Battle Of Shiloh, Or Pittsburg Landing,
April 6 And 7, 1862
General G. T. Beauregard,
The Confederate Soldier In The Civil War
Edited by Ben La Bree
Published at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1895
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
CORINTH, MISS., April 11, 1862.
ON the 2d ultimo, having ascertained conclusively, from the movements of the
enemy on the Tennessee River and from reliable sources of information, that his aim would be to cut off my communications
in West Tennessee with the Eastern and Southern States, by operating from the Tennessee River, between Crump's Landing and
Eastport, as a base, I determined to foil his designs by concentrating all my available forces at and around Corinth.
Meanwhile, having called on the Governors of the States of Tennessee, Mississippi,
Alabama and Louisiana to furnish additional troops, some of them (chiefly regiments from Louisiana) soon reached this vicinity,
and with two divisions of General Polk's command from Columbus, and a fine corps of troops from Mobile and Pensacola, under
Major-General Bragg, constituted the army of the Mississippi. At the same time General Johnston, being at Murfreesborough,
on the march to form a junction of his forces with mine, was called on to send at least a brigade by railroad, so that we
might fall on and crush the enemy, should he attempt an advance from under his gunboats.
The call on General Johnston was promptly complied with. His entire force
was also hastened in this direction, and by April 1st our united forces were concentrated along the Mobile & Ohio Railroad
from Bethel to Corinth, and on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad from Corinth to Iuka.
It was then determined to assume the offensive and strike a sudden blow at
the enemy, in position under General Grant on the west bank of the Tennessee, at Pittsburg and in the direction of Savannah,
before he was re-enforced by the army under General Buell, then known to be advancing for that purpose by rapid marches from
Nashville via Columbia. About the same time General Johnston was advised that such an operation conformed to the expectations
of the President.
By a rapid and vigorous attack on General Grant it was expected he would be
beaten back into his transports and the river, or captured, in time to enable us to profit by the victory, and remove to the
rear all the stores and munitions that would fall into our hands in such an event before the arrival of General Buell's army
on the scene. It was never contemplated, however, to retain the position thus gained and abandon Corinth, the strategic point
of the campaign.
Want of general officers needful for the proper organization of divisions
and brigades of an army brought thus suddenly together, and other difficulties in the way of an effective organization, delayed
the movement until the night of the 2d instant, when it was heard from a reliable quarter, that the junction of the enemy's
armies was near at hand. It was then, at a late hour, determined that the attack should be attempted at once, incomplete and
imperfect as were our preparations for such a grave and momentous adventure. Accordingly, that night at 1 A. M., the preliminary
orders to the commanders of corps were issued for the movement.
On the following morning the detailed orders of movements were issued, and
the movement, after some delay, commenced, the troops being in admirable spirits. It was expected we should be able to reach
the enemy's lines in time to attack him early on the 5th instant. The men, however, for the most part, were unused to marching,
and the roads, narrow and traversing a densely wooded country, became almost impassable after a severe rainstorm on the night
of the 4th, which drenched the troops in bivouac; hence our forces did not reach the intersection of the roads from Pittsburg
and Hamburg, in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, until late Saturday afternoon.
It was then decided that the attack should be made on the next morning, at
the earliest hour practicable, in accordance with the orders of movement; that is, in three lines of battle, the first and
second extending from Owl Creek, on the left, to Lick Creek, on the right, a distance of about three miles, and supported
by the third and the reserve. The first line, under Major-General Hardee, was constituted of his corps, augmented on the right
by Gladden's brigade, of Major-General Bragg's corps, deployed in line of battle, with their respective artillery following
immediately by the main road to Pittsburg and the cavalry in rear of the wings. The second line, composed of the other troops
of Bragg's corps, followed the first at a distance of five hundred yards in the same order as the first. The army corps under
General Polk followed the second line, at a distance of about eight hundred yards, in lines of brigades deployed, with their
batteries in rear of each brigade, moving by the Pittsburg Road, the left wing supported by cavalry. The reserve, under Brigadier-General
Breckinridge, followed closely the third line in the same order, its right wing supported by cavalry.
