Shiloh Chronology


James F. Epperson


The times and information here are all taken from the following sources:

1. Bloody April, by Wiley Sword;

2. Shiloh, by Larry Daniel

3. Shiloh: In Hell Before Night, by James McDonough

4. Articles in the Winter and Spring, 1997, issues of Blue & Gray Magazine, written by Stacy Allen, Historian at the Shiloh National Military Park.


April 6th, 1862 (Sunday):

Time: Events:
3:00 a.m. 250 man patrol from 25th Missouri and 12th Michigan advances from Peabody's (of Prentiss) camp.
4:55 a.m. Patrol fired on by Confederate cavalry near Seay Field. Skirmish fight begins.
6:00 a.m. Patrol discovers Hardee's main line of battle, begins to withdraw.
7:00 a.m. Sherman fired on (slightly wounded) in camp of 53rd Ohio by Cleburne's brigade.
7:00 - 9:30 a.m. Cleburne, Anderson, Russell each attack Sherman's line at Shiloh Church in turn, and are repulsed.
7:15 a.m. Sound of cannon fire reaches Grant's headquarters at Savannah. Grant orders Nelson's division of Buell's Army of the Ohio to march south along the east bank of the river to opposite Pittsburg Landing, then boards the steamer Tigress for the front.
7:30 a.m. Hurlbut receives message from Sherman asking for support. Veatch's brigade is dispatched.
7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Wood, Shaver, Gladden, and Chalmers engage Prentiss in front of his camps.
8:00 a.m. Grant speaks with Lew Wallace at Crump's Landing.

Raith (of McClernand) moves to support Sherman's left.

Hurlbut's other two brigades (Lauman and Williams), plus artillery, move to Prentiss's support.

8:45 a.m. Peabody killed during the defense of his brigade camps.
9:00 a.m. Prentiss defeated in front of his camps; begins to withdraw.

Hurlbut begins to form line in Sarah Bell's cotton field, in front of the Peach Orchard.

Tuttle and Sweeny (of W.H.L. Wallace) form along Sunken Road near the Duncan Field.

Grant arrives at Pittsburg Landing; sends Capt. A.S. Baxter with orders for Lew Wallace to march to the Landing, and sends a message to Nelson to "hurry up" his troops "as fast as possible."

9:30-10:00 a.m. Five brigades (Wood, Shaver, Stewart, Gibson, Stephens) shifted left to attack Raith (of McClernand), who is in position on Sherman's left. Two brigades (Chalmers and Jackson) dispatched to the right to deal with Stuart's (of Sherman) brigade, posted near the river.

Bushrod Johnson's brigade, supported by Anderson and Russell, attacks Hildebrand (of Sherman) in Rhea Field, carrying the position. Hildebrand's brigade collapses.

10:00 a.m. Prentiss's survivors file into line between Wallace and Hurlbut, along the Sunken Road.

Sherman withdraws to the Hamburg-Purdy Road, where he is joined by McClernand's division.

Williams and Lauman (of Hurlbut) are attacked by Adams (Gladden), Jackson, and Chalmers in the Sarah Bell cotton field. The Confederates, after a brief fight, are withdrawn to confront Stuart's brigade in their right rear.

Bowen and Statham are committed to the right; Trabue to the left.

Grant sends courier to order Lew Wallace to march to the battle.

10:30 a.m. McArthur (of W.H.L. Wallace) joins Hurlbut's line on the left.

Cheatham leads Stephens's brigade in the first assault on the Sunken Road position, across Duncan Field.

10:30-11:30 a.m. Sherman and McClernand are attacked along the Hamburg-Purdy Road by roughly two-thirds of the Confederate army and driven 1,300 yards northward to Jones Field.

Chalmers and Jackson attack and defeat Stuart's lone brigade along the river.

11:30 a.m. Sherman and McClernand counterattack south from Jones Field; after initial success, they are repulsed and fall back by about 1:00 p.m.

Capt. Baxter finds Lew Wallace and delivers Grant's orders to march to Pittsburg Landing.

12:00 noon A.P. Stewart leads a mixed brigade against the right of the Sunken Road position and is repulsed.
12:00-2:00 p.m. Bragg orders Randal Gibson's brigade to make four separate unsupported attacks on the center of the Sunken Road position, which becomes known as the Hornet's Nest.
12:30 p.m. Grant returns to Pittsburg Landing after meeting with division commanders along the front.
1:30 p.m. Nelson's division of the Army of the Ohio, having been briefly detained by Buell, begins his march down the river to Pittsburg Landing.
2:00 p.m. Gen. A. S. Johnston leads Statham's brigade in an attack on the Peach Orchard position.
2:30 p.m. Tennessee Gov. Isham Harris, a volunteer aide on Johnston's staff, finds the general reeling in his saddle.

U.S. Grant instructs his chief of artillery, Col. Joseph D. Webster, to begin establishing a defense line in front of Pittsburg Landing.

Grant also sends aides McPherson and Rawlins to find Lew Wallace and his division.

