THE UNFOLDING JOURNEY is a new blog written in association with Legacy Genealogy.

This blog is a blend of disciplines that reveal the rich texture of culture and history that surrounded your ancestors' lives, as well as your own. We will take you beyond just the names, dates, and places to give you the "back story" for the reasons your ancestors thought what they thought and did what they did. We invite you to also visit us at the Legacy Genealogy facebook page at http://facebook.com/legacygenealogy

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana (#6 of 52)

Arriving At Shiloh
“Our division was on the road early on Sunday morning, April 6th. The troops were marching slowly along, talking, joking, and laughing, when the distant boom of cannon came floating on the morning breeze across the great valley of the Tennessee. In a few moments it was repeated. No one thought of a battle at that time. Our colonel supposed it was gun-boats practicing on the river. But as we advanced, they continued to increase; and about noon a courier arrived, and informed Gen. Wood that the enemy had attacked our forces at Pittsburg Landing, and that a hard battle was going on.
“From the continued roar of artillery, it was evident that the battle was raging fiercely. For some time we had been able to distinguish the musketry from the heavy guns. Just before dark the gun-boats went into action, and we could plainly hear their heavy broadsides above the field-guns and the rattle of small arms. Minutes seemed almost like hours, so terrible was the suspense. We knew it must have been a surprise by the enemy, for surely our commanders would not have given battle with their forces divided.
“We were ordered to march in profound silence. No man was allowed to speak above a whisper. Long before midnight the mutterings of distant thunder were heard; the lightning’s vivid glare disclosed the weary column, and the dashing rain increased the difficulties of the night march. Artillery horses gave out, and men were required to assist in helping forward with the guns.
“With the dawn of the day the battle again commenced; and we were now eager enough to hear the noises very distinctly. Soon after starting we came up with the trains of the other divisions, struggling along through the mud. Teamsters were coaxing, cursing, and whipping their mules. Some men were stuck in the mud, and were carrying their baggage on their shoulders.
“We hurried forward and reached the town of Savannah at 9 o’clock. The town was filled with wounded, and a constant procession came up from the hospital boats at the landing. Many were carried on litters, and others were walking around with heads and arms bandaged. Rumors were flying thick and fast. Here we learned of the almost total destruction of Gen. Grant’s army, and the timely arrival of troops from Buell’s command. Another rumor was that regiments, when they arrived on the field, were sent in singly, and soon cut to pieces by superior numbers of the rebels.
“Finally we reached the landing and the welcoming shouts of the wounded, and the thousands of stragglers who had taken refuge beyond the reach of danger. ‘This way with that regiment!’. . . ‘Hurry up there’. . . ‘What are you waiting for?’ and such like expressions could be heard on all sides.
“Hundreds of wounded were coming from the field; cavalry and artillery reserves were forming, and hurrying off to the scene of the action. Shouts and cheers from the front, mingled with the noise of battle, told that the enemy were being repulsed and driven back. On every hand there was constant battle and confusion.”

(Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, April 6, 1862)
Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

No comments:

Post a Comment