== Useful Notes on Key Points ==
- With the loss of Forts Henry and Donelson in February, General Johnston withdrew his disheartened Confederate forces into west Tennessee, northern Mississippi and Alabama to reorganize. - Halleck's instructions were that following the arrival of General Buell's Army of the Ohio from Nashville, Grant would advance south in a joint offensive to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, the Confederacy's only east-west all weather supply route that linked the lower Mississippi Valley to cities on the Confederacy's east coast. - Strategically located where the Memphis & Charleston crossed the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, Corinth was the western Confederacy's most important rail junction.
Shiloh, meaning in Hebrew Place of Peace
During the winter of 1861-62 Federal forces pushing southward from St. Louis captured Forts Henry and Donelson on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.
Hubert H. Bancroft.
Sherman was ordered to advance, and break the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. He failed in this, on account of severe rains. At five o'clock the fate of the Union army was extremely critical. Its enemy had driven it by persistent fighting out of five camps, and for miles over every ridge and across every stream, road, and ravine, in its chosen camping-ground. With few exceptions, all efforts to form the troops and move them forward to the fight utterly failed." Nelson says, "I found cowering under the river-bank, when I crossed, from seven thousand to ten thousand men, frantic with fright and utterly demoralized." Again and again, through the fire of the artillery, the gunboats, and Ammen's fresh brigade, and the severe flanking fire of troops rallying on the Union right, the Confederates streamed down the ravine and clambered up the dense thickets on the other slope. Again and again they were repulsed with perfect ease, and amid great loss; for, besides their natural exhaustion, the commands had been so broken up by the victory of the day and by the scramble for the spoils that while some brigades were forming others were charging, and there was no concerted attack, but only spontaneous rushes by subdivisions, speedily checked by flank fire.
The battle took its name from Shiloh Church, a meetinghouse c.3 mi (5 km) SSW of Pittsburg Landing, which was a community in Hardin co., Tenn., 9 mi (14.5 km) S of Savannah on the west bank of the Tennessee River. Corinth, Miss., a strategic railway point.
Writer - Geoff Walden
Here at Burnsville, on the eve of the battle of Shiloh, the Kentuckians received a supply of brand-new Enfield rifles that had been run through the blockade the previous fall, along with British accoutrements and ammunition. They would make good use of these in the coming battle.
Fought in south central Tennessee, north of Corinth, Mississippi, the battle showed the nation that the Civil War would be long and difficult. The Battle of Shiloh opened up the western Confederacy to the Union invasion that would ultimately prove its undoing.
- As a result of the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander in the area, was forced to fall back, giving up Kentucky and much of West and Middle Tennessee. He chose Corinth, Mississippi, a major transportation center, as the staging area for an offensive against Major General Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee before the Army of the Ohio, under Major General Don Carlos Buell, could join it.
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought on April 6 and April 7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack against the Union Army of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The Confederates achieved some initial success on the first day but were ultimately defeated on the second day. On the first day of battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the Tennessee River and into the swamps of Owl Creek to the west, hoping to defeat Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back in the direction of Pittsburg Landing to the northeast. A position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", defended by the men of Brig. Gens. Benjamin M. Prentiss's and W.H.L. Wallace's divisions provided critical time for the rest of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. Gen. Johnston was killed during the first day's fighting, and Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night. Reinforcements from Gen. Buell arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when he and Grant launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi.