Bragg orders Shaver's brigade to attack the Sunken Road; the attack fails.

2:45 p.m. Johnston dies in a ravine southeast of the Peach Orchard.
3:00 p.m. Sherman and McClernand withdraw across Tilghman Branch.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Beauregard shifts Confederate strength from the left to the right to crush the Hornet's Nest-Sunken Road-Peach Orchard position.
3:00-4:30 p.m. Confederate Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles assembles 53 cannon opposite the right (C.S. left) of the Sunken Road position.
3:30 p.m. Patton Anderson attacks the Sunken Road position. This is the eighth single brigade attack that is made between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; all fail.
4:00 p.m. Hurlbut withdraws from left of Peach Orchard position. Confederates do not pursue.
4:30 p.m. "Ruggles's battery" opens fire.
5:00 p.m. Hurlbut takes up new position just north of the Dill Branch ravine.

Under pressure from 14 of the 16 Confederate brigades on the field, Prentiss and W.H.L. Wallace issue orders to withdraw from the Hornet's Nest. Confusion reigns in "Hell's Hollow" as fleeing units lose all organization in the attempt to flee. W.H.L. Wallace shot, left for dead.

Nelson's division of Buell's Army of the Ohio arrives opposite Pittsburg Landing.

5:30 p.m. Confederate left and right wings join at the junction of the Hamburg-Savannah and Corinth roads, behind the Hornet's Nest.

Prentiss surrenders in the Hornet's Nest. Approximately 2,300 Federals are taken prisoner.

Approximately 20,000 Federal troops man "Grant's Last Line."

6:00 p.m. Part of Ammen's brigade (of Nelson) forms on the left of "Grant's Last Line."

Chalmers and Jackson attempt to charge across Dill Branch to attack Federal position, but are repulsed.

Beauregard sends orders to suspend the attack and withdraw to the Federal camps for the night.

7:15 p.m. Lew Wallace arrives with Grant's missing division, forms on the Federal right.
7:30 p.m. Ammen's brigade (of Nelson) completes its crossing of the river.
9:00 p.m. Nelson's division completes its crossing of the river.
10:00 p.m. Rain begins to fall.
1:00 a.m. Crittenden's division completes its crossing of the river. Buell's remaining division, under McCook, arrives throughout the night.

April 7, 1862 (Monday):

3:00 a.m. Rain begins to slacken.
4:00 a.m. Nelson's division begins to advance along the Federal left.
5:30 a.m. Hazen (of Nelson) encounters Confederate skirmishers (from Chalmers and Jackson) near Hurlbut's old headquarters.
6:00 a.m. Lew Wallace's artillery opens fire on Federal right. Grant instructs Wallace to attack the Rebels in his front (across Tilghman Branch).

Nelson's line is astride the Hamburg-Savannah Road, halfway between Cloud Field and the Peach Orchard.

Crittenden's division (on Nelson's right) begins to advance.

6:30 a.m. Lew Wallace attacks Pond's brigade west of Tilghman Branch.
7:00 a.m. Crittenden's advance joins up with Nelson. McCook's division is following behind Crittenden.
8:00 a.m. Sherman (reinforced by Lauman) and McClernand begin to advance, and are held up by heavy artillery fire from near Jones Field. Lew Wallace occupies the north end of Jones Field.

Nelson reaches Wicker Field.

9:00 a.m. Pond retires toward the Hamburg-Purdy Road.
9:30 a.m. Gibson and Wood attack Wallace in Jones Field, are repulsed.
10:00 a.m. Confederate line finally is formed, running roughly northwest to southeast, from Jones Field to Sarah Bell's cotton field.

Nelson's advance checked along the Sunken Road position, roughly.

Sherman and McClernand join Lew Wallace in the fight for Jones Field.

11:00 a.m. Lew Wallace turns the Confederate left flank in Jones Field and forces the Rebel left to retire.

Hazen (of Nelson) and Smith (of Crittenden) attack the Davis Wheat Field west of Sarah Bell's cotton field. After a brief success, they are driven back with heavy losses.

Ammen and Bruce (of Nelson) engage several makeshift Confederate brigades under Hardee for control of Sarah Bell's cotton field, but are stalemated.

12:00 noon Cheatham attacks Sherman and McClernand at Water Oaks Pond, and drives them north about 300 yards, is slowly driven back.

McCook and Hurlbut attack west and southwest across Duncan Field and drive to the Hamburg-Purdy Road.

Nelson again attacks Hardee along the Hamburg-Savannah Road.

12:00 noon -- 1:00 p.m. Confederate counterattacks briefly shake the Federals near Water Oaks Pond, but reinforcements (Veatch's and Wagner's brigades) bolster the line and it holds.
1:00 p.m. Beauregard determines to withdraw from the field.
2:00 p.m. Nelson drives Hardee to the Hamburg-Purdy Road.

Orders issued to Confederate troops to retire to Corinth. Breckinridge establishes a rear-guard 800 yards south of Shiloh Church.

5:00 p.m. Breckinridge's rear-guard begins to retire.