Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee

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Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee

Accounts and reports:
APRIL 6-7, 1862

Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7, 1862. Army of the Tennessee,
Army of the Ohio; Gunboats Tyler and Lexington. Immediately
after the fall of Fort Donelson, Gen. A. S. Johnston, command-
ing the Confederate armies in the west, began the work of
establishing a new line farther south. He evacuated Nashville
on Feb. 23, and fell back to Murfreesboro, where he was joined
by the troops from Bowling Green, those who had escaped from
Fort Donelson, and Gen. Crittenden's command, giving him about
17,000 men. With this force he moved to Corinth, Miss., where
he was joined by Gen. Bragg with 10,000 seasoned troops from
Pensacola; Ruggles' brigade from New Orleans, Gen. Polk, with
Cheatham's division from Columbus, Ky., the troops that had
left Island No. 10 with McCown on March 17; Gen. Van Dorn's
command from Missouri, and several small outlying garrisons.
New recruits also came in from different states, so that by
April 1, he had an army of some 40,000 men. Beauregard's
forces were stationed at Island No. 1O, Forts Pillow and
Randolph, Memphis, and at various points in Mississippi. As
Johnston was falling back from Nashville to Corinth Maj.-Gen.
Henry W. Halleck, commanding the department, conceived the
idea of breaking the railroad connections to prevent
Beauregard from forming a junction with Johnston. A base of
operations was then to be established on the Tennessee river,
from which the army would move on Corinth Florence, Ala., was
originally selected, but owing to the failure of the
expedition to destroy the railroad bridge at Eastport, Miss.,
and the rapid mobilization of Johnston's forces at Corinth and
Humboldt, it was deemed advisable to establish a depot lower
down. The selection of a place was left to Maj.-Gen. Charles
F. Smith, who commanded the advance division. He decided in
favor of Savannah, on the right bank of the river, 12O miles
from Nashville and 23 from Corinth, and designated Pittsburg
Landing, 9 miles above Savannah, as the point for assembling
the army. In anticipation of a movement of this sort,
Beauregard, in the latter part of February, sent a battery,
supported by two regiments of infantry, to occupy the bluff
overlooking Pittsburg Landing. This was driven away by the
two Federal gunboats, Tyler and Lexington, on March 1, and on
the 5th the first of the steamboats bringing troops and
supplies landed at Savannah.

The Tennessee river at Pittsburg Landing runs almost due
north, the landing being on the left or western bank. A
little more than 2 miles above the landing Lick creek flows
into the river, and Snake creek about a mile below. The
principal tributary of the latter is Owl creek, the course of
which is almost parallel to that of Lick creek. Some 2 miles
from the river are Oak creek and Locust Grove creek, near
together the former flowing into Owl creek and the latter into
Lick creek. The ground enclosed by these several streams is a
rolling plateau, broken in places by ravines, and from 80 to
100 feet above the river. Its form is that of an irregular
triangle, approximately 4 miles on each side, and it was on
this plateau that the battle of Shiloh was fought. Several
roads crossed the field in different directions, the principal
ones being the eastern Corinth, or Bark road; the western
Corinth road, on which stood Shiloh church, about 2 miles from
the landing, the Purdy road which crossed the Corinth road a
short distance north of the church , the Hamburg road, running
up the river bank to Hamburg and from there to Corinth, and
the river road to Crump's landing, which crossed Snake creek a
little way below the mouth of Owl creek. Almost parallel with
the road, and a little west of it, ran Tillman's creek.

By March 18, this field was occupied by the Army of the
Tennessee commanded by Maj.-Gen. U. S. Grant, and organized as
Follows: 1st division, Maj.-Gen. John A. McClernand, including
the brigades of Cols. A. M. Hare, C. C. Marsh and Julius Raith;
2nd division, Brig.-Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, consisting of the
brigades of Col. James M Tuttle, Brig.-Gen. John McArthur, and
Col. T. W. Sweeny; 3rd division, Maj.-Gen. Lewis Wallace,
including the brigades of Cols. M. L. Smith, J. M. Thayer and
Charles Whittlesey; 4th division, Brig.-Gen. Stephen A.
Hurlbut, consisting of the brigades of Cols. N. G. Williams
and J. C. Veatch, and Brig.-Gen J. G. Lauman; 5th division,
Brig.-Gen. W. T. Sherman, embracing the divisions of Cols. J.
McDowell, David Stuart, Jesse Hildebrand and R. P. Buckland;
6th division, Brig.-Gen B. M. Prentiss, including the brigades
of Cols. Everett Peabody and Madison Miller. The artillery
and cavalry were distributed among the several divisions and
two regiments of infantry and five batteries were unassigned.
According to the field returns on April 4-5, just before the
battle, the total present for duty numbered 44,895 officers
and men, with 62 pieces of artillery.

