Battle Of Shiloh:
April 6 - 7 1862

The First Day: April 6, 1862

With the loss of Forts Henry and Donelson in February, General Johnston withdrew his disheartened Confederate forces into west Tennessee, northern Mississippi and Alabama to reorganize. In early March, General Halleck responded by ordering General Grant to advance his Union Army of West Tennessee on an invasion up the Tennessee River.

Occupying Pittsburg Landing, Grant entertained no thought of a Confederate attack. Halleck's instructions were that following the arrival of General Buell's Army of the Ohio from Nashville, Grant would advance south in a joint offensive to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, the Confederacy's only east-west all weather supply route that linked the lower Mississippi Valley to cities on the Confederacy's east coast.

Assisted by his second-in-command, General Beauregard, Johnston shifted his scattered forces and concentrated almost 55,000 men around Corinth. Strategically located where the Memphis & Charleston crossed the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, Corinth was the western Confederacy's most important rail junction.

On April 3, realizing Buell would soon reinforce Grant, Johnston launched an offensive with his newly christened Army of the Mississippi. Advancing upon Pittsburg Landing with 43,938 men, Johnston planned to surprise Grant, cut his army off from retreat to the Tennessee River, and drive the Federals west into the swamps of Owl Creek.

In the gray light of dawn, April 6, a small Federal reconnaissance discovered Johnston's army deployed for battle astride the Corinth road, just a mile beyond the forward Federal camps. Storming forward, the Confederates found the Federal position unfortified. Johnston had achieved almost total surprise. By mid-morning, the Confederates seemed within easy reach of victory, overrunning one frontline Union division and capturing its camp. However, stiff resistance on the Federal right entangled Johnston's brigades in a savage fight around Shiloh Church. Throughout the day, Johnston's army hammered the Federal right, which gave ground but did not break. Casualties upon this brutal killing ground were immense.

Meanwhile, Johnston's flanking attack stalled in front of Sarah Bell's peach orchard and the dense oak thicket labeled the "hornet's nest" by the Confederates. Grant's left flank withstood Confederate assaults for seven crucial hours before being forced to yield ground in the late afternoon. Despite inflicting heavy casualties and seizing ground, the Confederates only drove Grant towards the river, instead of away from it. The Federal survivors established a solid front before Pittsburg Landing and repulsed the last Confederate charge as dusk ended the first day of fighting.

The Second Day: April 7, 1862

Shiloh's first day of slaughter also witnessed the death of the Confederate leader, General Johnston, who fell at mid-afternoon, struck down by a stray bullet while directing the action on the Confederate right. At dusk, the advance division of General Buell's Federal Army of the Ohio reached Pittsburg Landing, and crossed the river to file into line on the Union left during the night. Buell's arrival, plus the timely appearance of a reserve division from Grant's army, led by Major General Lewis Wallace, fed over 22,500 reinforcements into the Union lines. On April 7, Grant renewed the fighting with an aggressive counterattack.

Taken by surprise, General Beauregard managed to rally 30,000 of his badly disorganized Confederates, and mounted a tenacious defense. Inflicting heavy casualties on the Federals, Beauregard's troops temporarily halted the determined Union advance. However, strength in numbers provided Grant with a decisive advantage. By midafternoon, as waves of fresh Federal troops swept forward, pressing the exhausted Confederates back to Shiloh Church, Beauregard realized his armies' peril and ordered a retreat. During the night, the Confederates withdrew, greatly disorganized, to their fortified stronghold at Corinth. Possession of the grisly battlefield passed to the victorious Federal's, who were satisfied to simply reclaim Grant's camps and make an exhausted bivouac among the dead.

General Johnston's massive and rapid concentration at Corinth, and surprise attack on Grant at Pittsburg Landing, had presented the Confederacy with an opportunity to reverse the course of the war. The aftermath, however, left the invading Union forces still poised to carry out the capture of the Corinth rail junction. Shiloh's awesome toll of 23,746 men killed, wounded, or missing brought a shocking realization to both sides that the war would not end quickly.

Timeline of the Battle of Shiloh
The Beginning

March 1 - April 5: Grant transports his Army of west Tennessee (over 58,000 men) into southwest Tennessee Establishes it at Pittsburg Landing, and awaits Buell's army.

March 1: Johnston transports 55,000 Confederates to Corinith to defend the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

April 3: Johnston advances toward Pittsburg Landing, Rain and bad roads delay his advance.

