Skip to comments.My God! We Are Attacked! Disorganized Surprise at Shiloh Church
Posted on 04/06/2012 4:35:17 AM PDT by Upstate NY Guy
April 6, 1862 (Sunday) Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.
The Confederate Army of Mississippi was exhausted. After three treacherous days of marching through cold mud and rain, all 40,000 of them lay quiet, flat against the soaked ground waiting for dawn and the call to attack. As the dawn cast its first light slivers across the eastern horizon, Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard, first and second in command of the army, listened to the incipient tenors of battle developing cautiously in their front. Johnston sent word for a general advance and rode to lead his men. Beauregard remained to organize the corps as they filed into the attack.
The commander of the Union Army of the Tennessee, General Ulysses S. Grant, was ten miles north and across the river in Savannah. He was unaware that the Rebels had marched twenty-five miles to give him battle, as he rose and read his mail. He was unaware that General Buell of the Union Army of the Ohio had arrived from Nashville, as he sat down for breakfast. His second in command, General William Tecumseh Sherman, was on the field, within site of the prostrated Confederates, but was no more aware of them than Grant until the first guns were sounded in the dark light of dawn.
(Excerpt) Read more at civilwardailygazette.com ...
This is a great Civil War website that lets you follow the daily events that occurred 150 years ago.
The battlefield at Shiloh is a real treasure. If anybody is traveling in the area, they should plan to stop by for a few hours.
The monuments built after the war are very impressive. Just check out some of the images on this google page for “shiloh battlefield monuments.”
Yeah, Shiloh is a quiet, haunting place that everyone should visit at least once. Although it wasn’t the largest battle of the Civil War, in my opinion is was one of the worst in terms of sheer misery and being a bloody, confused mess.
I think it set the tone for the rest of the war. It would be long and brutal.
I suppose the country lying between Corinth and Pittsburg Landing could boast a few inhabitants other than alligators. What manner of people they were it is impossible to say, inasmuch as the fighting dispersed, or possibly exterminated them; perhaps in merely classing them as non-saurian I shall describe them with sufficient particularity and at the same time avert from myself the natural suspicion attaching to a writer who points out to persons who do not know him the peculiarities of persons whom he does not know. One thing, however, I hope I may without offense affirm of these swamp-dwellers - they were pious. To what deity their veneration was given - whether, like the Egyptians, they worshiped the crocodile, or, like other Americans, adored themselves, I do not presume to guess. But whoever, or whatever, may have been the divinity whose ends they shaped, unto Him, or It, they had builded a temple. This humble edifice, centrally situated in the heart of a solitude, and conveniently accessible to the supersylvan crow, had been christened Shiloh Chapel, whence the name of the battle. The fact of a Christian church - assuming it to have been a Christian church - giving name to a wholesale cutting of Christian throats by Christian hands need not be dwelt on here; the frequency of its recurrence in the history of our species has somewhat abated the moral interest that would otherwise attach to it.
-What I Saw of Shiloh, by Ambrose Beirce
Could be the defining example of the fog of battle.
Shiloh was the result of a tactical blunder by Grant, placing half his army across the Tennessee within marching distance to the Confederates. Johnston was too good a general to miss such an opportunity.
There were two Union Generals named Wallace involved in the battle, one Major General Lew Wallace was much critized for his execution of ambiguous orders from Grant and was somewhat scapegoated in the North for the resulting casualties, though some historians believe that had he done as his critics suggested, the result would have been the loss of his division, in return for little gain for the North. (When Grant clarified his orders, Wallace took the time to reorganize his division so that it would arrive at the battle in good order, rather than heading in pell-mell to be chewed up by Conferate cannon and shot.)
Wallace was a deeply religous Christian, and later wrote the novel Ben Hur, the story of man bent on redemption and revenge, but who learns that redemption comes not through revenge, but through love and faith.
Yes...Shiloh is a beautiful place, like Gettysburg it is well-marked.
Ever go to Fredricksburg? A union defeat...the government allowed a subdivision to be built on most of Marye’s Hts. You take the park service tour...and the guide points out the places where the union troops were slaughtered as they were led into the confederate trap...and the guide says...”see that house right there, where those kids are shooting hoops...that is where Chamberlains’ Maine unit was pinned down”.
