Battle of Shiloh Anniversary Resources
Updated: Apr 11, 2019
With this weekend being the 157th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, I thought it would be a great opportunity to post some resources that I think are great in trying to learn more about the event. I hope you enjoy these and learn from these as much as I have. By the way, sorry this is late. Getting back into school after spring break is always tricky, especially when the little one comes down with the bad cough.
On Friday, the 5th, my wife and I made a day trip to the battlefield. We were initially going to attend the hike that day, but with two small kids, leaving the house at 4 AM and having someone watch them at that time isn't something we wanted to do to the boys or to my in-laws who watched them. So we left the house at 7, and arrived around lunch time. After some delicious catfish at the Catfish Hotel, we went on our own little personal tour. This was the first time she had ever visited the battlefield, or actually spent significant time at one. She has driven through Gettysburg and Chickamauga, but those were both rushed occasions and so she drove while I jumped out of the car to get some quick pictures. This time, she got the whole experience, except Dill Branch Ravine! As someone that does not consider history to be one of her biggest passions, it was a trip she actually enjoyed. She loved taking pictures and learning about the events that occurred on the locations we visited, and she wants to go back! Plus, I think I can get her to see some other battlefields now! Look out Donelson and Perryville!
Obviously there are a few fantastic books out there on Shiloh, not as many as say, Gettysburg, but there are still some great ones that are essential if you ever consider seriously studying the battle. My favorite is Shiloh: Conquer or Perish by Timothy B. Smith. It focuses much more on the second day than most of the other books out there. Get your copy here!
One of the best things to have when learning about any Civil War event is the official records. If you would like to start at the beginning, I have found where the records begin with reports relating to the skirmishes just days before the battle erupted. To view the OR's click HERE!
A few months ago I posted portions of Sam Cox's diary that follow the 17th Kentucky's movements from Fort Henry to Pittsburg Landing, and then a portion that focused on the battle itself. If you would like to read the experiences of a Union soldier in the 17th Kentucky, click the links below!
As a bonus, I wrote a piece on the 71st Ohio which covers their conduct at Shiloh and Clarksville. The Clarksville part of the story is related to the events in my book, so this piece was spawned out of a curiosity that required my further attention!
Conrad Wise Chapman, known for his paintings of war time Charleston, served for 10 months in the 3rd Kentucky Infantry. At Shiloh, he participated in the second day's fighting, and received a severe wound to his head. According to a footnote in his memoir, a spent ball possibly entered his scalp and traveled under his skin to exit in the rear, causing a nasty gash and heavy bleeding, to the point where the soldiers around him figured him to be dying. What is interesting about his Shiloh experience is that he was part of a mix of men that had never served together and were from multiple units. I found my copy of the book at the Stones River Battlefield Visitor Center a week ago. Find a copy to purchase, and quite cheap at that, here:
Continuing with the Orphan Brigade, this site is older, and a little hard to read with the background, but it gives good information on "Trib's" Orphan Brigade on April 6 and 7, 1862.
If you'd like to see what some Northern civilians did after the battle, check out this article from earlier this year. It is from an April 1862 Evansville, Indiana newspaper and recounts a group of citizens travelling to the battlefield to render medical assistance.
Some good information written by a soldier in the Union 6th Kentucky Infantry, and gives accounts of the second day.
For another good Confederate resource, consider reading the classic, Diary of a Confederate Soldier, by John S. Jackman. Get a copy at Amazon, here.
Another famed Orphan Brigade memoir is by Johnny Green. He gives some interesting stories of the fighting on both days, and the lead up to and after the battle. You can find a copy on Amazon, here.
Below I've posted some helpful videos. Most are of Tim Smith during the Shiloh Discussion Groups Epic Hikes in November. They are definitely worth your time, and its like getting your own personal tour of the battlefield without being there. The first focuses on Kentucky born Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston and his movements on April 6th. Very interesting stuff. It's a multi video tour, so just click to Part 2 and so on as you watch them.
One of my favorite regiments to learn and talk about is the 17th Kentucky. As a part of Lauman's Brigade, they faced off against Chalmers' and Jackson's Brigades toward the close of April 6th in the wooded ravines across the road from Wicker Field. These Mississippi boys never stopped it seemed.
If we are going to talk about Kentucky at Shiloh, then we can't forget the majority of Kentucky regiments that arrived with Buell's army to fight on April 7th. Some of these regiments were in Bull Nelson's Division, which ended up fighting on the left of the Union line. This is another interesting video series.
If there is a resource that you think would be helpful in teaching others about Union and Confederate units from Kentucky at Shiloh, please share! There were a lot of Kentucky regiments present on both sides, and that often gets overlooked!
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