Battle of Shiloh…April 6-7,1862



Battle of Shiloh

Dunker Church and dead at Shiloh

Defense: The Battle of Shiloh also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing in Tennessee was a major battle fought in the Western Theater of the Civil War.  The Union Army under Ulysses S.Grant have defeated and captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston has fallen back to the important railway hub at Corinth, Mississippi to regroup and form his attack on the Union Army under U.S. Grant before the Union Army receives reinforcements. Mistakes will be made as Grant is confident the Confederates will stay at Corinth, giving him time to receive extra men and supplies. But the Confederate Army led by the very able General  Johnston has no intention of losing an opportunity to attack while Grant awaits reinforcements, Grant not even making typical defenses in case of a Confederate attack.

The Battle of Shiloh could have been a clear Southern victory, except for the unforeseen delays that so often change the outcome of battles, and the course of history.

Shiloh: meaning “place of peace.”


Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant

Union Commander: Major General Ulysses S. Grant has finally given President Lincoln the victories he requires to keep Northern war moral, and now moves deeper into Tennessee toward Pittsburg Landing. His orders are to wait for reinforcements from Major General Don Carlos Buell and his Army of the Ohio. Grant however will be surprise attacked on the morning of April 6 before the Union reinforcements arrive. General Grants’ Union army will be scattered and pushed back almost 2 miles to the shores of the Tennessee River at PIttsburg Landing. A sunken road becomes a kill zone later dubbed the “hornet’s nest” that is fought over all day at terrible loss and finally captured by the rebels.

Note:  The association and strong friendship between Union Commanding General U.S.Grant and his lead General William Tecumseh Sherman will be forged here, at The Battle of Shiloh. When Sherman approached Grant late the night of the first days defeat finding him under a tree leaning on a crutch ( Grant had injured his ankle 2 days earlier when his horse slipped in the mud and fell over onto Grants leg)  in the rain, Sherman had prepared himself to suggest that the Union Army fall back across the river for protection. “Well, Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” Grant looked up. “Yes,” he replied, followed by a puff on one of his trademark cigars.. “Yes. Lick ’em tomorrow, though.”  

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

This was the attitude of calmness under stress that would endear General Sherman and tens of thousands of Union soldiers to Grant, including President Lincoln himself.

When the Northern Democrats later attacked Grant for mistakes at Shiloh and asked for his removal, Lincoln remembered Grants proactive military attitude and victories in the Western theater at a time when the northern Eastern Civil War theater was typical Union failures. Lincoln simply replied  with one of his most famous quotations about Grant: “I can’t spare this man, Lincoln stated.. he fights.”


Don Carlos Buell

Don Carlos Buell


Union Major General Don Carlos Buell and his Army of the Tennessee will arrive that evening while the Confederates have decided to retire. A Union attack the next morning of April 7 with now combined Union forces will push the Rebels back after several Confederate counter attacks fail.


Attack: Recent Union victories have forced the Confederates to fall back from most of Tennessee to Corinth,Mississippi to dig in and resupply for an attack.  The CSA army must attempt to destroy the Union army or push them back out of Tennessee.


Albert Sidney Johnston

Albert Sidney Johnston


Confederate Commander: General Albert Sidney Johnston has decided to attack and defeat Grant’s army “in detail” before they are reinforced by the Union forces under General Buell. His attack on the morning of April 6 scatters the Union forces but was not as successful as planned as Confederate battle lines become confused. The Confederate are tired and hungry as they unfortunately pause, losing valuable time at the newly captured Union camp to devour the breakfast that was being prepared by the Union soldiers now run off.

This native of Kentucky, son of a Doctor from Connecticut will be wounded and bleed to death on the battlefield before he receives aid.

The noted Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard will now take

General P.G.T. Beauregard

P.G.T. Beauregard

command and fall back for the first night. The next day he will be attacked and pushed back, deciding to leave the field and fall back to safety.  The Confederates won the first day but lose the second day and retire back to Corinth, Mississippi, losing the Battle of Shiloh.


Battle Outcome: Union Victory

Soldiers: Union – 66,812 / CSA – 44,699

Casualties: Union-13,047 (1,754 killed)/CSA-10,699(1,728 killed)

Battle of Shiloh“Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862” by O.Edward Cunningham

The captivating study of the first major engagement of the Union Army against CSA forces in the Western Theater. Read the inside facts as General U.S Grant is routed and the Federal Army falls back against the Tennessee River. Waiting for the attack or the dark that will buy them time as the CSA Army drives them to hell and back for two bloody days.The beginning of the legend of “Johnny Shiloh”.. the young drummer boy Johnny Clem.