Assignment 4

On April 12, 1862 Col. Alfred Mouton of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry wrote his report of the battle of Shiloh. Although Mouton’s writing was very descriptive in describing the calamity of war, the route in which he traveled is difficult to follow. It was not until the end of his report that the had mentioned he ultimately retreated to behind the Shiloh Church, and with this detail I was able to sort of go in reverse in tracking his movement. By using the maps provided in Battle Cry of Freedom as well as Sneden and Robert Knox’s map I was able to come to the conclusion that Mouton was part of Polk’s line. It was difficult to track his particular location, and his report leaves us with a pretty obvious reason as to why. He mentions his comrades falling by gunfire with each step, not knowing where the enemy is and where they may be, being victims of friendly fire, and ultimately getting no food, shelter, or rest for a number of days. Mouton himself was shot in the face and lucky enough to live through it. The greatest challenge of understanding particular movements of soldiers during historical battles is that, first and foremost, none of the maps are carbon copies of one another, and often they vary quite a lot. Another factor that plays into making this a difficult task is that no soldier experienced the same way. Each report provided is the perspective of an individual, and in order to come to a solid conclusion, each individual report would have to be analyzed thoroughly, with the various maps provided of the time. No one soldiers reports are more accurate than the other, only more accepted.

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