U. S. CIVIL WAR
THE BATTLE BEGINS
Suspicious of Confederate activity nearby, Col. Everett Peabody, an alert Union brigade commander, sent out a reconnaissance patrol of about 200 men under Maj. James E. Powell. When Powell's patrol entered Fraley Field they stumbled onto the pickets screening the Confederate army. Three shots broke the silence, and here fell the first victims of Shiloh. In the following 34 hours, 3,400 more men would die or be fatally wounded.
The fighting in Fraley Field and the surrounding woods lasted about an hour. The Union patrol was forced to retreat, as the first three waves of the Confederate assault swept forward. Though not decisive in itself, the initial engagement gave Union camps to the northeast warning that a Confederate attack was on the way.
The Sunken Road. (The Hornets's Nest is the woods on the left.)
The Iowa Monument on the Sunken Road
Duncan Field from the Sunken Road
Ruggle Confederate cannon were
near the distant line of trees
During the next eight hours, Confederate infantry charged the road and the wooded stronghold they called the "Hornets's Nest" eleven times. Repeatedly they were repulsed by swarms of minie balls. This was the scene of some of the most desperate and deadly fighting in the Civil War.
Gen. Ruggles's Confederate Cannon aimed
at the Sunken Road and the Hornets's Nest
The Hornets's Nest and Sunken Road are
in the distance across Duncan Field
in front of this Confederate Cannon.
According to Ruggles official report, there were 62 cannon---the greatest concentration of field guns seen on a North American battlefield up to that time.
For more than an hour Confederate artillery roared, unleashing a great storm of shot, shell, and canister that kept the Union soldiers in the "Hornets's Nest" pinned down. Confederate Infantry then encircled the "Hornets's Nest" and forced its defenders to surrender.
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