After the losses of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February 1862, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston withdrew his forces into western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and Alabama to reorganize. In early March, Union Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, commander of the Western Theater, responded by ordering Grant to advance his Army of West Tennessee (soon to be known by its more famous name, the Army of the Tennessee) on an invasion up the Tennessee River. (Because of professional and personal animosity toward Grant, Halleck initially designated Grant's subordinate, Maj. Gen. C.F. Smith, to lead the expedition, while Grant sat idly at Fort Henry. After President Abraham Lincoln intervened with Halleck and Smith was injured, Grant was restored to full command.) Grant's orders from Halleck were to link up with Buell's Army of the Ohio, marching from Nashville, and advance south in a joint offensive to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, a vital supply line between the Mississippi River Valley, Memphis, and Richmond. bivouacHebrew Army of Mississippi
Hornet's Nest On the main Union defensive line, starting at about 9:00 a.m., men of Prentiss's and W.H.L. Wallace's divisions established and held a position nicknamed the Hornet's Nest, in a field along a road now popularly called the "Sunken Road," although there is little physical justification for that name. The Confederates assaulted the position for several hours rather than simply bypassing it, and they suffered heavy casualties during these assaults. The Union forces to the left and right of the Nest were forced back, and Prentiss's position became a salient in the line. Coordination among units in the Nest was poor, and units withdrew based solely on their individual commanders' decisions. This pressure increased with the mortal wounding of Wallace, who commanded the largest concentration of troops in the position. Regiments became disorganized and companies disintegrated. However, it was not until the attackers assembled over 50 cannon to blast the line that they were able to surround the position, and the Hornet's Nest fell after holding for seven hours. A large portion of the Union survivors were captured, but their sacrifice bought time for Grant to establish a final defense line near Pittsburg Landing. popliteal arteryRobert E. Lee David StuartJacob AmmenUSS LexingtonUSS Tyler
The evening of April 6 was a dispiriting end to the first day of one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history. The desperate screams of soldiers dying on the fields between the armies could be heard in the Union and Confederate camps throughout the night. A thunderstorm passed through the area and rhythmic shelling from the Union gunboats made the night a miserable experience for both sides. A famous anecdote encapsulates Grant's unflinching attitude to temporary setbacks and his tendency for offensive action. The exhausted Confederate soldiers bedded down in the abandoned Union camps. On the Union left, Nelson's division led the advance, followed closely by Crittenden's and McCook's, down the Corinth and Hamburg-Savannah Roads. After heavy fighting, Crittenden's division recaptured the Hornet's Nest area by late morning, but Crittenden and Nelson were both repulsed by determined counterattacks launched by Breckinridge. The Union right made steady progress, driving Bragg and Polk to the south. As Crittenden and McCook resumed their attacks, Breckinridge was forced to retire, and by noon Beauregard's line paralleled the Hamburg-Purdy Road.
http://www.civilwarhome.com/shilohbattle.htm that had a perfect description to the terrain surrounding the battle of Shiloh.
- The country is undulating table-land, the bluffs rising to the height of one hundred and fifty feet above the alluvial. Three principal streams and numerous tributaries cut the ground occupied by the army, while many deep ravines intersect, rendering it the worst possible battle-ground. The principal streams are Lick creek, which empties into the Tennessee -above the landing; Owl creek, which rises near the source of Lick creek, flows southeast, encircling the battle-field, and falls into Snake creek, which empties into the Tennessee below the landing, or about three miles below Lick creek. The country at the period referred to was a primeval forest, except where occasional settlers had opened out into small farms. With regards to the research from Wikipedia, I was looking for certain key topics to research such as Setting, timing in relation to other battles, technological availabilities, weather, train tracks, rivers, timing, and so on. Lots of this information was found on Wikipedia and there were many websites I could have used for there were many fluttered with information.
The battle of Shiloh took place on Southern Tennessee, in a small area close to the Tennessee River. The Tennessee River was a major river that was located close to the battle lines. This was a popular river used to transport troops and goods. Having control of this river proved to be a big advantage in the war. Union gun boats used control of the river to their advantage and provided artillery bombardments for the Union armies during the battle of Shiloh.
The rail road tracks in the area of the battle of Shiloh were key rail ways that both sides would have loved to controlled. The Memphis & Ohio Railroad were nearby as well as the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Rail ways played huge in the battle for they were always used to transport goods and troops. Corinth, a key intersection on the only direct rail link between the Confederate capital at Richmond and the Mississippi River and the north-south Mobile and Ohio Railroad were doomed if the Confederates had lost this area. Major roads near the battle of Shiloh were the Eastern and Western Corinth roads. Bark road was another major road located south of the battle of Shiloh. Roads were perfect for troop travel and for getting resources from camp to camp quickly.
