My latest Civil War News ”Faces of War” column is now available. 1st Lt. John Herman Borger and his comrades in the Twelfth Iowa Infantry repelled wave after wave of Confederate attacks from their position in a sector of the Shiloh battlefield that would later become known as the Hornet’s Nest.
Although outnumbered, Borger and his fellow Iowans had the advantage of superior ground. William P. Johnston described it in the biography of his father, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who suffered a mortal wound during the battle. “Here, behind a dense thicket on the crest of a hill, was posted a strong force of as hardy troops as ever fought, almost perfectly protected by the conformation of the ground, and by logs and other rude and hastily-prepared defenses. To assail it an open field had to be passed, enfiladed by the fire of its batteries.”
I’ve added this carte de visite of Edward Franklin “Eddy” Ferris by unidentified photographer. New York born Ferris started his Civil War service in the First Wisconsin Infantry, a regiment organized for a three-month term of enlistment in April 1861. Ferris returned to the army with the Fourteenth Wisconsin Infantry in January 1862.
As first lieutenant of Company A, he distinguished himself for coolness and bravery at Shiloh, where he suffered a wound. Ferris returned the the regiment, and ended the war as lieutenant colonel of the Fourteenth.
Ferris became a partner in a banking and agricultural hardware and implements firm of Sebree, Ferris, and White. The business followed the Utah and Northern Railroad as it was constructed. Ferris died in 1908 in Bozeman, Montana.
My profile of James Franklin Putnam of the Eighth Independent Battery Ohio Light Artillery (current print issue of the Civil War News) is now available online!
An excerpt: “Had we lost this battle,” wrote 22-year-old Union artillery Pvt. James F. Putnam, “We would have been driven backwards into the Tennessee river, and thousands would have met with a watery grave or been crushed beneath the wheels and heels of thousands of horses and wagons that crowded its banks.”