In Shiloh’s bloody aftermath, the
dead of both armies were hastily buried
across the battlefield. The U.S. dead were
later re-interred in Shiloh National Cemetery
(1866-1868), and the mass graves of Confederate
dead preserved through the creation of Shiloh
National Military Park in 1894. Hometo the
most famous Shiloh ghost is its "Drummer
"Shiloh" means "peace" in Hebrew."
Shiloh National Military Park was originally under the jurisdiction of the United States War Department, who worked with veterans to build and monument the park. It was only in 1933 that Shiloh and the other battlefields were transferred to the National Park Service.
“No soldier who took part in the
two day’s engagement at Shiloh ever
spoiled for a fight again,” recalled
one Union veteran. “We wanted a square,
stand-up fight [and] got all we wanted of
it.” Besides preserving the site of
the bloody April 1862 battle in Tennessee,
the park commemorates the subsequent siege,
battle, and occupation of the key railroad
junction at nearby Corinth, Mississippi.
Shiloh National Military Park hosts several
special events and living history demonstrations
throughout the year. Shiloh National Cemetery
contains almost four-thousand American veterans
and their family members.
Shiloh Church ghost Photo
sent to us by Kaymen Martin.
Two future United States presidents fought
at the Battle of Shiloh. Ulysses S. Grant
commanded the Federal Army of the Tennessee,
while James A. Garfield commanded a brigade
in the Federal Army of the Ohio.
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 and came close to defeating
The two-day battle of Shiloh, the costliest
in U.S. history up to that time, resulted
in the defeat of the Confederate army and
frustration of Johnston's plans to prevent
the joining of the two Union armies in Tennessee.
Federal casualties were 13,047 (1,754 killed,
8,408 wounded, and 2,885 missing); Confederate
casualties were 10,694 (1,728 killed, 8,012
wounded, and 959 missing or captured).
This total of 23,741 men represented more
than the American casualties of the American
Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and
the Mexican-American War combined.
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
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 midafternoon, 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
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
Map of the Battle of Shiloh, afternoon of
April 6, 1862On 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 suffered heavy
casualties during these assaults. The Union
forces to the left and right of the Nest
were forced back under the weight of the
continued pressure 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 62
cannons 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 Federal survivors
were captured, but their sacrifice bought
time for Grant to establish a final defense
line near Pittsburg Landing
Confederate Monument at
Shiloh Ghost Semt to us by Diane Arroya
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
all. A famous anecdote encapsulates Grant's
attitude on temporary setbacks and his tendency
for offensive action. As the exhausted Confederate
soldiers bedded down in the abandoned Union
camps, Sherman encountered Grant under a
tree, sheltering himself from the pouring
rain, smoking one of his cigars, considering
his losses and planning for the next day.
Sherman remarked, "Well, Grant, we've
had the devil's own day, haven't we?"
Grant looked up. "Yes," he replied,
followed by a puff. "Yes. Lick 'em
Dhiloh ghost photo sent
to us by Davy Fisher, Look in front of the
cannon muzzel you can see the ghost of soldiers
In the immediate aftermath of the battle,
Northern newspapers vilified Grant for his
performance during the battle on April 6.
Reporters, many far from the battle, spread
the story that Grant had been drunk, falsely
alleging that this had resulted in many
of his men being bayoneted in their tents
due to a lack of defensive preparedness.
Despite the Union victory, Grant's reputation
suffered in Northern public opinion. Many
credited Buell with taking control of the
broken Federal forces and leading them to
victory on April 7. Calls for Grant's removal
deluged the White House. President Abraham
Lincoln replied with one of his most famous
quotations about Grant: "I can't spare
this man; he fights." Sherman emerged
as an immediate hero, his steadfastness
under fire and chaos atoning for his previous
melancholy and his defensive lapses preceding
the battle. Today, however, Grant is recognized
positively for the clear judgment he was
able to retain under the strenuous circumstances,
and his ability to perceive the larger tactical
picture that ultimately resulted in victory
on the second day.