Shiloh, Battle of


Shiloh, Battle of
(April 6–7, 1862) Second major engagement of the American Civil War.

Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant, including William T. Sherman, camped on the Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. (near Shiloh Church), in preparation for an offensive. Confederate forces under A.S. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard attacked, surprising the Union troops and forcing their retreat, though Johnston was mortally wounded. A Union counterattack the next day regained the lost ground, and the Confederates withdrew to Corinth, Miss. Both sides claimed victory, but the battle was considered a Confederate defeat. Each side suffered about 10,000 casualties.

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▪ United States history
also called  Battle of Pittsburg Landing  
 (April 6–7, 1862), second great engagement of the American Civil War, fought in southwestern Tennessee, resulting in a victory for the North and in large casualties for both sides. In February, Union General Ulysses S. Grant (Grant, Ulysses S.) had taken Fort Henry (Fort Henry, Battle of) on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson (Fort Donelson, Battle of) on the Cumberland. The Confederates had acknowledged the importance of these forts by abandoning their strong position at Columbus, Kentucky, and by evacuating Nashville. Grant's next aim was to attack the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and to this end he encamped his troops on the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing. At this point General A.S. Johnston (Johnston, Albert Sidney), commanding Confederate forces in the West, and General P.G.T. Beauregard (Beauregard, P.G.T.) were collecting a force aimed at recovering some of their recent losses. Since Union troops were planning an offensive, they had not fortified their camps. To their surprise, General Johnston seized the initiative and attacked Grant before reinforcements could arrive. The battle was fought in the woods by inexperienced troops on both sides. Johnston was mortally wounded on the first afternoon. Despite a rallying of Northern troops and reinforcements for the South, the battle ended the next day with the Union army doing little more than reoccupying the camp it had lost the day before while the Confederates returned to Corinth, Mississippi. Although both sides claimed victory, it was a Confederate failure; both sides were immobilized for the next three weeks because of the heavy casualties—about 10,000 men on each side. The Shiloh National Military Park (established 1894) commemorates the battle.

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Universalium. 2010.

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