The beginning of the Civil War was just under a year old and the Battle of Shiloh would prove that this was not going to be a short conflict. Both sides would take heavy casualties and show signs of victory, but ultimately the Union Army would gain the advantage. General Ulysses S. Grant, who would eventually accept the surrender of the Confederacy three years later, would be the North's leader in this great battle. The Confederate leader would be General Albert S. Johnston. The South was outnumbered in overall strength, but critical mistakes and bad decisions throughout the battle would make the difference. Though the South managed to catch the Union by surprise they failed to capitalize due to poor planning, lack of supplies and bad decisions.
The Union Army had penetrated the defense of the South by taking control of Forts Henry and Donelson in Northern Tennessee. General Grant was desperate to continue the attack and requested that General Halleck allow him to pursue the Confederacy by taking the town of Corinth, Mississippi.
Besides the loss of ground the South still had control of a key objective for the North. The railroad intersections of the Memphis-Charleston and Mobile-Ohio railroads, was a key objective in order to gain control of "the Crossroads of the Confederacy."
The ability to mass troops became a problem for the South. Heavy rains throughout the area had damaged many roads and railroads. This would cause a logistical nightmare for the South leaders and eventually lead to one of the causes for failure at Shiloh. General Braxton Bragg, who was ordered to move North from Alabama and Florida, wrote that prompt movement would be impossible. This delay began what would be something to plague General Johnston throughout the battle. When Johnston arrived in Corinth, he...