These two corps constituted the reserve, and were to support the front lines
of battle, by being deployed, when required, on the right and left of the Pittsburg Road, or otherwise act according to the
exigencies of the battle.
At 5 A. M. on the 6th instant a reconnoitering party of the enemy having become
engaged with our advance pickets, the commander of the forces gave orders to begin the movement and attack as determined upon,
except that Trabue's brigade, of Breckinridge's division, was detached and advanced to support the left of Bragg's corps and
line of battle when menaced by the enemy, and the other two brigades were directed to advance by the road to Hamburg to support
Bragg's right; and at the same time Maney's regiment, of Polk's corps, was advanced by the same road to re-enforce the regiment
of cavalry and battery of four pieces, already thrown forward to watch and guard Greer's, Tanner's and Borland's fords, on
At 5:30 A. M. our lines and columns were in motion, all animated, evidently,
by a promising spirit. The front line was engaged at once, but advanced steadily, followed, in due order, with equal resolution
and steadiness, by the other lines, which were brought successively into action with rare skill, judgment and gallantry by
the several corps commanders, as the enemy made a stand with his masses rallied for the struggle for his encampments. Like
an Alpine avalanche our troops moved forward, despite the determined resistance of the enemy, until after 6 P. M., when we
were in possession of all his encampments between Owl and Lick creeks but one; nearly all of his field artillery; about thirty
flags, colors and standards; over three thousand prisoners, including a division commander (General Prentiss), and several
brigade commanders; thousands of small arms, an immense supply of subsistence, forage and munitions of war, and a large amount
of means of transportation--all the substantial fruits of a complete victory, such, indeed, as rarely have followed the most
successful battles; for never was an army so well provided as that of our enemy.
The remnant of his army had been driven in utter disorder to the immediate
vicinity of Pittsburg under the shelter of heavy guns of his ironclad gunboats, and we remained undisputed masters of his
well-selected, admirably provided cantonments, after over twelve hours of obstinate conflict with his forces, who had been
beaten from them and the contiguous covert, but only by a sustained onset of all the men we could bring into action.
Our loss was heavy. Our commander in chief, General A. S. Johnston, fell mortally
wounded, and died on the field at 2:30 P. M., after having shown the highest qualities of the commander and a personal intrepidity
that inspired all around him, and gave resistless impulsion to his columns at critical moments.
The chief command then devolved upon me, though at the time I was greatly
prostrated and suffering from the prolonged sickness with which I had been afflicted since early in February. The responsibility
was one which in my physical condition I would have gladly avoided, though cast upon me when our forces were successfully
pushing the enemy back upon the Tennessee River, and though supported on the immediate field by such corps commanders as Major-Generals
Polk, Bragg and Hardee, and Brigadier-General Breckinridge, commanding the reserve.
It was after 6 P. M., as before said, when the enemy's last position was carried,
and his forces finally broke and sought refuge behind a commanding eminence covering the Pittsburg Landing, not more than
half a mile distant, and under the guns of the gunboats, which opened on our eager columns a fierce and annoying fire with
shot and shell of the heaviest description.
Darkness was close at hand; officers and men were exhausted by a combat of
over twelve hours without food, and jaded by the march of the preceding day through mud and water. It was, therefore, impossible
to collect the rich and opportune spoils of war scattered broadcast on the field left in our possession, and impracticable
to make any effective dispositions for their removal to the rear.
I accordingly established my headquarters at the Church of Shiloh, in the
enemy's encampments, with Major-General Bragg, and directed our troops to sleep on their arms in such positions, in advance
and rear, as corps commanders should determine, hoping from news received by a special dispatch, that delays had been encountered
by General Buell in his march from Columbia, and that his main force, therefore, could not reach the field of battle in time
to save General Grant's shattered fugitive forces from capture or destruction on the following day.
During the night the rain fell in torrents, adding to the discomforts and
harassed condition of the men. The enemy, moreover, had broken their rest by a discharge at measured intervals of heavy shells
thrown from the gunboats; therefore, on the following morning, the troops under my command were not in a condition to cope
with an equal force of fresh troops, armed and equipped like our adversary, in the immediate possession of his depots and
sheltered by such an auxiliary as the enemy's gunboats.
