Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Invasion Of The Union Camps: Shiloh National Military Park

Union Camps - April 6, 1862 - A.M.
As the sun rose, Union soldiers camped here and at nearby sites looked forward to a peaceful and leisurely Sunday.  A flood of Rebel infantry, however was about to engulf them from the southwest.

Whitelaw Reid, a Northern reporter, described the lack of preparation in the Union camps, “Some, particularly among our officers, were not yet out of bed.  Others were dressing, others washing, others cooking, a few eating their breakfasts.  Many guns were unloaded, accoutrements lying pell-mell, ammunition was ill-supplied – in short, the camps were virtually surprised . . . .”

By the end of the day, the Southerners had overrun most of the camps.  Many Union soldiers spent the night without food, bedding, or other supplies left behind in haste.

“Shells were hurtling through the tents while, before there was time for thought of preparation, there came rushing through the woods the lines of battle sweeping the whole fronts of the division camps . . . .”

– Whitelaw Reid
War Correspondent, Cincinnati Gazette

Col. Everett Peabody, already suffering from four wounds, was killed near his headquarters here when a minié ball struck him in the head.  Peabody had wisely sent out a creconnaissance patrole that discovered the approach of the Confederates.

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