Don’t you wish you could have been there that April day when the massed ranks of Confederates appeared out of nowhere about 7 a.m., shouting the eerie “Rebel Yell”? They easily overran the outer Union camps, which were taken by complete surprise.
By 11 a.m. the Confederate assault had driven back two thirds of the Union strength on the ground, but opportunities for total victory were lost. The Federals defended at a place called the Hornet’s Nest (later the “Sunken Road”), where the Confederates assaulted for several hours, suffering heavy casualties.
Late in the afternoon came the death of Alfred Sidney Johnston Without him, the ardor of the Confederate attacks soon withered. Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night.
Reinforcements from Buell and Grant arrived in the evening, and turned the tide the next morning, when the Union commanders launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi.
Ironically, the word Shiloh in Hebrew means “place of peace”.