The Hornets Nest At Shiloh Essay Research — страница 2

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they were thirty paces away before the Twelfth and Thirteenth Iowa units from W. H. L. Wallace?s division opened fire. The first line of attackers was completely destroyed. Farther to the right of Cheatam?s open field, Confederates came through woods and thick brush to within ten yards of the Union line before having to withdraw under heavy fire (Nevin 121-123). The overall commander of Confederate forces trying to take the Sunken Road, General Bragg, believed in old Napoleonic tactics such as the use of the bayonet and massed frontal assaults against a fortified position, but the rifle musket made these tactics suicidal (Mcdonough 136). Nevertheless, Bragg continued to order his men across the field to attack the Nest and as the struggle went on, he became more and more

determined to crush the Doss 3 Federals inside the Nest. Confederates missed one of the best chances for success when they failed to break the line before it was fully formed at the Nest. In the first assault around 9:00 a.m., Prentiss? flanks were exposed without the Twenty-third Missouri or the Eighth Iowa, but instead of attacking the flanks, Bragg ordered assaults on the center. He ordered the Fourth, Thirteenth, Nineteenth Louisiana, and the First Arkansas, which were parts of Gibson?s brigade, to assault over the field toward the split-rail fence. At point-blank range the Eighth Iowa fired into the enemy lines while Federal cannon slashed the enemy?s flanks with canister and case shot. The Nineteenth Louisiana lost over a sixth of its men immediately and other regiments

suffered similar losses (Nevin 123-124). Bragg was furious with Gibson and ordered him to assault again. The second charge captured the Fifth Ohio Battery, but a counter charge led by the Eighth Iowa retook the cannons. The firing was so thick the undergrowth caught fire, causing the field of wounded to burn to death (Nevin 125-126). By 2:30 p.m., the Confederates had been stalled for more than three hours. Gibson?s brigade, as well as Shaver?s and Anderson?s, had been shattered and not an inch was gained (Mcdonough 149). All along the line, Confederate charges were small; they never attacked in mass along the entire line and always without artillery support. All afternoon, 17,000 men charged the Nest, but never more than 3,700 at once. Although there were only four to five

thousand Union defenders, they were in a good defensive position and always outnumbered the attackers. At the heart of their small attacks was the lack of overall leadership. Johnston was personally commanding little assaults to the right at the Peach Orchard, while Beauregard was in the rear sending couriers to