Maj.-Gen. D. C. Buell, with the Army of Ohio, had
occupied Nashville immediately upon its evacuation by the
Confederates, and early in March he tendered his aid to
Halleck, who urged him to join Grant at Savannah. On the 10th
Buell telegraphed: ''I can join you almost, if not quite as
soon by water, in better condition and with greater security
to your operations and mine. * * * I shall advance in a very
few days, as soon as our transportation is ready.'' The next
day the Department of the Mississippi was created by the
president's War Order No. 3, giving Halleck authority over the
Army of the Ohio, and he at once sent orders to Buell to march
his army to Savannah. On the 15th Buell began his march with
four divisions, viz.: The 2nd, under Brig.-Gen. Alexander
McCook, was composed of three brigades; commanded by
Brig.-Gen. L. H. Rousseau, Col. E. N. Kirk and Col. W. H
Gibson; the 4th division, Brig.-Gen. William Nelson, included
the brigades of Cols. Jacob Ammen, William B. Hazen and S. D.
Bruce; the 5th division; Brig-Gen. T. L. Crittenden, included
the brigades of Brig.-Gen. J. T. Boyle and Col. William S.
Smith; the 6th division, Brig.-Gen. T. J. Wood, consisted of
the brigades of Brig.-Gen. James A. Garfield and Col. George
D. Wagner. The four divisions numbered about 25,000 men.
With the command were three batteries of artillery and two
regiments of cavalry, the latter going in advance of the main
column to secure the bridges. The bridge over the Duck river
at Columbia was found in flames and the water at flood stage.
This occasioned a delay of several days while a new bridge was
being constructed. Nelson's division crossed on the 29th and
the rest of the army the next day, when the march was resumed
with all possible speed toward Pittsburg Landing. Nelson's
division, which was in advance, reached Savannah on April 5,
Crittenden's camped within a few miles of the place that
night, and Buell himself reached the town late in the evening.

Johnston's army, the Army of the Mississippi, with
Beauregard second in command, was divided into four corps.
The 1st, under Maj.-Gen. Leonidas Polk, was composed of the
divisions of Clark and Cheatham; the 2nd, Maj.-Gen. Braxton
Bragg, included the divisions of Ruggles and Withers; the 3rd,
Maj.-Gen. William J. Hardee, consisted of three brigades
under Hindman, Cleburne and S.A.M. Wood; the reserve corps,
Brig.-Gen. John C. Breckenridge, embraced the brigades of
Trabue, Bowen and Statham. Altogether the army contained 72
regiments and 10 battalions, numbering, according to
Confederate reports, 35,953 infantry and artillery and 4,382
cavalry. Each brigade was accompanied by at least one
battery, and several had two. On March 26, Lee wrote to
Johnston: ''I need not urge you, when your army is united, to
deal a blow at the enemy in your front, if possible, before
his rear gets up from Nashville. You have him divided, and
keep him so, if you can.'' Pursuant to these instructions
Johnston hastened forward his arrangements for an attack on
Grant before Buell could come up, and when, on the night of
April 2, he learned that Buell had passed Columbia, he
immediately issued orders for the troops to be held ready to
move at a minute's notice, each man to be provided with 5
days, rations and 100 rounds of ammunition. The arrangements
were completed in a few hours and on the afternoon of the 3rd
the advance against Grant was commenced, Hardee's corps in
advance, the intention being to have the troops in line by 7
o'clock on the morning of the 5th, and the attack to begin an
hour later. As usual in the movement of large bodies of
troops, unavoidable delays occurred, so that the attack was
not made until 24 hours behind the schedule time.

