Hi everyone! First, a bit of news. Today’s giveaway marks the conclusion of our Civil War Sesquicentennial March campaign. We’ll continue to commemorate the anniversary throughout the coming months, but our official 40-book sweepstakes will close March 31st, 12 a.m. EST. So don’t forget to share it with your friends (to get additional prizes) and then enter to win today’s Free Book Friday by commenting on this post by Sunday, April 1, at 12 :00 a.m. EST.
Today’s freebie, A History & Guide to the Monuments of Shiloh National Park, comes just in time for the 150th anniversary of Shiloh. The Battle of Shiloh took place on April 6-7 in 1862 on the banks of the Tennessee River. General Albert Sidney Johnston marched his army of 40,000 Confederates from Corinth, Mississippi to attack General Ulysses S. Grant’s army encamped at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. The battle ended with General Johnston and several other generals dead or mortally wounded and the Confederate army retreating back to Mississippi. The two days of fighting left 23,746 dead, wounded or missing.
Yet the history of the battlefield didn’t end with the battle. In 1866, Union veterans worked with the government to create a national cemetery for the Union dead on the battlefield. Later in the 1890s, the War Department and veterans began construction of a battlefield park to memorialize the great battle. By 1900, state governments began erecting large monuments on the park to honor their soldiers and to mark the battlefield positions of their troops.
The monuments at Shiloh—their creation, their construction, and their symbolism—have a history all their own. Most states hired artists to create elaborate monuments carved in granite, marble and bronze. Veteran organizations, families of the veterans, famous veterans and state dignitaries attended monument dedication ceremonies over the years on the battlefield. Today the park has 150 monuments scattered across the four thousand acres of battlefield. Monuments of Shiloh is the only book to date that details the history, creation, and symbolism of these monuments.
Each monument speaks to the state from which it was delivered, forming a tapestry of Union and Confederacy remembrance unrivaled by any other Civil War historic site. Dr. Stacy Reaves, a former Shiloh park ranger, endeavors to tell the story of some of the most storied and unique monuments of the Civil War. Photos come from the Shiloh National Military Park Archives, Tennessee State Archives, private collections and university library collections.
Dr. Stacy Reaves received her Ph.D from Oklahoma State University and is currently adjunct professor of history and geography at Tulsa Community College. With a bachelor’s degree in historic preservation, she has served as a museum director at Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum, museum curator at Sapulpa Historical Society, and museum technician at Fort Sill Museum. She worked as a park interpreter and seasonal park ranger at Shiloh National Military Park for five years. Dr. Reaves writing has appeared in The Chronicle of Oklahoma, North and South magazine, Journal of the West and Journal of Military History.
We hope that you’ll enjoy this excerpt from A History & Guide to the Monuments of Shiloh National Park by Stacy W. Reaves. What are your thoughts on Shiloh and the upcoming anniversary?