Saturday, June 27, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
U.S. Grant came down the Tennessee River with his Army of the Tennessee and waited as ordered for Gen. Buell to arrive with his Army of the Ohio. The Confederate side was led by General Albert Johnston who decided to attack Grant before Buell got there. The attack on April 6, 1862, surprised Grant and caused great disarray. Bitter fighting ensued with the Federals gradually giving way. Some of the fiercest fighting was at the Hornet's Nest where Federal troops were implored to hold their ground at all cost. For most of the day, they did suffering great loss. At day's end, the Confederates stormed the line and took the survivors prisoner. Johnston's element of surprise helped the success of the battle, but soon the Confederate Army was as disorganized as the Federal Army. This was acerbated by the death of Johnston. Johnston was shot in the leg: the bullet severed a major artery and he bled to death. His command was taken over by General Beauregard.
The 2nd day saw more fierce fighting. Grant's Federal troops had been joined overnight by Buell's and totalled some 54,500 men. The Confederates were depleted to 34,000. The battle seesawed back and forth with the Confederates withdrawing to Shiloh Church and then to Corinth, TN. The Federals did not pursue them. At the end over 23,000 from both sides were killed, wounded or missing. At one point, the wounded of both sides made their way to a pond at the Peach Orchard where the water turned red from their blood. After the battle, Beauregard asked Grant for permission, under a flag of truce, to send out people to take the Confederate dead from the battlefield. Grant's reply was that he would but that, due to the heat, he had already buried them. There are 5 mass graves for the Confederate troops. The Federal troops were taken and buried at the National Cemetery at the park.
Both armies proceed on to Corinth, TN. There was no great battle here, but, when the Confederate Army withdrew the rail line of east-west communications to the western part of the Confederacy was severed. Battle loses here and in Kentucky and Virginia paved the way for U.S. Grant's assault on Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi. And, ultimately, the end of the war. In the midst of this is the present day Shiloh Church and Cemetery, both still active. Kind of a reminder that life & death go on, I guess.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The 2nd battle in August 1862 was a battle between seasoned veterans and covered 3 days. In this 3 day period over 3,300 troops were killed! The Confederate victory here set up Lee's march north and ultimately to Gettysburg! The battle this time ranged over a wider area of countryside. The beautiful Stone House survived both battles serving as a field hospital both times. The stories about the medical care received by both sides is just horrifying! Piles of amputated limbs!! Hard to imagine today. Just as it had to imagine troops marching down the bucolic roads around this area; markers interspersed here and there telling the story and fragrant honeysuckle twinning around the trees. One particularly poignant site is the Groveton Confederate Cemetery. Of the more than 260 soldiers buried there, only 2 have ever been identified and have markers! The finally day of the 2nd battle was at Stone Bridge where Union troops slipped away in the dark and headed to Washington. The 2nd Battle of Manassas established the reputation of Robert E. Lee as a bold and brilliant leader.