Rethinking Shiloh: Myth and Memory

Rethinking Shiloh: Myth and Memory

by Timothy B. Smith




     Ulysses S. Grant once remarked that the Battle of Shiloh “has been perhaps
less understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently
misunderstood, than any other engagement . . . during the entire rebellion.”
In Rethinking Shiloh, Timothy B. Smith seeks to rectify these persistent
myths and misunderstandings, arguing that some of Shiloh’s story is either
not fully examined or has been the result of a limited and narrow collective
memory established decades ago. Continuing the work he began in The
Untold Story of Shiloh
, Smith delves even further into the story of Shiloh
and examines in detail how the battle has been treated in historiography and
public opinion.
     The nine essays in this collection uncover new details about the
battle, correct some of the myths surrounding it, and reveal new avenues of
exploration. The topics range from a compelling analysis and description of
the last hours of General Albert Sidney Johnston to the effect of the New
Deal on Shiloh National Military Park and, subsequently, our understanding
of the battle. Smith’s careful analyses and research bring attention to
the many relatively unexplored parts of Shiloh such as the terrain, the
actual route of Lew Wallace’s march, and post-battle developments that
affect currently held perceptions of thatfamed clash between Union and
Confederate armies in West Tennessee.
     Studying Shiloh should alert readers and historians to the likelihood
of misconceptions in other campaigns and wars—including today’s military
conflicts. By reevaluating aspects of the Battle of Shiloh often ignored by
military historians, Smith’s book makes significant steps toward a more
complete understanding and appreciation of the Shiloh campaign in all of its

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572339415
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
Publication date: 05/01/2013
Edition description: 1
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Timothy B. Smith teaches history at the University of Tennessee, Martin. His most recent books include The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation: The Decade of the 1890s and the Establishment of America’s First Five Military Parks, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, and Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 "Difficult and Broken Ground": The Terrain Factor at Shiloh 1

2 To Conquer or Perish: The Last Hours of Albert Sidney Johnston 27

3 Anatomy of an Icon: Shiloh's Hornet's Nest in Civil War Memory 45

4 A Case Study in Civil War Memory: Benjamin M. Prentiss as the Hero of Shiloh 67

5 Rewriting History: Locating Lew Wallace's Route of March to Shiloh 85

6 Secession at Shiloh: Mississippi's Convention Delegates and Their State's Defense 99

7 The Forgotten Inhabitants of Shiloh: A Case Study in a Civilian-Government Relationship 107

8 A Case Study in Change: The New Deal's Effect on Shiloh National Military Park 127

9 History in the Making: Shiloh: Portrait of a Battle Fifty Years Later 149

Notes 163

Index 189

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