Notwithstanding the enemy had been encountered at various
places by reconnoitering parties on Friday and Saturday, the
4th and 5th, it seems that no general attack was anticipated
by the Union commander, as on Saturday Grant telegraphed
Halleck that ''The main force of the enemy is at Corinth, with
troops at different points east.'' In another despatch the
same day, announcing the arrival of Buell's advance division
at Savannah, he said: ''It is my present intention to send
them to Hamburg, some four miles above Pittsburg, when they
all get here. From that point to Corinth the road is good,
and a junction can be formed with the troops from Pittsburg at
almost any point.'' The same day he sent Col. McPherson to
examine the ground about Hamburg, with instructions to mark
out the position of a camp there, if it should be decided to
occupy that place. In a visit to Nelson's camp at Savannah,
Grant said to that officer: ''There will be no fighting at
Pittsburg Landing; we will have to go to Corinth, where the
rebels are fortified.'' Holding these views it is not
surprising that no defensive works were thrown up at Pittsburg
Landing, and that only ordinary pickets were thrown out short
distances from the camp. The positions of the different
commands on Saturday evening, April 5, were as follows:
Stuart's brigade of Sherman's division was at the junction of
the Hamburg and Bark roads, the rest of the division was on
the right of the line, the left resting on Shiloh church, the
camp extending westward; McClernand's left was near the
crossing of the Corinth and Purdy roads, his line extending
northwest, Prentiss lay between Sherman and Stuart, near the
headwaters of Oak creek, Hurlbut and W. H. L. Wallace were
farther in the rear to the east of Tillman creek; Lewis
Wallace was down the river, about half way between Pittsburg
Landing and Savannah, his 1st brigade being at Crump's
Landing, the 2nd at a place called Stony Lonesome, about 2
miles from the river on the Purdy road, and his 3rd at
Adamsville, some 2 miles farther on the same road.

About 3 o'clock on Sunday morning Prentiss sent Col.
Moore, of the 21st Mo., with five companies, to the front on a
reconnaissance. Just at daybreak the advance pickets were
driven in when Moore moved forward and was soon engaged with
Hardee's column advancing to the attack. Moore sent back for
reinforcements and the remainder of his regiment was sent
forward to his assistance. Peabody's brigade was formed in
line and advanced well to the front. About 6 o'clock Moore
was severely wounded, the regiment fell back, closely pressed
by the enemy, and soon the entire division was under fire.
This was the beginning of the battle of Shiloh. It was the
intention of the Confederates to surprise the Federals, and
probably the only thing that prevented the surprise was the
action of Prentiss in sending out a reconnaissance at such an
early hour. Hardee's line continued to advance, widening the
space between the brigades as they came forward until Cleburne
was in front of Sherman's division, driving the advance guard
back on the main body. The brigades of McDowell and
Hildebrand formed on their color lines, Taylor's battery was
posted near the church and Waterhouse's on a ridge to the
left, between the 53rd and 57th Ohio, the former, under Col.
Appler, forming the left of the line. Sherman sent to
McClernand, asking him to support Appler, and McClernand
formed his division so that Raith's brigade connected with
Sherman's left. The Confederates opened with a battery in the
woods, to which Taylor and Waterhouse promptly responded.
After a short artillery duel the enemy's infantry advanced and
the battle became general. Raith ordered a charge, which
drove the enemy from the front, though he fell mortally
wounded while leading his brigade, which was thrown into some
confusion, but Lieut.-Col. Engelmann assumed command and
righted the line, changing his two flank regiments to repulse
attacks by Polk and Bragg, who had come up on his right and
left. About 9 a.m. the 53rd Ohio broke in disorder, soon
followed by the 57th but Engelmann held on until his flanks
were again threatened, when he was ordered to fall back and
form a new line in front of division headquarters. During
this action 3 guns of Waterhouse's battery were captured.

