Like most of the #TravelingTalleys adventures we usually find ourselves visiting a National Park Service site, either driving through or participating in some type of ranger led program. The park is about an hour south of I40 in Tennessee. We decided to swing down and visit the park since we were making good time (escaping the hurricane!) through the state. We already had plans to visit Little Rock the next day so we had a few extra hours to take out of our day. The park is a non-fee park so there is not gate or booth to drive though. We instead stopped at the visitor center and I ran inside to talk to a ranger about the drive through the battlefield.
The Battle of Shiloh was a two day battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, and one of the first major battles in 1962. Union troops under Ulysses S Grant and Confederate troops under Albert Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard resulted in 24,000 killed, wounded, or missing. Though neither side could claim a decisive victory it was a strategic defeat for the Confederates as they were unable to oppose Grant’s invasion through Tennessee. The Union proceeded to capture Corinth and the railroad junction in the area.
The two day battle started on April 6 when Confederate soldiers under General Albert Johnston struck the Union soldiers near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. The Confederates drove the unprepared Union soldiers from the camp. The Union soldiers established a battle line that proved capable of holding back the advancing Confederates. During the day, General Johnston was mortally wounded and replaced by General P.T. Beauregard. The next morning, April 7, the Army of the Ohio under General Buell arrived to reinforce t he Union soldiers that were still holding the line and assisted Grant with a counter offensive. This overpowered the Confederate forces and drove the army from the field, ending any hopes of blocking a Union advance into norther Mississippi.
Shiloh was established as a National Military Park in 1894 to commemorate the battle on April 6-7, 1862 at Shiloh Church and Pittsburg Landing. It was the largest engagement in the Mississippi Valley during the Civil War.
Driving through Tennessee is always a pleasure. There are wonderful opportunities to camp and visit historical places throughout the state and because of its location you get a wide range of diverse topics throughout American history. We’ve always thought the camping spots were amazing and worth every penny when in Tennessee, and each state park we’ve been too does a really good job with the upkeep of the campground. Even in the offseason. While we didn’t drive through in Autumn, it still was nice to see leaves on the trees and the beautiful rolling hills as we drove on the freeway. If you ever get the chance to visit the area make sure to drive through Shiloh and learn more Civil War history – you won’t regret it!