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National Military Park
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Shiloh National Military Park.
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Guide to the Area

For the benefit of visitors who are unable to take the guided tour, numbered markers have been placed at points of interest in the park to correspond with the following numbered sections and those shown on the guide map. For the complete tour, Nos. 1 to 17 should be followed in consecutive order.

1. IOWA STATE MONUMENT. This 75-foot monument, designed by E. F. Triebel, was erected by the State of Iowa in 1906. Surmounting the main shaft are a bronze capital, globe, and an eagle with a wingspread of 15 feet. Ascending the steps at the base of the monument is a bronze statue, symbolic of "Fame," inscribing a tribute to the Iowa soldiers who fought in the battle. In addition to this monument, Iowa has 11 regimental monuments on the field.

The pyramid of cannon balls north of the monument marks the headquarters site of Gen. W. H. L. Wallace. When the battle opened, there were five Union divisions on the field. All of the divisional camps, except this one, were captured by the Confederates on the first day of the battle.

The siege guns southwest of the monument are the heaviest pieces used in this battle. They had an accurate range of about 2,000 yards, whereas, the ordinary cannon were effective at only about 1,100 yards. These cannon represent the last Union line, formed late Sunday after noon, extending from the river to Snake Creek Bridge, a distance of about 2 miles.

The small earthwork beyond the siege guns is the only one thrown up on this battlefield. The emplacement was not used, however, because the Federals took the offensive early the next morning.

Grant's last line
Grant's last line.

2. MICHIGAN STATE MONUMENT. Twenty-one States were represented in the Battle of Shiloh. Only 12 of those States have monuments on the battlefield. In 1918, the State of Michigan erected this memorial to her three regiments of infantry and one battery of artillery which participated in the battle. The crowning figure on the monument faces toward Corinth, Miss., the objective point of the campaign.

Confederate Monument
Confederate Monument, erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

3. CONFEDERATE MONUMENT. This monument, designed and sculptured by Frederick C. Hibbard, was erected in 1917 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in memory of all Southern troops who fought in the battle.

In the center of the massive pedestal is carved the bust of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, the Confederate commander who was killed during the afternoon of the first day.

At the extreme right, the figure in front represents the Confederate infantryman who has snatched up his flag in defiance of the Northern Army. The figure to his rear is the artilleryman who is calm as he appears to gaze through the smoke of battle.

To the left, the figure in front represents the cavalryman. His hand is spread, indicating frustration. He is eager to help, but cannot penetrate the heavy undergrowth. The figure back of the cavalryman represents the officers of the Confederate Army. He has his head bowed in submission to the order to cease firing when, it seemed, had it not been given the first day, there might have been a Confederate victory.

The central group represents a "Defeated Victory." The front figure, representing the Confederacy, is surrendering the laurel wreath of victory to Death, on the left, and Night, on the right. Death came to their commander and Night brought reinforcements to the enemy; and the battle was lost.

The panel of heads on the right represents the spirit of the first day. How hopefully and fearlessly the 11 young Confederates rushed into battle!

The panel of heads on the left represents the second day of the battle and the sorrow of the men, now reduced to 10, over the victory so nearly won and so unexpectedly lost.

South of the monument, just inside the woods, is the spot where Union General Prentiss surrendered, with over 2,200 troops, at 5:30 p. m., on the first day.

Duncan Field
Duncan Field, between "Hell's Hollow" and Ruggles' Battery.

4. RUGGLES' BATTERIES. The line of guns on the left represents Ruggles' Confederate concentration of 62 cannon. This was the longest line of artillery ever formed in an American battle up to that time. Aided by these cannon, the Confederates succeeded in driving back the Union flanks and in capturing over 2,200 troops near the center of the Hornets' Nest.

5. CONFEDERATE BURIAL TRENCH. All of the Confederate dead are buried on the battlefield in five large trenches. In this, the largest, there are, reportedly, 721 bodies, stacked seven deep.

