Myth and Memory
Publication Year: 2013
less understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently
misunderstood, than any other engagement . . . during the entire rebellion.”
In Rethinking Shiloh, Timothy B. Smith seeks to rectify these persistent
myths and misunderstandings, arguing that some of Shiloh’s story is either
not fully examined or has been the result of a limited and narrow collective
memory established decades ago. Continuing the work he began in The
Untold Story of Shiloh, Smith delves even further into the story of Shiloh
and examines in detail how the battle has been treated in historiography and
The nine essays in this collection uncover new details about the
battle, correct some of the myths surrounding it, and reveal new avenues of
exploration. The topics range from a compelling analysis and description of
the last hours of General Albert Sidney Johnston to the effect of the New
Deal on Shiloh National Military Park and, subsequently, our understanding
of the battle. Smith’s careful analyses and research bring attention to
the many relatively unexplored parts of Shiloh such as the terrain, the
actual route of Lew Wallace’s march, and post-battle developments that
affect currently held perceptions of thatfamed clash between Union and
Confederate armies in West Tennessee.
Studying Shiloh should alert readers and historians to the likelihood
of misconceptions in other campaigns and wars—including today’s military
conflicts. By reevaluating aspects of the Battle of Shiloh often ignored by
military historians, Smith’s book makes significant steps toward a more
complete understanding and appreciation of the Shiloh campaign in all of its
Timothy B. Smith teaches history at the University of Tennessee, Martin. His most recent books include The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation: The Decade of the 1890s and the Establishment of America’s First Five Military Parks, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, and Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation.
Published by: The University of Tennessee Press
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Ulysses S. Grant was no doubt in a nostalgic mood as he wrote about his wartime experiences late in life, but he was more than brutally honest when he remarked that the Battle of Shiloh “has been perhaps less understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently misunderstood, than any other engagement . . . during the entire rebellion.” The former general and ...
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Braxton Bragg was unnerved, to say the least, about fighting a battle on ground that he did not know well. As the Confederate army moved north-ward in early April 1862 to attack the Federals near Shiloh Church and Pitts-burg Landing, Tennessee, “the commanders of divisions and brigades were assembled at night, the order of battle was read to them, and the topography ...
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A somewhat surprised Albert Sidney Johnston stood and listened to his sec-ond in command call for a withdrawal. General P. G. T. Beauregard, second in command of the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, argued that the delays in marching northward from Corinth and the army’s lack of stealth had alerted the enemy army that lay nearby. All chance for a surprise was ...
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The sweat-lathered soldier, caked with black powder and grime, peered through lengthening shadows to see if they were coming again. Along with neighboring units, his regiment, the 12th Iowa Infantry, had for some six hours repelled at least seven or eight attacks on their position. Those Rebels in butternut and gray had attacked over and over again, fresh unit after unit, ...
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Chaos and confusion were everywhere. The neatly aligned ranks of the Fed-eral army at Shiloh had given way to a mass of straggling, running soldiers intent on escaping. To the defenders of the Union position known as the Hor-net’s Nest, the only hope for survival lay in running the gauntlet of crossfire in a place that would soon become known to history as “Hell’s Hollow.” Al-...
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A variety of questions surround Lew Wallace’s march to Shiloh on April 6, 1862. Why did it take all day to reach the battlefield? Was he really lost? What exactly did those elusive written orders tell Wallace to do? What was the exact route of his march? We may never know the answer to all of these questions, but fortunately, through new research, one of those mysteries has ...
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January 9, 1861, was a momentous day for the one hundred men gathered at the state house in Jackson, Mississippi. They were delegates to the Mis-sissippi secession convention and were about to make a fateful decision, not just for their state but also for themselves. Some were wealthy planters who owned large plantations along the Mississippi River; they knew full well that ...
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James Wood could tell something was amiss. He lived in a small house on the Corinth Road some three miles inland from Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. There, he labored hard at his nearby cotton gin, working the fibers for the few cotton farmers who were his neighbors in the area. There was no ginning on this day, which was not surprising in early April, but there ...
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The last week in October 1929 was calm at Shiloh National Military Park, the government reservation in West Tennessee set aside as a memorial to the great April 1862 Civil War battle. Matters had calmed down considerably since late September of that year when the superintendent, DeLong Rice, had died in an accidental park explosion. The new superintendent, Robert A. Livingston, ...
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The elderly, white-haired woman walked out of the auditorium at the Shiloh National Military Park visitor center with a quizzical look on her face. She had just seen the park’s introductory film, Shiloh: Portrait of a Battle. Walking up to the front desk, the woman asked a park ranger matter-of-factly, “Was that movie made from actual footage?” Anyone who has seen Shiloh’s long-...
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Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 17 photos, 14 maps
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: 1st ed.
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth