A Day at Shiloh
On the morning of April
6, 1862, the sun rose over the Union encampment at Pittsburg Landing.
Neither Ulysses S. Grant, the Union commander, nor
the Confederate commander, could possibly know what this day would hold.
It would bring advances in military tactics. It would bring innovations
in the medical field. It would change all preconceived notions that the
Civil War would be short-lived. For Johnston
and thousands of other brave soldiers on the Union
and Confederate sides, it would bring death.
On April 2, 1862,
Johnston began his march from
Corinth. Meanwhile, at the Union camp at
Shiloh, the Federals troops spent a day drilling and
merry-making. Hundreds went for a swim in Owl Creek. Others rested.
Grant wired his superior
General H.W.Halleck. "I have scarcely the faintest idea of attack." told
Grant to "sit tight at and wait for Buell to arrive”. William Sherman,
division commander, was quoted saying to reporters, "Take your regiment
to Ohio. No enemy is nearer than Corinth."
did he know that the night of April 5, the huge and powerful Army of the
Mississippi was poised to strike just out of sight of the Union camp.
On the morning of April
told his fellow officers "Tonight we will water our horses in the
Johnston's powerful Army of the
hit the federal camps, they had achieved complete surprise. The attack
pushed most Union divisions back to reform elsewhere. Others fought
doggedly to hold their line.
the night of April 6, the long-awaited arrival of
reinforcements arrived. Through the cover of gunboat fire, his troops
came in on steamboats.
That morning the
Confederates were pushed back on the ground that they had fought so hard
to win the day before. With the fresh troops, the weary Rebels had
little chance to win a complete victory. The Southerners were forced to
march back to Corinth.
The final number of dead
or missing was 13,000 on the Union side and 10,500 on the Confederate
was a decisive battle in the war. The South needed a win to make up for
land lost in Kentucky and
Ohio. It also needed to save the
and Vicksburg were now vulnerable to
Union attack, and after Corinth,
there is now doubt that those cities would be the next targets.
and his men had been rid of their over-confidence by the battle of
Shiloh. They now knew that hopes for and easy victory over
the south were ill founded. Grant
knew then that this war was going to be, in the words of a Union
Soldier, "A very bloody affair”.
is a Hebrew word meaning place of peace.
Arkansas at Wilderness and
always, the Arkansans acquitted themselves with great galantry and
June 27: John
Pea Ridge Story
archeological survey of the battlefield
July 25: Dr.
River War in Arkansas
August 22: Don
Little Drummer Boys
September 26: Michael
Snarling cormorants of newspaper filth:
" The Civil War Press of
October 24: Fred
Federal Occupation of Little
Election of Officers
December 2006 –
meeting Scheduled in December
Check for Civil war events that you may want to attend
or reenactments that you can watch.
Register to receive your newsletter on-line.
LifeQuest is hosting a Civil War Vignettes class.
Here is a list of the speakers:
April 26 The Arkansas
Road to Secession,
May 3 Emma
Edmonds: Union Soldier & Spy,
May 10 Confederate Covert Operations,
May 17 A Southern Family Goes to War,
May 24 General Patrick
The Man, Don
For a complete listing of all of our classes go online
www.lifequestofarkansas.org or call 225-6073
CIVIL WAR TRIVIA QUIZ
Around the first of the year, our president
requested suggestions for ways to improve and add interest to our
meetings for 2006. I have thought for a long
time that it would interesting, educational and fun to have a trivia
quiz as regular part of our meetings on the events, battles and
personalities that make our favorite war such an endlessly fascinating
I enjoy watching programs on TV such as Jeopardy while trying to answer
the questions. At the March meeting, when our scheduled speaker canceled
due to illness, I introduced the quiz idea.
The members present at the meeting tried their hand at the quiz that I
had written on the subject of “Nicknames & Sobriquets” associated with
Civil War Generals.
Some of the members thought the quiz was hard but most did quite
well. Frankly, I wanted to write a quiz that would have a few questions
that would be challenging.
At the same time, a good quiz shouldn’t have questions so obscure that
no one can answer them. We had a three-way tie for first place and
Nall was declared the winner in a tiebreaker.
He received a collection of musket balls and shell fragments donated by
for his efforts.
