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Stan Hutson

Shiloh 2018

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Well, haven't seen anyone post anything yet, so I figured I would give a very generic after action report of the anniversary events this year.  I myself arrived on Thursday, but I didn't partake of the 12 mile hike first tour.  Others may want to chime in on that.  Thursday evening the park staff got together and decided to cancel the big living history.  They were set to have 12 cannons, probably well over 100 infantry, plus cavalry.  It was decided that with the forecast calling for heavy rain having tons of vehicles moving in Duncan field would turn the field into a torn up muddy mess.  The decision to cancel was the correct one.  

Everyone gathered in the visitor center before 5 on Friday morning.  The debate was made whether or not to cancel the hike and instead have a talk either inside the visitor center or at the picnic area pavilion.  Bjorn, being the stalwart that he is, said he was going on his hike regardless.  So, the event was on.  We gathered at the Peabody monument and made our way to Fraley field, with Bjorn giving an excellent tour and description of the dawn patrol and the ensuing fighting.  It was raining, but not heavily at this time.  The dawn patrol hike completed, many of us next took part in Bjorn's tour of the morning action by Prentiss, Peabody, and Miller.  We moved from tablet to tablet, with superb commentary of the fighting in each sector, even by the 16th Wisconsin Infantry (love ya Jim).  We first toured and discussed Peabody's brigade, then moved to Miller's sector.  I should insert that we had very respectable size crowds even though the weather was nasty.  Finishing the Prentiss line talk at the Prentiss headquarters camp marker, Bjorn announced that he was going to do something he had never done before, and invited others to join in.  From the Prentiss marker, we followed Prentiss' men and their line of retreat from their camps to their position in the Hornet's Nest.  Bjorn stated that in the past the Prentiss line talk ended there and voila picked up in the Hornet's Nest, so actually making the trek from the camps to the Hornet's nest sorta filled the gap in the story.  It was a very informative tour and talk, with everyone learning something new.  We had one gentleman working on Gladden's brigade, the 26th/50th Alabama Infantry in particular, so we spent time unraveling facts about Gladden's brigade after it was chewed up in Spain field.  We continued on, spent some time in Briar creek, talking about the terrain in that sector, and ended at the Hornet's Nest.  A number of us enjoyed a fine meal for lunch in Savannah at the Dae Break Cafe (where the old Whirly Bird was once located in Savannah, behind the A&W/Long John Silver's eatery), Dae Break is a great place to eat btw.  Making it back, the next tour was the Confederate left attacks by Pond, along with Wharton's Cavalry.  We also stopped in Glover field where Bjorn described the fighting between Brewer's Alabama Cavalry battalion and Birge's Western Sharpshooters.  We made our way down through Tilghman branch ravine.  With the rain, the trek through the ravine following the Louisiana boys was slippery and muddy to say the least.  The rain was at times very intense, while at other times just a heavy drizzle, all throughout the day.  Many people were thoroughly soaked to say the least, but most everyone stuck it out through the entire tour.  After cresting the ravine and discussing the fighting of Pond's brigade, we moved to Cavalry field and discussed Wharton's charge and repulse.  

That evening, many of us enjoyed good food, good company, and good discussions at Hagy's Catfish Hotel.  It was a long day, and I think I speak for everyone in saying that everyone was bone tired by the end of the day, the rain adding to that tired feeling.  I tell you, walking around in heavy rain can take it out of you!

The following morning, Saturday, many took part in the hike on Lew Wallace.  This writer skipped out on that, and hung out with the small contingent of reenactors that were on hand across from the visitor center.  Saturday afternoon brought about another great Bjorn hike discussing the fighting at the crossroads, in Review field, Woolf field, and the action of the 38th Tennessee Infantry near Shiloh Church, all on 7 April 1862.  I myself learned a great deal.  We discussed more brigades and regiments than I can write about.  The temperature on Saturday was cold to say the least.  We had heavy spitting snow for much of the hike. 

Tony decided to head for home that evening, but we were joined by Mike Talplacido for Saturday, but Mike went in search of pictures on Sunday morning.  Once again on Saturday evening, many of us went out to eat at Top of the River.  Sunday morning we met up at the visitor center for the Fallen Timbers car caravan tour.  It was still chilly, but the sun was out.  We first stopped at Ed Shaw's for discussion.  We then proceeded to the Johnston bivouac site of 5 April 1862.  We then proceeded on to Fallen Timbers, where Bjorn colorfully described the fighting there.  We proceeded on to Pebble Hill where we ended the tour.  

Many of us proceeded back to the visitor center, where most of us parted ways.  I did not take part in the evening tour of the Hamburg road discussion on Sunday.  There were other tours going on, naturally, and others may want to chime in on those tours.

Like most fun events, it flew by too quickly.  The Friends of Shiloh table was set up inside the visitor center as it was just too cold to have it set up outside.  For those on the hikes, we withstood heavy rain, followed by nasty cold weather and snow, but in the end I think everyone had a great time.

Ideas for future tours were also discussed, but I will leave that a surprise in case they come to fruition so others can have something to look forward to.  I was glad to see everyone, and we wished others could be there.  Shiloh, we all love that place, glad we got to spend time together there.  Looking forward to the next time!



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P.S.  Tony posted the video of the Prentiss line talk on youtube.  It is over 2 hours long.  I watched part of it last night.  But now it is gone.  Not sure what happened to the video?

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Thanks, Stan.  Sounds like those that did not attend missed out.  I will do my best to get there next year, but looking forward to our fall hike now with greater anticipation.

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