April, 1862: Battle of Shiloh Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

On April 6, 1862, about 44,700 Confederate troops under command of Albert Sidney Johnston launched a surprise attack on Ulysses S. Grant’s Union troops camped at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. During twelve hours of fighting, Confederate forces concentrated sixty-two pieces of artillery in the “hornet’s nest,” which was the largest concentration to this date of artillery on the North American continent. General Johnston was fatally wounded, and General P. G. T. Beauregard replaced him as commander of the Confederate troops. Despite Grant’s attempts to make a strong defensive stand, the Confederates forced his troops to retreat to the Tennessee River. The first day of fighting ended at sundown.

On April 6, 1862, about 44,700 Confederate troops under command of Albert Sidney Johnston launched a surprise attack on Ulysses S. Grant’s Union troops camped at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. During twelve hours of fighting, Confederate forces concentrated sixty-two pieces of artillery in the “hornet’s nest,” which was the largest concentration to this date of artillery on the North American continent. General Johnston was fatally wounded, and General P. G. T. Beauregard replaced him as commander of the Confederate troops. Despite Grant’s attempts to make a strong defensive stand, the Confederates forced his troops to retreat to the Tennessee River. The first day of fighting ended at sundown.

General Pierre G. T. Beauregard. (National Archives)

During the night, Union General Don Carlos Buell arrived from Nashville with 17,918 reinforcements. With fresh troops increasing his strength, Grant attacked the Confederates at dawn. Beauregard, unable to position his troops effectively, retreated to Corinth, Mississippi. Union casualties were 13,087 and Confederates 10,697. The Confederate defeat at Shiloh helped the Union army gain control of the Mississippi River Valley.

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