Tuesday, April 30, 2013


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The visitors center for the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh is located near Savannah, Tennessee. We stopped there and saw a 45 minute, excellent film re-enactment of this important, strategic battle before venturing into the park. The U.S. National Military Cemetery is close to the Visitors Center.
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A sad but meaningful walk among those who gave all dots the landscape.
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It is a reminder that every state was involved in the Civil War when you see Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan on the tombstones.
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Markers like this, of the unidentified soldier outnumber those identified of the 3500 men buried here.
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Cannon balls and barrels mark this spot where once a huge tree sheltered General Grant.
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Positioned cannon are located and pointed in the direction of the battle. The battle ground covers an area of three miles and we drove from stop to stop.  There are many tombstones along the route that  indicate where the bodies fell. The Confederate bodies were buried in two mass graves.
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The visitors center has pictures of idealistic young men going off to stand for their country. The youngest soldier in this battle according to historians was 16. Most were aged 21 to 30. The youngest person in the battle was not a soldier.
10 year old Drummer
It is hard to believe this ten-year old boy served as a drummer and marched to war, most likely along with his father. Each regiment had a young drummer as part of the corp, most of them were 12 to 15 years old. Incomprehensible to me.
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Visiting the battlefield was meaningful after the film which explained the importance and the strategies both failed and successful of both sides. It re-enacts those people who witnessed, who wrote letters, who survived to tell the tale; and a sad tale of unimaginable carnage is told here. It also makes one remember the word unity that Lincoln spoke so eloquently about at the close of the war. Unfortunately, with his assassination, that unity did not come about and that same problem resonates to this day. History’s lessons are soon forgotten. If you travel along this major waterway, the Tennessee River, make Shiloh a place to stop and remember.


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