Civil War Battle of Shiloh 150th anniversary events include speeches, battles, and tours. This guide to events was written by
Monuments fill the grounds at Shiloh National Military Park. HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- “Shiloh is a wonderfully dramatic battle. The leader of one side is killed, and the other one is going on to glory, and it was the first great battle. It lasted two days.” – author Shelby Foote
More than 40,000 Confederate soldiers faced just over 62,000 Union troops in a field in western Tennessee on April 6-7, 1862, near a little church known as Shiloh. When it was over, the number of dead, wounded or missing totaled 23,746. Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was dead, and his troops were forced to retreat.
Tennessee’s Shiloh National Military Park will commemorate the 150th anniversary of that landmark 48 hours in American history with a schedule of tours, discussions and a giant illumination of the park at various times April 4-8. Two re-enactments not affiliated with the park are scheduled March 30 through April 1. Here are highlights:
April 4: Premiere of the film “Shiloh - Fiery Trial” at 7 p.m. at Pickwick Landing State Park in Pickwick Dam, Tenn. Regular showings begin April 6 at 7 a.m. in the visitors center.
April 5: The official opening ceremony at 9 a.m. will feature a forum with some of America’s foremost historians on the battle of Shiloh, living history demonstrations, a special sesquicentennial Civil War exhibit with rare and unique artifacts from Shiloh, and music by the 52nd Regimental String Band. Firing of an official Shiloh cannon will kick off the event.
April 5-8: 150th anniversary battlefield hikes April 5-7: Local tour guide Jimmy Whittington will lead car caravan tours around Shiloh Battlefield, departing at 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from the visitors center. Tours will last two and a half hours. Advance registration is suggested.
April 6: Civil War musician and composer Bobby Horton will perform free at the Shiloh Battlefield visitor center at 7 p.m. He has released 14 volumes of Civil War music on CD and done music scores for PBS and NPS films.
April 6-8: A display in the visitor center will feature artifacts relating to the 14th Missouri Infantry (later 66th Illinois), part of McArthur’s Brigade at the Battle of Shiloh. Exhibits will include images, letters, postwar memorabilia and an original Dimick rifle.
April 7: A “grand illumination” of the park will feature luminarias throughout the battlefield representing casualties. The illumination begins at dusk and will end at 10 p.m. (Rain date is April 14.)
Two re-enactments are planned in conjunction with the anniversary March 30 through April 1, but not on National Park Service grounds. They will involve more than 6,000 participants and more than 100 cannons, coordinated and sponsored by The Armies of Tennessee and the Blue-Gray Alliance. The Armies of Tennessee reenactment will feature a march to Shiloh from Mississippi. The Blue-Gray Alliance reenactment will transport soldiers by rail and river, as they were 150 years ago, directly into the battle. Battles are at 1:30 p.m. March 31 and 1:30 April 1 adjacent to the park. Tickets are required.
The Battle of Shiloh was fought on Pittsburg Landing in Tennessee, near Shiloh Church not far from Savannah, Tenn. Most of the original battlefield is now Shiloh National Park. Call 731-689-5696 for more information, find Shiloh on Facebook or Twitter@ShilohNPS.