Shiloh, Tennessee (April 6-7 1862)
In April of 1862, the Army of the Tennessee, under Union General Ulysses S Grant, had moved deep into Tennessee. And While the fight for Middle Tennessee (the strategic goal for the state) wouldn’t be decided until the end of 1862, the Union had made inroads towards that goal.
The Army of the Tennessee, as it should be noted, is completely different from the Army of Tennessee. The latter fought for the Confederacy, while the former was named after the river. The reason for this is simple, the army made it so deep into Tennessee after traveling on the Tennessee River.
Battle of Shiloh Statistics
Total Troops: North – 66,812 South – 44,699
Casualties: North – 13,047 South – 10,699 Total – 23,746
Grant’s army had encamped at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee on April 5 1862. The Confederate Army, led by General Albert Sidney Johnston, launched a sneak attack on April 6, but was rebuffed, but was able to cause Grant’s army to take a lot of casualties. Their hope was to move Grant’s army away from the Tennessee River and into the more swampy land of Owl Creek. Because the Confederate lines got confused, the Union army was instead able to reform its defensive lines to the northeast along the river. This allowed them to overcome the surprise attack and strengthen their lines to drive the Confederates back.
Johnston was mortally wounded in the battle. The death of their commander and their break for the night due to exhaustion, allowed the Union time to bolster its numbers with the Army of Ohio, which arrived on April 7.
Up until that point in the war, The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest in American History. And while the war would have many battles that were bloodier, Shiloh remains an important battle as it allowed the Union to create inroads into Northern Mississippi.