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Named after a nearby church in Tennessee, the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, just one year after the beginning of the Civil War, was the bloodiest, most horrific battle fought to that date, and quelled any speculation that might have remained that the war would be a short one ending with a quick, decisive victory. On the first day of the battle, the Confederates had the advantage, prompting messages to Jefferson Davis that relayed same, predicting a major victory that would prevent two divisions of the Union Army from joining up and moving further south; on day two, the tide turned, and the Union claimed ultimate victory. Approximately 3500 Americans died over those two days, and many thousands more on both sides were injured or missing. The beloved general Albert Sidney Johnson of the Confederacy lost his life as well.
The Battle of Shiloh has had a lasting impact on the consciousness of the state of Tennessee. As with many Civil War battlefields around the nation, rumors still circulate among visitors of ghostly activity on the park grounds late at night. One Civil War re-enactor claims to have seen the ghost of Albert Sidney Johnston leading his horse through the field. The national park commemorating the battlefield has a replica of Shiloh Church from which the battle gets it name (and ironically, derives from the Hebrew word "shiloh" which means "place of peace"). Sadly, Union and Confederate forces alike who were able to survive those two horrific days had not seen the last of the horrific battles; at least eight or ten more battles would rival Shiloh in bloodshed, carnage, and casualties before the war was over.
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