The Battle of Shiloh: You Be a General Background Information



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The Battle of Shiloh: You Be a General

Background Information
In February 1862, Union forces occupied most of Tennessee. On February 6, General Ulysses Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, along with a fleet of gunboats commanded by Commander Andrew Foote, captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. Ten days later, Grant and Foote captured Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. On February 23, General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio occupied Nashville.

Confederate forces under General Albert Sidney Johnston withdrew to Corinth, an important railroad center in northern Mississippi. In March, General Pierre Gustave Toutant

(P. G. T.) Beauregard joined Johnston as his second in command. Johnston’s army numbered 27,000, many were new recruits. They were reinforced by 15,000 more seasoned troops from New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama. The combined Confederate force at Corinth was 42,000.

In mid-March, Grant’s forces moved up the Tennessee River (southward) to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Meanwhile, General Henry Halleck, the overall Union commander west of the Appalachian Mountains, ordered Buell to join Grant at Pittsburg Landing. The combined Union armies would then move against Corinth.



Pre-Battle Situation
By late March, the Confederates had concentrated 42,000 troops at Corinth. Many were new recruits with little military training. General Johnston planned to train these new recruits at Corinth. Just as the training program was beginning, Johnston received intelligence reports that Buell’s Army of the Ohio was moving to reinforce Grant’s Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing. The combined Union armies would number 75,000. It was clear that Corinth would be the immediate objective of this combined force.

Confederate Battle Plan
Imagine that you are the commander of one of General Johnston’s six divisions. General Johnston has just convened a council of war. Analyze the attached map. What advice would you give as to how he should use the six divisions under his control? Remember to consider the nine principles of war.


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