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Short History of the Battle of Shiloh and the Pochés
"He caught General Jackson as he fell
from his horse."
When I first started getting into my genealogy and the
Civil War, I was visited by
my parents. My father upon seeing my interests told me a story about my
great-grandfather, S.A. Poché who had fought in the Civil War for Louisiana.
My father did not know the unit of his grandfather but he related to me a story
that S.A. Poché had told him when he was young boy. It seems that my father
was told that S.A. Poché "had caught General Jackson as he fell from his horse"
during a Civil War battle. Presumably the General had been mortally wounded.
I remember that my father told me this story with a bit of whimsy. It's never
been clear to me who messed up the story, S.A. Poché or my dad. I can see an
old man embellishing a story about the Civil War for his grandson and I can see
the same young man not getting the details of the story correct. In either case
it was a firm lead to the unit that my great-grandfather had fought in. I knew that
General Jackson was "Stonewall Jackson" and that he had been accidentally
killed by his own men at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. It would
surely be an easy thing for me to find all Louisiana unit engaged in this battle and
this find my ancestor's unit. No luck the only Louisiana unit that was even close
was the famous Washington Artillery of New Orleans. A few months later, I told
my father of my findings and he said he felt sure that his grandfather had fought at
Shiloh. After studying that battle, it suddenly dawned on me that it was not
General Jackson but GENERAL ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON who the story
related to. General Johnston commanded all of the Confederate forces at the
Battle of Shiloh Church and was killed on the first day of the battle. I later
found that S.A. Poché was a Lieutenant in Company E of the 18th Louisiana
Regiment under Colonel Alfred Mouton in the Third Brigade (Col. Preston Pond)
of Ruggles First Division. Did he catch General Johnston as he fell from his
horse ... not likely but he was relatively close at about one-half a mile away
when Johnston was shot.
Epilogue to the story- It is an historical irony that
as I was researching the Pension
Applications for Octave Joseph Poché , I figured out that the Watson Battery of
which he was a member was assigned to the brigade of Colonel John S. Bowen
of Breckinridge's Corp. This group was on the far right of the Battle of Shiloh
and was the very group that General Johnston was with when he was killed on
- Dave Poché
More Truth: Read Colonel George T. Baylor's
article, "With General
Johnston at Shiloh" first published in the Confederate Veteran in 1897.