The Civil War, Day by Day

The High Water Mark (detail)

Battle of Shiloh Begins

Suddenly, they were surprised by an attack of some 40,000 Confederate troops under the command of Generals A. Sidney Johnston and Pierre G. T. Beauregard. Thus began the bloody and momentous Battle of Shiloh.

The Union Army was completely unprepared for the ensuing Southern onslaught. Whitelaw Reid of the Cincinnati Gazette related that “some, particularly among our officers, were not yet out of bed…many guns were unloaded, accoutrements lying pell-mell…ammunition was ill-supplied.” As a result, “officials were wounded in their beds and left for dead,” but “were found in their gore, inside their tents…still able to tell their tale” Grant rallied to the occasion and mounted a strong defensive - resulting in General Johnston's death.

The Battle of Shiloh forever altered Grant's perception of the war - as well as his goals for the Union army. Grant now recognized that the Confederates were a force to be reckoned with - and that the War between the States would not be settled easily. Grant began to approach his duties with a new rigor, refusing to accept anything less for the Union than complete victory. Although Grant was roundly criticized for his unpreparedness at Shiloh, President Abraham Lincoln stood by the General, saying “I can't spare this man - he fights!”

Mort Künstler painted this dramatic battle scene, a detail from The High Water Mark, which typifies the fighting which took place at the Battle of Shiloh.

April's Archived Features:

Thursday April 1, 2021
Friday April 2, 2021
Saturday April 3, 2021
Sunday April 4, 2021
Monday April 5, 2021
Tuesday April 6, 2021
Wednesday April 7, 2021
Thursday April 8, 2021
Friday April 9, 2021
Saturday April 10, 2021
Sunday April 11, 2021
Monday April 12, 2021
Tuesday April 13, 2021
Wednesday April 14, 2021
Thursday April 15, 2021



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.