Curtis

Shiloh april 6 1862

With the loss of Forts Henry and Donelson in February, General Johnston withdrew his disheartened Confederate forces into west Tennessee, northern Mississippi and Alabama to reorganize. In early March, General Halleck responded by ordering General Grant to advance his Union Army of West Tennessee on an invasion up the Tennessee River.

Occupying Pittsburg Landing, Grant entertained no thought of a Confederate attack. Halleck's instructions were that following the arrival of General Buell's Army of the Ohio from Nashville, Grant would advance south in a joint offensive to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, the Confederacy's only east-west all-weather supply route that linked the lower Mississippi Valley to cities on the Confederacy's east coast.

Assisted by his second-in-command, General Beauregard, Johnston shifted his scattered forces and concentrated almost 55,000 men around Corinth. Strategically located where the Memphis &C Charleston crossed the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, Corinth was the western Confederacy's most important rail junction.

On April 3, realizing Buell would soon reinforce Grant, Johnston launched an offensive with his newly christened Army of the Mississippi. Advancing upon Pittsburg Landing with 43,938 men, Johnston planned to surprise Grant, cut his army off from retreat to the Tennessee River, and drive the Federals west into the swamps of Owl Creek.

Union troops flee toward the Tennessee River during the Confederate assault (below). The shock to the unprepared Federals was great and though many units offered fierce resistance, others quickly buckled and sought to escape on board the army transports.

Union troops flee toward the Tennessee River during the Confederate assault (below). The shock to the unprepared Federals was great and though many units offered fierce resistance, others quickly buckled and sought to escape on board the army transports.

SMITHLANDt

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