Battle of Shiloh Painting by Thulstrup
Thure de Thulstrup / Library of Congress

Shiloh

Pittsburg Landing

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On the morning of April 6, 1862, 40,000 Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston poured out of the nearby woods and struck the encamped divisions of Union soldiers occupying ground near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. The overpowering Confederate attack drove the unprepared Federal soldiers from their camps and threatened to overwhelm Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s entire Army of the Tennessee. Some Federals made determined stands, and by afternoon, had established a battle line at a sunken road, known as the “Hornet's Nest.” Repeated Rebel attacks failed to carry the Hornet's Nest, but massed Union artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and captured, killed, or wounded many of them. During the first day’s fighting, Johnston was mortally wounded and was replaced by Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Fighting continued until after dark, but the Union line held. By the next morning, the Federals had been reinforced by the Army of the Ohio under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell and numbered about 54,000 men, outnumbering Beauregard’s army of around 30,000. Grant launched a counteroffensive along the entire line, overpowering the weakened Confederate forces and driving Beauregard’s army from the field. The Confederate defeat ended any hopes of blocking the Union advance into northern Mississippi. The two day battle at Shiloh produced more than 23,000 casualties and was the bloodiest battle in American history up to that time.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
110,053

Union

65,085

Confederate

44,968
Total Estimated Casualties
23,746

Union

13,047
1,754
killed
8,408
wounded
2,885
missing & captured

Confederate

10,669
1,728
killed
8,012
wounded
959
missing & captured