After the meeting, I wasn’t quite sure how the idea of the quiz was
received but, as time has passed, I have received nothing but positive
comments on the quiz.
Jan and others want to try a quiz again and so I am
writing one now for the April
meeting. I think you will have fun with it.
The one concern that I have had in doing a quiz as part of our meetings
is that it not interfere or detract in any way from the presentation of
our guest speaker.
I feel that a way to eliminate this problem is to hand out the quiz
before the start of the meeting.
Each individual can work through the quiz before the start of the
meeting. Then after the meeting starts but
before the presentation, we can go through the quiz with the answers and
decide on the winner.
I hope that that can be done in about five minutes.
Of course, taking the quiz is optional and no one should feel required
to participate if they don’t want to.
The quiz is not meant to reveal what you know or don’t know but,
hopefully to be fun and educational.
If we decide to make the quiz a part of our meetings, then it will
be best to have a different member volunteer to write the quiz for the
Several members have approached me with ideas that they have in mind.
It will be helpful if everyone who wants to try the quiz come to the
meeting equipped with a pen or pencil. I
will bring some pencils from my workshop but I have a limited number.
Let’s give the quiz another try and then decide if we want to do it one
an ongoing basis.
FROM THE HOSPITAL WAGON
In March our friend and Former State Historian,
, died at his
home, he was 80. Ferguson
served as chair of Arkansas
Bicentennial Celebration Committee in 1976 and was named a distinguished fellow
of the Arkansas Museum of Science and History in 1993.
retired as State Historian May 1, 2005. “There
was controversy”, archival manager
said. “He didn’t want to
retire, but his health was bad. I think it was fitting that he retired on the
100th anniversary of the organization he led for so long.”
leadership, the Arkansas History Commission formed the Arkansas Historic
Preservation Program in 1968, which registers historic places and structures
with the national registry. The program is now a part of the Arkansas Department
organized the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, located at Old Washington,
and traveled extensively to help organize historical societies around the state,
The Arkansas History Commission became part of the Department of Parks and
Tourism in 1971, where he served as director of the history division. The
commission moved into its present quarters in the One Capitol Mall building in
several books on Arkansas
and the Civil War, Historic Arkansas, Arkansas
Lives, The Church Called County Line. In 1966,
co-wrote a textbook called
Historic Arkansas, which was used in
high schools for nearly a decade.
“It had several good maps and charts in it,” Baker
said. “We still use it as a resource today.”
long tenure at the commission was not unusual. “There have only been three State
Historians since the commission’s founding in 1905. There is a tradition of
longevity. I don’t think he could imagine life without getting up and going into
A special thanks to Vice President
for filling in last month. His program A SOUTHERN FAMILY GOES TO WAR was
exactly what we needed. Superintendent
fell ill at the last moment and could not make the meeting. He will
return to us in June.
What they should do is provide a swagger stick with each book,
because this is typical
You might as well be standing
just outside the tour bus looking across what is now an empty field.
continues to create the images of those Yankees charging up
the field and you standing on the road cutting them down.
FIELDS OF HONOR
Edwin C. Bearss
historians have ever captured the drama, excitement, and tragedy of the
War Between the States quite like
The acclaimed "Homer of the
Civil War," has won a huge, devoted following with his extraordinary
battlefield tours and eloquent soliloquies about the heroes, scoundrels,
and little-known moments of a conflict that still fascinates
America. Antietam, Shiloh, Chickamauga,
Gettysburg: these hallowed battles and more than a dozen more come alive
as never before, rich with human interest and colorful detail culled
from a lifetime of study.
Illustrated with detailed maps and archival images, this 448-page volume
commemorates the 140th anniversary of the war's end with a unique
narrative of its most critical battles, translating Bearss' inimitable
delivery into print. As he guides readers from the first shots at Fort
Sumter to Gettysburg's bloody fields to the dignified surrender at
Appomattox, his engagingly plainspoken but expert account demonstrates
why he stands beside Shelby Foote, James McPherson, and Ken Burns in the
front rank of modern chroniclers of the Civil War, as the Pulitzer
Prize-winning McPherson himself points out in his admiring introduction.
