The 4,200-acre Shiloh National Military Park preserves the battlefield of the Battle of Shiloh (also called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing). The two-day battle, which took place on April 6 and April 7, 1862, was one of the first major battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. It involved approximately 65,000 Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant and Don Carlos Buell and 44,000 Confederates under Albert Sidney Johnston (killed in the battle) and P.G.T. Beauregard. This resulted in nearly 24,000 lives lost.
The two days of fighting did not end in a decisive tactical victory for either side—the Union held the battlefield but failed to pursue the withdrawing Confederate forces. Strategically, however, it was a decisive defeat for the Confederate forces that had concentrated to oppose Grant’s and Buell’s invasion through Tennessee.
As one of America's best-preserved battlefields with 156 monuments, 217 cannons and more than 650 interpretive markers, the Park also offers a 10-mile self-guided driving tour. Visitors are encouraged to start at the visitors center with a short video, visit the gift shop and experience the park's beautiful views of the Tennessee River with an afternoon drive.
Located within the boundaries of Shiloh Battlefield is also a United States National Cemetery, which contains around 4,000 soldiers and their family members.
A National Historic Landmark in its own right, the Shiloh Indian Mounds, one of the best-preserved examples of a Mississippian mound builder complex in the Southeast, is another sight to visit within the park boundaries. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, Native American town existed more than 800 years ago.
Rectangular mounds still seen today were once platforms for the town's important buildings. The round-topped mounds are burial sites for the society's leaders and other important members. A 1-mile walking trail allows visitors access to wayside exhibits and over three dozen individual house mounds. This is just one of a few remaining places where remnants of prehistoric cultures are visible above ground.