Friday, June 13, 2014

Shilo Battlefield, Tennessee

Shilo Battlefield is the first Southern Civil War battlefield I visited.  After checking out Gettysburg a couple of years ago, it has been a goal of mine to see as many of the Civil War battlefields as I possibly can, and the South is absolutely littered with them (the town I lived in Tennessee for a short time was the site of a short skirmish, as was Nashville).  Shilo was kind of strange to me. I had pictured it being more about the South, the Confederates and their attempted charge to glory.  However, it wasn't.  The North won in Shilo, and the victors are the ones who write history. The Confederate presence there was only due to a large memorial that the Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned in 1917.  There is a National Cemetery there, but those that are interred with proper headstones are only the Northern soldiers who lost their lives there, with three exceptions.  The Confederate soldiers were all put into several mass graves, of which only five have currently been found.  Ulysses S. Grant's camp residence location is near where the cemetery is today, and he is the General that is detailed in the Visitor's Center.   The battle was a fierce and horrible affair. Confederate troops surprised the North on April 6, 1862, but soon became confused in an area known as The Hornet's Nest.  The Nest is a deep entanglement of trees, vines, and underbrush, and it was difficult to know who was who. The North ended up overcoming the surprise to win the battle by the next day.  P.G.T Beauregard, the junior Southern General in the conflict to Albert Johnson, has been criticized since for his actions in the battle which resulted in General Johnson's death.

I visited the battlefield over Memorial Day 2013, and they had some pretty cool events going on.  They did a demonstration of guns used in wars and conflicts throughout the history of the United States, complete with full period dress ranging from the Revolutionary War to The War on Terror. They also had tents and encampments set up demonstrating what soldiers have had to deal with over the years.  It really was a great experience. I come from a family with a history of soldiering, and it was great to be able to kind of step in the shoes of what my Grandfather may have experienced in the South Pacific, and what others in my family have experienced.

Memorial over looking the river

United States Soldiers

Revolutionary gun being shot

Confederate flag placed by the Daughters of the Confederacy Memorial

Daughters of the Confederacy Memorial 

Right outside of the Hornet's Nest

US flags on one of the Confederate mass graves to commemorate Memorial Day

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