Assignment 4

Following the Brigade of General T. Shermann in the Battle of Shiloh was interesting and challenging. Trying to correspond the entries with the maps did not always make sense or follow a cohesive line. First of all, the primary sources, like the historical maps, were almost irrelevant in terms of helpfulness, at least to me and I am directionally challenged. The more historical maps only really guiding feature was the Tennessee River. The secondary maps, which were more interactive allowed one to see how the Union was able to sneak up upon the Confederate army and have such a valiant win. The Brigade of General Shermann was stationed at such a point that they were able to hold their ground and triumph over the Union. You could see in the secondary sources, like the interactive map from Civil War Trust, that the Brigades of General T. Shermann were stationed at and around Shiloh Church. Looking at the map, one can see where the Confederates, fleeing from the attacks of the Union, then turned towards Shiloh Church and tried to dislodge Shermann’s Brigade. They held their ground much longer than expected and into the next morning. Looking at the other maps, you can see the way the troops would have retreated into the area of Shermann’s brigade. Furthermore, other entries speak of the topographical nature that assured higher-ups that the Confederates were not ambushed and had known of the attack because of the positions the Confederate troops had occupied during the so-called ambush. The maps also allow for better investigation of this. Overall, the secondary source maps were much more helpful to gain more information and have a better visualization.

4 thoughts on “Assignment 4”

  1. It’s interesting how specific some reports were compared to others. The colonel I followed scarcely mentioned landmarks, whereas yours seemed to be all about it. I can imagine it being difficult as a historian to have such varied details in the reports. It’s neat that with the topographical information you were able to understand why certain retreats and surprise attacks were possible.

  2. I too am directionally challenged so it was difficult for me to follow the primary source maps. The handwriting was hard to read, and for some there was no legend to reference. I found that the secondary maps were much more detailed, and easier to follow.

  3. After reading your post, I think being a historian is a very difficult position. There are a lot of material which are used to depict an event. Different material show different details. Reading those different details provide historians different understanding towards the same event.

  4. I was surprised to discover that I too thought the primary sources were pretty useless when it came to tracking any certain group. This was opposite from what I assumed would be true because I thought that the primary sources would be much more accurate and comprehensive. I agree that the secondary sources were much more beneficial and provided a much clearer way to track movements.

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