Our local newspaper is running a series of columns to honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The articles are reprints from Memphis's newspapers at the time. Here are some excerpts from their coverage of the Battle of Shiloh:
April 8, 1862
By Telegraph / THE BATTLE OF SHILOAH / Battle Field, April 7 - 2 P M
We slept last night in the enemy's camp.
Immense spoils and two thousand prisoners in our hands.
The enemy, reinforced by a division seven thousand strong from below, engaged us again this morning at sunrise. The battle was desperate all the morning, our center and left being engaged.
The enemy was driven back at ten o'clock, but renewed the attack with great vigor, and fresh troops probably from Buell's column.
The battle is raging now, and the fire terrific.
Loss in number very heavy . . . Our troops are behaving nobly. (Ette)
The Daily Appeal scooped other papers with its Shiloh coverage received by telegraph from soldier correspondents like Robert Ette. The author of "The Moving Appeal," B.G. Ellis, writes: "Ette's second-day coverage opened with a paragraph still considered a classic lead in war reportage."
Tennessee governor, Isham G. Harris, press aide to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, shared the news of his death on April 6. Another correspondent described the battlefield atmosphere on that day:
In striking contrast with all that is horrible and sublime, the blue birds were singing their Sunday morning anthems, and the landscape seemed wedded to the quiet sky . . . I subjoin a list of killed and wounded, with whom I came in contact on the field and in the hospitals. I could give you more of the killed; but, alas, while the wounded could furnish me their names, thousands on the bloody field had left their glorious names only to their children. (J.W.R.)
Results of the Battle . . . The Confederate loss in killed, wounded and missing is estimated at five thousand. Of these, Memphis has furnished her fair share, and our citizens are longing for the details with the greatest anxiety. . . A certainty, even should it be contrary to our wishes, is preferable to continued suspense.
Compiled by Rosemary Nelms and Jan Smith, The Commercial Appeal News Library
Civil War-Era Memories from The Memphis Daily Appeal: April 8, 2012