Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War


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Email address:. Please provide an email address. Categories of Interest: Select All. Current Affairs. Historical Fiction. True Crime. Profession: Author. Event Coordinator. Johnston told the Creole to draw up the attack order for April 5. Confusion and disarray reigned from the outset.

First came an appalling mix-up in the muddy streets of Corinth, where the 9,man corps of the Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk was encamped with all its wagons, animals and baggage.

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Shiloh : the battle that changed the Civil War

Polk idiotically refused to march without a written order, and it proved impossible for the other corps to move around him. At long last Polk shoved off, but the delay had cost the Confederates precious time. A mighty rainstorm then doused the countryside in floods that washed out roads. Men became lost during the night, and by dawn they were so hopelessly entangled that the attack was postponed until April 6, a perhaps fatal error. Meanwhile Grant's army languished at Pittsburg Landing, supremely ignorant of the menace slowly lurching toward it.

The Yankee soldiers had not been told to fortify their positions -- in fact, were ordered not to -- which left them camping in the open like Boy Scouts, despite mounting reports from the most forward camps of a strong enemy presence. On the cool, bright morning of April 6, when the reports could no longer be ignored, Gen.

William Tecumseh Sherman mounted his horse and rode forward -- just as the main Confederate battle line emerged from a hedge of trees. As he reached for his field glasses a bullet struck his orderly in the head; the man toppled from his horse, dead. Sherman himself was hit in the hand and dashed off, shouting, ''My God, we are attacked! The rebel army had come together at last. It presented a stirring and dismaying sight, as regiment after regiment, dressed in Confederate gray or butternut brown, advanced in three successive waves, each two miles wide.

Banners waving, officers on horseback shouting orders, they marched in perfect lines.

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Sunlight glinted off their bayonets, and their bands played ''Dixie,'' but above it all the bone-chilling rebel yell rose from tens of thousands of throats. Union officers tried frantically to put their units into fighting order. Men, some of whom had received their weapons only days before, were hastily shoved into a line of battle. Artillery batteries that had never fired a round were raced to the front, where they began blasting into the surging enemy.

Among the first casualties was the year-old Col. Everett Peabody, a Harvard-educated engineer commanding a Missouri volunteer regiment.

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He was struck by four bullets during the first few hours of fighting, but held out to buy time for the Yankee divisions in his rear before a fifth slug pierced his skull. All morning the Confederates drove the blue coats northward in a carnival of slaughter that left the mutilated bodies of both sides strewn in heaps. An estimated 10, of Grant's troops fled the fighting and hid under the bluffs by the river, while a number of rebel regiments were banished to the rear for timidity in battle. Johnston was exceedingly pleased with the assault. When word came from one of his commanders that a Tennessee brigade was refusing to fight, he rode to the scene and took charge, successfully capturing a Union strongpoint.

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Returning from his charge about p. When lowered from his horse it was discovered that a bullet had severed an artery behind his knee. Within a few minutes he bled to death in his boot.

DISUNION; How Shiloh Changed the Civil War

Beauregard took command, and as the afternoon wore on, the Confederates pressed nearer to Pittsburg Landing, the last Union stronghold. A critical Union redoubt collapsed between 5 and 6 p.

Wallace, whose young wife, intending to surprise him, was at the landing. As the sun cast its last, long shadows, it was beginning to look like the end for the Union forces. Good news came with the arrival of Buell, whose forces would cross the river that night.

It was not a moment too soon; Grant was drawing up for a last-ditch stand with his back to the miry wastes of Snake Creek. Union artillery pushed back a rebel assault, but soon the Confederates were sending reinforcements, organizing another, final charge. Then came orders from a messenger: Beauregard, unaware that Buell had arrived, had called off the attack till morning.

Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War
Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War
Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War
Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War
Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War

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