The day after the battle, General Beauregard dispatched a message to General Grant asking for permission to send a mounted party to the battlefield to bury his dead. In answer, Grant said: "Owing to the warmth of the weather I deemed it advisable to have all the dead of both parties buried immediately . . . now it is accomplished."

The Confederates and Federals were buried alike in separate trenches on the field. Four years after the battle the Union dead were removed to the newly established national cemetery. The Confederates still rest in the trenches where they were buried by the Federal troops.

Confederate burial trench
Confederate burial trench.

6. ILLINOIS STATE MONUMENT. This monument, sculptured by Richard W. Bock, was dedicated in 1904 to all Illinois troops who participated in the battle of Shiloh.

The crowning figure, designed to represent the State of Illinois, holds a book in her left hand containing a record of her sons' achievements on this field. In her right hand is a sheathed sword. The scabbard is held with a firm grasp as if in readiness for release of the blade and a renewal of the battle should the occasion arise. Her gaze is bent watchfully toward enemy territory to the south.

7. SHILOH CHURCH SITE. The original "Shiloh Meeting House"—a one-room log structure with rude handmade furnishings—was built by the Southern Methodists about 1853, 9 years after the church had split over the slavery issue.

When the Union Army moved upon the field, General Sherman encamped his division along the ridge on either side of the church. It was along this same ridge that he formed his first line of battle on the morning of April 6, 1862, and where he was first attacked by the Confederates. He succeeded in holding the ridge for about 2 hours before he was forced to withdraw.

As soon as Sherman withdrew, General Beauregard established his headquarters at the church. He held the position until the Confederates began their retreat on the second day.

The church was reportedly torn down by the Union troops and the logs used to build bridges when the movement upon Corinth began.

The present structure, completed in 1949, stands on the site of the original church.

New Shiloh Church
New Shiloh Church, stands on the site of the original church.

8. FRALEY FIELD. About 3 a. m. on Sunday, April 6, a reconnoitering party was sent out from Prentiss' division to explore a small wagon trail to the front. The party, under Major Powell, advanced past Seay Field, crossed the main Corinth Road, and encountered the Confederate cavalry videttes at the corner of Wood and Fraley Fields at 4:55 a. m. There followed an engagement with the pickets, commanded by Major Hard castle, from Wood's brigade of Hardee's corps.

About 6:30 a. m., the Confederate advance began. The reconnoitering party fell back slowly, making a stand at the corner of Seay Field. By 7:30 a. m., the Confederate line had advanced to within half a mile of Prentiss' camps.

Putnam Stump
Putnam Stump.

9. PUTNAM STUMP. Pvt. John D. Putnam, Company F, 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, was killed on Monday, April 7, during a charge against a Confederate battery. He was buried where he fell, at the foot of a young oak tree.

Thomas Stone, one of the burying party, suggested that his name be carved into the tree sufficiently low so that in case the tree were cut down the name would remain.

When the national cemetery was established, Putnam's body was removed to it. Because of the precautions of his comrades in 1862, his is one of the few graves marked with full name, company, and regiment.

In 1901, the Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commission visited the field to select a site for the State monument. They found that the tree had been chopped down, but that the stump remained with the name of Putnam still legible. The Wisconsin Commissioners chose this spot because of its absolute correctness as to the position of the 14th Regiment. They decided to reproduce the stump in granite and to place it on the exact spot where the original had stood. This unusual monument to a private was placed in position April 7, 1906.

10. HORNETS' NEST AND SUNKEN ROAD. The Confederate soldiers named this area "Hornets' Nest" because of the stinging shot and shell they had to face here. Parts of three Federal divisions were intrenched in this old sunken road, protected by a heavy rail fence and dense undergrowth.

General Ruggles, after having witnessed 11 unsuccessful attacks against the position, formed a line of artillery consisting of 62 pieces and concentrated its fire upon the Federal line. With the aid of these cannon, the Confederates were able to form a circle around the Sunken Road, surrounding and capturing General Prentiss, with more than 2,200 troops, at 5:30 p. m.

Within this area are the Arkansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin State Monuments.