When the new line was formed McClernand brought up
Burrows' battery in the center, Schwartz's was sent to the
right in support of Sherman, and McAllister's to the left to
command the approach across a field. All opened a spirited
fire and in a few minutes Schwartz succeeded in silencing the
guns in his front, but the enemy charged in force and he was
compelled to retire with the loss of a caisson. Nearly all
the horses belonging to Burrows' battery were killed and the
guns had to be abandoned: They were recaptured, however, the
next day. McAllister kept up the fire until almost
surrounded, when he withdrew three of his guns, one being left
behind for want of horses to bring it off. This gun was also
recovered the next day. Each of the battery commanders was
wounded during the action. Hildebrand's brigade had
practically disappeared from the field by 10 a.m. and Sherman
ordered McDowell and Buckland to fall back to the Purdy and
Hamburg road, where they were to form a new line to connect
with McClernand's. Half an hour later the Confederates made a
furious assault on McClernand, and McDowell was sent against
the enemy's left flank, driving him back some distance, after
which McDowell took position in a wooded valley to his right,
where, under cover of rocks, logs and trees, his men held on
until about the middle of the afternoon. All through the day
Sherman and McClernand acted in concert. Five times they were
compelled to retire before the determined assaults of the
enemy. About 4 p.m. the sixth line was established to cover
the bridge and road over which Lew Wallace's division was
expected to come from Crump's landing. This line was in the
skirts of a wood, on the east side of a field, McClernand's
division in the center, the remnant of Sherman's division on
the right, two regiments of Veatch's brigade on the left,
McAllister's battery near the middle of the line and the 7th
Ill. formed as a reserve. A lull of half an hour occurred,
during which time the men replenished their cartridge boxes
and seized the opportunity to enjoy a brief but much needed
rest. Then the enemy's cavalry were seen advancing across the
field to a charge. When they were within 30 yards of the
Union line McAllister's guns belched forth from their brazen
throats a shower of canister, followed immediately by a well
directed volley of musketry that threw the Confederates into
confusion and caused them to beat a hasty retreat, leaving
behind a large number of dead and wounded. After several
attempts to turn the flanks of this position the enemy
advanced in heavy columns, the Louisiana Zouaves in the lead,
against the center. Again the Federals waited in silence
until the enemy was at close range, when fire was opened with
destructive effect. The artillery, double shotted with
canister, literally mowed down the column, while the coolness
of the infantry made every shot tell. All attempts to rally
the line were futile, and after a few moments the whole body
fled in disorder: This ended the fighting on that part of the
field for the day.

Shortly after Prentiss became engaged in the morning, the
second line of Confederates swept around to his right flank
forcing him back to his color line, where he held on until
about 9 o'clock, when a fresh body of troops was brought up
against him and he was driven back to the position held by
Hurlbut and W. H. L. Wallace. The three divisions now formed
a new line, with Prentiss in the center, Hurlbut on the left
and Wallace on the right. Prentiss occupied an old, washed
out road running along the top of a ridge about half a mile to
the eastward of the church, with Hickenlooper's battery in
position to the right of the Corinth road. Many of Prentiss'
men had become panic-stricken and fled toward the river.
Wallace sent the 8th Ia., under Col. Geddes, to his
assistance, and Col. Tindall came up with the 23rd Mo., which
had just disembarked from a transport, thus strengthening the
new line. This formation had hardly been completed when
Gladden's brigade of Withers' division made a terrific assault
on the center. Prentiss' men lying in the old sunken road,
waited until the enemy was within close range, when they
poured in a murderous volley that drove him back out of range.
P. Stewart's brigade of Clark's division next essayed to
drive Prentiss from his position, but was twice repulsed with
heavy slaughter. Bragg then ordered Gibson's brigade of
Ruggles' division to carry the ridge. Gibson made one of the
most gallant charges of the day, but in the meantime a battery
had been so placed as to enfilade the slope, and this cross-
fire, with the deadly line of infantry in the old roadway,
quickly drove him back. Gibson asked for artillery to silence
the battery, but none was at hand and another charge was
ordered. Four regimental commanders tried to persuade Bragg
that the position was invulnerable without artillery. To one
of these he replied somewhat petulantly, ''I want no faltering
now,'' and again a desperate dash was made up the slope, only
to be met by that relentless fire. Four times Gibson charged,
but each time the Federal line held firm. Hindman's command,
flushed with the success it had won against Sherman and
McClernand, next confidently advanced against the ridge, but
it was shattered into fragments by the battery and the
musketry fire from the steadfast line of Wallace and Prentiss.
To this fatal slope the Confederates gave the name of the
''Horne'ts Nest.''