About 6 o'clock on the morning of April 7th, however, a hot fire of musketry
and artillery, opened from the enemy's quarter on our advanced line, assured me of the junction of his forces, and soon the
battle raged with a fury which satisfied me I was attacked by a largely superior force. But from the outset our troops, notwithstanding
their fatigue and losses from the battle of the day before, exhibited the most cheering, veteranlike steadiness. On the right
and center the enemy was repulsed in every attempt he made with his heavy columns in that quarter of the field. On the left,
however, and nearest to the point of arrival of his reenforcements, he drove forward line after line of his fresh troops,
which were met with a resolution and courage of which our country may be proudly hopeful. Again and again our troops were
brought to the charge, invariably to win the position in issue; invariably to drive back their foe. But hour by hour, thus
opposed to an enemy constantly re-enforced, our ranks were perceptibly thinned under the unceasing, withering fire of the
enemy, and by 12 M. eighteen hours of hard fighting had sensibly exhausted a large number. My last reserves had necessarily
been disposed of, and the enemy was evidently receiving fresh re-enforcements after each repulse; accordingly about 1 P. M.
I determined to withdraw from so unequal a conflict, securing such results of the victory of the day before as was then practicable.
Officers of my staff were immediately dispatched with the necessary orders
to make the best dispositions for a deliberate, orderly withdrawal from the field, and to collect and post a reserve to meet
the enemy, should he attempt to push after us.
In this connection I will mention particularly my adjutant-general, Colonel
Jordan, who was of much assistance to me on this occasion, as he had already been on the field of battle on that and the preceding
About 2 P. M. the lines in advance, which had repulsed the enemy in their
last fierce assault on our left and center, received the orders to retire. This was done with uncommon steadiness, and the
enemy made no attempt to follow.
The line of troops established to cover this movement had been disposed on
a favorable ridge commanding the ground of Shiloh Church. From this position our artillery played upon the woods beyond for
awhile, but upon no visible enemy and without reply. Soon satisfied that no serious pursuit would be attempted, this last
line was withdrawn; and never did troops leave a battlefield in better order. Even the stragglers fell into the ranks and
marched off with those who had stood more steadily by their colors.
A second strong position was taken up about a mile in rear, where the approach
of the enemy was awaited for nearly an hour; but no effort to follow was made, and only a small detachment of horsemen could
be seen at a distance from this last position, warily observing our movements.
Arranging through my staff officers for the completion of the movements thus
begun, Brigadier-General Breckinridge was left with his command as a rear guard to hold the ground we had occupied the night
preceding the first battle, just in front of the intersection of the Pittsburg and Hamburg roads, about four miles from the
former place, while the rest of the army passed to the rear in excellent order.
On the following day General Breckinridge fell back about three miles, to
Mickey's, which position we continued to hold, with our cavalry thrown considerably forward in immediate proximity to the
Unfortunately, toward night of the 7th instant it began to rain heavily. This
continued throughout the night; the roads became almost impassable in many places, and much hardship and suffering now ensued
before all the regiments reached their encampments; but despite the heavy casualties of the two eventful days of April 6th
and 7th, this army is more confident of ultimate success than before its encounter with the enemy.
To Major-Generals Polk, Bragg and Hardee, commanding corps, and to Brigadier-General
Breckinridge, commanding the reserve, the country is greatly indebted for the zeal, intelligence and energy with which all
orders were executed, for the foresight and military ability they displayed in the absence of instructions in the many exigencies
of the battle on a field so densely wooded and broken, and for their fearless deportment as they repeatedly led their commands
personally to the onset upon their powerful adversary. It was under these circumstances that General Bragg had two horses
shot under him; that Major-General Hardee was slightly wounded, his coat rent by balls and his horse disabled, and that Brigadier-General
Breckinridge was twice struck by spent balls.
For the services of their gallant subordinate commanders and of other officers,
as well as for the details of the battlefield, I must refer to the reports of corps, division and brigade commanders, which
will be forwarded as soon as received.
