6 April Evening Lull
The evening of April 6 was a dispiriting end to the first day of one of the bloodiest battles in American history. The pitiful cries of wounded and dying
men on the fields between the armies could be heard in the Union and Confederate camps throughout the night. A thunderstorm passed through the
area and rhythmic shelling from the Union gunboats made the night a miserable experience for both sides. A famous anecdote encapsulates Grant's
unflinching attitude to temporary setbacks and his tendency for offensive action. As the exhausted Confederate soldiers bedded down in the
abandoned Union camps, Sherman encountered Grant under a tree, sheltering himself from the pouring rain. He was smoking one of his cigars while
considering his losses and planning for the next day. Sherman remarked, "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" Grant looked up.
"Yes," he replied, followed by a puff. "Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow, though."
|If the enemy comes on us in the morning, we'll be whipped like hell.
Nathan Bedford Forrest to Patrick R. Cleburne
overrun the Union camps and taken thousands of prisoners and tons of supplies. But Grant had reason to be optimistic, for Lew Wallace's division
and 15,000 men of Don Carlos Buell's army began to arrive that evening, with Buell's men fully on the scene by 4 a.m., in time to turn the tide the next
day. Beauregard caused considerable historical controversy with his decision to halt the assault at dusk. Braxton Bragg and Albert Sidney
Johnston's son, Col. William Preston Johnston, were among those who bemoaned the so-called "lost opportunity at Shiloh." Beauregard did not come
to the front to inspect the strength of the Union lines but remained at Shiloh Church. He also discounted intelligence reports from Col. Nathan Bedford
Forrest (and bluster from prisoner of war Gen. Prentiss) that Buell's men were crossing the river to reinforce Grant. In defense of his decision, his
troops were simply exhausted, there was less than an hour of daylight left, and Grant's artillery advantage was formidable. He had also received a
dispatch from Brig. Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm in northern Alabama, indicating that Buell was marching toward Decatur and not Pittsburg Landing.
At about 23:00 that night the Regular battalions of General Rousseau's Brigade boarded the steamer Hiawatha at Savannah, Tennessee for the short
trip to Pittsburg Landing. These battalions (1/15, 1/16, and 1/19) were all itching for a fight as part of Gen. Alexander McCook's Division of Don Carlos
Buell's Army of the Ohio.
Battle, April 7
|Map of the Battle of Shiloh, April 7, 1862.
Dawn was breaking as Major King and his three battalions of 844 regulars disembarked. The 15th
direction of the Confederates. At about 0600 the regulars met up with General Rousseau and the
three volunteer regiments of the Brigade. The regiments deployed in double battle line. The 6th
Indiana, 1st Ohio, 1/19 US, and 1/16 US in front with the 5th Kentucky and 1/15 US in reserve about
150 paces to the rear. Major John King ordered the Regulars to stack their knapsacks beside the
Corinth Road. After a year of recruiting and training, the new regiments of the Regular Army were
entering battle. See this marker near the location at which the Regulars prepared to advance.
On April 7, the combined Union armies numbered 45,000 men. The Confederates had suffered as many as 8,500 casualties the first day. Because of
straggling and desertion, their commanders reported no more than 20,000 effectives (Buell disputed that figure after the war, stating that there were
28,000). The Confederates had withdrawn south into Prentiss's and Sherman's former camps, and Polk's corps retired all the way to the April 5
Confederate bivouac, 4 miles (6.5 km) southwest of Pittsburg Landing. No line of battle was formed, and few if any commands were resupplied with
ammunition. The soldiers were consumed by the need to locate food, water, and shelter for a much-needed night's rest.
division, then McClernand's, and W. H. L. Wallace's (now under the command of Col. James M. Tuttle). Buell's divisions continued to the left: Bull
Nelson's, Crittenden's, and McCook's which included the regulars. The Confederate defenders were so badly commingled that little unit cohesion
existed above the brigade level. It required over two hours to locate Gen. Polk and bring up his division from its bivouac to the southwest. By 10 a.m.,
In a thicket near the crossing Tilghman Creek Hamburg-Purdy Road, the fighting was so intense that Sherman described in his report of the battle
"the severest musketry fire I ever heard."
On the Union left, Nelson's division led the advance, followed closely by Crittenden's and McCook's,
recaptured the Hornet's Nest area by late morning, but Crittenden and Nelson were both repulsed by
determined counterattacks launched by Breckinridge. The Union right made steady progress, driving
Bragg and Polk to the south. As Crittenden and McCook resumed their attacks, Breckinridge was
forced to retire, and by noon Beauregard's line paralleled the Hamburg-Purdy Road. It was at
this time that the 15th Infantry secured the distinction of being the first new regular infantry regiment
to engage in battle during the Civil War. See this marker near the location at which the Regulars
completed their advance.
