You would think there would not be much to celebrate…
after the ordeals encountered on April sixth and seventh 1862. Least of all for those who survive. Maybe that was the point, they had survived; and that was a big point for so many of them did not survive. The place was known as Pittsburg Landing. The location in Hardin County, Tennessee was just above the state line above Corinth, Mississippi. Another name for the place and event was Shiloh. The 16th Regiment of Alabama Infantry fought there alongside a host of other Alabama regiments. The 16th is especially pertinent to Shoals area folks. So many of us are descended from that ragged and war-torn group.
The campaign was for Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Key Individuals Involved in the Battle of Shiloh: Union had Major General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General Don Carlos Buell; Confederate had General Albert Sidney Johnston and General P.G.T. Beauregard; Alabama had the likes of Hester, Bowen, Lucas, Terry, Peebles, Abernathy, Elkins, Sparks and the list goes on and on.
Confederate forces led by General Johnston attacked Union General Grant’s army at Pittsburg Landing. The Union forces were not prepared but they still managed to hold their own until the arrival of General Buell’s army and other reinforcements at Pittsburg Landing. Further, the Confederates lost their leader when General Johnston was killed by a stray bullet. On the second day, April 7th, Grant launched a counterattack and the Confederates retreated to Corinth.
It was a victory for the union forces. By best account 23,746 men died. Of those, 13,047 were Union soldiers. Despite a tactical victory, the union forces experienced greater losses. It was at this battle that one of my maternal great-great-grandfathers had his intestines blown out of his body. That man was George Washington Terry. Another great-great-grandfather saw him wounded lying on the ground. Before retreating with his regiment he leaned G W up against a tree and tried to pick the leaves out of the human parts before placing them back inside. He left G W Terry there for the medics. That man was George Henry Peebles. Other great-great-grandfathers also were there: Daniel M Lucas and William Elkins come to mind.
The significance of the Battle of Shiloh was that leaders began to realize that the Civil War would not quickly end. That is an understatement for there was much warfare, wounds, amputation, starvation, and many lives yet to be lost. And these men would meet again on a number of battlefields to include Franklin, Chickamauga, Ringgold and others.
63rd Reunion of the Survivors of the Battle of Shiloh 1925
I look at this picture and I study it; are some of my great-great-grandfathers onboard? I know that Thomas Jasper Terry would be if he could walk there. He was a Terry relative from Moulton in Lawrence County,or more accurately from Terry Town. He had become severely wounded in battles and could only stand and ambulate with the help of a cane. But that did not stop him from walking all the way to McGavock House outside of Franklin Tennessee when he was an older man just to see it one more time and visit his fallen comrades.
The photo is of a pleasure steamer from Cincinnati. It is docked at what was then called Muscle Shoals Dock in Lauderdale County, Alabama. The Tennessee Belle has a sign that reads “63rd Anniversary Reunion of the Battle of Shiloh Survivors.” The photo was taken 1925. I would have been so grateful for a listing of those onboard.