To give more in detail the operations of the two battles resulting from the
movement on Pittsburg than now attempted must have delayed this report for weeks and interfered materially with the important
duties of my position. But I may be permitted to say that not only did the obstinate conflict for twelve hours on Sunday leave
the Confederate army masters of the battlefield and our adversary beaten, but we left that field on the next day only after
eight hours' incessant battle with a superior army of fresh troops, whom we had repulsed in every attack on our lines--so
repulsed and crippled, indeed, as to leave it unable to take the field for the campaign for which it was collected and equipped
at such enormous expense and with such profusion of all the appliances of war.
These successful results were not achieved, however, as before said, without
severe loss--a loss not to be measured by the number of the slain or wounded, but by the high social and personal worth of
so large a number of those who were killed or disabled, including the commander of the forces, whose high qualities will be
greatly missed in the momentous campaign impending. I deeply regret to record also the death of the Hon. George W. Johnson,
Provisional Governor of Kentucky, who went into action with the Kentucky troops, and continually inspired them by his words
and example. Having his horse shot under him on Sunday, he entered the ranks of a Kentucky regiment on Monday, and fell mortally
wounded toward the close of the day. Not his State alone, but the whole Confederacy, has sustained a great loss in the death
of this brave, upright and able man.
Another gallant and able soldier and captain was lost to the service of the
country when Brigadier-General Gladden, commanding the First Brigade, Withers' division, Second Army Corps, died from a severe
wound received on the 6th instant, after having been conspicuous to his whole corps and the army for courage and capacity.
Major-General Cheatham, commanding the First Division, First Corps, was slightly
wounded and had three horses shot under him.
Brigadier-General Clark, commanding Second Division of the First Corps, received
a severe wound also on the first day, which will deprive the army of his valuable services for some time.
Brigadier-General Hindman, engaged in the outset of the battle, was conspicuous
for a cool courage, efficiently employed in leading his men ever in the thickest of the fray, until his horse was shot under
him and he was unfortunately so severely injured by the fall that the army was deprived on the following day of his chivalrous
Brigadier-Generals B. R. Johnson and Bowen, most meritorious officers, were
also severely wounded in the first combat, but it is hoped will soon be able to return to duty with their brigades.
To mention the many field officers who died or were wounded while gallantly
leading their commands into action, and the many brilliant instances of individual courage displayed by officers and men in
the twenty hours of battle, is impossible at this time, but their names will be duly made known to their countrymen.
The immediate staff of the lamented commander in chief, who accompanied him
to the field, rendered efficient service, and, either by his side or in carrying his orders, shared his exposure to the casualties
of the well-contested battlefield. I beg to commend their names to the notice of the War Department, namely: Captains H. P.
Brewster and N. Wickliffe, of the adjutant and inspector-generals' department; Captain Theodore O'Hara, acting inspector-general;
Lieutenants George Baylor and Thomas M. Jack, aids-de-camp; Volunteer Aids-de-camp Colonel William Preston, Major D. M. Hayden,
E. W. Munford and Calhoun Benham, Major Albert J. Smith and Captain Wickham, of the quartermaster's department.
To these gentlemen was assigned the last sad duty of accompanying the remains
of their lamented chief from the field, except Captains Brewster and Wickliffe, who remained and rendered valuable services
as staff officers on April 7th.
Governor Isham G. Harris, of Tennessee, went upon the field with General Johnston,
was by his side when he was shot, aided him from his horse, and received him in his arms when he died. Subsequently the Governor
joined my staff and remained with me throughout the next day, except when carrying orders or employed in encouraging the troops
of his own State, to whom he gave a conspicuous example of coolness, zeal and intrepidity.
I am also under many obligations to my own general, personal and volunteer
staff, many of whom have been so long associated with me. I append a list of those present on the field on both days, and
whose duties carried them constantly under fire, namely: Colonel Thomas Jordan, Captain Clifton H. Smith and Lieutenant John
M. Otey, adjutant-general's department; Major George W. Brent, acting inspector-general; Colonel R. B. Lee, chief of subsistence,
whose horse was wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel S. W. Ferguson and Lieutenant A. R. Chisolm, aids-de-camp; Volunteer Aids-de-camp
Colonel Jacob Thompson, Majors Numa Augustin and H. E. Peyton, and Captains Albert Ferry and B. B. Waddell. Captain W. W.
