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Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) Timeline
March 1 - April 5: Grant transports his Army of west Tennessee (over 58,000 men) into southwest Tennessee Establishes
it at Pittsburg Landing, and awaits Buell's army.
March 1: Johnston transports 55,000 Confederates to Corinth to defend the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
April 3: Johnston advances toward Pittsburg Landing, Rain and bad roads delay his advance.
April 6: Johnston launches surprise attack on Federals.
April 6, 1862
4:55-6:30 am: Federal patrol discovers Confederates in Fraley Field. Federal Skirmish, then fall back.
6:30-9:00 am: Johnston maneuvers eight brigades to overrun Prentiss's camps, routing the Union division.
7:00-10:00 am: Sherman's division repulses Confederates, inflicting heavy casualties. Johnston sends five brigades
to attack Sherman's left flank. Sherman falls back on McClernand's division.
10:00-11:30 am: Confederates assault Sherman and McClernand on the Hamburg - Purdey Road, driving back Union right
8:00-9:30 am: Wallace's and Hurlbut's divisions march to the front.
9:00-10:30 am: Johnston, hearing that his right flank is threatened, orders Chalmers' and Jackson's brigades to
assault Federal left, with Breckinridge in support.
11:00-Noon: Confederates make contact with Federals across Eastern Corinth Road. Federals repulse attacks.
11:00am-1:00pm: Chalmers and Jackson assault Stuart, but Confederate stalls. Federal left holds against all attacks.
Noon-2:30pm: Sherman and McClernand Counterattack Driving Confederates south, but weakened by losses, Federals
withdraw across Tilghman Branch.
Noon-3:30pm: Gibson's Confederates assault Federal center three times and are repulsed. Confederates come under
murderous fire in impenetrable oak thicket.
1:00-4:00 pm: Johnston orders attack against Federal left, forcing them back. Johnston killed; succeeded by Beauregard.
Hurlbut's division again stalls Confederates, but then retires toward Pittsburg landing.
- 3:00-5:30 pm: Sherman and McClernand prevent Confederates from crossing Tilghman Branch, but retire to defend Hamburg-Savannah
road so that Wallace's division can come up.
- 7:00 pm: Wallace, with 5,800 men, moves to support Sherman at Shiloh Church.
- Night: Buell's troops file in on Union left. Crittenden deploys in center, with McCook in support.
- Night: Nelson ferried across river. Federal gunboats fire into captured Federal camps.
April 7, 1862
7:00-9:00 am: Wallace drives Confederates from Jones' field.
7:00-900 am: Grant and Buell advance. Skirmishing light as majority of Confederates retired south of Hamburg/Purdy
road during night.
9:00-11:00 am: Nelson advances through Wicker's and Sarah Bell's fields, Crittenden advances in center, but stalled
in "Hornet's Nest."
9:00-11:00 am: Breckinridge and Hardee counterattack Nelson's right flank and force Federal left back into Wicker's
9:00-11:00 am: McCook crosses Tilghman Branch and engages Breckinridge's left.
10:30-Noon: Sherman, McClernand and Hurlbut cross Tilghman Branch and join Wallace in fighting against Polk and
Bragg on Confederate left.
10:30-Noon: Confederates flanked by Wallace and forced to retire to Hamburg/Purdy road.
Noon-2:00 pm: Reinforced, Nelson and Crittenden advance, forcing Beauregard's right flank to retreat south to
Noon-2:00 pm: McCook slams into Bragg at Water Oak Pond. Beauregard counterattack, halting McCook. With his left
under pressure Beauregard is forced to retire.
2:00-4:00 pm: Breckinridge, supported by massed artillery south of
Shiloh Branch ravine, checks Union advance and Confederates retire from field. Federals reclaim possession of the field and
Source: James M. McPherson, The Atlas of the Civil War
Reading: Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War (Simon & Schuster). From Publishers Weekly: The bloodbath at
Shiloh, Tenn. (April 6-7,
1862), brought an end to any remaining innocence in the Civil War. The combined 23,000 casualties that the two armies inflicted
on each other in two days shocked North and South alike. Ulysses S. Grant kept his head and managed, with reinforcements,
to win a hard-fought victory. Continued below…
general Albert Sidney Johnston was wounded and bled to death, leaving P.G.T. Beauregard to disengage and retreat with a dispirited
gray-clad army. Daniel (Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee) has crafted a superbly researched volume that will appeal to
both the beginning Civil War reader as well as those already familiar with the course of fighting in the wooded terrain bordering
the Tennessee River.
