122 Southern Historical Society Papers.
[From the New Orleans, La , Picayune, Sept., 25, 1904.]
THE BATTLE OF SHILOH
And the Shiloh National Military Park. BY GEN. MARCUS J. WRIGHT.
[See also Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXI, p. 298, et seq.~\
General Grant in his "Memoirs" says: "The battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg, has been, perhaps, less understood or, to state it more accurately, more persistently misunderstood than any other en- gagement between the National and Confederate troops during the entire rebellion."
This is as true now as it was when it was written. Most of those persons who have written of Shiloh on the Union side have confined themselves to discussing the comparative achievements in that bat- tle of General Grant's command, the army of Tennessee, and Gen- eral Don Carlos Buell's command, the army of the Ohio. Most of those who have written from a Confederate standpoint have con- fined themselves to the discussion of what should have been the final result should General Albert Sidney Johnston not have been killed, and should General Beauregard have pressed forward instead of ordering a retreat on the afternoon of the second day's battle. So that what we have mostly of the battle of Shiloh from those who write of it is not what was actually done by the two great armies on that field the 6th and yth of April, 1862, but "what might have been."
Shiloh was the first great battle that had ever been fought on the American continent. When the American colonies entered into the war for independence in 1776, they had only an aggregate pop- ulation of three millions, scattered along the Atlantic Coast from the Penobscot river in what is now the State of Maine, to the Sa- vannah river in Georgia. In 1812, when the second war with Great Britain was begun there were about seven million people in the United States. No great armies were assembled, and no great bat- tles, as measured by great numbers, were fought.