A must for every one of
America's countless Civil War and
history buffs alike, this major work will stand as an important
reference and enduring legacy of a great historian for generations to
About the Author
At 80, Edwin
Bearss is the
America's premier battlefield
historian. The former Chief Historian of the National Park Service and
its current historian emeritus, Bearss leads tours of
America's battlefields more than 300
days per year.
During World War II Bearss was wounded in the South Pacific. After
University he began working for
the National Park Service at the
battlefield park, where he oversaw the discovery and excavation of the
sunken Civil War ironside S.S. Cairo. He was appointed Chief
Historian of the National Park Service in 1981. Bearss developed a
unique and engaging tour style that appeals to all interest levels and
has inspired a legion of fans. In 1990 Bearss was one of the major
experts employed by
for his award-winning series, The Civil War. Bearss has consulted
on numerous documentaries, books, and films including Gods and
Generals and is a frequent face on the History Channel's Civil
War Journal. Bearss is the author of 13 books, including the
three-volume definitive history of the Vicksburg Campaign.
is a tireless advocate for preservation of Civil War battlefield sites
and has testified before Congress on numerous occasions. He is on the
board of directors of the Civil War Preservation Trust and has been
honored by nearly every group in the
United States that supports Civil War
education and preservation.
According to James
McPherson, Pulitzer prize-winning author of
Battle Cry of Freedom, "Ed
will deny this, but he has a photographic memory containing an enormous
range of information. I have learned a great deal from him. He has an
enormous amount of knowledge, not just on the Civil War, but in every
aspect of history¿"
Foote is another known fan; the
reclusive historian is known to show up on Ed's
tours unannounced. Ed
Bearss lives in
with his wife Margie.
(Introduction) is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Battle Cry of
and more than a dozen other books about the Civil War.
is a professor of history at
Brooks D. Simpson (editor) is a history professor at
and the author of Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, of
New York Times said, "Simpson has done a
masterly job. He has given us a detailed and exciting narrative of how
one man succeeded, where so many others had failed"...He is is an
oft-published authority on the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction
and frequently leads tours of Civil War battlefields with Ed Bearss.
The notion that “Union strength” caused the South
to lose the war is primarily northern. Nevertheless,
here we have a gentleman from
what most of us already knew. However, he does
put the scattered facts together in a cognitive way.
His story reads more like a novel, complete with
verbal flashbacks. It is a quick read, even when
you say, “that’s not right” and go look up his premise.
Worth checking out of the library for an afternoon read.
How the South Really Lost the Civil War
more than a century, since the end of the Civil War, the conventional
wisdom has been that the South lost because of overwhelming Union
strength and bad luck. The politicians and generals on the Confederate
side have been lionized as noble warriors who bravely fought for an
honorable cause that had little chance of succeeding. But in Dixie
Betrayed, historian David J. Eicher reveals for the first time the real
story, a calamity of political conspiracy, discord, and dysfunction that
cost the South the Civil War.
Drawing on a wide variety of previously unexplored sources, Eicher shows
viciously fought with the Confederate House and Senate, state governors,
and his own cabinet. Confederate senators threatened each other with
physical violence; some were brutal drunks, others, hopeless idealists
who would not bend even when flexibility was the difference between
victory and defeat. Military commanders were assigned not by skill but
because of personal connections. Debates over such issues as whether the
Confederacy needed a Supreme Court stretched out for years, squandering
time that would have been better spent on making certain that troops
were well fed.
frequently interfered with his generals in the field, micromanaging
their campaigns and playing favorites, ignoring the chain of command. He
trusted a number of men who were utterly incompetent.
Moreover, Secession did not end with the breakaway of the Confederacy
election as president; some states, led by their governors, wanted to
set themselves up as separate nations, further undermining efforts to
conduct a unified war effort. Tensions were so extreme that the vice
president of the Confederacy refused to live in the same state as
Davis-and this while they were trying to
win a war.
One of the most provocative and controversial books about the Civil War
to be published in decades, Dixie Betrayed blasts away previous myths
with the force of a cannonball and the grace of a gentleman. For Civil
War buffs as well anyone interested in how governments of any age can
self-destruct during wartime, it is essential reading.
VISIT THE BATTLEFIELDS
WHEN YOU CAN...WHILE YOU CAN
SEE YOU TUESDAY NIGHT