Battle of Shiloh

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Painting of the Battle of Shiloh

The Battle of Shiloh was a battle in the American Civil War. It was fought on April 6 and April 7, 1862, in Tennessee. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Background[change | change source]

The Union Army of the Tennessee was commanded by Ulysses S. Grant. Grant had captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in western Tennessee during the early months of 1862. This forced the Confederate Army to leave Kentucky, western Tennessee, and central Tennessee.

Grant wanted to capture the city of Corinth, Mississippi, next. But his superior, Henry W. Halleck, didn't want Grant to go any further south until other Union soldiers joined him. So Grant moved his army to a place called Pittsburg Landing, which was on the Tennessee River. There was a church near the landing called Shiloh Church. His army stayed there for several weeks.

Re-built Shiloh Church in 2006

General Albert Sidney Johnston commanded the Confederates. Johnston's second-in-command was P. G. T. Beauregard. Beauregard came up with a plan to recapture western Tennessee. Confederate soldiers from all over the Western theater gathered in Corinth. Then, starting on April 3rd, they marched north toward Grant's army. The Confederate Army was ready to attack on the morning of the 6th.

The Battle[change | change source]

The battle started around dawn on April 6th. The Confederates surprised the Union Army. After fighting all day, Grant's army retreated back to Pittsburg Landing. Johnston was killed during the battle, and Beauregard took over the Confederate Army.

More Union soldiers arrived at the battlefield during the night. They were part of the Army of the Ohio, commanded by Don Carlos Buell.

Grant attacked the Confederates the next morning. The two armies fought all morning and during the afternoon. By 4 p.m., Beauregard decided to retreat back to Corinth.

Aftermath[change | change source]

The Confederates lost 10,698 casualties during the battle.[a][2] Union soldiers buried the Confederate dead on the battlefield.[3] The Union Army lost about 14,500 casualties during the battle.[a][4]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 All American Civil War casualty numbers are approximate, no matter what the source.[1] Three types of documents were used to estimate casualties. These were: enlistment rolls, muster rolls and casualty lists.[1] Aside from spelling and other errors, many of these were subjected to the weather, lost or damaged.[1] Many Confederate records were destroyed by the end of the war leaving Union numbers the more accurate of the two estimates.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Civil War Casualties". Civil War Trust. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  2. Cunningham, p. 375.
  3. Cunningham, p. 379.
  4. Cunningham, p. 376.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Cunningham, O. Edward. Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862, edited by Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith. New York: Savas Beatie, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932714-27-2.
  • McDonough, James Lee. Shiloh – in Hell before Night. Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1977. ISBN 0-87049-199-7.