Shiloh National Military Site is a stark reminder of the terrible cost of war.
A total of 23,746 men were wounded, captured, or killed during the two-day battle of Shiloh—more than were lost during the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, and the Mexican-American war combined.
At the time, it was the worst battle in U.S. history. Yet eight costlier battles were yet to come in the Civil War.
Many of the most notable military minds of the Civil War fired their guns at Shiloh. The Union army fought under Ulysses S. Grant, William Sherman, and Don Carlos Buell. The Confederate troops were led by Albert Sidney Johnson, who died at Shiloh, and by General P. G. T. Beauregard, and Leonidas Polk.
Shiloh National Military Park encompasses the 4,200-acre battlefield in Tennessee, as well as 21 acres surrounding a railroad junction in Corinth, Mississippi, site of a later siege. The original log-built Shiloh Church was destroyed not long after the battle, but you can see a replica built in 2003.
A 9.5 mile driving tour of the battlefields stops at 14 key sites. An accompanying audio narrative is available for purchase. You can also watch films about the conflicts and explore exhibits about the implements of war.
The site also includes a U.S. National Cemetery and the Shiloh Indian Mounds National Monument.
If You Go
A living history reenactment is held every year on the anniversary of the battle of Shiloh. Other living history events happen throughout the year.
According to an assessment by the Center for State of the Parks, the civil war parks of Tennessee face several common challenges. Primary among them are funding shortfalls that limit the Park Service's ability to preserve historic sites and tell the stories of our American heritage.
Also of critical concern at all four parks covered in the report is adjacent development that mars historical and scenic views that are essential to bring the story to life and providing visitors with a memorable experience. Read more about the threats faced by these parks in NPCA's report Tennessee's Civil War National Parks.