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Shiloh Battlefield, Tennessee: Bloody Confrontation

Our primary reason for staying at a resort near Hornsby, Tennessee is because it is close to the battlefield at Shiloh.  Today we paid homage to the dead who are buried there and to find out what happened.  From April 6-7, 1862 the woods of South Tennessee witnessed the greatest blood bath in American History to that date, over 24,000 casualties.  The reason for this was a small town twenty miles south called Corinth, Mississippi.  This was the crossroads of two major railroads and was a major target for the Union forces.  Grant, commander of the Army of Tennessee, was given orders by Gen. Halleck not to engage the enemy until reinforcements under Gen. Buell, commander of the Army of Ohio.  His men were encamped near a small church called Shiloh near the Pittsburg Landing along the Tennessee River.  Little did he know that The CSA, under the command of Albert S. Johnston, who dies in the battle, was headed his way and encamped about 100 yards from each other.  Early Sunday Morning shots broke out from a Union Patrol at some Rebels.  Then all hell broke loose.  The Union was able to hold off the CSA at a sunken road and the Oak woods behind it that became known as “The Hornets Nest” because of the fierce fighting that took place.   The position was finally taken after six hours of battle when the CSA bombarded the area with 62 cannon.   The US was saved by darkness from being crushed.  At that time Buell’s Army arrived and took up positions with Grant’s forces.  On Monday the battle continued, this time the edge belonging to the US.  The CSA fell back in retreat to Corinth.

Some notable participants in the battle were William T Sherman, PGT Beauregard, who took over command of the CSA forces, James Garfield, who found his bullet while President, Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, Ambrose Bierce, the author of The Devil’s Dictionary, and Lt. Stanley, who one day went on to say, “Doctor Livingston, I presume.”

The battlefield is marked with many kiosks, showing the movement and placement of the different troops.  These are very accurate, because they were pointed out by survivors, who returned to the field some twenty years later to dedicate the area as a military park.

On the battlefield too are the remains of Indian Mounds, dating from 1200 AD.  There are six large primary mounds, which are visible today, plus numerous other smaller mounds.  These mounds are unique because the remains of some of the houses are still visible today.  The best time to see them is in the summer and not the fall when the ground is covered with fallen leaves.


About the Author:
John Pelley is a Geriatric Gypsy.  He is retired from the rat race of working.  He is a  full-time RVer, who ran away from home.  He began our travels on the East Coast and, like the migrating birds, seek the warmth of the seasons  He has discovered volunteering with the National Park System.  Hae has a CD he has recorded of Native American flute music., A Day with Kokopelli. For pictures, links, and more information visit http://www.jmpelley.org.
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