While these events were transpiring on the right and
center of the Union line, the left had not been permitted to
remain idle. About 7:30 a.m. Stuart's pickets brought in word
that the enemy was advancing in force on the Bark road.
Stuart communicated this information to Hurlbut who sent
forward Mann's battery, supported by the 41st Ill. Stuart
then formed his line to the left of the battery, and facing
toward the west and south, in the expectation that Hurlbut
would extend his line to connect with the battery on the
right. Four companies were thrown forward as skirmishers and
were soon engaged with a force of the enemy which was trying
to plant a battery on the opposite side of the ravine. The
skirmishers were forced to retire and the Confederate battery
commenced shelling Stuart's position, their infantry at the
same time advancing. Stuart went to the battery to order it
to change its position, but found it and the supporting
regiment had been withdrawn to connect with Williams' brigade,
to which they belonged. This left a wide gap in the line, and
Stuart, seeing that he was about to be outflanked by an
overwhelming force, hurried back to his brigade, which was
already engaged, the 71st Ohio having retreated from the field
to return no more that day. The gap in the line was filled by
McArthur, with two regiments of his brigade, and as soon as
possible Stuart extricated his command, after which he
withdrew to a hill some distance in the rear. Here he
repulsed an attack by Chalmers' brigade of Withers' division
and held the enemy in check until Clanton's cavalry gained his
left flank, when he again fell back to another hill reformed
his line and held this position until his men had exhausted
their ammunition. Stuart was wounded and went to the landing,
turning over the command to Col. Smith, of the 54th Ohio.
Smith and Col. Malmborg, of the 55th Ill., succeeded in
rallying about 3,000 of the retreating troops and held on
until about 3 p.m., when the whole brigade retired gradually
toward the landing.

When Hurlbut withdrew Mann's battery from Stuart he
placed it at the corner of a field, along the southern side of
which was Williams' brigade, Lauman continuing the line at an
obtuse angle to the right of the battery to connect with
Prentiss left. Ross' battery was placed about the middle of
Williams' line and Myers' was with Lauman. This position was
held until the withdrawal of Stuart's command made it
necessary for Hurlbut to send Lauman's brigade to the left to
prevent a flank movement, and during this period of five hours
several heavy attacks were repulsed. Gladden's brigade, after
its effort to force Prentiss from the old roadway, reformed
and commanded by Col. Adams moved against Lauman. When within
about 400 yards Mann's and Ross' batteries opened, while the
17th and 25th Ky. were thrown forward to strike the advancing
column on the flank. Under this cross-fire the enemy broke
and sought the cover of the wood. Three times Adams rallied
his men and led them to the attack, but with no better
success, Mann's battery being particularly effective in
repelling the assaults. Meantime Jackson's brigade of
Withers' division assailed McArthur, but was unable to
withstand the steady fire. A second attack, in which Jackson
was well supported by artillery, proved more successful, and
after a severe struggle McArthur withdrew his two regiments in
good order to a new position.

Soon after Hardee had opened the fight against Sherman
and McClernand, Johnston rode to the right of the Confederate
line and ordered Breckenridge to send Trabue's brigade to
Beauregard, who was then near the church. Then, seeing the
difficulty that Withers was having in trying to carry the
Federal position in the ''Hornet's Nest,'' he ordered
Breckenridge's other two brigades to be put in. Bowen was
first engaged and driven back, after which Statham deployed
under cover of a ridge and marched up the slope directly in
front of the 32nd and 41st Ill. which formed the left of
Hurlbut's line. This time the Confederates succeeded in
reaching the summit, where they were met by a withering fire
at close range. Statham's line broke and fled down the hill
in disorder, the 45th Tenn. refusing to again make the attempt
until Johnston rode forward and offered to lead the charge in
person. The line was again formed and with the Confederate
general at the head charged up the slope with such impetuosity
that the Illinois troops were forced to give way. They
retired slowly, however, halting now and then to fire thus
checking pursuit. On one of these occasions a bullet struck
Gen. Johnston in the thigh, cutting an artery, and in a few
minutes he bled to death, as no surgeon was near to attend to
the wound. The news of his death spread quickly through the
Confederate ranks, and caused a lull in the battle. Then
Bragg assumed command of the Confederate right. He assembled
what was left of Withers' and Cheatham's divisions and
Breckenridge's two brigades and prepared for a general
advance. Hurlbut saw the movement forming and took steps to
meet the assault when it came. Cartridge boxes were
replenished, Willard's battery was brought forward and posted
near the Hamburg road, 2 of Cavender's 20-pounders were
brought up and placed in position with Williams' brigade, and
the line strengthened wherever it was possible. About 4 p.m.
Bragg moved forward. Willard opened with telling effect on
two Texas regiments which were moving to the left, and this
was followed by a charge by Lauman that drove the Texans back
some distance. Bragg now commenced to move a heavy force
between Hurlbut and the river with a view to cutting off the
retreat, but Hurlbut gave the order to fall back in time to
prevent its success, and his command retired steadily to
Webster's battery of siege guns near the river, where a new
line was formed behind the artillery. Here the fight
continued until almost dark, Bragg making a desperate but vain
effort to capture the guns. Hurlbut's withdrawal left
Prentiss in an exposed position, where he soon found himself
surrounded by an overwhelming force. He held on, however,
until about 5:30, when he surrendered himself and 2,200 men as
prisoners war. About 5 o'clock Beauregard gave the order to
retire and go into bivouac. Some delay occurred in the
transmission of the order to the different commands, Jackson
and Chalmers continuing the fight after all the others had
retired. The fortunes of the day were with the Confederates.
The Federals held possession of the camps of W. H. L.
Wallace's and Hurlbut's divisions of the preceding night but
Sherman's, Prentiss' and McClernand's were in the hands of the
enemy. Many of the Union troops were here subjected to actual
fire for the first time, with the result that they became
panic-stricken and crowded to the river bank, all efforts to
rally them having proved of no avail. Darkness found them a
hungry, disorganized mob in the vicinity of the landing,
where they were not only useless, but also in the way of those
who were willing to fight.

