View single post by Wrap10
 Posted: Sun Aug 31st, 2008 02:25 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 28th, 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 97

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Good points about the cover in the Hornet's Nest. It was the woods and thick underbrush, more so than the road, that really assisted the Union defenders. That and the fact that they only faced isolated, piecemeal attacks. The Confederate army had sort of split in two during the battle, with most of the regiments joining in (or marching toward) the fighting on either flank. For most of the day, the Union troops in the center of the battlefield, where the Hornet's Nest was located, only faced a relative handful of southerners. That eventually changed, but not until late afternoon.

Agreed about Duncan Field. It did not witness the same level of fighting that other parts of the battlefield did. The woods just to the east though, between Duncan Field and the Peach Orchard/Sara Bell Cotton Field, saw its share. That's the area through which most of those attacks on the Hornet's Nest took place. They were nasty affairs, although again, the attacks were piecemeal in nature. But then again, you get into the issue of exactly what constitutes the "Hornet's Nest,' and whether or not Duncan Field should be included. Some folks think the term should only refer to the wooded area between the fields, which is where the term apparently originated. Others (like me) are a bit more general in applying the term. I usually include Duncan Field when I think of "Hornet's Nest" at Shiloh, although I don't consider defining the exact boundaries to be of vital importance.

It's kind of ironic about Duncan Field. What might be the best-known field at Shiloh, and the image that a lot of people probably have of the legendary Hornet's Nest, and it appears that not a single charge made it more than about one-third of the way across it. There are no known burial pits in Duncan Field, and not a single position marker. I think they probably could have put a few such markers part-way into the field, but the ones that refer to the fighting there are located on either side. The field itself is empty.


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