Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shiloh National Military Park

A couple weeks before Ceekay came to visit, Hubby and I visited the site of the Civil War battle that took place at Shiloh.
We started out at the visitor center to get an overview of the battle.
We discovered that there were quite a few participants that later became famous.  Union General Ulysses S. Grant became President of the United States, Rebel soldier Henry Morton Stanley became famous for "finding" Dr. David Livingstone in Africa, and Union officer Ambrose Bierce became one of America's best known writers (Ben Hur).
We found out that drums were used to signal such things as "assembly," "attack,"  "retreat," "chow," "officers' call," and similar messages in camp or on the battlefield.  Drummer boys were most often in their teens, but not always.  The youngest drummer boy at Shiloh was only 10 years old!
Next stop was the National Cemetery where many of the Union dead were re-buried after a hasty burial on the battlefield.
The cemetery is a sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by so many men.
Next up was a driving tour of the battlefield.  How appropriate that this bald eagle would make this hallowed ground a nesting place.
Lots and lots of cannon and monuments dot the landscape, marking places where important parts of the battle took place.
In case you don't know - the North very nearly lost this battle.  If not for last minute reinforcements from Grant and Sherman the Union army would have been defeated.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this battle is that both sides realized this was not going to be a quick and easy war and there would be a terrible toll.
In contrast to the neat orderly Union cemetery, the Confederate dead remain in five burial trenches, like this one, around the park  To avoid disease, the dead were piled by the hundreds into trenches and covered up.  Later, when the Union dead were re-interred, the Daughters of the Confederacy refused to have their dead disturbed electing, instead, to erect monuments in their honor.
And how did the Battle of Shiloh get its name?  From the Shiloh Church of course.
This is a re-creation of the original church where the floors were stained with the blood of the wounded, and dying, soldiers.  After the battle the church was literally picked apart by souvenir hunters.
Tomorrow, Hubby and I head off to Franklin, Tennessee to learn about the important Battle of Franklin and tour plantations that survived being in the midst of the fighting.  There might be, just a little, shopping involved too.


  1. Good tour, we found it to be a very interesting site.

  2. Oh, I would love to visit this place! My hubby and I so enjoy learning more about the Civil War! I certainly didn't know that Stanley was a civil war soldier! Thanks for popping in to see me.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  3. That visitor's center building is quite beautiful. I agree -- the battle cemeteries are always sobering. The thought of families fighting against each other on the same battleground just gets me every time!
    Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see the plantation tours!