Porter, of Major-General Crittenden's staff, also reported for duty and shared the duties of my volunteer staff on Monday.
Brigadier-General Trudeau, of Louisiana Volunteers, also for a part of the first day's conflict was with me as a volunteer
aid. Captain E. H. Cummins, signal officer, also was actively employed as staff officer on both days.
Nor must I fail to mention that Private W. E. Goolsby, Eleventh Regiment Virginia
Volunteers, orderly to my headquarters since last June, repeatedly employed to carry my verbal orders to the field, discharged
the duty with great zeal and intelligence.
Other members of my staff were necessarily absent from the immediate field
of battle, intrusted with responsible duties at these headquarters, namely: Captain F. H. Jordan, assistant adjutant-general,
in charge of general headquarters; Major Eugene E. McLean, chief quartermaster, and Captain E. Deslonde, quartermaster's department.
Lieutenant Colonel Ferguson, aid-de-camp, early on Monday was assigned to
command and directed the movements of a brigade of the Second Corps. Lieutenant-Colonel Gilmer, chief engineer, after having
performed the important and various duties of his place with distinction to himself and material benefit to the country, was
wounded late on Monday. I trust, however, I shall not long be deprived of his essential services.
Captain Lockett, Engineer Corps, chief assistant to Colonel Gilmer, after
having been employed in the duties of his corps on Sunday, was placed by me on Monday in command of a battalion without field
Captain Fremaux, provisional engineers, and Lieutenants Steele and Helm, also
rendered material and even dangerous service in the line of their duty.
Major-General (now General) Braxton Bragg, in addition to his duties of chief
of staff, as has been before stated, commanded his corps--much the largest in the field--on both days with signal capacity
Surgeons Foard, medical director, R. L. Brodie and S. Choppin, medical inspectors,
and D. W. Yandell, medical director of the Western Department, with General Johnston, were present in the discharge of their
arduous and high duties, which they performed with honor to their profession.
Captain Tom Saunders, Messrs. Scales and Metcalf, and Mr. Tully, of New Orleans,
were of material aid on both days, ready to give news of the enemy's positions and movements regardless of exposure.
While thus partially making mention of some of those who rendered brilliant,
gallant or meritorious service on the field, I have aimed merely to notice those whose positions would most probably exclude
the record of their services from the reports of corps or subordinate commanders.
From this agreeable duty I turn to one in the highest degree unpleasant; one
due, however, to the brave men under me as a contrast to the behavior of most of the army who fought so heroically. I allude
to the fact that some officers, non-commissioned officers and men abandoned their colors early on the first day to pillage
the captured encampments; others retired shamefully from the field on both days while the thunder of cannon and the roar and
rattle of musketry told them that their brothers were being slaughtered by the fresh legions of the enemy. I have ordered
the names of the most conspicuous on this roll of laggards and cowards to be published in orders.
It remains to state that our loss on the two days, in killed outright, was
1,728; wounded, 8,0l2, and missing, 959; making an aggregate of casualties, 10,699. This sad list tells in simple language
of the stout fight made by our countrymen in front of the rude log chapel of Shiloh, especially when it is known that on Monday,
from exhaustion and other causes, not 20,000 men on our side could be brought into action.
Of the losses of the enemy I have no exact knowledge. Their newspapers report
it as very heavy. Unquestionably it was greater even in proportion than our own on both days, for it was apparent to all that
their dead left on the field outnumbered ours two to one. Their casualties, therefore, can not have fallen many short of 20,000
in killed, wounded, prisoners and missing. Through information derived from many sources, including the newspapers of the
enemy, we engaged on Sunday the divisions of Generals Prentiss, Sherman, Hurlbut, McClernand and Smith, of 9,000 men each,
or at least 45,000 men. This force was re-enforced Sunday night by the divisions of Generals Nelson, McCook, Crittenden and
Thomas, of Major-General Buell's army, some 25,000 strong, including all arms; also General L. Wallace's division, of General
Grant's army, making at least 33,000 fresh troops, which, added to the remnant of General Grant's forces--on Monday morning
amounting to over 20,000--made an aggregate force of some 53,000 men, at least, arrayed against us on that day.
