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Who really won the battle of Shiloh? - The Battle of Shiloh - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 08:56 am
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Old Blu
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According to the NPS it was a Confederate lose.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 12:14 pm
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Wrap10
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Maybe another way to look at this would be to re-phrase the original question. Instead of asking who won the battle, could it be said that the Confederates won the battle? And if so, what evidence would we put forth to support that idea? What was the goal for the southern army when they entered the battle, and did they achieve that goal?


Perry



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 01:08 pm
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That ain't the question I wanted to ask.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 03:06 pm
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javal1
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Then please pose your question. I assumed you were saying that Shiloh was a draw because, as you said, "And Grant failed to destroy the Confederates. They weren't driven to Corinth.  They left  voluntarily to regroup."

If that's what you were saying, I can't agree. First, it stretches the definition of "voluntarily". They literally did so at the point of a gun(s). Second, if that's the definition of a draw, then you must believe Gettysburg, and 99.5% of all other battles were a draw as well.

The Southern boys fought bravely and valiantly. But they lost the battle.

 



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 03:30 pm
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calcav1
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Wrap10 has the answer. At the end of the day it is not the body count that separates victor from defeated; it is the achievement of goals or placing the foe in an untenable position. The Confederate goal was to destroy Grant’s army thus preventing a union of the Army of the Tennessee with the Army of the Ohio. It was imperative that the Federal forces were stopped in their quest to open the Mississippi River Valley. (Corinth was merely the next target, opening the river was the ultimate goal of the campaign). In this the Confederates failed.

What were the Union goals of the battle? To prevent the destruction of the Army of the Tennessee. To regain their lost camps. To drive the enemy from the field. In this they were successful.Were these goals achieved because the Confedrates willingly left the field? No. Beauregard himself personaly led a counterattack near Water Okas Pond to buy time while his army began thier retreat.

I believe most of us here are conceding the strategic loss of the battle but the question concerns the tactical loss on the field. Were the Confederates forced from the field? Yes, they were. By force of arms they were driven from off of Shiloh hill. Though they occupied the same ground they had the morning of the 6th, it was impossible for them to hold it. They did not even try. I do not consider the affair at Fallen Timbers an attempt to hold gains made by the Confederates. Forrest was able to rout a regiment of Federals but his small command did not turn back Sherman’s two brigades. Sherman’s orders were to confirm the enemy was returning to Corinth; he did so.

There was no Confederate supply system to maintain the army in the field. Even had they been successful the Confederates would have returned to Corinth, they had planned to do so all along. But the plan had been to return to Corinth and still hold the strategic and tactical initiative. They left the field on the 7th of April with neither.

I have to disagree with the statement that after the battle everything was as it had been before the battle. Beauregard was forced onto the defensive; his battered army was incapable of taking the offensive for the near future. The Federal presence at Pittsburg Landing was no longer five divisions; it soon grew to three armies of over 100,000 men. Ultimately, what was the difference? What had changed? The initiative had been lost. It would be months before Bragg could retake the initiative with his Perryville Campaign and Van Dorn could take it as well in his bid to retake West Tennessee.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 03:52 pm
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Old Blu
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The question was 'Who really won the battle of Shiloh'.  The book I am now working on states that historians are reexamining new sources to see who actually did win.  I thought all along that the yankees won also.  But there appears to be some doubt my some new work.  That is what I am basing my question on. 

I want to say also, there are some new ambitious young folks that are wotking their tails off getting into this Civil war business and scratching through years of records.  There is going to be different thoughts and the information to go with what really happened during the Civil War.

I was on a tour this past summer on the Gettysburg retreat and discovered these young folks.

Let me post some of those young Authors.

Christopher S. Stowe
Associate Professor, US Army Command and General Staff College
Fort Lee, Virginia
Major General George G. Meade

Christopher is writing a book about General Meade.  He has already spent 10 years so far.

 

Mark A. Snell
Associate Professor, Shepherd University, and Director,
George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War
Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Union Logistics


Nicholas Redding
Shepherd University graduate, seasonal ranger at Gettysburg
National Military Park, and grant writer with the Civil War
Preservation Trust, Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Some of you may have already met these folks and rest assured there will be untold history on the horizon.

Nicholas does a great job as a guide.  He is a very young fellow and extremely smart.

All of these new articles I read I post some of the main points to see results just for the fun of it. 

There are new ideas coming about the Civil war and I am looking forward to reading them.

http://www.shepherd.edu/gtmcweb/seminars.html



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 04:20 pm
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calcav1
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The book I am now working on states that historians are reexamining new sources to see who actually did win.I for one would be fascintaed to see what these "new sources" might be.  They would have to be rather earth shattering revelations to change the historical record which has held for 146 years.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 04:51 pm
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Old Blu
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I just posted some above.  Just wait.  There will be more coming one of these days.

Last edited on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 04:51 pm by Old Blu



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 05:17 pm
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Johan Steele
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I don't see any source that could be earth shattering enough to change Shiloh to a CS victory, it's stretching it to call it a draw.

I've seen recent claims on the web that battles like Atlanta & Shiloh were actually CS victories...I have to scratch my head and ask why when it's clear the men who fought them considered them US victories or CS losses depending upon the perspective. Come to think of it I recall seeing a claim that the CS actually won the battle of Missionary Ridge... that takes some serious alternate reality thinking.

I've spoken to Mr Redding in the past and do look forward to any earth shaking discoveries he might have made. The others I am only vaguely familiar w/ but do look forward to what they have to say... as to any of the three claiming Shiloh as somehow a CS victory; I just can't see it.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 07:34 pm
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The Iron Duke
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"The counter attack put everyone at the same place on the battlefield as when they started.  When the fighting was over, then the Confederate army withdrew to Corinth.  The point is, both armies were still intact."

If that is your basis for calling Shiloh a draw than that is an extremely narrow view of the situtation.

And any author, like Thomas Buell, who feels the need to bash one general in order to raise up another one should be taken with a grain of salt.

"The reason for the controversy is your statement is incorrect."

Incorrect according to whom???

Everyone else on this thread has agreed with me. You're the only one who has an issue with it and it's only because of semantics.

Last edited on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 07:48 pm by The Iron Duke



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 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 08:37 pm
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barrydancer
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calcav1's post above has the right of it in my estimation. One must look not only at what happened on the field, which is conclusive enough in it's own right, but at the larger strategic goals. Had Johnston and Beauregard, for instance, failed to crush Grant's army, but managed to halt Federal advances in the theatre, one might be able to make a case, albeit tenuous I think, for a draw. The actual circumstances were far from this, though. Both armies (or all three, really, given Buell's presence) may have been battered but able to field a formidable operational strength, yet when one considers that the Federal advance was not halted, that Beauregard withdrew from Corinth without firing a shot, Shiloh is nothing but a Union victory.

I have the book in question, though it's been a long time since I read it. I might have to take another look at it.

Last edited on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 08:38 pm by barrydancer



 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2008 02:04 am
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HankC
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barrydance is right on, or at least very close. But,w;r asking the wrong question.

Rather than 'who won the battle', better questions are 'how did the battle change the war' and 'whose war effort was aided by the battle'?

After Shiloh, the large Union armies in SW Tennessee pinned a similar number of Confederate troops there as well. Helped by this immobility and otherwise weak opposition, US troops moved down the Mississippi, taking Island Number 10 and Memphis. Moving up the Father of Waters from the Gulf, New Orleans fell as well.

Shiloh showed Grant, Sherman, et al, the limits of 'maximum' in 'Confederate maximum effort'. Never would they see the same again in the west.


HankC



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