When the battle began in the morning Grant was seated at
breakfast in Savannah. Hearing the firing he sent an order to
Nelson to march his division up the river to a point opposite
Pittsburg Landing after which he hurried to the despatch boat
and was soon on his way to the scene of action. At Crump's
landing he found Lew Wallace waiting to see him and halted
long enough to order Wallace to have his troops in readiness
to move at a moment's notice. Wallace immediately ordered his
division to concentrate at the camp of the 2nd brigade. Upon
arriving on the field Grant soon learned the condition of
affairs and sent an order to Wallace to move his division and
take position on the right of the army. This order was
received by Wallace about 11:30 a.m. He marched his command
out on the road that crossed the Purdy road a little west of
Owl creek, but before he reached his destination he was met by
Capt. Rowley, of Grant's staff, who brought the information
that the Union right had been beaten back toward the landing,
and that the road upon which the division was then moving led
to the rear of the Confederate position. This necessitated a
countermarch to the river road in order to form a junction
with the right of the line as then established and this so
delayed the movement that it was dark before Wallace reached
the field. A similar delay occurred in the case of Nelson's
division. It was past 1 p.m. when he started from Savannah.
The roads had been overflowed and in some places were almost
impassable. Although the men were eager to join in the combat
the march was necessarily slow and the command did not reach
the field in time to take part in the first days engagement.
Crittenden's division arrived about 9 p.m. and the boats were
sent back to Savannah to bring up McCook's division which
arrived at the landing at 5 o'clock on Monday morning.

The early part of the night was spent by the Federal
generals in collecting their stragglers and forming their
lines for the next day's battle. The fresh troops of Nelson
and Crittenden were formed near the landing, in a line
perpendicular to the river and extending to the Corinth road.
Across the road were Hurlbut, McClernand and Sherman, in the
order named, and among whom had been apportioned the remnant
of Prentiss' division. On the extreme right was the division
of Lew Wallace, near Snake creek. Toward midnight a heavy
rain began to fall, but the men maintained their places in the
line, many lying on the bare ground without shelter. On the
Confederate side conditions were no better, and possibly
worse. Those who occupied the captured camps availed
themselves of the shelter of the tents, but by far the greater
part of the army passed the night in the open air. Although
they were the victors in Sunday's action they had suffered
severely. Jackson's brigade was completely disintegrated in
Bragg's last attack; Hindman's was also broken to pieces;
Gladden's, or what was left of it, bivouacked near the Hamburg
road; Trabue's occupied McDowell's camp; the other two
brigades of Breckenridge's command lay between the church and
the river; part of Clark's division was between Breckenridge
and the church, in which Beauregard had established his
headquarters; Hardee, with Cleburne's brigade occupied
Prentiss' camp; Wood's slept in McClernand's, while Cheatham's
division and one regiment of Clark's left the field under
command of Polk and returned to their camp of the preceding
night. All through the night the two Union gunboats threw
shells at intervals of 10 or 15 minutes into the enemy's
lines, making it impossible for the exhausted men to get the
sleep they so sorely needed, and in some instances driving
them from the captured camps.