In connection with the results of the battle I should state that most of our
men who had inferior arms exchanged them for the improved arms of the enemy; also that most of the property, public and personal,
in the camps from which the enemy was driven on Sunday was rendered useless or greatly damaged, except some of the tents.
With this is transmitted certain papers, to-wit: order of movement, a list
of the killed and wounded, a list of the captured flags and a map of the battlefield, etc., all of which are respectfully
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Reading: The Shiloh Campaign (Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland) (Hardcover). Description:
Some 100,000 soldiers fought in the April 1862 battle of Shiloh, and nearly 20,000 men were killed or wounded; more Americans
died on that Tennessee
battlefield than had died in all the nation’s previous wars combined. In the first book in his new series, Steven E.
Woodworth has brought together a group of superb historians to reassess this significant battle and provide in-depth analyses
of key aspects of the campaign and its aftermath. The eight talented contributors dissect the campaign’s fundamental
events, many of which have not received adequate attention before now. Continued below…
John R. Lundberg
examines the role of Albert Sidney Johnston, the prized Confederate commander who recovered impressively after a less-than-stellar
performance at forts Henry and Donelson only to die at Shiloh; Alexander Mendoza analyzes the crucial, and perhaps decisive,
struggle to defend the Union’s left; Timothy B. Smith investigates the persistent legend that the Hornet’s Nest
was the spot of the hottest fighting at Shiloh; Steven E. Woodworth follows Lew Wallace’s controversial march to the
battlefield and shows why Ulysses S. Grant never forgave him; Gary D. Joiner provides the deepest analysis available of action
by the Union gunboats; Grady McWhiney describes P. G. T. Beauregard’s decision to stop the first day’s attack
and takes issue with his claim of victory; and Charles D. Grear shows the battle’s impact on Confederate soldiers, many
of whom did not consider the battle a defeat for their side. In the final chapter, Brooks D. Simpson analyzes how command
relationships—specifically the interactions among Grant, Henry Halleck, William T. Sherman, and Abraham Lincoln—affected
the campaign and debunks commonly held beliefs about Grant’s reactions to Shiloh’s aftermath. The Shiloh Campaign
will enhance readers’ understanding of a pivotal battle that helped unlock the western theater to Union conquest. It
is sure to inspire further study of and debate about one of the American Civil War’s momentous campaigns.
Reading: Shiloh and the Western Campaign
of 1862. Review: The bloody and decisive two-day
battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The
stunning Northern victory thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate
commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict. The conflagration
at Shiloh had its roots in the strong Union advance during the winter of 1861-1862 that resulted in the capture of Forts Henry
and Donelson in Tennessee. Continued below…
The offensive collapsed General Albert S. Johnston advanced line in Kentucky and forced him to withdraw all
the way to northern Mississippi. Anxious to attack the enemy,
Johnston began concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major
railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold
plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army
of the Tennessee before it could link up with another Union
army on the way to join him. On the morning of April 6, Johnston boasted to his subordinates,
"Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee!" They
nearly did so. Johnston's sweeping attack hit the unsuspecting Federal camps at Pittsburg Landing
and routed the enemy from position after position as they fell back toward the Tennessee River.
