Shiloh, 1862

Shiloh, 1862

Winston Groom

Language: English

Pages: 287

ISBN: 1426211716

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A main selection in History Book-of-the-Month Club and alternate selection in Military Book-of-the-Month Club.

In the spring of 1862, many Americans still believed that the Civil War, "would be over by Christmas." The previous summer in Virginia, Bull Run, with nearly 5,000 casualties, had been shocking, but suddenly came word from a far away place in the wildernesses of Southwest Tennessee of an appalling battle costing 23,000 casualties, most of them during a single day. It was more than had resulted from the entire American Revolution. As author Winston Groom reveals in this dramatic, heart-rending account, the Battle of Shiloh would singlehandedly change the psyche of the military, politicians, and American people--North and South--about what they had unleashed by creating a Civil War.

In this gripping telling of the first "great and terrible" battle of the Civil War, Groom describes the dramatic events of April 6 and 7, 1862, when a bold surprise attack on Ulysses S. Grant's encamped troops and the bloody battle that ensued would alter the timbre of the war.

The Southerners struck at dawn on April 6th, and Groom vividly recounts the battle that raged for two days over the densely wooded and poorly mapped terrain. Driven back on the first day, Grant regrouped and mounted a fierce attack the second, and aided by the timely arrival of reinforcements managed to salvage an encouraging victory for the Federals.

Groom's deft prose reveals how the bitter fighting would test the mettle of the motley soldiers assembled on both sides, and offer a rehabilitation of sorts for Union General William Sherman, who would go on from the victory at Shiloh to become one of the great generals of the war. But perhaps the most alarming outcome, Groom poignantly reveals, was the realization that for all its horror, the Battle of Shiloh had solved nothing, gained nothing, proved nothing, and the thousands of maimed and slain were merely wretched symbols of things to come.

With a novelist's eye for telling and a historian's passion for detail, context, and meaning, Groom brings the key characters and moments of battle to life. Shiloh is an epic tale, deftly told by a masterful storyteller.

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she wrote in her diary, “I have longed to go to Europe. Now, Oh! How I hate to go so far away.” She and her mother again got into difficulty with the authorities for bringing food to prisoners—only this time it was with Union authorities over Confederate prisoners captured at Shiloh. Josie and her mother felt sorry for them, and had brought them some pies and cakes, when “a little upstart of an officer came up to me with a smirk,” Josie said, and warned her to “be careful giving aid and comfort

Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001. ———. Jefferson Davis’s Greatest General: Albert Sidney Johnston. Abilene, Tex.: McWhiney Foundation Press, 2000. Ruff, Joseph. “Civil War Experiences of a German Emigrant as Told by the Late Joseph Ruff of Albion.” Michigan History Magazine, vol. xxvii (Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission, 1943). S.W.H. “A Union Veteran Hurlbut’s Division.” Confederate Veteran, vol. iii, no. 11 (November 1895). Saxon, Mrs. Elizabeth Lyle. Southern Woman’s

along down that road,” Hildebrand snapped. “I want to watch this fight.” “Cannon shot were whizzing through the air, bullets were spatting against the old barn,” Dawes said. “It was not an ideal place to tarry.” He marched his seven men down the road that the colonel had suggested, presently coming upon a fellow officer, Lieutenant Henrickle, “a typical battle picture. His arm and shoulder were covered with blood where a wounded man had fallen against him. His coat was torn by a bullet; his face

firing neared, when suddenly “a man emerg[ed] from the brush on the right of the road and went to the house. His hat was pulled down over his eyes and he did not see me, but I was pointed out to him by a woman at the door. “He came over to where I was,” Lowe said. “The tears were coursing down his cheeks. He had been over in the rear of the Confederate army and said they were killing men by thousands. He had been to get their general to move his family back out of the reach of the battle.” Lowe

response was the Rebel yell, “taken up by the thousands,” according to Stanley, “and the advance then moved forward at quick-time.” The line of bluecoats seemed “scornfully unconcerned,” at first, Stanley said, but as they took in the “leaping tide coming at a tremendous pace, their front dissolved and they fled in double-quick retreat.” As the Rebel attack rushed through the second camp of white tents, Stanley became physically exhausted; they’d been fighting for five hours, and as he paused a

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