The battle of Shiloh took place at a time in the civil war when there had been no battles for 2 weeks. 5 days after the battle of Shiloh, another battle was held. Although a reason for this is because the battle of Shiloh was the most devastating battle in American history. With over 23,000 deaths in just 2 days, no one ever wanted to repeat this incident ever again. Many high up army leaders fought in this battle as well and gave up their lives in this intense battle. The Confederate army showed no restraint attacking the Union army on April 6th, at 6:00am catching the Union soldiers by surprise. The Confederate army were deployed in a spread formation over 3 miles wide. All Confederate deployments had their troops march into battle in one line formations. The first day of battle was brutal, thousands died and when night time came, a storm was passing over and the sound of soldiers dying and shouting could be heard from the battle field by the tired soldiers in their respective camps. Even though the Confederates had seemed to have had the upper hand, the Union men had much to look forward too. The army of the Ohio were to be arriving in the morning with reinforcement for the Union soldiers to push back the Confederates from their territory. Before the battle of Shiloh in February there were battles for territorial positions. Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were two forts that the Union forces had taken over prior to the battle of Shiloh which posed to be extremely helpful for the Union army. Having taken over both forts, the Union army were able to control both the Tennessee and Cumberland River. While continuing to research on the Battle of Shiloh, a lot of the information was repeating on what I had already read through in many websites and books found in class. One in particular stood out though, and so I used it to research the battle. The book called the Civil War Battlefield Guide provided me with some new information on the Battle of Shiloh. While researching further on I discovered the whereabouts of the Army of Ohio for they had been travelling from Nashville when heading to southern Tennessee to pose as reinforcements. When the Union army was attacked on the first day, the soldiers hadn’t even panicked. Even though it was an unsuspected attack, the Union army got up to fight going into their defensive lines and absorbed most of the Confederate attacks. When the Union soldiers fought to defend the Hornet’s Nest, Wallace and Prentiss held a sector of the line from 10:00am till 5:30pm until the Confederates finally broke through. While retreating, Wallace was killed, 2100 soldiers with Prentiss had to surrender to the Confederates. After the first day of battle, the Union forces had been pushed back 3 miles and were holding defensive lines all night, knowing that reinforcements were on the way. After losing the Hornet’s Nest to the Confederates, the Union army pushed back in attempts to retake over with 11 separate attacks over the rest of the day. On day 2 when the Ohio army had finally arrived, the Union army made a last push to retake back the land, and finally successfully did. After one last attack at 2:00pm the Confederates fell back into the swampy lands that fluttered the Southern Tennessee area.
Research on The Battle of Shiloh
Setting- Southwestern Tennesse
Timing- On April 6th, the battle had started early morning at 6:00 am.
Rivers- The Tennesse River is a major river that was located very close to the battle lines. This was a popular river used to transport troops and goods.
Weather- A thunderstorm passed over the battle on the first night of battle, April 6th.
Deployment- The Confederate army under control of Hardee and Bragg deployed their army across a 3 mile stretch sweep.
Terrain- Lots of waterways flooded the area where the battle had taken place. Fields and swamps littered the areas aswell.
Nearby States- Tennesse, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Railways- The Memphis & Ohio Railroad was nearby aswell as the Memphis & Charleston Railroad.
Roads- The Eastern and Western Corinth roads were two major roadways located close to the battle of Shiloh. Bark road was another major road located south of the battle of Shiloh.
Forts- Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were located north up the river from Shiloh and Fort Pillow was located far west from the battle zone.
Timing related to other battles- The battle of Shiloh took place at a time in the civil war when there had been no battles for 2 weeks. 5 days after the battle of Shiloh, another battle was held.
Resources nearby- Waterways and major roads.
Territory Ownership- The territory was owned by the Union Army.
Cities- New Madrid, Belmont, Cairo, Columbus, and Paducah were all cities located northwest of the battle of Shiloh.
The First Day April 6, 1862
With the loss of Forts Henry and Donelson in February, General Johnston withdrew his disheartened Confederate forces into west Tennessee, northern Mississippi and Alabama to reorganize. In early March, General Halleck responded by ordering General Grant to advance his Union Army of West Tennessee on an invasion up the Tennessee River.
Occupying Pittsburg Landing, Grant entertained no thought of a Confederate attack. Halleck's instructions were that following the arrival of General Buell's Army of the Ohio from Nashville, Grant would advance south in a joint offensive to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, the Confederacy's only east-west all weather supply route that linked the lower Mississippi Valley to cities on the Confederacy's east coast.
Assisted by his second-in-command, General Beauregard, Johnston shifted his scattered forces and concentrated almost 55,000 men around Corinth. Strategically located where the Memphis & Charleston crossed the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, Corinth was the western Confederacy's most important rail junction.
On April 3, realizing Buell would soon reinforce Grant, Johnston launched an offensive with his newly christened Army of the Mississippi. Advancing upon Pittsburg Landing with 43,938 men, Johnston planned to surprise Grant, cut his army off from retreat to the Tennessee River, and drive the Federals west into the swamps of Owl Creek.