The arrival of Lew Wallace's division and the Army of the
Ohio gave great encouragement to the Union troops, and the
army now assumed the offensive. On Monday morning the attack
was begun as soon as it was light enough to see and commenced
on both flanks almost simultaneously. On the left Nelson
moved out on the river road in line of battle, Ammen on the
left, Bruce in the center and Hazen on the right, followed by
Crittenden's division in column. About 5:20 the enemy was
encountered and Nelson halted until Crittenden could come into
line on his right. McCook's division, just then arriving from
Savannah, was pushed forward and formed on the right of
Crittenden. Thus formed the line advanced and soon forced
back the Confederates until the position abandoned by Hurlbut
and Wallace at 4 p.m. the day before was regained. The
''Hornet's Nest'' was in front of Crittenden's left and the
place where Johnston fell was directly in front of Nelson.
Here a larger force of the enemy appeared, before which Nelson
was forced to retire, as he had no artillery. Buell ordered
Mendenhall's battery to his assistance, the enemy's guns were
quickly silenced, after which Hazen's brigade made a dashing
charge, capturing the guns and driving the supporting infantry
from the field. But Bowen's brigade, which was moving to the
support of the battery, charged Hazen in front, while two
batteries, one on each flank, sent an enfilading fire into his
lines. In a few minutes the brigade lost 90 killed and 558
wounded, and the rest fell back in confusion, leaving a gap in
the line that exposed Bruce to the danger of a flank movement.
At the same time Ammen's brigade was heavily engaged to
prevent an effort to turn the left of the line. Terrill's
battery was brought up and held the enemy back until part of
McDowell's brigade moved around to Ammen's left, when the
Confederates fell back to their original position in the
woods. This ended the fighting on Nelson's front.
Crittenden's skirmishers were forced to retire, while a
battery on a ridge opposite his front did considerable damage
to his line. Bartlett's battery responded with an accurate
fire, forcing the enemy's battery to change its position
several times, and finally to withdraw. The skirmishers were
again ordered forward, but just then it was seen that the
enemy was forming line in the timber, as if preparing for a
charge. Bartlett turned his guns and poured a shower of
shrapnell and canister into the timber, throwing the
Confederates into some confusion, and this advantage was
promptly followed up by Boyle's brigade, which charged through
the brush, driving the enemy from cover and back across a
field in their rear. Further to the right McCook deployed
Rousseau's brigade facing toward the church, with Kirk's
brigade so disposed as to protect Rousseau's right.
Skirmishers were thrown forward, but they soon encountered
part of Tralue's brigade and were forced back. Rousseau then
advanced his line, firing as he went, and drove Trabue back to
an open field, where he received reinforcements and made a
furious charge. Rousseau's line received the shock without a
quiver and after a desperate struggle of half an hour Trabue
gave way, leaving the Federals in possession of pieces of
artillery and McClernand's old headquarters. In executing
this movement Rousseau drew away from Crittenden, leaving a
break in the line. McCook sent Col. Willich, with the 32nd
Ind., into this gap to support Rousseau's left. Willich
charged with the bayonet and drove the enemy back into the
timber. He then deployed his men in line of battle and opened
fire, but unfortunately the regiment was so placed that its
skirmishers received the fire of friend and foe alike. As
they beat a hasty retreat from their exposed position Willich
rallied them, withdrew his command into a ravine, where he
exercised his men for a few moments in the manual of arms to
overcome their nervousness, then formed again in double column
to the center and by a gallant charge drove the Confederates
from his front. Kirk now relieved Rousseau whose ammunition
was gone, and about this time Gibson's brigade arrived and
took position on the left of Kirk. When Rousseau's brigade
had received a new supply of ammunition it was again ordered
into line and the whole division advanced, McCook connecting
with the forces on his right.