April 6: Johnston launches surprise attack on Federals.

April 6, 1862

4:55-6:30 am: Federal patrol discovers Confederates in Fraley Field. Federal Skirmish, then fall back.

6:30-9:00 am: Johnston maneuvers eight brigades to overrun Prentiss's camps, routing the Union division.

7:00-10:00 am: Sherman's division repulses Confederates, inflicting heavy casualties. Johnston sends five brigades to attack Sherman's left flank. Sherman falls back on McClernand's division.

10:00-11:30 am: Confederates assault Sherman and McClernand on the Hamburg - Purdey Road, driving back Union right flank.

8:00-9:30 am: Wallace's and Hurlbut's divisions march to the front.

9:00-10:30 am: Johnston, hearing that his right flank is threatened, orders Chalmers' and Jackson's brigades to assault Federal left, with Breckinridge in support.

11:00-Noon: Confederates make contact with Federals across Eastern Corinth Road. Federals repulse attacks.

11:00am-1:00pm: Chalmers and Jackson assault Stuart, but Confederate stalls. Federal left holds against all attacks.

Noon-2:30pm: Sherman and McClernand Counterattack Driving Confederates south, but weakened by losses, Federals with draw across Tilghman Branch.

Noon-3:30pm: Gibson's Confederates assault Federal center three times and are repulsed. Confederates come under murderous fire in impenetrable oak thicket.

1:00-4:00 pm: Johnston orders attack against Federal left, forcing them back. Johnston killed; succeeded by Beauregard. Hurlbut's division again stalls Confederates, but then retires toward Pittsburg landing.

3:00-5:30 pm: Sherman and McClernand prevent Confederates from crossing Tilghman Branch, but retire to defend Hamburg-Savannah road so that Wallace's division can come up.

7:00 pm: Wallace, with 5,800 men , moves to support Sherman at Shiloh Church.

Night: Buell's troop file in on Union left. Crittenden deploys in center, with McCook in support.

Night: Nelson ferried across river. Federal gunboats fire into captured Federal camps.

April 7, 1862

7:00-9:00 am: Wallace drives Confederates from Jones' field.

7:00-900 am: Grant and Buell advance. Skirmishing light as majority of Confederates retired south of Hamburg/Purdy road during night.

9:00-11:00 am: Nelson advances through Wicker's and Sarah Bell's fields, Crittenden advances in center, but stalled in "hornet's nest."

9:00-11:00 am: Breckinridge and Hardee counterattack Nelson's right flank and force Federal left back into Wicker's field.

9:00-11:00 am: McCook crosses Tilghman Branch and engages Breckinridge's left.

10:30-Noon: Sherman, McClernand and Hurlbut cross Tilghman Branch and join Wallace in fighting against Polk and Bragg on Confederate left.

10:30-Noon: Confederates flanked by Wallace and forced to retire to Hamburg/Purdy road.

Noon-2:00 pm: Reinforced, Nelson and Crittenden advance, forcing Beauregard's right flank to retreat south to Hamburg/Purdy road.

Noon-2:00 pm: McCook slams into Bragg at Water Oak Pond. Beauregard counterattack, halting McCook. With his left under pressure Beauregard is forced to retire.

2:00-4:00 pm: Breckinridge, supported by massed artillery south of Shiloh Branch ravine, checks Union advance and Confederates retire from field. Federals reclaim possession of the field and bivouac.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME X/1 [S# 10]
April 6-7, 1862..--Battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, Tenn.
No. 192. -- Report of Col. Z. C. Deas, Twenty-second Alabama Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

Mobile, Ala., April 25, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the morning of April 6 this brigade--composed of the First Louisiana Infantry, Col. D. W. Adams; Twenty-first Alabama, Lieut. Col. S. W. Cayce; Twenty-second Alabama, Col. Z. C. Deas; Twenty-fifth Alabama, Col. J. Q. Loomis ;Twenty-sixth Alabama, Colonel Coltart, and Robertson's battery, Capt. F. H. Robertson--under command of Brigadier-General Gladden, moved out of camp, marching in line of battle, and shortly after 7 o'clock came upon the enemy, when the engagement commenced. One of their batteries was playing upon us with effect, but in a short time Robertson's battery was brought on our side, which soon silenced theirs. We then charged, driving the enemy flying through their camp. In this charge several colors were captured.

