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Battlefield Visits

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  Don't know why this came to me but I going put it out there. Do anyone know if Grant or any of the leaders of both sides ever came back to the Shiloh Battlefield after the war.It would have been nice if they did and wrote something of the visit.

  AARON YATES:)

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Aaron,

Good question. I know of a few off-hand, but there may have been more. It's a subject that would be worth looking into though. Shiloh seems to have been pretty popular among the vets, famous and otherwise, and as outlined by Tim Smith in his books on the battle and park, it was their influence that really drove the creation of the park. Along with the other early-day parks of course.

Perry is of course right about Lew Wallace returning to the park. I don't know one way or the other about him having the two routes surveyed at some point, but he could very well have done such a thing, since he would claim that the route he took along the Shunpike was the shorter route. I think he was referring to the distance to Sherman's division, and he might have been right. But that's another (much debated) subject. :)

It was around 1900, maybe 1903, when Wallace returned to the park. If he returned prior to that I don't know. But among other things during his 1903 visit he re-traced the route of his march with a group that included D.W. Reed. I'm pretty sure Tim Smith goes into this in his book about the creation of the park, but I don't have it handy. But I think the main purpose of Wallace's visit was to settle some questions about his Shiloh experiences for his upcoming autobiography. He died in 1905 and I believe his autobiography came out a year or so later.

To the best of my knowledge, neither Grant nor Sherman ever returned to Shiloh after the war. Other than Lew Wallace, the other two Union division commanders from Grant's army that I know for sure came back to Shiloh were McClernand and Prentiss. I don't know if McClernand paid regular visits, but there is a picture of him among a group of vets visiting the park sometime in the 1890's, in one of Tim Smith's books, and/or one of the state commission books. Prentiss had his picture taken beside his surrender tree sometime in the 1880's.

I think Buell may have returned a few times, as he was on the original battlefield park commission. But if I remember right from Tim Smith's book, he wasn't a very active member, and in fact he may only have returned once, or not at all. I'd have to go back and re-read what Smith says.

Perry mentioned Basil Duke, who was also a member of the park commission, although I don't think he was one of the original members. But he apparently attended monument dedications for both sides, as one or two of the state commission books I have contain the text of a speech he gave at the dedication of their monuments.

Another really interesting visitor was Isham Harris, who of course was serving on A.S. Johnston's staff during the battle and was with him when he died. Harris returned just once, in 1896 (I think), to help settle the issue of exactly where on the battlefield Johnston had died. I've read D.W. Reed's account of Harris' visit, but for the life of me I can't remember where. It may be in Tim Smith's book or somewhere else, but it's a very interesting account. You get the sense that Harris was very certain of the location, and in fact, based on what Reed said, once he got his bearings on the battlefield, he just about went right to it.

Wiley Sword, of course, has famously claimed that Johnston died farther north on the battlefield, but the current monument, and the nearby marker in the ravine, were located on those spots based on what Harris told Reed.

Good subject!

Perry

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yea i cant believe i forgot about Isham Harris been a great topic of debate around here on which spot is correct Mr Don Tod manger of the bookstore made a talk at our Shiloh Camp a while back and touched on this subject

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