His impressive research includes the judicious use of contemporary newspapers and extensive collections of unpublished letters
and diaries. He offers a lengthy discussion of the overall strategic situation that preceded the battle, a survey of the generals
and their armies and, within the notes, sharp analyses of the many controversies that Shiloh
has spawned, including assessments of previous scholarship on the battle. This first new book on Shiloh
in a generation concludes with a cogent chapter on the consequences of those two fatal days of conflict.
Recommended Reading: Shiloh--In Hell before Night. Description: James McDonough has written a good, readable and concise history of a battle that the author characterizes
as one of the most important of the Civil War, and writes an interesting history of this decisive 1862 confrontation in the
West. He blends first person and newspaper accounts to give the book a good balance between the general's view and the soldier's
view of the battle. Continued below…
enlightening is his description of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander who was killed on the first day
of the battle. McDonough makes a pretty convincing argument that Johnston fell far short of the image that many give him
in contemporary and historical writings. He is usually portrayed as an experienced and decisive commander of men. This book
shows that Johnston was a man of modest war and command experience,
and that he rose to prominence shortly before the Civil War. His actions (or inaction) prior to the meeting at Shiloh -- offering
to let his subordinate Beauregard take command for example -- reveal a man who had difficulty managing the responsibility
fostered on him by his command. The author does a good job of presenting several other historical questions and problems like
Johnston's reputation vs. reality that really add a lot of
interest to the pages.
Reading: Shiloh: A Novel, by Shelby Foote. Review: In the novel Shiloh, historian and Civil War expert Shelby
Foote delivers a spare, unflinching account of the battle of Shiloh, which was fought over
the course of two days in April 1862. By mirroring the troops' movements through the woods of Tennessee with the activity of each soldier's mind, Foote offers the reader a broad perspective
of the battle and a detailed view of the issues behind it. Continued below…
becomes tangible as Foote interweaves the observations of Union and Confederate officers, simple foot soldiers, brave men, and cowards and describes
the roar of the muskets and the haze of the gun smoke. The author's vivid storytelling creates a rich chronicle of a pivotal
battle in American history.
Reading: Seeing the Elephant: RAW RECRUITS AT THE BATTLE OF SHILOH. Description: One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, the
two-day engagement near Shiloh, Tennessee,
in April 1862 left more than 23,000 casualties. Fighting alongside seasoned veterans were more than 160 newly recruited regiments
and other soldiers who had yet to encounter serious action. In the phrase of the time, these men came to Shiloh
to "see the elephant". Continued below…
the letters, diaries, and other reminiscences of these raw recruits on both sides of the conflict, "Seeing the Elephant" gives
a vivid and valuable primary account of the terrible struggle. From the wide range of voices included in this volume emerges
a nuanced picture of the psychology and motivations of the novice soldiers and the ways in which their attitudes toward the
war were affected by their experiences at Shiloh.
Reading: Shiloh and the Western Campaign
of 1862. Review: The bloody and decisive two-day
battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The
stunning Northern victory thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate
commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict. The conflagration
at Shiloh had its roots in the strong Union advance during the winter of 1861-1862 that resulted in the capture of Forts Henry
and Donelson in Tennessee. Continued below…
collapsed General Albert S. Johnston advanced line in Kentucky and forced him to withdraw all the way to northern Mississippi. Anxious to attack the enemy, Johnston began
concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army of the Tennessee
before it could link up with another Union army on the way to join him. On the morning of April 6, Johnston
boasted to his subordinates, "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee!"
They nearly did so. Johnston's sweeping attack hit the unsuspecting Federal camps at Pittsburg
Landing and routed the enemy from position after position as they fell back toward the Tennessee River.
Johnston's sudden death in the Peach Orchard, however, coupled
with stubborn Federal resistance, widespread confusion, and Grant's dogged determination to hold the field, saved the Union
army from destruction. The arrival of General Don C. Buell's reinforcements that night turned the tide of battle. The next
day, Grant seized the initiative and attacked the Confederates, driving them from the field. Shiloh
was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, with nearly 24,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Edward Cunningham,
a young Ph.D. candidate studying under the legendary T. Harry Williams at Louisiana
State University, researched and wrote Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 in 1966. Although it remained unpublished, many Shiloh
experts and park rangers consider it to be the best overall examination of the battle ever written. Indeed, Shiloh
historiography is just now catching up with Cunningham, who was decades ahead of modern scholarship. Western Civil War historians
Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith have resurrected Cunningham's beautifully written and deeply researched manuscript from
its undeserved obscurity. Fully edited and richly annotated with updated citations and observations, original maps, and a
complete order of battle and table of losses, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 will
be welcomed by everyone who enjoys battle history at its finest. Edward Cunningham, Ph.D., studied under T. Harry Williams
at Louisiana State
University. He was the author of The Port Hudson Campaign: 1862-1863
(LSU, 1963). Dr. Cunningham died in 1997. Gary D. Joiner, Ph.D. is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The
Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A. M. Pate, Jr., Award, and Through the Howling
Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He lives in Shreveport,
Louisiana. About the Author: Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D., is author of Champion Hill:
Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (winner of the 2004 Mississippi
Institute of Arts and Letters Non-fiction Award), The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield, and This Great
Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park. A former ranger at Shiloh,
Tim teaches history at the University of Tennessee.