In early afternoon, Beauregard launched a series of counterattacks from the Shiloh Church area, aiming to ensure control of the Corinth Road. The
Union right was temporarily driven back by these assaults at Water Oaks Pond. Crittenden, reinforced by Tuttle, seized the road junction of the
overlooking Locust Grove Branch by late afternoon. Beauregard's final counterattack was flanked and repulsed when Grant moved Col. James C.
Veatch's brigade forward.
Realizing that he had lost the initiative and that he was low on ammunition and food and with over 10,000 of his men killed, wounded, or missing,
Beauregard knew he could go no further. He withdrew beyond Shiloh Church, using 5,000 men under Breckinridge as a covering force, massing
Confederate batteries at the church and on the ridge south of Shiloh Branch. These forces kept the Union forces in position on the Corinth Road until
5 p.m., when the Confederates began an orderly withdrawal back to Corinth. The exhausted Union soldiers did not pursue much past the original
Sherman and Prentiss encampments; Lew Wallace's division advanced beyond Shiloh Branch but, receiving no support from other units, halted at
dark and returned to Sherman's camp. The battle was over. For long afterwards, Grant and Buell quarreled over Grant's decision not to mount an
immediate pursuit with another hour of daylight remaining. Grant cited the exhaustion of his troops, although the Confederates were certainly just as
exhausted. Part of Grant's reluctance to act could have been the unusual command relationship he had with Buell. Although Grant was the senior
officer and technically was in command of both armies, Buell made it quite clear throughout the two days that he was acting independently. Below
is the monument dedicated to the Regulars at Shiloh National Battlefield Park.
15th United States Infantry Casualty List
Daniel Butler (A), Ashmer Gatten (A), First Sergeant H. Keeling (H) and Joshua Provost (C).
John C .Dolta (A), A. Fisher (A), T. Jourdin (A), C.W. Kridler (A), J.H. Lemon (A), Sergeant Paul McShane (A), Peter McVeetry (A), H.C. Smith (A), Martin Van Suttle (A), Jacob
Warrick (A), George W. Bettis (B), John Burns (B), August Faul (B), James Langan (B), William H. McGill (B), Corporal J. McGregory (B), Nicholas Powell (B), Henry Wedemyer
(B), Henry Barry (C), Tim H. Johnson (C), William Landis (C), Robert Marshall (C), Philip Sep (C), Corporal Tittsworth (C), Corporal J.W. Whitlock (C), First Sergeant John
Williams (C), Corporal G.M. Parrett (D), Louis Statler (D), Justice Wyman (D), P. Cardle (E), James Closs (E), Corporal William Fitch (E), Captain Henry Keteltas (E), John
Thomas McKinzie (E), G. Newcomb (E), Corporal F. Temmens (E), First Lieutenant Charles A. Wikoff (E), John Burk (F), Enoch Fritter (F), Captain John C. Peterson (F), Louis
Plitt (F), Harrison Toy (F), David S. Carson (G), Aug. F. Enterman (G), First Sergeant M. Kiggins (G), Corporal Emanuel Kretzer (G), McLean (G), Christopher Morris (G), David
L. Ship (G), Charles Troutman (G), Edmund Warren (G), Captain James Curtiss (H), Sergeant John Gleeson (H), William Hoover (H), Robert Howell (H) and Ligget (H).
Corporal Green Gibson (F).
 Reports of Officers in Relation to a Recent Battle at Pittsburg Landing. Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint, 1977. Originally published as U.S. 37th Congress, 2nd session,
1861-1862. Senate. Executive Documents Printed by Order of the Senate of the United States for the Second Session of the Thirty-Seventh Congress, 1861-62. 6 vols.
Washington D.C., 1861. pp 246-7
Beauregard sent a telegram to President Davis announcing "A COMPLETE
VICTORY" and later admitted, "I thought I had General Grant just where I wanted
him and could finish him up in the morning." Many of his men were jubilant, having
Beauregard, unaware that he was now outnumbered, planned to continue the
attack and drive Grant into the river. To his surprise, Union forces started moving
forward in a massive counterattack at dawn; Grant and Buell launched their attacks
separately; coordination occurred only down at the division level. Lew Wallace's
division was the first to see action, at the extreme right of the Union line,