On our way south we stopped at a historic site in Shiloh, TN. What appears today to be a serene scene filled with monuments and clipped grass is the very site that over a two day period over 23,000 men either died or were, wounded or missing.
This was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. General Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed, “It was the severest battle that took place in the west.”
We watched the film offered inside the Shiloh National Battle Field visitor’s center. The film lasted almost an hour recounting the days of April 6 & 7, 1862. Day one the Confederates surprised the Union troops led by Gen. Grant, and then on day two Grant dug in his heels and regained the lost ground from the day before.
While this sounds quite sterile in print, the film brought to life the story offering the history of in some instances through the eyes of those that were there from their writings and memoirs. One young man, a Union solider proclaims that April in Tennessee was much nicer than up north where the wind and cold were blowing. He said that the forest pre-battle seemed almost calm with trees budding and birds singing. The young man was unaware of the horror that awaited him. He survived the battle and the war. The stop was a good reminder of what our country went through, both north and south to hold together a war torn nation.