Shiloh, Pittsburg Landing, and the Civil War

When noted Civil War author, Jeff Shaara, was listing his favorite and most pristine Civil War sites in the USA during a talk one summer night in Gettysburg a few years ago, near the top of his list was the marvelous Tennessee location known by two names in Civil War circles, Shiloh and Pittsburg Landing.  Although, to be honest, most folks think of Shiloh first today, whether that's because the name has been used in other settings or the lore around the battle seems better suited to that moniker, but in either case, the two day Battle of Shiloh became a rallying cry for all of the soldiers who fought so valiantly there on both sides of the Yankee and Rebel dividing line. Shiloh may not be the most famous battle of the War of Rebellion, nor its most highly visited site, even if touted among its best, but for two days in April of 1862, it was the location in the western theatre of the war that sought to define the action in the second year of the war while other battles in the east, those of the Peninsula campaign and McClellan's attempt take Richmond, and later, the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, reigned attention from a public worried about the fall of the capital, Washington, D.C.

For those in the western section of the war, Ulysses S. Grant, still under the command of General Halleck, had seen victory at Forts Henry and Donelson and was ordered to move down the Tennessee River toward the Confederate forces that had retreated to Cornith, Mississippi.  Corinth is now part of Shiloh National Military Park.  When the forty-two thousand men of Grant had reached Pittsburg Landing, he was met by forty thousand Confederate troops under the command of Johnston and Beaureguard.  On April 6, the Confederate forces inflicted heavy losses on Grant's troops, although Grant managed to hold his position.  When Buell reinforced Grant the next day, the Confederate Army moved back to Corinth, thirty miles south.  With Halleck in command, the Union forces would eventually force Beauregard to leave Corinth by the end of May, giving the Union Army dominion over the Mississippi River from the north to Memphis.  Losses during the Battle of Shiloh reached 23,746, with almost equal amounts for both Union and Confederate.  Whether due to heavy losses sustained at Shiloh, or as part of the continuing struggle, the Confederacy would begin to draft soldiers for the first time on April 16, 1862.  (Photo above right) Currier and Ives 1862 print of General Grant leading a charge in the 2nd day of the Battle of Shiloh. Courtesy Library of Congress.


Things You Should Not Miss

1. Take the park auto tour.  There are fourteen park tour sites, starting at the Shiloh Visitor Center.  It can be followed along by an 86 minutes audio that can be purchased at the bookstore.

2.  Whether you're at the Shiloh Visitor Center or the Corinth Visitor Center, take in the films, particularly the new film at Shiloh called Shiloh - Fiery Trail.  Realistic potrayals of the men in battle and orientation to the site in this 2012 film.

Drummer Boy at the Battle of Shiloh
(Above) 1863 photo by Mathew Brady of the drummer boy of Shiloh, General John Clem.


What is There Now

Two Park Visitor Centers

Shiloh Visitor Center (Main Center) This center includes exhibits, the film "Shiloh: Portraint of a Battle," and the starting off point for the auto tour and ranger walks.

Corinth Visitor Center - The new addition to the landscape around the battle of Shiloh and Siege of Corinth, there are two films, exhibits, and the Stream of American history.

The Tour of the Site
Filled with two hundred and twenty-nine cannons and vibrant names like the Hornet's Nest and the Bloody Pond, the site ranges from Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River where the arrival of troop transports from Buell's Army of the Ohio stemmed the tide of Confederate dominance during the first day of the battle to Shiloh Meeting House, where the battle got its name.

Lodging and Camping

There is no lodging or camping within the park, but lodging is available in Savannah, Tennessee and Corinth, Mississippi.  Camping is available in the surrounding area.  Check out your favorite online travel site, such as Expedia, or the Tenneesse or Mississipppi bureaus for an appropriate hotel, motel, or campsite.

Shiloh and Corinth Links

Shiloh National Military Park


Nearby Attractions

Vicksburg National Military Park
Tennessee Vacation
Mississippi Tourism
Natchez Trace Parkway
Stones River National Military Park


Shiloh Then and Now

Civil War Battle of Shiloh
 Illustration of the woods on fire at the Battle of Shiloh, Day 1, April 6.  From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 17, 1862.  (LOC)

Shiloh Then

Pittsburg Landing

The small town along the Tennessee River is still small today, and is known as Shiloh to many folks outside the region now due to the battle.  The name Shiloh however refers to the name of a church on the battlefied, and not a specific location or stream, as many battles were known to southern forces.  As you can imagine, when the armies of both the Union and Confederacy inundated the town for those two day in April 1862, it overwhelmed it.  There were 109,784 soldiers involved in the battle.  It was the largest battle in the Mississippi Valley campaign.
 

Shiloh Now

Shiloh, Confederate Monument

Shiloh National Military Park and Corinth
- Today the Battle of Shiloh is commemorated on the National Military Park of the same name, established in 1894, with the recent addition of the Interpretive Center at Corinth, Mississippi to the parks confines and orientation.  The new visitor center there is the stepping off points for the history of the Civil War in that area.  Its an exciting time in Corinth as the National Park Service is involved in a full campaign to interpret and expand the Corinth unit with additional lands and interpretation.  (Photo above) Confederate Monument, Shiloh National Military Park.  NPS.

Battle Anniversay Weekend - Each year, surrounding the anniversary dates of the battle, April 6 and 7, Shiloh National Military Park holds a special event with Civil War reenactors, living history displays, and special walks and talks about the battle and civilian life around Shiloh in 1862.  This should culminate in a large celebration in 2012 during the 150th anniversay of the battle, as plans are being made at most Civil War sites across the nation to commemorate the war during this special anniversary.

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Visitor Statistics

Shiloh National Military Park
536,206 visitors

#107 Most Visited National Park Unit



Park Size

Shiloh National Military Park

4,134 acres (Federal)
6,181 acres (Total)

Source: NPS, 2013 Visitor Statistics; Visitor Rank among 369 units.



Shiloh National Military Park Entrance Fees

Free


Corinth Unit
Free

Fees subject to change without notice.



Shiloh Weather

Humid and hot in the summer with mild winters.  Winters are subject to changeable weather conditions.






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