Shiloh: First Mass Slaughter at 'Place of Peace'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Shiloh: First Mass Slaughter at 'Place of Peace'


Byline: Francis P. Sempa, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The word Shiloh, which in Hebrew means place of peace, instead evokes images and reflections of the violence and slaughter of war.

For two days in April 1862, Union and Confederate armies clashed in fields and wooded areas near a religious meeting-house called Shiloh in southwestern Tennessee. It was the first mass-casualty battle of the Civil War.

More Americans fell at Shiloh than in all previous American wars combined. The Union commander, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, concluded after the battle that the Union could be saved only by the "complete conquest" of the Confederacy.

After the capture by the Union of Tennessee forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862, Confederate forces under the command of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston concentrated at Corinth, Miss., just below the Tennessee border. Union forces, meanwhile, traveled down the Tennessee River and disembarked on the western bank of the river at Pittsburg Landing.

Union troops under the command of Gen. William T. Sherman camped near Shiloh Chapel, about four miles inland of Pittsburg Landing. Grant planned to attack Confederate forces at Corinth, an important railroad hub, after Union reinforcements under Gen. Don Carlos Buell arrived from the north. Johnston, however, ordered Confederate forces to leave Corinth and attack the Union Army in Tennessee before Buell's reinforcements could arrive.

The battle began on April 6 at about 5 a.m., when a Union reconnaissance force ran into Confederate skirmishers in a clearing known as Fraley Field. When word of the initial clash reached Johnston, he ordered the Confederate army forward to attack. About an hour later, Sherman's forces near Shiloh Chapel, caught somewhat off guard, were under heavy assault by Confederate troops.

Union troops gradually gave way under the fierce Confederate charges. Some soldiers, and even whole regiments, panicked and took flight toward Pittsburg Landing. Sherman, attempting to rally his forces, was twice wounded.

Grant arrived on the battlefield at midmorning and observed firsthand the precarious position of his army. Union troops were falling back across a four-mile front. On the left, Gen. Benjamin Prentiss occupied an "eroded wagon trail" later described as a "sunken road," and Grant ordered him to hold the position "at all hazards."

This area became the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the battle and of the entire war. Prentiss' troops held the position for several hours in the face of repeated Confederate assaults. Union firing from the position was so fierce that Confederate soldiers reportedly cried, "It's a hornet's nest in there," thus giving the place its historic name.

Twelve times the Southern forces attacked the Hornet's Nest, and each time they were repulsed, creating what historian Shelby Foote called "a thickening carpet of dead and wounded." The Confederates then massed 62 cannons and fired grape and canister across the "sunken road."

"It was as if," wrote Mr. Foote, "the Hornet's Nest exploded, inclosing its defenders in a smoky, flame-cracked din of flying clods, splintered trees, uprooted brush, and whirring metal." The toll of repeated Confederate assaults combined with the fury of Confederate cannons resulted in Prentiss' surrender of more than 2,000 troops. But Union resistance in the Hornet's Nest bought Grant precious time.

All along the front, the Union Army was in retreat. By about 4 p.m., a defensive perimeter had formed near Pittsburg Landing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Shiloh: First Mass Slaughter at 'Place of Peace'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.