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Thursday, September 15, 2011


April 6th. and 7th., 1862

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Monument to the Confederate dead at the battlefield of Shiloh, at the Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee.

The Railroad Crossing in Corinth, Mississippi

The battle of Shiloh was fought for the control of the railroad crossing at Corinth, Mississippi. Subsequent to having won control of Western Tennessee, it was General Grant's ambition to take this important railroad crossing and wrest control of northern Mississippi from the Confederacy. The crossing connected Memphis on the Mississippi River with Charleston, South Carolina on the East Coast, and Columbus on the Ohio River with Mobile Bay on the Gulf. Control of the crossing would sever rail communication throughout the South.

This map shows the movement of the Confederate armies from the town of Corinth to Shiloh, where the Union armies under Generals Grant and Sherman were camped at Pittsburg Landing. The Confederates refused to wait until that time when Grant would decide to move south to take the Corinth rail junction, and so they surprised the Union by attacking first. Just before sunrise on April 6, the Supreme Commander of the Confederate armies, Albert Sidney Johnston, told his staff, "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River."

The town of Corinth, Mississippi, is visible on the map in the extreme lower left corner.

Railroad line towards the south

Rail line towards the north

Corinth rail junction: view towards the west.

The railroad line heading towards the east.

The Fish Pond House: Headquarters of Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard in the town of Corinth

Oak Home: Built originally in 1857 for Judge W.H. Kilpatrick, it became the headquarters of Confederate General Leonidas Polk in Corinth, prior to the battle of Shiloh.

The Corinth-Shiloh Road

The Corinth Shiloh road along which the Confederate Army moved north during the three days prior to the battle.

Map showing the commencement of the battle at 5:00 a.m. on April 6, 1862, at Fraley Field, and the movement of the Confederate army northwards towards Shiloh Church, where the Union armies under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman were headquartered.

Fraley Field: Commencement of the Battle on April 6, 1862

Fraley Field seen from the south-west, the view of the Confederate pickets on the morning of April 6th., 1862.

Map shows the initial early morning skirmish at Fraley Field, when Union and Confederate pickets met before dawn.

Fraley Field as seen from the north-east, the Union side.

Confrontation at Fraley Field, from the perspective of the Union army.

Shiloh Church

Interior of Shiloh Church.

The modern church at Shiloh is only a few yards from the old church.

One of the many cemeteries at the Shiloh National Military Park, this one being next to Shiloh Church where the Union battalions under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman were camped on the night before the battle.

The map shows the movement of the two armies as they met at the Shiloh Branch, below the old Church and General Sherman's headquarters.

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman

The approach towards Shiloh Church.

Looking down towards the thicket surrounding the Shiloh Branch.

Sherman's troops on the move.

Monument to the Confederate Second Tennessee Regiment, Army of the Mississippi

The Hornet's Nest

Some detachments from the Union army made determined stands after their gradual retreat from Shiloh Church, and by afternoon, they had established a battle line at the sunken road, known as the “Hornet's Nest.” Repeated Confederate attacks failed to carry the Hornet's Nest, but massed artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and captured, killed, or wounded most. The Confederacy's Supreme Commander, Albert Johnston, had been mortally wounded earlier in the course of the battle and his second in command, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, took over the command of the Southern armies. The Union troops established another line covering Pittsburg Landing, anchored with artillery and augmented by General Buell’s men who began to arrive and take up positions. Fighting continued until after dark, but the Union held.

The Hornet's Nest

The "Sunken Road"

Hornet's Nest

Looking down into the Hornet's Nest.

Monument to the dead Union soldiers from the State of Minnesota, near the Hornet's Nest.

The Hornet's Nest: Diorama at the Shiloh Museum.

Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston

Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Monument to the Confederate dead at Shiloh National Military Park.

"Bloody Pond"

"The Peach Orchard":
The Peach Orchard in the distance. The peach trees were in bloom in April and the fusillade from both armies caused a blanket of petals to fall upon the dead.

John Clem, "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh"

John Clem, the twelve year old drummer boy of Shiloh, attached to the 22nd Michigan regiment of the Union army. (Photograph at the Shiloh Museum)

Drummer boys for the Union. Photograph at the Shiloh Museum.

The Union Army retreats to the Tennessee River: April 6th. afternoon and evening.

Ulysses S. Grant

Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River

Scene of mass confusion and panic among the Union ranks at Pittsburg Landing toward the end of the fighting on April 6, 1862

The Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing

Dénouement: The battle of April 7th., 1862

Ulysses S. Grant (Photograph at the Shiloh Museum)

Sherman: "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"
Grant: "Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow, though."
(After the first day's battle at Shiloh, April 6, 1862)

Monument to the Union dead from the State of Iowa

The battle of Shiloh was so brutal, and resulted in so many casualties to both sides, that General Grant concluded the war could no longer be waged as a war for the old Union, but rather for a total and unconditional conquest of the South. The surrender of the South that followed was the ultimate victory of capitalism in the United States. The republic was now poised to take off on its flight towards world empire.