Introduction - Battle of ShilohIn early April of 1862 the American Civil War had been raging for nearly a year. The Confederates were driven out of Kentucky and much of Tennessee; they needed to halt the Union advance in the West. On the morning of April 6th (1862) the Confederate Army launched a massive surprise attack against the Northerners who were camped near Pittsburg Landing in Tennessee on the west bank of the Tennessee River. The Battle of Shiloh (also called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing) would be fought over two days and result in more than 23,000 casualties. It was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and in fact in American history up to that time. Whether you are a kid writing a school paper or an adult interested in the facts about this battle you will find a list of interesting facts below which includes who won the battle of Shiloh, why the Confederates attacked, and how this famous American Civil War battle was won.
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Battle of Shiloh Quick Facts
- The Battle of Shiloh was fought on April 6th and April 7th of 1862.
- The battle location was Pittsburg Landing which is along the bank of the Tennessee River in Tennessee.
- The Confederate Commander was General Albert Sidney Johnston. When he was mortally wounded on the first day of the battle his second in command P.G.T. Beauregard took over.
- General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army at this battle.
- The battle pitted approximately 66,800 Union soldiers up against about 44,700 Confederate soldiers. Many of the Union forces arriving on the second day of the battle.
- The Union Army won the Battle of Shiloh forcing the Confederate Army to withdraw from the battlefield.
- Union casualties (dead, wounded, and missing) were approximately 13,000 and Confederate casualties were about 10,700.
Interesting Battle of Shiloh Facts
- Before this battle Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant had been very successful in the western theater of the war. This included capturing two strategically important forts; Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.
- General Grant had chosen Pittsburg Landing as a launching point for his attack on Corinth Mississippi which was a major transportation hub for the Confederacy.
- The reason why the Battle of Shiloh was fought was Confederate General Johnston hoped to halt the Union plan to invade Mississippi and needed to attack the Union forces along the Tennessee River before Union reinforcements could arrive.
- On April 6th 1862 the Confederates launched their attack and caught the Union Army by surprise. At first they experienced great success and drove the Union soldiers out of their camps.
- At a sunken road, since nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", several Union soldiers made a stand repelling several Confederate attacks. This gave the rest of the Union forces time to regroup. Fighting lasted until night time on the 6th of April.
- Although initially caught off guard by the Confederate surprise attack, General William Tecumseh Sherman played an important role in regrouping the Union forces. He rode his horse along the Union lines encouraging the soldiers to repel the Confederate assaults. He suffered two minor wounds and had several horses shot out from under him. Many historians see this as a turning point in his career that would result in him becoming one of the Unions most important generals.
- By the morning of April 7th (1862) Union reinforcements commanded by General Buell had arrived. The Northerners now with approximately 40,000 soldiers greatly outnumbered the depleted Confederate force of about 30,000.
- On the morning of April 7th (1862) the fighting continued culminating with a stalemate. The Confederate forces, now commanded by General Beauregard, having suffered many casualties and now greatly outnumbered withdrew from the battle field. Grant and his forces were now free to plan their advance into Mississippi.