Shiloh National Military Park
The Shiloh National Military Park is where the Battle of Shiloh took place in April 1862. The Park contains the Shiloh Meeting House, which was a small log church, where Halleck and Grant met and made plans to wait on reinforcements by Buell’s Army. Within the battlefield is the United States National Cemetery, were 4,000 soldier and family members are buried. In addition to these historical sites is the Shiloh Indian Mounds which are within the park.
Backstory and Context
This battle was to stop the Union troops from sweeping down south to Corinth. Maj. Gens. Ulysses S. Grant wanted the southern railroads and cut of the Confederate communications. General Johnston was aware of this plan and constructed a counter attack. Realizing Grant was alone until Don Carlos Buell's army arrives he chooses to conduct a surprise attack. On April 3, 1862 Johnston planned on moving his troops northeast but the weather slowed him down. Heavy rain caused the roads to become muddy and posed a challenge for the wagons and large amount of men to move.
After the delay on April 5, 1862 he arrived at his destination four miles southwest of Grants army in Pittsburg Landing. On the morning of April 6, 1862 Johnson began his attack on Grant with almost 44,000 men. Grants 40,000 soldiers were shocked at the attack began losing ground to the Confederates. As the battle went on throughout the day it seemed as the Confederate troops had the Union soldiers beat. Johnston's men became unorganized and lost the momentum. With units becoming confused Johnston ordered an assault on Grants left. While with his troops on the assault Johnston was hit by a bullet in the leg. This injury lead to him bleeding out and leaving Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard in command. With Grant's soldiers being hit hard in a surprise attack he decided to retreat to a better position, having the artillery protect them until nightfall.
While the Union soldiers regroup Buell's army finally arrives. The number of Union troops on ground now reaches 54,500 men. Unaware of the reinforcements arriving at night Beauregard begins planning his attack on Grant. When the daybreaks on April 7, 1862 the Union attacks before the Confederates are able to conduct their own attack. With the new men in the ranks Grant and Buell's armies begin to destroy the Confederates. Beauregard's men now number at 34,000 could not successfully conduct an counter strike. This left Buell with very little options, and the one he chose was retreat. Him and his men successfully withdrew to Corinth and the Union did not pursue.
After the battle 23,746 men were killed, missing, or injured from both sides. The Union found the capture of the railroad more valuable than destroying a section of the Confederate Army. Halleck reinforced Grant and Buell with Gen. John Pope's men and began advancing south toward Corinth in late May. Realizing the Union is coming Beauregard gets reinforced by Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn's Trans-Mississippi Army.
The park is family friendly and is open to the public to come and browse as they wish and observe the surroundings. Admission to the park is free and is open year round.