the Indian were ideal skirmishers and a portion of them were upon the skirmish line with the 47th and here was likely to be trouble to Mower's taste. As the enemy advanced the skirmish line was driven back. Mower's horse was shot under him and he was made a prisoner. On came the Confederate lines only to be met by a cross fire from the Union batteries. The fight raged for a half hour when Van Dorn was sent whirling back. A rider, bare-headed, spurring his horse at furious pace, burst from the woods through the line of gray straight for the Union lines. From the wood blazed an hundred rifles. The rider reeled for a moment in his saddle, then righted himself and spurred onward. He had been shot in the neck. As he neared the lines he was recognized; it was Mower. In the confusion of retreat he had seized the horse of a Confederate officer and, springing into the saddle, made for the National lines. Cheer followed cheer along the whole line. The "Eagle Brigade" was wild with joy. [pp. 61-62]

Joe Mower commanded the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division (Tuttle), 15th Army Corps (Sherman), Army of the Tennessee (Grant) during the Siege of Vicksburg
(May 19 - July 4, 1863). He also commanded the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division (Tuttle), 16th Army Corps (Hurlbut), Department of the Tennessee (Sherman) during Meridian Campaign (February 3 - March 2, 1864). He was promoted to Major General and relieved of his command on October 15, 1864, to join Sherman at Atlanta. In correspondence with Admiral David D. Porter on June 21, 1863, General U. S. Grant described Mower as "an intelligent and gallant officer, capable of carrying out any plan that may be adopted." According to the 5th Minnesota's Major John C. Becht, General Mower "accredits to the Fifth Minnesota great efficiency" when "sent forward to act as skirmishers and sharpshooters" (OR: Series 1, vol 34, Part 1 (Red River Campaign): Chapter XLVI. Numbers 33. Report of Major John C. Becht, Fifth Minnesota Infantry, May 25, 1864). GAR Post 111 of Pine Island, Minnesota, was named after Joe Mower.


Brigadier General Joseph Bennett Plummer

Plummer commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division (Stanley), Right Wing (Rosecrans) of the Army of the Mississippi (Pope) during the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi (April 29 to May 30, 1862). Plummer had been wounded at the Battle of Wilson's Creek (August 10, 1861, near Springfield, Missouri), so while at Corinth, Plummer's 2nd Brigade was actually commanded on the field by Colonel John  M. Loomis of the 26th Illinois Infantry.  Joseph Plummer died at Corinth on August 9, 1862 (one year after Wilson's Creek) from lingering effects of his wounds and prolonged exposure in the field.


Major General John Pope

Pope commanded the Army of the Mississippi (February 23, 1862 - June 26, 1862), including the Siege of Corinth (April 29 - May 30, 1862). The 5th Minnesota was under his command from May 24 to June 26, 1862. He was succeeded by William S. Rosecrans. On September 6, 1862, John Pope was assigned to the command of the newly created Department of the Northwest which included Minnesota (Dakota Sioux Indian conflict).


Major General William Starke Rosecrans

Rosecrans commanded the Right Wing Army of the Mississippi, Army of the Mississippi (Pope), Department of the Mississippi (Halleck) from May 1862 to June 26, 1862, when he replaced John Pope as commander of the Army of the Mississippi. During this time he was involved in the Siege of Corinth (April 29 - June 10, 1862). He led the 5th Minnesota and the Army of the Mississippi in the Battle of Iuka (September 19, 1862) and the (Second) Battle of Corinth (October 3-4, 1862). He also commanded the Department of Missouri from January to December 1864, where he was active in opposing Confederate General Sterling Price's Missouri raid, during which the 5th Minnesota marched around the state of Missouri.

In his diary entry on October 24, 1864, Thomas P. Gere of the 5th Minnesota mockingly assessed Rosecrans' attempts to use Union infantry to chase Price during his Missouri raids: "
Rosie, you can't catch Price with infantry, - not even with 'Smith's ragmuffins'!"


Major General William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman commanded the 15th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee (Grant) during the Siege of Vicksburg (May 19 - July 4, 1863). The G.A.R. Post #6 at Taylors Falls, Minnesota, was known as the Sherman Post.



Brigadier General Andrew Jackson Smith

A.J. Smith commanded the Right Wing of the 16th Army Corps. Smith led the 5th Minnesota during the Red River Campaign (March 10 to May 22, 1864), expeditions to Oxford and Tupelo, Mississippi (summer of 1864), Price's Missouri Raid (September 27 to October 28, 1864), and the Battle of Nashville (December 15-16, 1864). Smith's men, including the 5th Minnesota, were often referred to as "Smith's Guerillas."


Brigadier General John E. Smith

John E. Smith commanded the 8th Division, 16th Corps (Hamilton) at the beginning of 1863. Later in spring, the 5th Minnesota would be attached to the 3rd Division (Tuttle) as part of the 15th Army Corps (Sherman). John E. Smith would then be assigned to command the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, of the 17th Corps.




Brigadier General David Sloane Stanley

Stanley commanded the 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi (Rosecrans) during the Battle of Iuka (September 19, 1862) and the (Second) Battle of Corinth (October 3-4, 1862).




Major General George Henry Thomas

The 5th Minnesota reported to General Thomas at Nashville on November 30, 1864. Thomas was the commander of the Army of the Cumberland (October 19, 1863 - August 1, 1865), a position previously held by Rosecrans. Under Thomas' leadership the 5th Minnesota participated in the victorious Battle of Nashville (December 15-16, 1864). The G.A.R. Post #9 at Montevideo, Minnesota, was known as the George H. Thomas Post, and G.A.R. Post #30 at Brainerd was dubbed the Pap Thomas.


Brigadier General James Madison Tuttle

Tuttle commanded the 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps (Sherman), Army of the Tennessee (Grant) during Siege of Vicksburg (May 19 - July 4, 1863), and the 1st Division, 15th Army Corps (Hurlbut), Department of the Tennessee (Sherman) during the Meridian Campaign (February 3 - March 2, 1864).



Major General Cadwallader Colden Washburn

Washburn served in administrative capacities in Mississippi and Tennessee when the non-veterans of the 5th Minnesota were involved in A. J. Smith's expeditions to Tupelo and Oxford, Mississippi. The G.A.R. Post #72 at Minneapolis, Minnesota, was known as the C.C. Washburn Post.








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