Shiloh National Military Park Things to Do

  • Monument of the 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
    Monument of the 55th Illinois Volunteer...
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  • The Zouave 54th Ohio Monument
    The Zouave 54th Ohio Monument
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  • Original burial ground of the 55th IL and 54th OH
    Original burial ground of the 55th IL...
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Best Rated Things to Do in Shiloh National Military Park

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    Visitor Center and Initial Drive

    by mrclay2000 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    not far from the Visitor Center

    When you drive into this place, you'll pass great hordes of cannon and monuments on your way to the visitor center, where sometimes reenactments are performed on the front lawn. Of especial interest is the fact that not all monuments commemorate either North or South, but are erected here in memory of the conflict that first wounded but later healed the nation.

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    The Human Element

    by mrclay2000 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    monument detail

    As you will find elsewhere in other military parks, the overwhelming sense of sacrifice here in markers and monuments and readings from the visitor center sometimes obscures the individual human sacrifice. Shiloh was the worst conflict seen in America up to that time in almost 300 years of settlement and political dispute. Farm boys and factory hands with little direct connection with the politics of the day were pulled from familiar environs to fight in fields and swamps where they never thought they'd ever go. Tens of thousands died of wounds and disease in our costliest and bloodiest war ever. Some of these great monuments offer the grim images of the boys in blue and grey.

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    Crucible of War

    by mrclay2000 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Hornet's Nest at the rail fence

    The worst fighting at Shiloh took place in a tangled thicket that eventually obtained the label "the hornet's nest." Under this row of oaks, whole regiments from the Union side melted away under withering artillery and musket fire from Confederate forces across the field under CSA General Daniel Ruggles. Up to that time, this was the largest battery ever assembled on the North American continent.

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    shiloh visitor center

    by doug48 Updated Aug 8, 2011

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    shiloh battlefield visitor center

    your first stop on a tour of shiloh is the battlefield visitor center. at the visitor center you can get a map of the battlefield and pay for the auto tour fee. see the attached web site for admission and times.

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    grant's last line

    by doug48 Updated Aug 8, 2011

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    union line
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    the following things to do tips are a virtual tour of the shiloh battlefield using the park map. the first stop on the auto tour is grant's last line. the artillery batteries along this ridge marks the final position of the union line on april 6 th. on april 7 after grant was reinforced by don carlos buell and lew wallace's forces and he initiated a union counter attack from this point. general lew wallace is an interesting character in u. s. history. during the civil war wallace was considered a mediocre general and did not contribute much to the ultimate union victory in the civil war. after the war wallace become internationally famous for his novel "ben hur".

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    ruggles battery

    by doug48 Updated Jan 10, 2012

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    ruggles batteries
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    the ruggles battery is stop four on the auto tour. when confederate infantry attacks on the hornet's nest failed confederate general daniel ruggles concentrated eleven batteries of artillery to bombard this position allowing his infantry to encircle and capture union general benjamin prentiss and 2,100 union troops.

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    shiloh church

    by doug48 Updated Aug 8, 2011

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    shiloh meeting house

    shiloh church is stop five on the auto tour. the battle was named after the shiloh meeting house. the meeting house was destroyed during the battle and the building you see today is a replica. this was the site of fierce fighting during the battle.

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  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Auto Tour

    by PinkFloydActuary Updated Jun 20, 2009

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    Confederate Memorial
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    The auto tour through Shiloh is just under a 10 mile loop, but there are also a handful of roads that cut through the park that you can take side trips along to see some other sites. For example, right before stop 10, you can hang a left on Peabody Road to see Rhea Springs, although you then need to follow the one way road back to where you came from. Generally, there are pullouts near the auto tour stops, and for the first half of my trip, I had no issues. Then I got behind several trucks worth of students, who were climbing on monuments, draping themselves on placards, etc., which did push me to move a little more briskly than I would have liked through the park.

    Per usual for the major Civil War sites, there are plenty of roadside markers and monuments to look at in addition to the tour stops. Please see my travelogues for some of these.

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    Hornet's Nest

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Jun 20, 2009

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    Sunken Road at the Hornets Nest
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    The third stop along the auto tour, where 3 Union divisions were located along an oak forest line. The Union held off a number of attacks all day before ultimately surrendering the line. At the stop, you can walk along the sunken road here and look out into the open field to get the vantage point of where the Confederates would have been attacking from.

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    Burial Trenches

    by PinkFloydActuary Updated Jun 21, 2009

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    Confederate Burial Trench

    There are 5 marked confederate burial trenches in the park - Union soldiers dug these trenches to bury nearly 2,000 confederates who were killed during the battle. These are some of the most likely spots in the park to cause quiet reflection, as you are looking at mass graves of the men who died here.

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    Bloody Pond

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Jun 20, 2009

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    Overlooking Bloody Pond
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    This was the most somber site in the park for me, as I read how soldiers from both sides of the war would come here to drink and try to cleanse their wounds. Cleaning of the wounds, as well and men and horses dying on the banks and in the water allowed so much blood to flow into the pond that it turned a dark red by the time the battle was over.

    I was alone at this stop - the quiet mixed with the images that came here were stunning.

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    National Cemetery

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Jun 20, 2009

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    Shiloh National Cemetery
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    Right across from the visitor center at the beginning (or end) of the auto tour is the national cemetery of Shiloh. Established in 1866, there are 3,500 (2,300 of which are unknown) Union soldiers buried here. There are also markers showing where Grant's headquarters were located. A small path winds through the cemetery, a fitting way to end the tour of a sobering battlefield.