Just before this charge was made General Gladden, while gloriously sustaining the reputation won in Mexico at the head of the immortal Palmetto Regiment, received a wound from a cannon-ball, which proved fatal. Beyond this camp the brigade (now under command of Colonel Adams) was halted, and after a time a battery stationed near their next camp opened upon us, which was responded to by Robertson's, and after a sharp contest silenced.

Orders were now received to move forward in support of General Chalmers, and while here the gallant Adams, when encouraging his men by his reckless daring and apparent contempt of the missiles of death flying thick around him, received a severe wound in the head.

The command of the brigade now devolved upon me. Without instructions, without a staff officer, or even one of my own regiment mounted to assist me, I moved forward to aid where I could, and before proceeding far came up with General Breckinridge, who was warmly engaged on my right. I immediately advanced to his assistance. The fire here was very severe, and I sent back for the Twenty sixth Alabama to come up (which they failed to do), and also for a battery, which was brought up promptly, and with this assistance, after a hard and long-continued struggle, we succeeded in driving the enemy back.

At this point General Bragg came up and ordered me to change direction, obliquing to the left. In a short time I came upon the enemy again, drawn up some distance in front of another camp, and after a short but very sharp engagement drove them before me, pursuing them to their camp, where I assisted in capturing a large number.

Here, in the hot pursuit, the Twenty-first and Twenty-fifth Alabama became separated from me in the woods, and before I had had time to find them I received an order from General Withers to form on the extreme left, where I remained until night came on, and then attempted to get back to the camp I had left, but got into a different one. My men being now completely exhausted, and not having had anything to eat since morning, I encamped here for the night.

On inspection I found I had under my command only the First Louisiana Infantry and the Twenty-second Alabama, numbering, respectively, 101 and 123 men, with about an average of 15 rounds of ammunition, although both regiments had replenished during the day.

At daylight on the morning of the 7th I sent Capt. R.J. Hill to hunt for General Withers' division and also to get information. He soon returned and reported that the enemy were advancing. I immediately marched over and formed on the left of a division commanded by Colonel Russell. Under his orders we advanced, but perceiving the enemy's skirmishers on our left and rear, fell back to our first position. While here the enemy opened upon us With artillery, when we moved beyond the crest of a hill, and I placed my command in support of a battery, where I remained until I received orders from General Bragg to attack a force on my left. While marching to this attack I was joined by the Fourth Kentucky, and with these fragments of regiments, numbering together less than 500, I attacked two brigades; but after continuing this unequal contest for nearly half an hour, and nearly one-half of my command had been killed or wounded, I gave the order to fall back, which was done in good order.

I now formed and moved forward again, with the remnant of my brigade (now reduced to about 60 men), in the last attack under General Beauregard. Here my second horse was killed, and I (having been wounded some time previously) was unable to march.

The indomitable courage and perseverance of the officers and men of this brigade; the willingness and gallantry with which they advanced to the attack when called upon, after having endured almost superhuman fatigues in the desperate and long-continued struggles of Sunday and Monday, are deserving of the highest encomiums. Where so many acted nobly it might appear invidious to particularize, but impartiality compels me to record as first in the fight the First Louisiana Infantry and Twenty-second Alabama.

I wish here to call the attention of my superiors to such field officers as especially distinguished themselves under my immediate supervision for their coolness and gallant bearing under the hottest fire. Lieut. Col. John C. Marvast, Twenty-second Alabama; Majs. F. H. Farrar, First Louisiana Infantry, and George D. Johnston, Twenty-fifth Alabama; and also to Adjutant Kent, First Louisiana; Adjutant Stout, Twenty-fifth Alabama; Adjutant Travis and Sergeant-Major Nott, Twenty-second Alabama, acting as aides, for their gallantry and bravery in extending my orders'
This report is written without having received any of the regimental reports, and without being able to consult with any of the officers, which will account for my not mentioning all the officers of this brigade who distinguished themselves on the field of Shiloh. For this information I beg respectfully to refer to the regimental reports, and also to refer to document A(*) for the killed, wounded, and missing.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. C. Deas,
Colonel, Commanding First Brigade, Withers' Division.
Capt. D. E. HUGER,
Asst. Adj. Gen., Corinth, Miss.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME X/1 [S# 10]
April 6-7, 1862..--Battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, Tenn.
No. 195. -- Report of Col. Z. C. Deas, commanding Twenty-second Alabama Infantry.