No markers, no nothing, just kids playing basketball on that spot. What a double standard.
Been there a few times with the scouts. They have a small demonstration on the battlefield but the big reenactments are not far from there. Either way, it makes you think about how easy we have it. Off the subject, there are some huge fish in bloody pond.
The winners get to write history. At Shiloh, all the monuments were to Union units except for a DOC statue.
The greatest loss for the Confederacy at Shiloh wasn’t the battle. It was Albert Sydney Johnston. Like the death of Stonewall Jackson later, Johnston’s demise took from the South one of their greatest advantages: their commanders. To lose such a talent so early in the war cost the Grey dearly.
Growing up I heard the story about my great-grandfather who had died I believe when my father was a baby that he had fought on both sides of Civil War. He was born and raised in what is now West Virginia, near Parkersburg, and when the war started, he got on his horse and joined a Confederate militia group and fought at Shiloh Church. The Confederates called it Shiloh Church, not Shiloh.
He was captured and taken to a prison camp in Ohio. His father and brother came and paroled him on condition that he would join the Union army which he did. He then fought at Cedar Creek, the battle in Virginia which may have helped Lincoln get elected. General Sheridan on his black horse was the subject of a poem called Sheridan’s Ride.
yes...a nice battlefield...maybe the best flowing one to cover so much ground
it’s still a pastoral setting and has survived well
I just have to ask how Daniela Pestova got on that image url link hoss?
I do believe that is the battle that is re-acted around our church building very year. We hold church in a historic building at the Pioneer Living History Museum in far north Phoenix. We have both Confederate and Union soldiers at the service who usually have camped out to fight the battle in the morning.
Towards the end of the service, they slip out the back. Then, we start hearing the cannon and musket fire. As we leave, the same soldiers that sat through church are now chasing each other around creosote bushes and saguaro cactus. Gives one a different perspective on history.
That is pretty much true. There is a large monument at Shiloh to Johnston, a new Tennessee monument, and a simple modern monument to Texans. There might be more Southern monuments, but that was what I saw on one afternoon visit.
Northern states came down and put up monument after monument. They dug up some of their soldiers who were buried in mass graves and reburied them in individual marked graves. The Southern economy was in shambles for years after the war, and consequently little got done as far as Southern monuments and reburying Southern soldiers. I visited one of the Southern mass graves only to find a Northern monument or two close to it and towering over it.
The same overabundance of Northern monuments compared to Southern ones is also true at Antietam/Sharpsburg.
The new Tennessee monument at Shiloh is moving.
Worth fightin for ....:o)
Northern monuments were paid by the Federal Government. Southern monuments were by donations. Just FYI. Some monuments for Southerners were paid by the States themselves such as the Mississippi monument at Gettysburg.
That is an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. I have ancestors from different families who fought on both sides. But for one man to fight on both sides is really quite amazing.
Indeed. Very cool idea for a church service. I like that a lot. It gives you an idea of what the people living during Civil War times really went through.
Ambrose was tripping.
gators are not common that far north...I have heard of some around Reelfoot lake to the west...a New Madrid fault footprint
when I was a boy gators were uncommon north of the coastal areas in Mississippi
we had seen a few around Greenwood MS and Tallulah LA in my youth but above the TN line is rare..even today..but they are found
i had a bull gator attack my pickup at night on a clay road near Coy Alabama in 1984 which is around 150 miles north of Bayou LaBatre
this northern migration has been a second half 20th century phenom...no doubt they are more plentiful 200 miles or so north of Gulf..or further..now
Thanks. I didn't realize that.
Lots of Southern towns have their Confederate monument near the courthouse, no doubt paid for with local funds. Often the town monument is a statue of a Confederate soldier facing North.
Then there are the pointed tombstones used for Confederate soldiers. The story goes that the tombstones were pointed so that Yankees couldn't sit on them.
A commander can be forgiven for being defeated, for superior numbers, supply shortages or circumstances may conspire or combine to defeat him despite any ability on his part.
But a commander can never be forgiven for being surprised.
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