Thousands of Confederate troops unleash a surprise attack on Union camps at Shiloh Church near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River on April 6, 1862.
The onslaught surprises Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his tens of thousands of fighters massed there. But the federal forces rally, and bitter fighting rages for hours as Confederates slowly gain ground.
Despite the advantage of surprise, Confederate troops become disorganized before Grant’s pummeled forces hunker behind defensive positions and fighting subsides at nightfall.
The next day, Grant goes on the attack. His Union forces, totaling more than 54,000 troops, slam into Confederate ranks, eventually forcing their withdrawal and securing the Union a victory that further burnishes Grant’s reputation as a general who fights and wins.