On this day in 1862, the Union Army led by General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. Here are five riveting facts you probably didn’t know about the Battle of Shiloh...
It Was Also Known As The Battle of Pittsburg Landing The Battle of Shiloh was one of the most significant early battles of the American Civil War. Also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, it was fought on April 6–7, 1862 between the Confederate Army of Mississippi led by Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and Pierre G. T. Beauregard; and the Union Army of the Tennessee led by Ulysses S. Grant which was aided by the arrival of Army of the Ohio of Don Carlos Buell. The Confederate plan was to surprise and destroy Grant’s army before it joined forces with Buell’s army. They were able to partially surprise Grant but ultimately the Union forces counter-attacked and forced the Confederate army to retreat marking an important victory for the Union.
The Battle of Shiloh Was The Bloodies Battle in American History Up To That Point With 23,746 casualties, the Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest battle in American history up to that time. There were over 10,000 casualties among Confederates and another 13,000 more among Union soldiers. Another three years of war would continue following the Battle of Shiloh, which included eight more battles that were even deadlier, including the Battle of Gettysburg, which saw between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties.
The Highest Ranking Officer Killed During The Civil War Died At Shiloh Confederate commanding general Albert S. Johnston's right leg was wounded by a gunshot in an area of the Shiloh battlefield known as the "Hornet's Nest". As he thought the wound was insignificant, he sent his personal surgeon to take care of other wounded Confederates and Union soldiers they had captured rather than asking for his own injury to be looked after. Unfortunately, he ended up bleeding to death as a result of a lacerated artery in his leg. Johnston was the highest-ranking officer during the Civil War to be killed in combat. Confederate President Jefferson Davis considered Johnston to be the most effective general they had at the time and considered Johnston's death to be a turning point for the Confederate Army.
Many Union Deaths Were Blamed on the Man Who Wrote "Ben Hur"
Major General Lewis "Lew" Wallace of the Union army caused a stir in the Battle of Shiloh after leading his troops meandering aimlessly through the forest after getting lost following an unexpected advancing Confederate Army. They didn't make it to the Union camp until 7pm, missing the bloody battle. Wallace blamed Grant for giving him unclear instructions on where to move his troops, though Grant claimed that he was clear about his instructions to take the southern route. Regardless of Wallace's blunder in the Battle of Shiloh, he eventually experienced success by penning the novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ."
In the end, Grant publicly admitting he had mistakenly blamed Wallace.
Ulysses S. Grant Was Blamed For the Bloodbath At The Battle of Shiloh
Despite his victory in the Battle of Shiloh, Ulysses S. Grant was heavily criticized by the media for all the casualties. The press claimed that Grant was not adequately prepared for battle. As a result, many called for Grant's removal, and he was eventually demoted to the position of second in command after his superior Union Major General Henry W. Halleck arrived to take command of the Union forces. Ulysses S. Grant would ultimately become the Commanding General of the US Army in 1864 and the 18th President of the United States in 1869.