Johnston's sudden death in the Peach Orchard, however, coupled
with stubborn Federal resistance, widespread confusion, and Grant's dogged determination to hold the field, saved the Union
army from destruction. The arrival of General Don C. Buell's reinforcements that night turned the tide of battle. The next
day, Grant seized the initiative and attacked the Confederates, driving them from the field. Shiloh
was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, with nearly 24,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Edward Cunningham,
a young Ph.D. candidate studying under the legendary T. Harry Williams at Louisiana
State University, researched and wrote Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 in 1966. Although it remained unpublished, many Shiloh
experts and park rangers consider it to be the best overall examination of the battle ever written. Indeed, Shiloh
historiography is just now catching up with Cunningham, who was decades ahead of modern scholarship. Western Civil War historians
Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith have resurrected Cunningham's beautifully written and deeply researched manuscript from
its undeserved obscurity. Fully edited and richly annotated with updated citations and observations, original maps, and a
complete order of battle and table of losses, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 will
be welcomed by everyone who enjoys battle history at its finest. Edward Cunningham, Ph.D., studied under T. Harry Williams
at Louisiana State
University. He was the author of The Port Hudson Campaign: 1862-1863
(LSU, 1963). Dr. Cunningham died in 1997. Gary D. Joiner, Ph.D. is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The
Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A. M. Pate, Jr., Award, and Through the Howling
Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He lives in Shreveport,
Louisiana. About the Author: Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D., is author of Champion Hill:
Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (winner of the 2004 Mississippi
Institute of Arts and Letters Non-fiction Award), The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield, and This Great
Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park. A former ranger at Shiloh,
Tim teaches history at the University of Tennessee.
Recommended Reading: Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil
War (Simon & Schuster). From Publishers Weekly: The bloodbath at Shiloh, Tenn. (April 6-7, 1862), brought
an end to any remaining innocence in the Civil War. The combined 23,000 casualties that the two armies inflicted on each other
in two days shocked North and South alike. Ulysses S. Grant kept his head and managed, with reinforcements, to win a hard-fought
victory. Continued below…
general Albert Sidney Johnston was wounded and bled to death, leaving P.G.T. Beauregard to disengage and retreat with a dispirited
gray-clad army. Daniel (Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee) has crafted a superbly researched volume that will appeal to
both the beginning Civil War reader as well as those already familiar with the course of fighting in the wooded terrain bordering
the Tennessee River.
His impressive research includes the judicious use of contemporary newspapers and extensive collections of unpublished letters
and diaries. He offers a lengthy discussion of the overall strategic situation that preceded the battle, a survey of the generals
and their armies and, within the notes, sharp analyses of the many controversies that Shiloh
has spawned, including assessments of previous scholarship on the battle. This first new book on Shiloh
in a generation concludes with a cogent chapter on the consequences of those two fatal days of conflict.
Recommended Reading: Shiloh--In Hell before Night. Description: James McDonough has written a good, readable and concise history of a battle that the author
characterizes as one of the most important of the Civil War, and writes an interesting history of this decisive 1862 confrontation
in the West. He blends first person and newspaper accounts to give the book a good balance between the general's view and
the soldier's view of the battle. Continued below…
Particularly enlightening is his description of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander
who was killed on the first day of the battle. McDonough makes a pretty convincing argument that Johnston
fell far short of the image that many give him in contemporary and historical writings. He is usually portrayed as an experienced
and decisive commander of men. This book shows that Johnston
was a man of modest war and command experience, and that he rose to prominence shortly before the Civil War. His actions (or
inaction) prior to the meeting at Shiloh -- offering to let his subordinate Beauregard take command for example -- reveal
a man who had difficulty managing the responsibility fostered on him by his command. The author does a good job of presenting
several other historical questions and problems like Johnston's
reputation vs. reality that really add a lot of interest to the pages.
Recommended Reading: Seeing
the Elephant: RAW RECRUITS AT THE BATTLE OF SHILOH. Description: One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, the
two-day engagement near Shiloh, Tennessee,
in April 1862 left more than 23,000 casualties. Fighting alongside seasoned veterans were more than 160 newly recruited regiments
and other soldiers who had yet to encounter serious action. In the phrase of the time, these men came to Shiloh
to "see the elephant". Continued below…
on the letters, diaries, and other reminiscences of these raw recruits on both sides of the conflict, "Seeing the Elephant"
gives a vivid and valuable primary account of the terrible struggle. From the wide range of voices included in this volume
emerges a nuanced picture of the psychology and motivations of the novice soldiers and the ways in which their attitudes toward
the war were affected by their experiences at Shiloh.
