Shiloh - April 6, 1862

Day One

American Battlefield Trust's Map of the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862 (Day One)

At daybreak on Sunday, April 6, 1862, three corps of Confederate infantry stormed out of the woods near Shiloh Meeting House and swept into the southernmost Federal camps of Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss’ division. Soon, the nearby divisions of Generals John C. McClernand and Stephen Hurlbut were also struck. Intense fighting stretched from Shiloh Church on the Federal right to the Peach Orchard on the left. Sherman's men counterattacked but slowly lost ground and fell back northeast toward Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River.

For six hours, Confederate brigades charged into Union defenders from Prentiss’ Sixth Division and William H. L. Wallace’s Second Division at the “Hornets’ Nest.” Confederate division commander Daniel Ruggles assembled 62 artillery pieces to blast the Union line barely 400 yards away. Southerners surrounded the position and forced nearly 2,300 Federals to surrender, including Prentiss. Wallace was felled nearby with a fatal wound.

General Albert S. Johnston was shot in the right knee as he rode ahead of his troops, bleeding to death a short time later. General Pierre G.T. Beauregard assumed command of the Confederate forces and called a halt to the attacks as darkness approached. “Well, Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” Claimed a shaken William T. ShermanUlysses S. Grant simply responded, “Yes, lick ’em to-morrow, though.”

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