In the gray light of dawn, April 6, a small Federal reconnaissance discovered Johnston's army deployed for battle astride the Corinth road, just a mile beyond the forward Federal camps. Storming forward, the Confederates found the Federal position unfortified. Johnston had achieved almost total surprise. By mid-morning, the Confederates seemed within easy reach of victory, overrunning one frontline Union division and capturing its camp. However, stiff resistance on the Federal right entangled Johnston's brigades in a savage fight around Shiloh Church. Throughout the day, Johnston's army hammered the Federal right, which gave ground but did not break. Casualties upon this brutal killing ground were immense.
Meanwhile, Johnston's flanking attack stalled in front of Sarah Bell's peach orchard and the dense oak thicket labeled the "hornet's nest" by the Confederates. Grant's left flank withstood Confederate assaults for seven crucial hours before being forced to yield ground in the late afternoon. Despite inflicting heavy casualties and seizing ground, the Confederates only drove Grant towards the river, instead of away from it. The Federal survivors established a solid front before Pittsburg Landing and repulsed the last Confederate charge as dusk ended the first day of fighting. '
The Second Day April 7, 1862
Shiloh's first day of slaughter also witnessed the death of the Confederate leader, General Johnston, who fell at mid-afternoon, struck down by a stray bullet while directing the action on the Confederate right. At dusk, the advance division of General Buell's Federal
Army of the Ohio reached Pittsburg Landing, and crossed the river to file into line on the Union left during the night. Buell's arrival, plus the timely appearance of a reserve division from Grant's army, led by Major General Lewis Wallace, fed over 22,500 reinforcements into the Union lines. On April 7, Grant renewed the fighting with an aggressive counterattack.
Taken by surprise, General Beauregard managed to rally 30,000 of his badly disorganized Confederates, and mounted a tenacious defense. Inflicting heavy casualties on the Federals, Beauregard's troops temporarily halted the determined Union advance. However, strength in numbers provided Grant with a decisive advantage. By mid afternoon, as waves of fresh Federal troops swept forward, pressing the exhausted Confederates back to Shiloh Church, Beauregard realized his armies' peril and ordered a retreat. During the night, the Confederates withdrew, greatly disorganized, to their fortified stronghold at Corinth. Possession of the grisly battlefield passed to the victorious Federal's, who were satisfied to simply reclaim Grant's camps and make an exhausted bivouac among the dead.
General Johnston's massive and rapid concentration at Corinth, and surprise attack on Grant at Pittsburg Landing, had presented the Confederacy with an opportunity to reverse the course of the war. The aftermath, however, left the invading Union forces still poised to carry out the capture of the Corinth rail junction. Shiloh's awesome toll of 23,746 men killed, wounded, or missing brought a shocking realization to both sides that the war would not end quickly.
Source: "The Atlas of the Civil War" by James M. McPherson
The Civil War: Battle of Shiloh - Overview Edit
Introduction: Shiloh, Hebrew for Place of Peace Edit
The Battle of Shiloh is thought to be, by many, the battle that represents the turning point of the war from something that the Union considered very temporary and small (well, small relative to what you would think a possible split of the nation would represent) obstacle in the history of a powerful and great nation. Although we are still a powerful, and I would like to believe, great nation, the Civil War represented no small obstacle in our history, but the single greatest tragedy and horror story we have ever had.
It's obvious that we lost more men in this war than we have to any other war. It's obvious because these were Americans fighting Americans, brothers fighting brothers, fathers fighting sons; this war was a total loss of Americans, not Americans and their enemies, but Americans. The Civil War was, and reflecting upon it , a heartbreaking event. This was the costliest battle of U.S. history up to that time, more American casualties than the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War . Shiloh is the battle that gave our recent ancestors a glimpse of what a nightmare the Civil War was soon to become.
Back Story Edit
Shiloh wouldn't have been nearly as bloody or costly had it not been for one huge mistake of unprepared ness that would teach General Grant a lesson he would remember through the rest of the War, and probably beyond. The Union commander of the western theater (using the less often used definition of a "large geographic area in which military operations are coordinated," as quoted from Dictionary.com), Major General Henry W. Halleck, had ordered Grant to move his Army of West Tennessee to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, to wait for General Don Buell's army. Buell's Army of the Ohio and Grant's army would, together, travel up the Tennessee River to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad now that Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston had withdrawn his troops to regroup from the loss of two Confederate forts.
While Grant awaited Buell's arrival, he spent little time setting up defensive measures in case of any attack, and, instead, had his men simply waiting in temporary encampments around Shiloh Church. On the night of April 5, Grant telegraphed Major General Halleck with this message: "I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack being made upon us, but will be prepared should such a thing take place," which was, if not a a lie, a drastic overstatement. While Grant waited around Shiloh, General Johnston was making plans for a surprise attack on Grant's forces, his plan being to wipe them out, by pushing them into the swamps of nearby creeks, before Buell's backing force arrived. The attack was planned for April 4, but was delayed for two days, which made General Beauregard, General Johnston's second in command, nervous that the surprise factor had been lost, but there was no stopping Johnston now.
