Jump to content
Shiloh Discussion Group

Recommended Posts

In the 2017-18 series "Legends & Lies: Civil War," directed by Kevin R. Hershberger (and now available on YouTube), thought it might be of interest to investigate what sort of treatment was accorded the Battle of Shiloh. What follows is strictly my review, and does not reflect the viewpoint of Management of Shiloh Discussion Group:

The total coverage of Battle of Shiloh is contained within Episode 2. Beginning at 24 minutes 45 seconds, the illness and subsequent death of 11 year old Willie Lincoln sets the scene (as Lincoln's attention would have been absorbed by his son's illness and subsequent death on 20 February 1862, possibly diverting attention from events taking place in the Western Theatre.) A brief interlude featuring Major General George McClellan reveals the conflict that existed and festered between that military commander and President Lincoln (and Edwin Stanton). And the coverage of the Western Theatre commences at:

  • 26.40   Fort Henry (five seconds of mention)
  • 26.50   Fort Donelson (featuring a poetic-license meeting between Simon B. Buckner and U.S. Grant)
  • 32.30   Shiloh.  Narrator says,  "In the west, U.S. Grant chases the Rebels through Tennessee to Corinth, Mississippi. Grant stops near a church called Shiloh and waits to attack the Rebels. Grant says, effectively, 'Take five; and we'll wait for reinforcements.'"  [Almost no mention of Pittsburg Landing. No mention that Grant was following "orders to wait" issued by Henry Halleck.]
  • 33.30   Shiloh is declared "the first great slaughter of the war." The emphasis is on U.S. Grant and his performance. William Tecumseh Sherman is introduced, giving every indication that Shiloh was the start of the great friendship. [Wallace, Hurlbut, McClernand and Prentiss are not mentioned. Neither is Sunken Road, the Crossroads, the Hornet's Nest, Peabody nor Powell. Or the gunboats. Or any of the Confederate commanders...]
  • 35.30   Day Two. Focus shifts to Confederate Samuel Todd (Mary Lincoln's brother, soldier at Shiloh.) Union reinforcements arrive overnight and facilitate a Federal offensive, conducted by Grant and Sherman, early on April 7th.
  • 37.00   Grant ekes out a narrow victory at Shiloh. [No mention of Don Carlos Buell. No mention of General Beauregard claiming victory. No mention of Nathan Bedford Forrest's successful rearguard action on April 8th.]

Since Shiloh (and Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Vicksburg and Chattanooga) get such scant coverage, the attempt was made to discover "the purpose" of this Civil War series; and it appears to be an effort to "determine how the numerous leaders, of both sides, of various capabilities filtered themselves out over the course of the war, eventually pitting Lee versus Grant." As evidence, Robert E. Lee receives substantial coverage throughout the series. Ulysses S. Grant has the entirety of Episode 7 devoted to him. Stonewall Jackson's importance to Lee is discussed, as is John Rawlin's importance to U. S. Grant. 

There are "items of interest" revealed in the series, as a whole: in Episode One, the poetic-license interview of John Brown by John Wilkes Booth (Booth was known to have been present at Brown's execution, but anything further is unproven); also in Episode One, the role of Benjamin Butler in getting his Massachusetts troops to Washington, D.C. (and delayed arrival of those troops encouraging President Lincoln to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus); and the personal friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Elmer Ellsworth is well-covered... Unfortunately, the Battle of Shiloh seems to be included, merely as "the starting point" for General Grant's successful career.

Ozzy

 

References:    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4465100/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1  Legends & Lies entry at IMDB

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGaWl8eXPaA&index=12&list=PLniqIe7xEtGMklmbe9pYqUrGLqmBOh2ut   Legends & Lies: Shiloh (Episode 2) posted by Nicky Nice 1 APR 2018

 

 

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last good regular program on the Civil War, that I thought was any good (actually I thought it was great), was Civil War Journal, and that was on in the mid 90's.  I do not know how it is possible, but in the last 10 years programs about the Civil War (on numerous channels), has gotten not just worse, but atrociously worse in my opinion.  What I speak to in particular are the reenactor "extras" used in the programs.  The uniforms, how they wear the uniforms, etc., etc., etc., could not be any more ridiculous.  On some shows it border lined on being disrespectfully comical.  

In the broader sense, the Western Theater has always received less attention than Lee and Grant and the war in Virginia.  And that will never change.  Sadly, I think most people just don't care about those 4 years in American history, even though there is so much to be learned from that time period and the people who lived through those years.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×