Recommended Reading: The
Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged (Hardcover). Description: How can an essential "cornerstone of
Shiloh historiography" remain unavailable to the general public for so long? That's what
I kept thinking as I was reading this reprint of the 1913 edition of David W. Reed's “The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations
Engaged.” Reed, a veteran of the Battle of Shiloh and the first historian of the Shiloh National Military
Park, was tabbed to write the official history of the battle, and this
book was the result. Reed wrote a short, concise history of the fighting and included quite a bit of other valuable information
in the pages that followed. The large and impressive maps that accompanied the original text are here converted into digital
format and included in a CD located within a flap at the back of the book. Author and former Shiloh Park Ranger Timothy Smith
is responsible for bringing this important reference work back from obscurity. His introduction to the book also places it
in the proper historical framework. Continued below…
Reed's history of the campaign and battle covers only seventeen pages and is meant to be a brief history of the subject.
The detail is revealed in the rest of the book. And what detail there is! Reed's order of battle for Shiloh goes down to the regimental
and battery level. He includes the names of the leaders of each organization where known, including whether or not these men
were killed, wounded, captured, or suffered some other fate. In a touch not often seen in modern studies, the author also
states the original regiment of brigade commanders. In another nice piece of detail following the order of battle, staff officers
for each brigade and higher organization are listed. The book's main point and where it truly shines is in the section entitled
"Detailed Movements of Organizations". Reed follows each unit in their movements during the battle. Reading this section along
with referring to the computerized maps gives one a solid foundation for future study of Shiloh.
Forty-five pages cover the brigades of all three armies present at Shiloh.
Wargamers and buffs will love the "Abstract of Field Returns". This section lists Present for Duty, engaged, and casualties
for each regiment and battery in an easy to read table format. Grant's entire Army of the Tennessee has Present for Duty strengths. Buell's Army of the Ohio is also counted well. The Confederate Army of the Mississippi
is counted less accurately, usually only going down to brigade level and many times relying only on engaged strengths. That
said, buy this book if you are looking for a good reference work for help with your order of battle.
In what I believe is an unprecedented move in Civil War literature, the University
of Tennessee Press made the somewhat unusual decision to include Reed's
detailed maps of the campaign and battle in a CD which is included in a plastic sleeve inside the back cover of the book.
The cost of reproducing the large maps and including them as foldouts or in a pocket in the book must have been prohibitive,
necessitating this interesting use of a CD. The maps were simple to view and came in a PDF format. All you'll need is Adobe
Acrobat Reader, a free program, to view these. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit. Maps are an
integral part of military history, and this solution is far better than deciding to include poor maps or no maps at all. The
Read Me file that came with the CD relays the following information:
The maps contained on this CD are scans of the original oversized maps printed in the 1913 edition of D. W. Reed's The
Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged. The original maps, which were in a very large format and folded out of the
pages of this edition, are of varying sizes, up to 23 inches by 25 inches. They were originally created in 1901 by the Shiloh National Military Park under the direction of its historian,
David W. Reed. They are the most accurate Shiloh battle maps in existence.
The maps on the CD are saved as PDF (Portable Document Format) files and can be read on any operating system (Windows,
Macintosh, Linux) by utilizing Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visit http://www.adobe.com to download Acrobat Reader if you do not have
it installed on your system.
Map 1. The Field of Operations from Which the Armies Were Concentrated at Shiloh, March
and April 1862
Map 2. The Territory between Corinth, Miss., and Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., Showing Positions and Route of the Confederate
Army in Its Advance to Shiloh, April 3, 4, 5, & 6, 1862
Map 3. Positions on the First Day, April 6, 1862
Map 4. Positions on the Second Day, April 7, 1862
Complete captions appear on the maps.
Timothy Smith has done students of the Civil War an enormous favor by republishing this important early work on Shiloh. Relied on for generations by Park Rangers and other serious students of the battle, The Battle
of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged has been resurrected for a new generation of Civil War readers. This classic reference
work is an essential book for those interested in the Battle of Shiloh. Civil War buffs, wargamers, and those interested in
tactical minutiae will also find Reed's work to be a very good buy. Highly recommended.