Day One; April 6, 1862 Edit
Johnston's Army of the Mississippi (which was really a collection of forces from Mississippi as well as surrounding states) had spent the night of April 5 secretly camped just two miles from Grant's position, and were ready to roll. They attacked at dawn and, despite Beauregard's worries, the element of surprise was in full force, as General Grant wasn't even in the area, but instead on a gunboat on the Tennessee River and was alerted to the happening by the distant sound of artillery fire. Forty-five (45) minutes before the Confederate attack, Union Major General Benjamin Prentiss, of the 25 Missouri Infantry, had sent forth a part of his forces on a reconnaissance and had encountered some of Johnston's forces already. Prentiss' incidental alert of the Union soldiers helped them gather their thoughts a little, but they were still very unprepared.
Johnston had made the mistake of insufficient forces on the Union's right side to break through, and the craziness of the situation led to a lot of confusion within the corps. Although it didn't break through the Union forces on the right, it was powerful enough to cause many inexperienced Union soldiers to flee.
General Grant finally got back from the gunboat at around 8:30 AM, and attempted to consolidate his reserve forces, but here another mistake was made. He gave "ambiguous" orders to General Lee Wallace (later known for writing the novel , known best for the 1959 film starring Charleston Heston of the same name that was an adaptation of the novel), who arrived, somehow, behind the Confederate forces instead of in Pittsburg Landing. Confused as to what he should do, as he knew he could launch a great attack on the South from the behind, a message from Grant inquiring why he wasn't in Pittsburg Landing made up Wallace's mind for him. He lead his forces to Pittsburg Landing, but arrived around 7:00 PM, when the fighting was almost over, and, obviously, Grant was not very happy with Wallace.
Around 9:00 AM Prentiss, who you will remember isn't even a part of the group that was meeting to seize the railroad, established a line on a sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest." Although the communication in the Hornet's Nest was non-existent, the line still held off a lot of the Confederate's for several hours, breaking when the Confederate's assembled 62 cannons to blast the line. Many of Prentiss' force were captured, but their bravery and sacrifice gave Grant enough time to set up a final line of defense.
Meanwhile, over at the Confederate's weaker assault on the Union's right, near Shiloh Church, the Confederate forces were still not breaking through, despite the violent, vicious fight they were putting up.
At 2:30 PM a stray bullet caught General Johnston behind his right knee. As he didn't think of the wound as serious at first, he allowed his personal surgeon to continue to care for wounded Union prisoners. The bullet had, in fact, hit an artery, the popliteal artery, and he was quickly losing blood. When some of his soldiers, who he was personally directing and rallying on the front lines, noticed he was very pale and almost falling off of his horse they asked him if he was injured and he replied, "Yes, and I fear seriously." He was carried to a small ravine, where he died quickly. This left only his second in command, General Beauregard, in charge against the greatest Union general.
Dusk marked the end of the first day of battle, with naval guns blasting away in support of the Union. The day was a failure for the Confederate mission, as they had pushed Grant to the river, and not to the creek, but the Confederate forces were more in the lead than the Union forces. A downpour of rain gave an even gloomier, eerie feeling to a horrific day, where, sheltered from the rain under a tree, Grant, rightfully optimistic, said, "[...] Lick 'em tomorrow, though," in response to General Sherman's question of, "[...] [W]e've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" Buell's forces arrived that night, to change the number of Union forces to around 55,000 men altogether, without General Beauregard's knowledge.
Day Two; April 7, 1862 Edit
Union forces attacked Beauregard's forces at dawn. Buell and Grant attacked separately. Confederate lines were stable by 9:00 AM, but by 10:00 AM the Union was attacking the full Confederate line in full force in a powerful display. Despite putting up a fantastic last stand, General Beauregard knew he was far too outnumbered and low on supplies to successfully continue the fight. He successfully retreated and the Union followed barely past their original position.
Activity occurring in the old caretaker’s house. Doors open and close mysteriously. Cabinet doors open and close as well.
A number of shadowy soldier-like figures have been spotted in the field at night, appearing to be re-fighting the battle. They make no sound and cannot be contacted. This has been witnessed by many people on multiple occasions.