On the right Lew Wallace at daybreak discovered a battery
on the bluff across Tillman's (or Brier) creek. This was
Ketchum's Alabama battery, supported by Pond's brigade of
Ruggles' division. Wallace ordered Thompson's 9th Ind.
battery to open fire, which was promptly answered by Ketchum.
The presence of Wallace was unknown to Pond until the
artillery was brought into action. As he was nearly a mile
from his nearest support, he retired after a brief engagement,
leaving Wharton's Texas rangers to support the battery. A
spirited artillery duel ensued between Thompson and Ketchum
until Wallace ordered Thurber's Missouri battery into position
to assist Thompson by a cross-fire. This had the desired
effect, and the Confederates withdrew from the bluff.
Wallace's whole command then pushed across the creek in
pursuit suit. When the enemy was thus driven from the bluff
it left his flank exposed and Wallace changed front by a left
half wheel to turn the Confederate left. While the movement
was in course of execution Wallace discovered a heavy column
moving rapidly to reinforce Pond, who was still falling back.
Thompson opened on this column with his battery, but was
shortly afterward compelled to turn his guns on a battery
planted in a field on his right. His ammunition soon gave out
and Thurber was ordered up to take his place, the change being
made without any cessation in the fire. An attempt was made
to charge the battery, but it was handsomely repulsed by
Morgan L. Smith's brigade. Grant's orders were for Sherman's
right to connect with Wallace's left, but the former was slow
in getting into position, so that it was 10 o'clock before
the line of battle was complete and the general advance
commenced. From that time until noon the battle around Shiloh
church was equally as furious as any part of Sunday's
engagement. McCook had driven back the forces on the Corinth
road, where Beauregard in person was in command, and after
effecting a junction with McClernand the whole Union army
formed a curved line, concentrating their fire upon the force
composed of Cheatham's, Ruggles, and part of Clark's
divisions, Wood's and Trabue's brigades and several batteries,
and for two hours hammered the Confederates back. As one
brigade would exhaust its ammunition and fall back for a new
supply another would take its place in the line and the fight
went on without cessation.

Shortly afternoon Beauregard saw that his men were
beginning to flag. The work of the previous day and a
sleepless night were beginning to tell upon their
constitutions, and the knowledge that they were confronted by
about 25,000 fresh troops added to the strain. Whole
regiments dropped out of line, completely worn out, and all
efforts to rally them met with failure. Under these
circumstances Beauregard gave the order to retreat and sent
word to his right to retire the troops in alternate lines,
while the left continued the fight to secure the withdrawal of
the army. About 500 yards east of the church was a grove of
wateroaks, filled with a dense undergrowth, in and behind
which the enemy made his last stand. One battery near the
church and another on the Hamburg road were so placed as to
pour a deadly fire on any column that might try to advance
against that piece of timber. Nevertheless Willich's regiment
moved forward and succeeded in entering the timber, but after
a sharp fight of about 20 minutes was compelled to retire.
Two 24-pounders belonging to McAllister's battery and 3 guns
of Wood's battery were brought up and after a heavy cannonade
silenced the enemy's guns. Rousseau's brigade then advanced,
deployed, and entered the woods. Sherman sent forward T. K.
Smith's and Buckland's brigades to Rousseau's support.
Rousseau swept everything before him, and by 4 p.m. the Union
army had recovered every inch of ground that had been lost the
day before. The charge of Rousseau was the last straw. Of
the retreat which followed immediately after this charge, Lew
Wallace says in his report: ''About 4 o'clock the enemy to my
front broke into rout and ran through the camps occupied by
Gen. Sherman on Sunday morning. Their own camp had been
established about 2 miles beyond. There, without halting,
they fired tents, stores, &c. Throwing out the wounded, they
filled their wagons full of arms (Springfield muskets and
Enfield rifles) ingloriously thrown away by some of our troops
the day before, and hurried on. After following them until
nearly nightfall I brought my division back to Owl creek and
bivouacked it.''

The Union loss at Shiloh was 1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded
and 2,885 captured or missing. Most of the captured belong to
Prentiss' division. On the Confederate side the loss was
reported as being 1,728 killed, 8,012 wounded and 959 missing.
The effect of the battle is well summed up by Gen. M. F. Force
in his ''From Fort Henry to Corinth,'' wherein he says: ''The
battle sobered both armies. The force at Pittsburg Landing
saw rudely dashed aside the expectation of a speedy entry into
Corinth. The force at Corinth, that marched out to drive
Grant into the river, to scatter Buell's force in detail and
return in triumph to Nashville, was back in the old quarters,
foiled, disheartened.''

Source: The Union Army, vol. 6

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…

Confederate 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.

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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: 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: A Novel, by Shelby Foote. Review: In the novel Shiloh, historian and Civil War expert Shelby Foote delivers a spare, unflinching account of the battle of Shiloh, which was fought over the course of two days in April 1862. By mirroring the troops' movements through the woods of Tennessee with the activity of each soldier's mind, Foote offers the reader a broad perspective of the battle and a detailed view of the issues behind it. Continued below…

The battle becomes tangible as Foote interweaves the observations of Union and Confederate officers, simple foot soldiers, brave men, and cowards and describes the roar of the muskets and the haze of the gun smoke. The author's vivid storytelling creates a rich chronicle of a pivotal battle in American history.


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…

Drawing 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 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.

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