The Junior Patriot: The Hornet’s Nest and a Sunken Road

Forts Henry and Donelson made “Unconditional Surrender” Grant a hero, but Shiloh made him Lincoln’s right-hand man.  Why was Shiloh so important?  The little known settlement of Shiloh was located in southern Tennessee.  Soon, however, this village would be known for the deadly battle fought there.

Fresh from his victories at Henry and Donelson, Major General U.S. Grant was ordered to take Corinth.  Located in Northern Mississippi, this town, if captured, would open the way into the deep South.  He had two armies to accomplish this task:  the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the Ohio.  Facing him was General Albert Johnston’s Army of the Mississippi.  He was one of the Confederate’s best Generals and a master of defense.  He was determined to make Grant’s task as difficult as possible.

Grant’s reconnaissance force described the Pittsburg Landing as a large area where a large amount of troops could camp.  There was also a road leading to Corinth, so Grant decided to camp there with the Army of the Tennessee.  The Army of the Ohio would land there as soon as the Army of the Tennessee moved out.

Meanwhile, General Albert Johnston wasn’t about to let Grant get away that easy.  While Grant thought Johnston was fortifying himself at Corinth, he really was preparing his army for a march to Shiloh.  He would strike hard and fast.

Grant, hearing stories of thousands of confederate troops marching toward him, mocked them and settled down for the night.  The next morning, Johnston sprang his trap.  His men slammed and crushed Grant’s flanks, forcing them back.  The Confederates attacked again.  One position on Grants left flank prevented complete disaster.  Positioned in a peach orchard, they held their line.  Again the confederates charged, and again the outnumbered Unionists were successful in holding their line.

Eventually, the fighting got so fierce that the area was soon dubbed the Hornets’ Nest.  When no more rebels would charge the Hornets’ Nest, General Johnston himself came to lead a charge against the Union line.  The charge was successful, but the Yankees pulled back to a even stronger position, in the ”Sunken Road”.  Despite being outnumbered more than 5 to 1, the unionists persevered, and held the enemy off.

Unknown to the Confederates, their commander, Johnston, had suffered a severe leg wound.  Having been hit there before and suffering from nerve loss, his staff did not learn of the mortal wound till to late.  So General Albert S. Johnston died from blood loss.

The Confederates were tired of this. So they brought in 62 cannons and pounded the smithereens out of the Federals.  Then under the cover of artillery, they surrounded the troops on the Sunken Road.   They were forced to surrender and it gave Grant time to move reinforcements and regroup.

The Confederates, tired from the day’s battle, retired for the night.  The next day, expecting to lick the Federals, got rude surprise, for during the night the Army of the Ohio reinforced Grant.  So instead of licking the Yankees, they got licked themselves!

Perseverance played a leading role in the battle for Shiloh.  Though I doubt you’ll ever be involved in a real battle, perseverance is one of the many traits that can be applied to all aspects of life.  So whether you are facing difficulty at your work place, getting frustrated with math, or any other trial that may come your way, perseverance will always pay off!

Jude

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