As fellow Civil War buffs are doubtless aware, we have just passed the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh (a.k.a. the Battle of Pittsburg Landing), which occurred on April 6 and 7, 1862.
Note: Pittsburg Landing is slightly east of Memphis, Tennessee.
On April 6, 40,000 Confederate soldiers, under the command of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, surprised 33,000 Union troops. It appeared to be, perhaps, an incipient Confederate victory.
However, Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio soon arrived to reinforce the Union troops. Expected reinforcements for the Confederate side, on the other hand--from Arkansas--never arrived.
Fierce fighting ensued the next day, near a log meeting house known as Shiloh Church.
In the end, the casualty figures were very similar: 1,754 Union soldiers killed, and 1,728 Confederate soldiers killed; 8,408 Union soldiers wounded, and 8,012 Confederate soldiers wounded. (There were about three times as many MIAs and captured soldiers on the Union side--2,885 to 959--so that is the one number that is not really similar.)
But this can be misleading. To attempt to glean victory or defeat from the raw numbers is about like one's consulting only the numbers, in a college football game, as regarding first downs and total yards gained, while entirely ignoring the final scoreboard.
For one thing, Gen. Johnston (of the Confederacy) was mortally wounded on the first day of fighting.
Even more importantly, the Union Army had not been pushed back. It remained ready to strike again--and even to divide the Confederacy in half, by (eventually) taking control of the Mississippi River.
Thread started at Forum 4 Politics on 04-09-2012 08:35 PM