J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Shiloh”

Lee-Jackson Dinner

Last Saturday night, the Sons of Confederate Veterans Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 celebrated Generals Lee and Jackson’s birthdays with its 24th annual dinner honoring the occasion. A good-sized crowd turned out to honor the two Confederate generals, including members of the Varina Howell Davis Chapter 2559 United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The participants enjoyed a splendid dinner prepared by Linda McCan who, in this writer’s opinion, should start her own catering business! Following dinner, the Honorable Al Canon gave a talk about the two celebrated generals.

The gathering participated in an auction to help raise money for a proposed Mississippi monument that the camp would like to have erected at Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee. Following the auction, a candlelight vigil was held honoring the two generals, as well as each member’s ancestor, who was called out by name. The annual dinner was a great experience for all.

Haunted Civil War

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. While my kids were growing up, I enjoyed wearing costumes and going trick-or-treating as much as they did. My house was decked out in black and orange (my high school colors, BTW), rivaling Christmas in the decorations I displayed. For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated with the macabre, mysterious, and melancholy. Maybe that’s why I’m a Civil War author!

During the next few weeks, in honor of the month of October and Halloween, I’m dedicating my blog to unexplained, ghostly incidents in relation to the War Between the States. From Gettysburg to Andersonville and Chickamauga to Shiloh, tales of Civil War ghosts who never found their way home abound. Not only do these apparitions still walk the battlefields where they fell, but also dwell in their previous residences and “haunts,” so to speak.

I believe you’ll find these spectral sightings to be nothing less than spellbinding. Although many claim ghosts don’t exist, it’s hard to deny their presence, since many (living) people have witnessed sightings over the years. Reports of ghostly appearances started soon after the bloody battles ended, and still happen to this day. So enter the haunted dwellings of the Civil War soldiers, civilians, and casualties. (Feel free to tell us about your experiences as well!)

Ft. Sumter

Today marks the 150th anniversary of what I consider to be the official start of the Civil War, when Confederate troops fired the first shots of the war on Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor. There were no casualties, and the Confederates succeeded in “capturing” the fort.

As the war progressed, each battle became bloodier than the last. Many thought the conflict would only last ninety days, and the Confederates were certain that, if they applied enough pressure, Lincoln would grant their request to become a separate nation. Instead, he called for more troops.

This month has officially been declared Confederate History/Heritage Month by many states, including Mississippi. April was an eventful month in the War Between the States. These included the firing upon Ft. Sumter, Lincoln’s assassination, General Lee’s surrender, the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of South Mills, and the surrender of New Orleans.

Civil War Anniversaries To Celebrate

Thankfully, the government managed to resolve its differences and come up with a budget just under the wire, barely making the deadline. What this means is that special anniversary events that were slated for this weekend will progress as planned, including a reenactment at Shiloh National Military Park and a special event at Ft. Sumter to mark the anniversary of the start of the Civil War.This event is planned for next Tuesday.

Another significant event that happened on April 9, 1865 was the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army to General Grant. Although this event was terribly sad for the Confederacy, but happy for the Union, we all have a reason to celebrate. The weather should be nice this weekend, and now we can all enjoy these national treasures, thanks to our hard working representatives.

(McLean House, Appomattox Court House, Virginia)

The Battle of Shiloh

The next two days, April 6 and 7, mark the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh. The battle took place on the banks of the Tennessee River, and near a small country church named Shiloh, which means “place of peace” in Hebrew.

In two days of battle, the Confederate army sustained more than 10,500 casualties, while Union casualties exceeded 13,000. At that point in time, it was the bloodiest battle of the war. The first Confederate general to die in the War Between the States, General Albert Sidney Johnston, did so during the first day of battle when he bled out from a wound to his femoral artery while retaining command on his horse. General Grant was driven back to Pittsburgh Landing, but General Beauregard, who took command after Johnston’s demise, failed to attack him, so the Union general managed to join forces with General Buell. The increased size of the Union army gave them the advantage to pursue the Rebels further south into Mississippi.

Special locations within the park include the National Cemetery, the Confederate mass grave sites, the enormous monuments, and Pittsburgh Landing on the Tennessee River. The peach orchard has been replanted to replicate the original, and Bloody Pond still emits a strange, reddish coloration, but strangely, supports wildlife. An original cabin (although not one that was there during the actual battle) is near the orchard, and a reproduction of Shiloh Church stands on the site of the original church. Up until fairly recently, treasure hunters were allowed into the park to dig for artifacts. The battlefield is a fascinating, albeit eerie reminder of what occurred 149 years ago.

This weekend, reenactors will converge on the park to demonstrate what the battle was like. Participants will include cavalry, infantry, artillery, and hospital reenactors. The event will be filmed, and (hallelujah) the recording will replace the ancient film that is now being shown in the park’s museum.

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