Shiloh, battle of

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
Save to active project

Shiloh, battle of

battle of Shiloh, Apr. 6–7, 1862, one of the great battles of the American Civil War. The battle took its name from Shiloh Church, a meetinghouse c.3 mi (5 km) SSW of Pittsburg Landing, which was a community in Hardin co., Tenn., 9 mi (14.5 km) S of Savannah on the west bank of the Tennessee River. After the fall of Fort Donelson to the Union army, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant advanced up the Tennessee River and established headquarters for his Army of the Tennessee (some 40,000 men) at Savannah. Five divisions were placed in the vicinity of Pittsburg Landing and one at Crump's Landing, c.5 mi (8 km) north. Meanwhile, General Buell, commanding the Army of the Ohio (35,000 men), was marching W from Nashville to join Grant and crush the Confederate army at Corinth, Miss., a strategic railway point. Gen. A. S. Johnston, about to make a stand after leading the retreat from original Confederate positions in the West, commanded the army at Corinth (40,000 men), with Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard second in command. Johnston's plan was to defeat Grant before Buell could arrive. He moved to attack on Apr. 3, but because of delay in the 20-mi (32-km) advance to the Union front, it was not until early on Apr. 6 that his troops fell upon the enemy near Shiloh Church. Grant's position was unfortified, in spite of orders to the contrary from General Halleck, Union commander in the West. Having offensive plans of his own, Grant expected no attack, and consequently his irregularly placed divisions were thrown back in confusion at the Confederate assault. In the day's fighting the Confederates swept the field, but Johnston was killed. When Beauregard, who assumed command, ceased battle at nightfall, the Union forces had been pushed back over a mile from their first positions but, although hard-pressed, still held Pittsburg Landing, which the Confederates wanted to secure in order to cut off retreat. With 20,000 reinforcements from the division at Crump's Landing and the advance divisions of Buell's army, the Federals took the offensive on Apr. 7. Beauregard, outnumbered and without fresh troops, resisted for about eight hours and then proceeded to withdraw to Corinth; the Union command did not make any effective pursuit. Corinth was abandoned to the Union forces one month later. Ultimately, Shiloh may be considered a Union victory because it led to later successful campaigns in the West. It was one of the bloodiest contests of the war, losses on each side reaching over 10,000, and, with the possible exceptions of Antietam and Gettysburg, it has been the subject of more controversy than any other Civil War battle.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Shiloh, battle of
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?