Essay: Shiloh Methodist Church

Sample Essay

Farther north were the camps of Brig. Gens. John A. McClernand, Stephen Hurlbut and W.H.L. Wallace, commanding Smith’s division. These units contained more veterans. Neither Grant nor Sherman expected a Confederate assault, and precautions against an attack were few, even when events on April 4 and 5 provided evidence the enemy was near. Consequently, the attack that began at dawn on April 6 was unexpected by the Federal leadership until Grant heard cannon fire from the balcony of the “Cherry Mansion, and Sherman rode to within 50 yards of the Confederate line of battle, sustaining a hand wound but escaping with his life”[1].

Shiloh Methodist Church was established about a decade before the battle. The current church and cemetery are on private property surrounded by national parkland, but visitors are welcome on the grounds. “Private organizations are building a full-scale replica of the 1862-era Shiloh Meeting House from a blueprint provided by the National Park Service and based on their research. Proceed south on Corinth Road a short distance to tour stops 8 and 9, where the first units of Prentiss’ division”[2], including an early morning patrol, exchanged shots with the advancing Rebels. Among the units leading General Hardee’s corps was a brigade under Patrick Cleburne that advanced south of the church. Cleburne’s unit was cut up as the Federals, though driven from their camps, began to form lines of defense with artillery support. Here and later in the war, Cleburne would prove himself a capable leader.


[1] Bergeron 1

[2] Hedley, 5

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