Johnston's Mortuary Monument
Johnston's Mortuary Monument.

11. JOHNSTON'S MONUMENT. On the afternoon of April 6, General Johnston ordered his reserves to go into action and advance on the right flank in an attempt to drive a wedge between the Federal troops and their base of supplies at Pittsburg Landing. He also hoped to make it impossible for reinforcements to come to Grant's assistance from across the river. While personally directing his reserves, he was struck in the right leg by a Minie ball which cut the large artery.

At the time General Johnston was struck, he was sitting on his horse, "Fire-eater," underneath the large oak tree now enclosed by an iron fence. He was taken to the ravine about 100 yards south of this monument. There, beneath the tree now protected by another iron fence, he died from loss of blood, a few minutes later.

Four other mortuary monuments are located in the park, marking the spots where Generals Gladden and W. H. L. Wallace and Colonels Peabody and Raith fell in action.

12. PEACH ORCHARD. At the time of the battle, the Peach Orchard was in full bloom. It was here that some of the hardest fighting of the first day took place. While the fighting raged across the orchard, bullets were cutting the blossoms from the trees so thick and fast that the air appeared to be filled with falling snow.

War cabin
War cabin.

13. WAR CABIN. This cabin formerly stood in Perry Field on the Federal right and in the immediate front of the last Union line established on Sunday afternoon, the first day of the battle. The battle-scarred logs reveal that it stood in the midst of heavy fighting. Of the many cabins on the field at the time of the battle, this is the only survivor.

The cabin was moved to the present location, a few weeks after the battle, to replace one that was burned during the engagement.

14. BLOODY POND. This shallow pool of water was in the path of the retreating Federal Army as it was pushed back toward the river on Sunday. Being the only water in the immediate vicinity, the wounded from both sides crawled here to quench their thirst and bathe their wounds. So many bled in and around the pond that the water is said to have become stained the color of blood.

stone effigy pipe
Red stone effigy pipe found in one of the burial mounds.

15. INDIAN MOUNDS. There are about 30 mounds in this area, 7 of which are large, ranging in height from 5 to 15 feet. With one exception, all are flat-topped platform mounds. The one having a different form is an oval-shaped burial mound.

The mounds were excavated in 1934 under the direction of the Smithsonian Institution. Quantities of broken pottery, bone implements, stone tools, and weapons were removed. Twelve skeletons were found in the oval burial mound.

The effigy pipe, now on display at park headquarters, was removed from the burial mound in 1899 under the direction of the Park Commission.

16. OVERLOOK. This 100-foot bluff affords the best view of the Tennessee River and the adjoining country. From this point one can see the east bank of the river where the advance of General Buell's army, following its march from Savannah, Tenn., embarked to cross to the battlefield late Sunday afternoon.

Excursion boat departing from Pittsburg Landing.

Down the river, to the north, one can see Savannah where General Grant had his headquarters. On clear days, Pickwick Dam may be seen up the river, to the south.

17. PITTSBURG LANDING. Even before the Battle of Shiloh, this was an important landing. Merchants of Corinth, Purdy, and the adjacent country received most of their merchandise from boats which tied up at this point. When the boats went back downstream, they were laden with passengers, cotton, and produce which had been transported to the Landing over the roads which converged here.

When the Union armies began preparations for the move against Corinth, Pittsburg Landing was selected as the concentration point because of its good camp sites and the good roads which led to the Confederate stronghold. The Army of the Tennessee, with the exception of Lew Wallace's 3d Division, debarked at Pittsburg Landing. General Buell's army, brought to Grant's aid under the stress of battle, arrived at the field on such a large number of transports that the Landing would not accommodate them. Consequently, all of the riverbank within the Union lines was used as a boat landing.

Because of the importance of the Landing, the engagement was called "Battle of Pittsburg Landing" in most Northern newspapers and reports. The Southern name "Battle of Shiloh" is now almost universally accepted.


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Last Modified: Mon, Dec 2 2002 10:00:00 am PDT