Shiloh Turning Point

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In February of 1862, Federal forces under General Ulysses S. Grant were able to capture Fort Henry and Donelson, marking a major momentum shift in the Union’s favor. Originally designed to bar navigation over the Tennessee River, the loss of the two Forts proved catastrophic for the Confederate side. Union gunboats were able to move down the Tennessee, which enabled Federal forces to seize Nashville. Control of Nashville allowed Grant to focus his attention on the city of Corinth, Mississippi, the junction of two essential railroads. The north-south Ohio Railroad and the east-west Memphis and Charleston, which connected Mississippi to Richmond, Memphis, and Charleston. Under orders from Major General W. Halleck, General Grant and his six divisions…show more content…
Similar to the Union side, the Confederate casualties were just as severe. The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest engagement ever fought on American soil at the time. Both Northerners and Southerners were forced to recognize the brutality of civil conflict. Ultimately, Shiloh was a turning point. Grant dropped the notion the that the war would end quickly and realized its future longevity. The Federal forces also exhibited that they were willing to expend the necessary resources to defeat the Rebels, something that many were unsure of at the time. Furthermore, the Union was now on the attack, dictating the Confederates every movement. The West and middle Tennessee were now securely in the Union’s hands as Grant moved towards Vicksburg. Confederate soldiers also began to lose small amounts of their initially high hopes. Most importantly, however, the Union side now had a leader they could rally around in Grant. A man who was creative in his tactics. A man both trusted by President Lincoln and willing carry out his aspirations. And overall, a man who was a captivating leader, who earned his soldiers respect. The Battle of Shiloh not only changed the course of the Civil War, but also gave individuals a humbling perspective on war’s ramifications. American’s saw what war had brought and received a glimpse of what was yet to
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