Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the
Western Theater of the
American Civil War, fought on April 6 and April 7, 1862, in southwestern
Confederate forces under Generals
Albert Sidney Johnston and
P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack against the
Union Army of
Ulysses S. Grant and came very close to defeating his army.
On the first day of battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the
Tennessee River and into the swamps to the west, hoping to defeat Grant's
Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with Major General
Don Carlos Buell's
Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back in the direction of Pittsburg Landing to the northeast. A position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", defended by the men of
Benjamin M. Prentiss's and
W. H. L. Wallace's divisions, provided critical time for the rest of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. General Johnston was killed during the first day's fighting, and Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night.
Reinforcements from General Buell arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when Buell and Grant launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat, ending their hopes that they could block the Union invasion of northern
The two-day battle was the bloodiest in U.S. history up to that time. Union casualties were 13,047 (1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded, and 2,885 missing). Confederate casualties were 10,699 (1,728 killed, 8,012 wounded, and 959 missing or captured). Both sides were shocked at the carnage.
The battlefield is now part of the
Shiloh National Military Park. (
James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the eleventh
President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849. Polk was born in
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, but mostly lived in and represented the state of
Democrat, Polk served as
Speaker of the House (1835–1839) and
Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841) prior to becoming president.
A firm supporter of
Andrew Jackson, Polk was the last "strong" pre-
Civil War president. He is noted for his
foreign policy successes, particularly the successful
Mexican–American War. Also, he threatened war with
Britain, then backed away and split the ownership of the
Pacific Northwest with Britain. He lowered the
tariff and established a treasury system that lasted until 1913. A "
dark horse" candidate in 1844, he was the first president to retire after one term without seeking re-election. He died three months after his term ended.
As a Democrat committed to geographic expansion (or "
Manifest Destiny"), Polk was responsible for the largest expansion of the nation's territory, exceeding the
Louisiana Purchase in total area. He secured the
Oregon Territory (including Washington, Oregon and Idaho), then purchased 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million km²) through the
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the
Mexican–American War. In the end, Polk completed the acquisition of most of the current contiguous 48 states.
The expansion re-opened a furious debate over allowing
slavery in the new territories. The controversy was inadequately arbitrated by the
Compromise of 1850, and only found its ultimate resolution in the
Civil War. (