Monday, April 26, 2010

Battle of Shiloh - Shiloh, Tennessee

Editor: We are posting on Civil War sites in the South in recognition of Confederate History Month.

As bloody as the fighting was at places like Manassas and Pea Ridge during the first year of the Civil War, a battle that developed along the Tennessee River during the final days before the first anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter stunned the nation with horror that surpassed anything ever seen on the North American continent.

It was called the Battle of Shiloh, the name taken from a small log church on the battleground, and by the time the guns went silent, nearly 25,000 men had been killed, wounded or were missing. As the stunning news spread North and South from Tennessee, it was difficult for many to believe. Until, that is, the casualty lists began to appear in the newspapers. The lists of names went on and on and on.

Shiloh came just one month after the bloody battle at Pea Ridge in Northwest Arkansas and the news was just as bad for the Confederacy. Moving north from Corinth, Mississippi, the Confederate army of General Albert Sidney Johnston struck the Union army of General Ulysses S. Grant. The Federals were camped around Shiloh Church and Pittsburg Landing and Johnston knew that their nearest reinforcements were at least a day away.

Appearing suddenly from across the Mississippi line, the Confederates attacked in three columns. The initial Union lines were shattered as Southern troops led by generals including Beauregard and Bragg drove through the woods and small fields in what must have seemed an attack from from all directions at once. The battle, however, would go on for two days and would end with the Confederate withdrawing from the field, now under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard due to the death in battle of General Johnston.

In the end, the butcher's bill was more than 23,476 in dead, wounded and missing. Nothing like it had been seen before, but more was to come. To learn more about the Battle of Shiloh and see photos of Shiloh National Military Park, please visit

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