Battle at Shiloh
It was the morning of April 6, 1862. Confederate troops, 40,000 of them stormed out of the woods at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. Led by General Albert Sydney Johnston, the Confederate soldiers overwhelmed the Union troops that were encamped there. Led by General Ulysses S. Grant, the Union soldiers retreated to a sunken road known as the Hornet’s Nest. Here the Union forces established a battle line by the afternoon.
The Confederate troops tried to take the Hornet’s Nest but were held off by Union soldiers. The battle began to turn for the Confederates as relentless artillery attacks allowed the Confederate soldiers to surround the Union troops and then killed, captured and injured most of them. General Johnston was killed during the battle so the leadership fell to General Pierre G.T Beauregard.
The battle continued on until after dark and the Union soldiers still held their ground. By the time the morning of April 7th arrived, General Grant’s troops were met up with General Buell’s Union forces as Grant was supposed to meet the troops so they could attack Corinth, Mississippi, a major hub for the Confederacy. The reinforced Union troops now numbered about 45,000 and the Confederate troops were now less than 30,000 strong.
Grant, now with an advantage troop wise, began a counter offensive that slowly began to overwhelm the tired Confederate troops. However, before retreating back to the Shiloh church, the Confederates still inflicted heavy damage on the Union troops. It wasn’t enough though and the Confederate troops finally retreated back to Corinth, giving the Union troops and General Grant a major victory.
The victory was costly though. More than 13,000 of the Union troops at the battle were killed, injured, captured, or missing. The Confederacy lost more than 10,000 soldiers. Up to this point in the early onset of the war, it was the life costliest battle for both sides and that includes the casualties at other battles prior to this one like the First Battle of Bull Run and Wilson’s Creek, combined. Everyone knew that this war was far from over and will be even more casualty heavy, as the Civil War continues.
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