A couple decades ago, (Mom is hollering “More like four”), a young woman saw a name on an exit ramp and thought to herself, “That’s a great name to give my daughter.” And many decades later, that daughter, with her hippie mother, made it to the National Military Park that most people thought she was named after. Today, Mom and I made it out of the wonderfully air conditioned AirBnB and went up the road to see Shiloh National Military Park, in Shiloh, TN.
The Battle of Shiloh (also known as the Bloody Battle of Shiloh or the Battle of Pittsburg Landing), took place on April 6th and 7th, 1862 and cost the lives of 23,746 men.
Inside the visitor center, you’re given a brochure with a map to do a self-guided tour of the battlefield. There is also a small museum with items found on the battlefield and others from the Civil War.
Shiloh is considered one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields. Indeed, it is so well preserved you could almost hear the roar of the cannons and the other sounds of war on the back of the breeze. It had the feeling of sacredness. Even had we come upon this area without any idea that anything had happened here, we knew we would have been able to feel that something profound had occurred.
There are many monuments laid out to honor those men who lost their lives in those Tennessee woods and peach orchards.
The reason the battle was named Shiloh was because the fighting took place around a little log Methodist church called Shiloh United Methodist.
But it is also known as the battle of Pittsburg Landing because nearby ran the Tennessee River, by which the North was able to get reinforcements in via wooden gunboats.
The battle didn’t just take place in fields and by the river. There were ravines to climb and thickets to traverse.
And in that dense forest lay several Native American Burial mounds.
Many of those who died in that battle were buried where they laid, though at least one trench was dug to hold Confederate soldiers in a mass grave.
A grim, solemn reminder of one of the darkest times in the United States of America’s past.
Do you know how hard it is to find things pre-printed when you have what’s considered an unusual name? For the first time in my 40 years, I had lots to choose from. Would I wish the items weren’t associated with one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War? Sure. But I can’t change that and perhaps when I’m out wearing my hat, people will be reminded of what happens when a country goes to battle within itself.