April 7 & 8, 1862. (the second and follow up day at the Battle of Shiloh)
“If the enemy comes on us in the morning, we’ll be whipped like hell”.
– Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest (Yes, Forrest Gump was named after this man)
The best estimates of casualties on the first day are the south lost 8,500 men to death and injury and an equal number to desertion. The effective force was about 28,000. The north had about 10,000 killed and wounded with few desertions (better discipline and training) leaving them with a significant advantage. About 50,000 fighting men, which prompted the quote from Confederate Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest whose advice General Beauregard ignored.
The Confederates had withdrawn into the old Union camps to get away from the naval bombardment, to search for food and ammunition. There was complete disarray, no lines of battle, no defensive positions.
At dawn Grant attacked with full force on his right driving the confederates out of their poorly defended positions with Lew Wallace’s “Lost Division”. The remainder of Sherman’s, McClernand’s and Tuttle’s (Tuttle replaced the surrendered Prentiss) divisions down the center with the Army of the Ohio on the right next to the river. The Confederate defenders were so badly commingled that little unit cohesion existed. It required more than two hours to locate Gen. Polk and bring up his division from its position before 10 a.m., Beauregard had realigned his front with his commanders from west to east: Bragg, Polk, Breckinridge, and Hardee.
Fighting was intensified now that the confederates had some cohesiveness. In a thicket near the Hamburg-Purdy Road, the fighting was so intense that Sherman described in his report of the battle “the severest musketry fire I ever heard.”