Recommended Reading: The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged (Hardcover). Description: How can an essential "cornerstone of
Shiloh historiography" remain unavailable to the general public for so long? That's what
I kept thinking as I was reading this reprint of the 1913 edition of David W. Reed's “The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations
Engaged.” Reed, a veteran of the Battle of Shiloh and the first historian of the Shiloh National Military
Park, was tabbed to write the official history of the battle, and this
book was the result. Reed wrote a short, concise history of the fighting and included quite a bit of other valuable information
in the pages that followed. The large and impressive maps that accompanied the original text are here converted into digital
format and included in a CD located within a flap at the back of the book. Author and former Shiloh Park Ranger Timothy Smith
is responsible for bringing this important reference work back from obscurity. His introduction to the book also places it
in the proper historical framework. Continued below…
Reed's history of the campaign and battle covers only seventeen pages and is meant to be a brief history of the subject.
The detail is revealed in the rest of the book. And what detail there is! Reed's order of battle for Shiloh goes down to the regimental
and battery level. He includes the names of the leaders of each organization where known, including whether or not these men
were killed, wounded, captured, or suffered some other fate. In a touch not often seen in modern studies, the author also
states the original regiment of brigade commanders. In another nice piece of detail following the order of battle, staff officers
for each brigade and higher organization are listed. The book's main point and where it truly shines is in the section entitled
"Detailed Movements of Organizations". Reed follows each unit in their movements during the battle. Reading this section along
with referring to the computerized maps gives one a solid foundation for future study of Shiloh.
Forty-five pages cover the brigades of all three armies present at Shiloh.
Wargamers and buffs will love the "Abstract of Field Returns". This section lists Present for Duty, engaged, and casualties
for each regiment and battery in an easy to read table format. Grant's entire Army of the Tennessee has Present for Duty strengths. Buell's Army of the Ohio is also counted well. The Confederate Army of the Mississippi
is counted less accurately, usually only going down to brigade level and many times relying only on engaged strengths. That
said, buy this book if you are looking for a good reference work for help with your order of battle.
In what I believe is an unprecedented move in Civil War literature, the University
of Tennessee Press made the somewhat unusual decision to include Reed's
detailed maps of the campaign and battle in a CD which is included in a plastic sleeve inside the back cover of the book.
The cost of reproducing the large maps and including them as foldouts or in a pocket in the book must have been prohibitive,
necessitating this interesting use of a CD. The maps were simple to view and came in a PDF format. All you'll need is Adobe
Acrobat Reader, a free program, to view these. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit. Maps are an
integral part of military history, and this solution is far better than deciding to include poor maps or no maps at all. The
Read Me file that came with the CD relays the following information:
The maps contained on this CD are scans of the original oversized maps printed in the 1913 edition of D. W. Reed's
The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged. The original maps, which were in a very large format and folded out of
the pages of this edition, are of varying sizes, up to 23 inches by 25 inches. They were originally created in 1901 by the
Shiloh National Military Park under the direction of its historian,
David W. Reed. They are the most accurate Shiloh battle maps in existence.
The maps on the CD are saved as PDF (Portable Document Format) files and can be read on any operating system (Windows,
Macintosh, Linux) by utilizing Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visit http://www.adobe.com to download Acrobat Reader if you do not have
it installed on your system.
Map 1. The Field of Operations from Which the Armies Were Concentrated at Shiloh,
March and April 1862
Map 2. The Territory between Corinth, Miss., and Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., Showing Positions and Route of the Confederate
Army in Its Advance to Shiloh, April 3, 4, 5, & 6, 1862
Map 3. Positions on the First Day, April 6, 1862
Map 4. Positions on the Second Day, April 7, 1862
Complete captions appear on the maps.
Timothy Smith has done students of the Civil War an enormous favor by republishing this important early work on Shiloh. Relied on for generations by Park Rangers and other serious students of the battle, The Battle
of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged has been resurrected for a new generation of Civil War readers. This classic reference
work is an essential book for those interested in the Battle of Shiloh. Civil War buffs, wargamers, and those interested in
tactical minutiae will also find Reed's work to be a very good buy. Highly recommended.