Battle of Shiloh
April 6-7, 1862
While Lincoln fumed over the cautious, hesitant General McClellan, he had no such
problems with Ulysses S. Grant. Bold and restless, Grant grew impatient when he
was asked to lead defensive maneuvers. He wanted to be on the attack. As a
commander of forces in the Union’s western campaign, he would get his wish.
The western campaign focused on taking control of the Mississippi River. This
strategy would cut off the eastern part of the Confederacy from sources of food
production in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. From bases on the Mississippi, the
Union army could attack southern communication and transportation networks.
In February 1862, Grant led an assault force into Tennessee. With help from navy
gunboats, Grant’s Army of Tennessee (Union) took two outposts on key rivers in the
west. On February 6, he captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. Several days
later he took Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.
Fort Donelson’s commander asked for the terms of surrender. Grant replied, “No
terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.” The fort
surrendered. The North gave a new name to Grant’s initials: “Unconditional
Advancing south in Tennessee, General Grant paused near Shiloh Church to await the
arrival of Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio (Union). Grant knew that the large
rebel army of General A. S. Johnston was nearby in Corinth, Mississippi, but he did
not expect an attack. Instead of setting up defenses, he worked on drilling his new
Grant was stationed with 42,000 troops on the west side of the Tennessee River near
the Mississippi border. He remained there for nearly a month, waiting for the arrival
of Don Carlos Buell’s Union army. However, Confederate General Johnston decided
to attack first, hoping to catch Grant’s troops before Buell arrived.
On April 6th, 1862, the Confederate forces caught the
Union troops completely off guard