The Battle of Shiloh

The Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, was fought April 6th and 7th, 1862.  On April 6th, Union forces, under the command of Major General Ulysses S. Grant, were surprised by Confederate forces, under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnson, at Pittsburg Landing and Shiloh Church.  By the end of the day the Union Army was forced back to the Tennessee River and a small area around Pittsburg Landing.  Early on April 7th, the 1st OVI, and the Army of Ohio, arrived to reinforce Union forces.

Whitelaw Reid writes about the battle in Volume II of his “Ohio in the War: Her Stateman, Generals and Soldiers.” In it he describes the 1st OVIs participation in the battle.

“At half past nine A.M., April 6th, heavy cannonading was heard in the direction of Shiloh, which caused a double-quick movement forward.  The troops marched thirteen miles from half past one to half past four P.M., and arrived at Savannah at half past seven P.M., and at Pittsburg Landing at daylight the next morning.

At six A.M., the regiment moved to the front and formed in line of battle, occupying a position on the left of its brigade and to the right of General Crittenden’s division.  After fighting until about noon, charging and driving the enemy steadily, and recapturing General Sherman’s head-quarter’s camp, the regiment retired to replenish its ammunition boxes, leaving part of the Fifth Brigade as its relief.  Ammunition being procured, the First returned to the field and participated in the general charge on the enemy’s line.

Colonel Gibson’s brigade being menaced by the enemy on its left flank, the First Ohio and Nineteenth Regulars went to its relief, arriving just in time to repluse a vigorous attack from the Rebles.  This closed the terrible battle.  The First Ohio was commanded by Colonel B. F. Smith, a regular army officer, whose soldierly qualities and experience undoubtedly saved the regiment from great loss.  Other regiments occupying the same position suffered terribly.  Captains Hooker and Kuhlman were severely wounded.  Its loss in this battle was sixty men and officers killed and wounded.  It was ordered back to the Landing, where it bivouacked that night in the rain and mud.”

The Battle of Shiloh was a Union victory.  However, it was the bloodiest battle of the war to that point with an estimated 23,746 men killed, wounded, and missing.  It was a grim warning to the United States and the Confederacy that they faced a long and bloody war.

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