February 8, 2012


It’s been more than a week since we visited a battlefield, so we rectified that today with a stop at Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee.  Shiloh was one of the four original military parks in the country and was established in 1894.  We had previously visited two of the original parks, Gettysburg and Chickamauga and Chattanooga, where we had learned about the legislation that had created these parks.

The bloody, two-day Battle of Shiloh in 1862 is often considered to be the first major battle of the Civil War.  Here along the Tennessee River, Confederate forces were unsuccessful in preventing a Union advance into the Mississippi Valley.  What I found to be most interesting about Shiloh, however, was not the battle itself, but some of the stories.  Here, for example, Federal surgeons set up one of the first field hospitals of the Civil War.  By focusing medical services on the battlefield, patient care was vastly improved and the death rate was lowered.  It was also at Shiloh that John Wesley Powell, who would go on to explore the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon, lost his right arm.

Like many of the other Civil War parks throughout the country, Shiloh offers a battlefield tour, through the major sites of the battle.  We drove the tour route where we saw the many monuments erected by the states that participated in the battle. 

Confederate Memorial
Iowa Monument in the Background
Mortuary Monument to Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston,
Who Was Struck by a Stray Bullet
Smaller Monument Are Scattered Throughout the Battlefield
The visitor center at Shiloh also has the distinction of showing the oldest orientation film at a national park.  Produced in 1956, the film is a bit dated, to say the least, even if it was an award-winning production in its time.  National Park Service interpretation has come a long way, and a new film will soon be offered at Shiloh.

We ended our tour with a catfish lunch before making our way even farther south into Mississippi.

Visiting a Battlefield and Eating Catfish Along the Tennessee River

No comments:

Post a Comment