Alternative History


     The battle of Shiloh led to the emergence of General William T. Sherman. Due to his leadership and inspiration he held his Division together during the initial Confederate assault and enabled it to retreat in good order. However he did receive two minor wounds and had three horses shot out from under him. It is not a stretch to have him killed while trying to rally his troops.

     Secondly, General Albert S. Johnston, the Confederate Commander rode forward to the battle line, leaving his second in command, General PGT Beauregard in the rear to direct men and supplies as needed, this effectively ceded control of the battle to Beauregard, who did not direct the battle as Johnston intended. Additionally, Johnston was killed in the early afternoon of the battle. In this POD Johnston stays to the rear to control the battle. 


     At 0630 the Confederate Corps of Generals Hardee and Bragg move forward. The ferocity of the attack causes some of the inexperienced Union soldiers to flee for the Tennessee River. However, enough soldiers fight well that, although they give ground under the pressure, they attempt to form new defensive lines. On the right of the Union line is the Division of General Sherman, who is also the on scene Commander. He begins riding up and down his line, inspiring his soldiers to hold the line. However, at a little after 0700, General Sherman rocks back as a minie ball strikes him in the chest, moments later he falls from the saddle, mortally wounded. The sudden loss of their inspirational leader causes his Division, already cracking under the pressure of the Confederate attack, to collapse and begin fleeing up Purdy Road towards the river. The Division of General McClernand, to the left of Sherman's Division, also begins to fall apart from both the pressure of the Confederate attack and the panic and collapse of Sherman's men. General Hardee's Corps gives pursuit, however the effectiveness of the pursuit is diminished by the disorganization of Hardee's Corps and General McClernend is able to piece together a defensive line just to the southwest of the intersection of Purdy Road and the Eastern Corinth Road that slows Hardee's advance to a crawl. On the Confederate right, the Corps of General Bragg begins slowly pushing back the Divisions of Generals Prentiss and WHL Wallace, who are falling back in good order. 

     Watching from the rear of his lines, General Johnston sees the collapse of the Union right and realizes that the Union Army is being pushed towards the Tennessee River and not to the northwest towards the swamps of Owl Creek as he intended. Seeing this, at 0730 he orders the Corps of General Polk to reinforce Bragg's Corps on the right and the Corps of General Breckenridge to advance to the east of the Hamburg-Savannah (River) Road and begin pushing the Union forces to the northwest. At first this plan seems ineffective as Polk's Corps became entangled with Bragg's Corps and slows the advance. Additionally the Divisions of Generals Prentiss and Wallace have set up an effective defensive line behind a slightly sunken road that comes to be called the Hornet's Nest. The advance of Polk and Bragg's Corps slows to a stop. Their saving grace comes from Breckenridge's Corps, although he has been slowed by both having to go a longer distance and the more rough terrain he has to move on, he is able to flank the Hornet's Nest and by 0900 the position collapses and along with it goes the entire Union left flank. 

     At 0830 General Grant, who had been ten miles downriver at Savannah nursing injuries sustained on April 4th when he horse had fell on him, arrives on the battlefield, having moved towards the battle at the first sounds of cannon fire. He begins working to bring up reinforcements that are nearby, General Bull Nelson's Division from across the river at the landing and General Lew Wallace's Division from Crump's Landing. However, neither Division will arrive to effect the battle. 


     General McClernand, who is holding his line against the half-hearted attacks of General Hardee's Corps now begins to fall apart under the weight of the collapsing Union left flank and the attacks of Breckenridge's Corps. Grant's entire Army of West Tennessee falls apart and begins fleeing to the northwest losing most of their supplies and artillery. General Grant himself, slowed by his injuries, is taken prisoner. By 1000 the battle is effectively over. General Johnston orders Breckenridge's Corps, which is the most organized, to continue the pursuit and push the remnants of the Union Army into the swamps to the northwest. He orders the rest of his Army to consolidate, reorganize and move to Pittsburg Landing to set up defensive positions extending west from the landing to River Road. At 1200 Breckenridge's Corps is ordered to discontinue it's pursuit of the remnants of Grant's Army and set up defenses to the west of River Road tied in with the rest of the Army. By 1600 the victorious Army of Mississippi has completed it's consolidation, reorganization and has established a strong defensive line at Pittsburg Landing. 


     General Grant's Army of West Tennessee is completely shattered. General Lew Wallace's Division, which quickly moved back to Savannah as reports of the collapse of the rest of the Army trickle in, now comprises the entire strength of the Army. He has less than 9,000 soldiers under his command from an original force of almost 50,000. On April 7th, he moves his forces to link up with General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio which is moving towards Pittsburg Landing from the northeast. On the 10th of April he joins The Army of the Ohio which now number some 27,000. General Buell faced with the loss of Grant's Army, and knowing that he is now significantly outnumbered by General Johnston's Army of Mississippi, begins moving his Army back to Nashville with the hope of rebuilding before starting any further offensive operations. 

     At Shiloh, General Johnston is busy consolidating and moving the thousands of Union prisoners to prison camps further south, as well as resting and reorganizing his victorious Army. He also sees that the abundant supplies, arms and equipment he has seized from Grant's Army is redistributed to his haphazardly equipped soldiers. After holding a council of war with his Generals, it is decided that the next objective for the Army of Mississippi will be Nashville.

     On April the 12th, the Army of Mississippi, 50,000 strong, commanded by General Albert S. Johnston, crosses the Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing and begins marching northeast. It's objective, Nashville, Tennessee.