Assignment 4

I chose to track Col. William Preston (No. 139). He is reporting everything that happened up to the death of General Johnston. He explains that General Johnston moved his forces through Monterey by a farm house called Mickey’s right near the chapel Shiloh. He describes the terrain as wooded with small fields and big hills bounding the river. He explains that their movements seemed to be anticipated and it wasn’t until they reconnoitered the left side of the enemy front that they were able to move forward and push the enemy back. He does not explain the entire battle, only up until General Johnston died. The maps do seem to go along with what Col. Preston described. The map by Leon Fremaux shows the confederates and the union pretty much in a straight line going head to head and it doesn’t have any arrows showing movement. Another map by Robert Sneden shows how the confederates were able to surround the union at one point. These maps really don’t do the battle justice and they only show how the formations were set up during certain points of the battle but not throughout the battle. I’d also like to point out that the video said that General Johnston was hit by a ball in the leg and bled out but Col. Preston says he was actually hit by 3 balls.

In order to fill in missing gaps in our knowledge I think it is important to take in account all of the other letters that were written about the battle as well and compare the different maps that were drawn of the battle. This is how the historians can write history to the best of their knowledge. I think it is very hard for historians to figure out whose account of the battle is the most accurate. Putting together all of the details is what I believe is the biggest challenge for historians, especially on a multiple day battle such as this one where the soldiers are hungry, exhausted and sleep deprived I’m sure the letters would tend to get extremely confusing.

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