Corinth, Miss., April 11, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 6th instant, about 6 o'clock, under orders of General Gladden, I moved my regiment out of camp, numbering 404 rifles and 31 officers, and forming a part of General Gladden's brigade.

Marching in line of battle, at about 7 o'clock we came upon the enemy, drawn up in front of their camp, where they opened fire upon us with their infantry and a battery of artillery, to which we responded. Robertson's battery was brought into action, which soon silenced them, and shortly afterwards the enemy wavered, and we charged over their dismantled guns, driving them through their camps, where we halted to reform, and after a short time they again opened upon us with another battery, which was silenced by our batteries. We then moved forward a few hundred yards and halted in support. Here Colonel Adams, who was in command--General Gladden having been very seriously wounded by a cannon-ball in the first engagement--was seriously wounded, and the command of the brigade devolving upon me, Lieutenant-Colonel Marrast took command of my regiment, and will finish this report.

Maj. R. B. Armistead was mortally wounded in the first engagement, but he fell where every brave soldier should be found to fall--in the front rank, doing his whole duty and urging his men on to victory. In him his country has lost a most intelligent and gallant officer.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. C. Deas,
Colonel, Commanding.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME X/1 [S# 10]
April 6-7, 1862..--Battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, Tenn.
No. 196. -- Report of Lieut. Col. J. C. Marrast, Twenty-second Alabama Infantry.

Corinth, Miss., April 12, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that about 11.30 a.m. Sunday, April 6, the command of this regiment devolved upon me in consequence of the wounding of the gallant Colonel Adams, First Louisiana Regiment, and the succession of Colonel Deas to the command of the Gladden brigade. Colonel Adams fell at 11.30 o'clock, while the two regiments were under cover, the enemy firing upon us with artillery and infantry. We advanced from that position, through one of the enemy's camps, into a hollow, from which point we discovered the enemy in houses on the hill beyond. Colonel Deas ordered me to send two companies to dislodge them, whereupon Capt. John Weedon, in command of his company (A) and Capt. J. D. Nott, of Company B, gallantly charged the enemy, and driving him before them, the regiment then closed upon the houses and occupied them as a cover for about one hour, and did the enemy much damage, who was throwing a heavy fire of artillery and infantry upon us. Our loss in this engagement was very severe. We then charged upon the enemy's position, driving him before us about 400 or 500 yards, when he made another stand, pouring into us a heavy fire. We were then halted in support of our artillery, and kept as much as possible under cover; but our loss in this affair also was considerable. Capt. A. L. Gaines, of Company C, was here killed, gallantly leading his company. From this position the enemy were finally driven back, and retreated beyond their camps, when the regiment was halted and ordered into camp for the night.

On the morning of April 7 (Monday), at daylight, I formed my regiment, numbering 1 field and 18 company officers, and 124 non-commissioned officers and privates. This regiment, together with the First Louisiana, under command of Colonel Deas, was ordered to march and form on the extreme left of the line of battle then being formed, in which position it remained one hour. Orders being received to advance, the regiment moved forward about 300 yards in the direction of a point occupied by the enemy's batteries, then playing without effect upon us; we then halted in a hollow, under cover. From this position I threw out a skirmishing party of 20 men, under command of Captain Hart, of Company K. A few minutes thereafter we were ordered to fall back. The skirmishers not hearing the call to return, Lieutenant Wood, of Company I, with 2 men, were ordered up the slope of the hill to warn them, which party has not since been heard from, and are supposed to be prisoners. Captain Hart's party returned to the command all safe and reported not having seen them. The regiment was then, with the First Louisiana, placed under cover, in support of two of our batteries, where we lay for about two hours, when the whole fell back a distance of perhaps a half mile, when, the new line of battle being formed, my regiment again regained its position on the extreme left, and advanced towards the enemy's position some 300 yards. When under cover of the timber we engaged the enemy for perhaps twenty-five minutes, having been left, with the First Louisiana Infantry, isolated and alone, the main line having fallen back to near the original place of formation.

