Battle of Shiloh: Characters

Union

1) Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (Union)
  • On April 4, he had been injured when his horse fell and pinned him underneath. He was convalescing and unable to move without crutches.
  • He heard the sound of artillery fire and raced to the battlefield by boat, arriving about 8:30 a.m.
  • Aftermath: Union - In the immediate aftermath of the battle, Northern newspapers vilified Grant for his performance during the battle on April 6. Reporters, many far from the battle, spread the story that Grant had been drunk, falsely alleging that this had resulted in many of his men being bayoneted in their tents because of a lack of defensive preparedness. Despite the Union victory, Grant's reputation suffered in Northern public opinion.
Calls for Grant's removal overwhelmed the White House. President Lincoln replied with one of his most famous quotations about Grant: "I can't spare this man; he fights."
  • Grant came to realize that his prediction of one great battle bringing the war to a close was probably not destined to happen. The war would continue, at great cost in casualties and resources, until the Confederacy succumbed or the Union was divided. Grant also learned a valuable personal lesson on preparedness (being ready for surprise attacks) that (mostly) served him well for the rest of the war.
2) Maj. Gen. William Sherman (Union)
  • During the early morning April 6 Battle Sherman, who had been so negligent in preparation for the battle, became one of its most important elements. He appeared everywhere along his lines, inspiring his raw recruits to resist the initial assaults despite staggering losses on both sides. He received two minor wounds and had three horses shot out from under him. the battle as the turning point of Sherman's life, which helped to make him one of the North's premier generals
  • Aftermath - Sherman emerged as an immediate hero

3) Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace (Union)
  • On May 6, 1852, Wallace married Susan Arnold Elston by whom he had one son, Henry Lane Wallace (born February 17, 1853). In 1856, he was elected to the Indiana State Senate after moving his residence to Crawfordsville.
On August 6, 1852

Lew Wallace’s lost division

Wallace's group had been left as reserves. Wallace was ordered by Grant to go back up Sherman (another Union leader). Wallace took an odd route to meet/support Sherman and when Wallace arrived Sherman’s group was no longer there.

Wallace found himself behind the advancing Confederate troops and thought that if he attacked they might have defeated the Confederates but a messenger arrived sending word that Wallace was to get back on the original plan. Wallace finally met up with Union troops after the fighting was pretty much over. Grant gave Wallace a negative review, damaging his military career. Wallace went on to become best known as the author of the mega bestselling novel Ben Hur (published 20 years later)

Confederate

4) General Albert Sidney Johnston (Confederate)
  • Considered by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to be the finest general officer in the Confederacy before the emergence of Robert E. Lee, he was killed early in the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh and was the highest ranking officer, Union or Confederate, killed during the entire war.[1] Davis believed the loss of Johnston "was the turning point of our fate."
  • Johnston concentrated many of his forces from around the theater and launched a massive surprise attack against Grant at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862. As the Confederate forces overran the Union camps, Johnston seemed to be everywhere, personally leading and rallying troops up and down the line. At about 2:30 p.m., while leading one of those charges, he was wounded, taking a bullet behind his right knee. He did not think the wound serious at the time, and sent his personal physician to attend to some wounded captured Union soldiers instead.
  • "General, are you wounded?" Johnston glanced down at his leg wound and replied with his last words: "Yes, and I fear seriously."

It is possible that Johnston's duel in 1837 had caused nerve damage or numbness to his right leg and that he did not feel the wound to his leg as a result. The bullet had in fact clipped his popliteal artery and his boot was filling up with blood. Within a few minutes, Johnston was observed by his staff to be nearly fainting off his horse.

5) General P. G. T. Beauregard (Confederate)
  • Second in command to Albert Sidney Johnson when Johnson died.
  • A more senior general named Johnston deferred to the junior Beauregard in planning the attack. The massive frontal assault was marred by Beauregard's improper organization of forces—successive attacks by corps in lines 3 miles (4.8 km) long, rather than assigning each corps a discrete portion of the line for a side-by-side assault. This arrangement caused intermingling of units and confusion of command; it failed to concentrate mass at the appropriate place on the line to affect the overall objectives of the attack.
  • Beauregard, positioned in the rear of the army to send reinforcements forward, assumed command of the army and Johnston's overall Western department (officially designated "Department Number Two"). As darkness fell, he chose to call off the attack against Grant's final defensive line, which had contracted into a tight semicircle backed up to the Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing.
  • Beauregard's decision was one of the most controversial of the Civil War. Numerous veterans and historians have wondered what might have happened if the assault had gone forward into the night. Beauregard believed that the battle was essentially won and his men could finish off Grant in the morning.
  • In 1841, Beauregard married Marie Laure VillerĂ©, the daughter of Jules VillerĂ©, a sugar cane planter in Plaquemines Parish and a member of one of the most prominent French Creole families in southern Louisiana.
6) Misc. Confederate Soldier with antique weapon and no combat experience
  • The Union troops slowly lost ground and fell back to a position behind Shiloh Church.
  • As the Confederates advanced, many threw away their flintlock muskets and grabbed rifles dropped by the fleeing Union troops.

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