Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bloody Shiloh

I had the honor to lead a tour of Shiloh National Military Park for the Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table on April 14th.  I enjoy leading these tours.  I first visited Shiloh Battlefield in 1969 when I was 12 years old.  My Boy Scout troop hiked fourteen miles that day.  I don't think I remember much after the first six or seven miles!  My love for the battlefield grew through the years as I studied more about the War and later found that I had several ancestors who were there on April 6th and 7th 1862.   The National Park Service hired me during the summer of 1977 and I spent 3 months on the battlefield as a costumed interpreter giving talks and tours of the battlefield and conducting artillery and musket demonstrations.  In the years since, I've led scores of tours for Army officers, church groups, Civil War Round Tables and even one motorcycle club.  Did I mention I love that Battlefield?

Members of the Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table pose in front of the reconstructed Shiloh Meeting House, from which the battle received its name.

The Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table is located in Huntsville, Alabama.  It is one of the largest in the United States. We seldom have less than 100 members present at a typical meeting.  Kent Wright, of the TVCWRT, does an excellent job of lining up our speakers and arraigning our field trips.  This outing visited Parker's Crossroads Battlefield on Saturday and I met them at Shiloh on Sunday morning for the tour there.  The anniversary of the battle (151st) was one week previous, so the foliage and greenery was similar to what it was in 1862.  We spent almost 7 hours on the battlefield and visited 12 spots on the battlefield where we discussed the tactics, weapons, personalities, successes and failures of the battle.  No matter how many times I visit, I still enjoy it.  The Round Table members made the experience even more enjoyable with their enthusiasm challenging questions!

Thanks to Round Table member Daryl Carpenter for the photos!

At Fraley's Field, where the Battle of Shiloh began on Sunday morning, April 6th, 1862
I conducted a short primer of Infantry weapons, including flintlock muskets and percussion rifle muskets.
Ruggle's Line is a favorite stop for most visitors.  53 Confederate cannon were lined up here on the afternoon of April 6th to break the Union line in the Hornet's Nest.  All of the cannon on the park are original Civil War pieces.  Many of these on Ruggle's Line are Confederate manufactured ,and very rare.

1 comment:

  1. Be careful there Mark, your telling your age with that 1969 first trip date. I was almost one when you first visited there, my first visit was 1978 at age 10.