In this affair our loss being severe, we were ordered by Colonel Deas to fall back to our position in the line, which was done in good order very soon thereafter. The second advance upon the enemy's position was attempted, and after advancing about 200 yards was halted. Placing my men under cover of the timber we opened fire upon the enemy, which was sustained for only a few minutes, meeting with very heavy fire from the enemy. Our entire line at this time wavered and fell back again to the original position. Our lines being reformed, my regiment in its position on the left, we again advanced toward the enemy some 100 to 200 yards, and very soon fell back again under orders. At this time Colonel Deas was compelled, from loss of blood from wounds received hours before, to retire from the field, from which time my regiment was represented in every movement made toward the enemy, and never retired without an order, and did not leave the field until the horses and gunners were removed from the two pieces of Captain Ketchum's battery, which had to be abandoned. Being informed by the officer in command of the battery that he had been deserted by the troops left for his support, I felt it my duty to volunteer the services of my regiment for his support. When my command left this position not a man of our army was in front of us.

I beg to mention the following officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, who were particularly conspicuous for soldierly bearing and bravery throughout the action of the two days:

Company A--Capt. John Weedon; Lieut. J. M. Whitney; Corps. Alexander Inman (killed), S. V. Cain (wounded), and W. D. Sumner (wounded), and Privates J. L. Penly and J. J. Faught.
Company B--Capt. J. Deas Nott, and Privates Bartlett Anderson (wounded) and H. C. McMillan.
Company C--Capt. A. L. Gaines (killed), and Private Frank Allen.
Company H--Private William West.
Company I--Capt. A. P. Love (wounded), and First Sergt. S. J. Skinner.
Company E--Capt. J. R. Northcott; Sergt. R. J. Moore (wounded), and Corp. James M. Tedder (wounded).
Company K--Capt. B. R. Hart, Second Lieut. R.L. Myrick (wounded), and Privates Aaron Coffey and Monroe Brown.
Company D--Capt. E. H. Armistead; Capt. R. J. Hill, assistant quartermaster (wounded); Adjt. E. F. Travis (wounded); Sergt. Maj. Nott, and Quartermaster-sergt. C. I. Michailoffsky.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. Marrast,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Gladen Brigade Markers

Marker # 381

Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
26th Ala., 25th Ala., 22nd Ala., 21st Ala., 1st La.,
Robertson's Alabama Battery

This brigade with its Regiments in order from left to right as above, and battery in rear, bivouacked at this place Saturday night, April 5, 1862. It advanced Sunday morning at 6:30 along bark road and came into action south of spain field. (600ft. North of Bark Rd on East side of Shilohville Rd.)

Marker # 382
Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
26th Ala., 25th Ala., 22nd Ala., 21st Ala., 1st La.,
Robertson's Alabama Battery

This brigade with its Regiments in order from left to right as above, its battery in center, was engaged here from 8am to 9am April 6 1862 when it charged and carried the camps in front. (300 ft. South of Spain Field - 5 ft East of Eastern Corinth Rd.)

Monument to Brig. Gen. Adley H. Gladden
Mortally Wounded April 6th.

Marker # 383
Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
26th Ala., 25th Ala., 22nd Ala., 21st Ala., 1st La.,
Robertson's Alabama Battery

These regiments were in positiom here from 9am to 3pm April 6, 1862 and then advanced to north side of Peach Orchard. (39 ft West of Prentiss Hdqrs.)

Marker # 384
Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
26th Ala., 25th Ala., 22nd Ala., 21st Ala., 1st La.

Tis brigade having advanced along the north side of the Peach Orchard was engaged here from about 3pm to 5pm April 6, 1862 (400yrds west of the George House)

Marker # 385
Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
22nd Ala., 1st La.

About 324 men of these regiments formed here about 6pm April 6, 1862 but were not engaged. (In ravine near Dill Branch about 400yrd. east of school house)

Marker # 386
Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
Robertson's Alabama Battery

This Battery of four 12lb. Napoleons was engaged here from 9am to 2:30pm April 6, 1862. (On east Corinth Rd. West of Prentiss Hdqrs)

Marker # 387
Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
Robertson's Alabama Battery

This Battery of four 12lb. Napoleons was in action here from 3pm to 5pm April 6, 1862. (In Ruggles' Line 5th from the Rd)

Marker # 388

Army of Mississippi
Braggs Corps / Withers Division
Gladden's Brigade
22nd Ala., 1st La.

About 300 men were engaged here Monday April 7, 1862 until about 10 am (In Sowoll field 750 ft. West of old house site)

Alabama Monument

To the brave men of Alabama who fought and died at Shiloh
Infantry: 4th Ala Batt'n, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 26th, & 31st Ala.
Cavalry: Clanton's Ala Cav. Reg't, Ala. Batt'n Cav,
Battery: Ketchum's Ala Battery.