Today is the sesquicentennial of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War up to this point (almost one year after the inception at Fort Sumter). It is also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, and was in fact a two-day affair.
Since I am a bit short on time to research and write very extensively on this topic, I am going to refer the reader to two excellent sources:
1. Here is an excellent summary of the battle from the following page connected to the Civil War Trust (http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/shiloh.html) …
On the morning of April 6, 1862, 40,000 Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston poured out of the nearby woods and struck a line of Union soldiers occupying ground near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. The overpowering Confederate offensive drove the unprepared Federal forces from their camps and threatened to overwhelm Ulysses S. Grant’s entire command. Some Federals made determined stands and by afternoon, they had established a battle line at the sunken road, known as the “Hornet’s Nest.” Repeated Rebel attacks failed to carry the Hornet’s Nest, but massed artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and captured, killed, or wounded most. During the first day’s attacks, Gen. Johnston was mortally wounded and was replaced by P.G.T. Beauregard. Fighting continued until after dark, but the Federals held. By the next morning, the reinforced Federal army numbered about 40,000, outnumbering Beauregard’s army of less than 30,000. Grant’s April 7th counteroffensive overpowered the weakened Confederate forces and Beauregard’s army retired from the field. The two day battle at Shiloh produced more than 23,000 casualties and was the bloodiest battle in American history at its time.
2. I would also refer the reader to the blog of a very sharp young man who is a part of the Battlefield Guides organization at Antietam – Dan Vermilya. His blog can be found at www.fieryordeal.blogspot.com. Dan is a seasonal person around Antietam, and was recently named as one of two recipients of a Joseph Harsh research award. I am sure I will be writing about this at some point in the future. In Dan’s blog, he has been writing a series on Shiloh, and it contains quite a few great pictures and tons of information.