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    PEABODY’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written May 24, 2014

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    The marker for Peabody's 25th Missouri
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    Everett Peabody was a Harvard graduate who came out west to St Joseph, Missouri to work in the railroad industry. With the onset of war, he helped raise the 13th Missouri Infantry becoming the regiment’s colonel. They were part of a Federal force that was forced to surrender at the Battle of Lexington – September 1861 – when the 3,500 Federals were overwhelmed by Sterling Price’s 15,000. Peabody was among the Union wounded hit twice during the fighting. He was taken prisoner along with everyone else and a new 13th Missouri was raised while he was away. Eventually, Peabody was exchanged in December 1861 and he rebuilt his lost regiment now as the 25th Missouri. The new regiment was ordered to join Brigadier General Benjamin Prentiss’ division in March 1862 at Pittsburgh Landing where Prentiss mad Peabody the commander of his first brigade. His command consisted of the 12th Michigan, the 16th Wisconsin, the 21st Missouri and his 25th Missouri. Only his regiment had seen action before Shiloh.

    The divisions of Prentiss and Sherman were the two occupying the most forward positions on the battlefields – the other divisions were scattered back into the rear towards Pittsburgh Landing. Union pickets noted increased activity in the woods in front of their positions during the night of 5 April but both division commanders dismissed the reports. Peabody did not, however, and sent out a patrol from the 25th Missouri and 12th Michigan under the command of Major James Edwin Powell. The patrol ran promptly into the oncoming massed Confederate ranks and the Battle of Shiloh was on. Peabody’s men had managed to give a little warning to the rest of Grant’s army.

    The regiments of Peabody’s brigade had a very hard time of it in their first fight facing first against the Confederate brigade of S.A.M. Wood. Both the commander and his successor at the 16th Wisconsin were wounded; Colonel Benjamin Allen would be forced to resign from the army because of his wounds and Colonel Cassiair Fairchild would eventually die from his in 1868. Colonel David Moore leading the 25th Missouri was shot three times, losing his right leg below the knee. He would be back with his regiment at the Battles of Iuka and Corinth in October 1862 however. Peabody suffered three wounds himself in the early going when, rallying his men, he was hit in the face by a shell that killed him instantly – Major Powell would also die early in the fight. The Peabody monument marks the spot where he was killed. His body was buried on the battlefield but later exhumed and moved to his native Massachusetts. With Peabody’s death and the brigade becoming flanked by ever increasing Confederate numbers, the brigade fell apart opening up the Federal center and leading to the fall of Sherman’s neighboring division on the right.

    There are no individual regimental monuments remembering the actions the brigade. Each of the regiments is noted on their respective State monuments: Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. Only the mortuary monument for Peabody exists to remind the casual visitor of the actions of the brigade.

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    MILLER’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written May 24, 2014

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    Second position of 18th Missouri in Spain Field
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    Madison Miller was another Missouri railroad man. He organized the 1st Missouri Light Artillery and became the commanding officer at the onset of the war. After distinguishing himself at the Federal defeat at Wilson’s Creek – August 1861 – he went on to become the colonel of the 18th Missouri Infantry in February 1962 after the original commander, W. James Morgan, had been relieved of command for shooting Confederate prisoners out of hand – the 18th Missouri was originally known as Morgan’s Rangers.

    Given command of the second brigade of Prentiss’ division, his brigade took the field on the south side of Spain Field early on the morning of 6 April. Attacked there by Confederates of Brigadier General Adley Gladden’s brigade, the men held out giving as much as they took, but more Confederate brigades came onto the scene eventually flanking Miller’s men and the brigade dissolved around 9:30 am. Some of the men would find their way into the fighting at the Hornet’s Nest along the Sunken Road directly under Prentiss later during the day and it was here that Miller would fall prisoner – along with Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Pratt who was leading the 18th Missouri - along with his division commander.

    Exchanged later, Miller would briefly command a brigade again receiving a brevet promotion to brigadier general of U.S. volunteers for his service at Shiloh. He returned to the railroads after the war, as well as real estate.

    Here on the north edge of Spain Field – a position that the brigade slowly retreated toward – you can find the monument of the 61st Illinois – the 18th Missouri and 18th Wisconsin are remembered on their State monuments. Colonel James Alban fell leading the 18th Wisconsin. His successor, James Aldon would lead the 18th Wisconsin on through battles at Corinth, Vicksburg and at Missionary Ridge before resigning early in 1864. He eventually became a two term congressman from Wisconsin starting in 1876. The 61st Illinois was the only regiment to maintain its integrity following the early morning and would represent a good portion of the 500 or so men under Prentiss’ command at the Hornet’s Nest – they would augmented by another 575 men of the 23rd Missouri. Miller had another regiment, the 15th Michigan, which arrived early in the morning of 6 April, but they showed up with no ammunition only bayonets so Miller sent them back to the Landing.

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    Sunken Road / The Hornets Nest

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 30, 2009

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    The Battle at Shiloh began around 5am when some 40,000 Confederate soldiers surprised the Union encampment at Pittsburg Landing. The Union soldiers were caught completely off guard and the retreat toward the river quickly began. Soon Union General Prentice's division found cover along a sunken road that offered some protection and a clear field of fire. The Confederate soldiers mounted charge after charge against this position--12 in all--before concentrating all of their artillery on the Union strong point. By the end of the day the Union division was forced to surrender, but Confederate General Johnston had also been killed. The Union actions at this spot, later to become known as the Hornets Nest, bought enough time for Grant to organize his army and bring in reinforcements before the battle began anew the next day.

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Shiloh National Military Park Things to Do

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