April 6, 1906

The Battle of Shiloh was so horrific that Isaac was affected by it for the rest of his life. He was an avid reader of newspapers and periodicals where accounts of the war were published after the war ended. As time passed and the war became a fading memory, printed
recollections of Civil War Generals and others evidently did not portray the Battle of Shiloh as Isaac experienced it. The memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant were especially troubling to Isaac.

As Commander of the Ed Hamlin GAR Post, Isaac gave many speeches at special events and holidays.  On the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, Isaac gave the following speech which will be posted in segments over the next few days.

Was Shiloh a Surprise

 Among the men who took an active part in the Engagement that question is never asked,  it was Settled beyond all controversy on that Eventful morning, when 10 regs [regiments] of infty 20 Batteries of artillery & a corresponding force of Cavalry were camped in isolated camps with a deep unfordable river in the rear & had been in this position 2 weeks or more,   there was no Semblance of order in these camps as is generally the case & was Ever afterwards, with us, it Seemed as tho as the troops arrived they marched up the hill at Pitsburg landing [on the Tennessee River] & Each reg went into Camp as best Suited their Col,  our Commander [General Ulysses S. Grant] had his headqrs 9 miles away & on the other Side of the river  Consequently he was never with us at night & many days not there at all & no one designated to act in his place & came to the landing the day of the battle at 10 AM

Now it is but natural that we who took part [in] that great battle Should discuss it in the light of what we saw & did,  we had no breast works or protection of any kind & you may think to use a comon phrase that it was as fair for the goose as it was for the gander, but Such was not the case  the attacking party is never Supposed to have protection, & the party attacked is at a great disadvantage if not intrenched, Especially so in case of a Surprise, in our front was all thick woods & underbrush  no trees were cut or clearing made, thus giving our Enemy an advantage which they were not Slow to avail themselves of,

Sign marking the location of the 11th Iowa Infantry on April 6, 1862.
Sign marking the location of the 11th Iowa Infantry on April 6, 1862.
View of the thick wooded tree line Isaac mentions in his speech.
View of the thick wooded tree line Isaac mentions, above, in his speech.

 

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