Friday, September 4, 2009

Shiloh National Military Battlefield - Pittsburg Landing, TN

RV and I are firmly planted on the airstrip in Red Bay, AL for the next 3 weeks, but while we are calling this home with about 150 other RVer's getting service, maintenance, etc., we have to get away for some fresh air. We had been told about Shiloh being close (we covered about 200 miles today) and I had no idea of the significance of this battle of April 1962 in the Civil War. This battle cost both sides a combined total of 23,746 men killed, wounded, or missing - more casualties than America had suffered in previous wars. Shiloh is considered America's best preserved battlefield and features 156 monuments, 217 cannons and over 650 historic tablets. The Confederate Commander, General Albert Sidney Johnston was mortally wounded, the highest ranking Southern officer killed during the war.

The families of the soldiers from Tennessee who were killed at Shiloh (who had the most to lose in this battle) petitioned to gather their dead for a proper burial.
Union Commander General U.S. Grant ordered all Confederate soldiers (1,728 Confederates) to be mass buried in a series of 5 trenches, believed to be the largest of the five known mass burial trenches, and the Union soldiers were removed to be buried in the National Cemetery on site. Although the hallowed grounds are preserved and kept by the National Park Service, there is still such a sense of sadness. The day we visited the flags were also flown at half mast in honor of Senator Edward Kennedy's death.

After visiting Shiloh, we visited Savannah, TN, a short distance down the river, which was U.S. Grant's headquarters during this battle. This town is so beautiful and has preserved many victorian houses built in the beginning of the 1800's.

Also, this area played a part in Indian history - the Shiloh Indian Mounds (a National Historic Landmark) as well as the path of the Cherokee's "Trail of Tears", followed by the Lt. Bell Treaty Party on their trek westward to Oklahoma.

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