“daves” American Civil WarIt was a long tiring winter after the Union army pushed the Confederate army further south. The Union captured Forts Henry and Donelson on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. This is where I had to take over reporting the war for my brother Mike Bloom who was killed in the line of duty. It was his job that’s is now mine John Bloom to report for the Union Observer.
After these courageous Union victories the Confederate army General Sidney Johnston was forced to abandon much of west and middle Tennessee as well as Kentucky. Johnston felt that it was necessary to protect the only all weather access between Richmond and Memphis. Which was the Charleston and Memphis railroad. There he set up a new defensive line.
While this was going on I was stationed at Fort Shiloh with some 40,000 soldiers who were busy drilling yet mostly hanging around grasping the little leisure and rest time they ever saw. I asked one solider who just got out of the creek after a refreshing swim Why he was swimming and not training. His response was Didnt you know that Shiloh is the Hebrew word for place of peace we both got a good chuckle out of that and he gave me some moon shine.
After talking with the troops I decided it was time to ask the commanding officer who was General Ulysses S. Grant what the plan of action was.
I asked the General if he had any orders his response was My superior General H.W. Halleck has ordered me to sit tight at Shiloh and wait for the reinforcement of General Don Carlos Buell and his army from Ohio to arrive. I then asked him hat did he feel was the catalyst of this war?Well in my opinion I fell that if the South just could have thought about their morals and how immoral slavery was which is why the North made it illegal and wanted it abolished from the South. Are there any other reasons you think the war started? Yes I also feel that when the South succeeded from the Union was also a large factor. Thank you sir for all of that information the people up north will be enveloped with your opinion.
Little did I know that when I was sleeping that the Confederate troops were mounting an attack this night of April 5, 1862. Led by General Albert Sidney Johnston and second in command P.G.T. Beauregard.
When the Confederates hit us we were totally caught off guard for it was close to the morning. The overwhelming Mississippi Army had covertly hit the federal camps. It was pure chaos for both armies yet it was obvious that the South had complete control of this camp now. I saw men ripped apart from gunshots to bayonets. The Union men tried to take a stand and hold a line but it as impossible they were getting murdered. By afternoon the camp belonged to the Confederates.
The Union forces were pushed back. They were then able to take hold of what is known as the sunken road. Grant said Hold the sunken road at all costs. To the men. They were able to finally stop and hold back the Confederates at what we called the Hornets Nest. All I could hear was bullets whizzing through the saplings and through the soldiers whose cries and screams were unforgettable. The Confederates launched eleven attacks on the Union line that refused to break. I then had to bare witness to one of the cruelest monstrosities I ever have seen or will see in my life. The Confederate army lined up sixty-two cannons at point blank range at the Union troops in the Hornets Nest. This slaughtering of the troops some of which were my friends was what was needed to hold back the Union troops enough so the Confederate troops could move in. I watched this happen from a distance it lasted six hours before the Union surrendered.
While the fighting raged on in the Hornets Nest only a few yards away there was another battle going on a peach orchid. This orchard would become the final resting-place of General Johnston. I latter found out how he died. When he walked out his clothes were dilapidated from bullet holes that abraded him yet his fatal wound was from a bullet wound to the back of his leg, he could have survived but he had just ordered his medic to attended to the wounded Union soldiers.
After I regrouped with the men I asked to talk to General Grant to ask him what he has to say. His response was Im proud of my men for holding out as long as they did I just wished they all were trained better for most of them have never even scene or been in a battle before. I then asked Whats the next strategic move. Grants answered Im going to wait for General Don Carlos Buell and his troops.
After my discussion with the General I wanted to take a look around at the troops to see how many we lost and how their moral was. After a quick look I noticed there was numerous wounded soldiers and numerous men missing yet their moral was almost better because all they wanted to do was have a chance at massacre the enemy. I also felt the same way so to help pep them up I told them their chance would soon come.
All I heard next was gunfire at first I was startled. Then I noticed it was Buell and his reinforcements. They had arrived on steamboats under the cover fir of gunboats that fired on fifteen-minute intervals. This provided General Buells troops to come aground safely without any hostility from the fatigued Confederate soldiers. When I say this sight it was somewhat of a revelation. The unsullied troops swarmed the Confederate forces and took back the land that they fought so vigorously for. The Confederates were forced to march back to Corinth, Mississippi.
After the battle was over with a Union victory I felt a need to ask General Buell why the South felt that all of this bloodshed was necessary? His response was They had to save the Mississippi Valley and lost vast areas of land already in Ohio and Kentucky, and Memphis and Vicksburg were now vulnerable to Union attack. After Corinth there is no doubt that those cities would be the next targets. I also think that they are uneducated and ignorant.
After seeing this unnecessary butchering of 13,000 Union troops and 10,500 Confederate troops I thought it was time for me to go back home to pass in my report on the war and try to comprehend what I just witnessed and then thought why?
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