George Washington forever.
America is the best. There is nothing like taking a history road trip to visit battlefields and areas of significance while honoring those who fought and lost their lives for freedom.
I’m finally in Boston! I drove through Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Crappy free hotel Wi-Fi and non-stop driving hindered my writing ability. But in Boston, I will write daily posts.
Shiloh National Military Park
It all started with a monster storm driving through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The storm made me pull off the road, pelting my car and courage with its rain and hail. Lightning crashed all around me. It tempted me to turn around and abandon the 2022 History Road Trip.
I refused to leave. It took almost 10 hours to arrive at Shiloh, TN.
Breathtaking. Humbling. Somber.
You need to make Shiloh National Military Park your #1 destination on any road trip centered around history or a side trip if you go through the area.
The Battle of Shiloh took place April 6-7, 1862. It resulted in a Union victory. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston perished in the fighting, giving the command to P.G.T. Beauregard.
It was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War up to that point. The Union won but suffered too many casualties. Plus the media battered Grant since the Confederates were able to surprise attack him.
- The park marked everything, even if a regiment stood at the spot for a short time.
- The driving tour had spectacular signs guiding you to the next spots.
- Did I mention it’s pristine? Spotless, green and lush grass, and perfect roads.
I recommend taking two days to take in this entire battlefield. You need more than a day. The driving self-tour has 22 stops. All stops have a pull-over spot or parking lots so you can get out to explore. I didn’t have enough time to give proper attention to all of the spots.
The national cemetery next to the visitor center has those who perished at Shiloh. Each soldier is buried with his regiment. So many unidentified soldiers. I found some comfort knowing the men received a proper burial.
But this headstone greets you as you step inside.
Henry Burke, the drummer for the 58th regiment in the Ohio infantry. Civil War drummer boys were about 13-17 years old. They could have been as young as 10.
It’s taken me a while to find more information on Henry. I looked up the 58th Regiment Ohio Infantry roster and could not find him. I’ve spent these past few nights combing through records to try to bring Henry’s story to light.
I could not find anything concrete about the boy.
The Shiloh Cemetery includes the original Shiloh church. A small log cabin with only two doors once served this small community.
The battlefield of Duncan’s Farm took my breath away. So open, quiet, and eerie. The spot is set up like the battle with a fence marking the Union line, which had about 6,200 soldiers. The opposite side has cannons for the Confederate line, which had about 3,500 soldiers.
It is the bloodiest and heaviest part of the Shiloh Battle.
The road next to the field is called Sunken Road. The Union called the area the “Hornet’s Nest.”
The Confederates took the field. Beauregard got too cocky, though.
Grant received reinforcements overnight, which allowed him to outnumber Beauregard 54,000 to 30,000. The USS Tyler and USS Lexington helped the Union fight off of the Tennessee River.
The Union won, but lost 13,047 soldiers. The Confederates lost 10,669. The media blasted Grant for allowing the Confederates to surprise attack him. Lincoln refused to fire Grant.
The park service marked every spot a regiment stood during the battle. I cannot put into words the brilliance of this park.
You would think the battle that spelled the beginning of the end for the Redcoats would have a proper park like Shiloh!
General Charles Cornwallis defeated Major General Nathanael Greene but he lost a ton of soldiers. Greene managed to retreat with his army mostly intact, which leads us to Yorktown.
Greene went to dismantle the Redcoats in the south. Cornwallis went to Yorktown, which turned out to be his Waterloo.
Instead, we have a park that is more of a park for joggers, hikers, cyclists, and dogs. They did not give us great signs, making it hard to navigate. The roads are skinny so you’re constantly at war (no pun intended) with those on their feet.
They didn’t even recreate the Guilford Courthouse! Here’s a sign saying that the Courthouse likely stood at the spot.
Thinking about this national park makes my blood boil. I’m so ticked. The importance to history should make it a must stop but my goodness. No.
So Cornwallis went to Yorktown after he won Guilford Courthouse.
Big mistake. Cornwallis should have gone more inland because the French Navy helped take out the Redcoats in the Chesapeake Bay. Cornwallis didn’t get supplies or reinforcements.
The Continental Army with the help of the French, including badass Marquis de Lafayette, defeated him after marching from Williamsburg at the end of September.
We had 17,800 troops. The Redcoats had 8,300.
Cornwallis got a few more soldiers but the Continental Army and French bombarded the Redcopats nonstop for two days, taking out the big guns.
Then Cornwallis heard that General Clinton could not leave New York in time for him to hold off the Freedom Fighters.
Cornwallis’s defeat led to the Redcoats negotiating an end to the war. It was the last major battle in our war for independence.
How do you NOT get emotional standing at Surrender Field on the road where the defeated Redcoats marched surrounded by the Army and French?
On October 17, 1781, a drummer boy and a Redcoat waving a white flag emerged.
Washington accepted the surrender terms. The official surrender happened at 2 PM that afternoon. Cornwallis didn’t even show up. The baby had a stomachache or something.
General Charles O’Hara gave Cornwallis’s sword to the Continental Army. Cornwallis was sick or something. What a baby. Suck it up!!
Defeat is hard to swallow I guess, especially at the hand of a bunch of farmers.
The French and Americans stood on the side of the road outside of Surrender Field as the Redcoats took their Walk of Shame. Oh how I wish I could have been there!
MY HEART. You could literally smell the freedom.
The signs and roads at Yorktown are so much better than Guilford.
But always do the driving self-tours. You can take your time and soak up the liberty in front of you. NOTHING beats walking on the same ground as the Freedom Fighters.
Yes, Yorktown is also a Civil War battlefield but the park and tours center around the Revolutionary War battle.
Walking where our ancestors fought for our freedom. Walking where General George Washington had his headquarters.
Honoring those French soldiers who lost their lives so we could be free from tyranny. Yes, I know it was because they didn’t like the British but still!
Since we had to drive through Philadelphia I decided to make a pitstop. How do you not go to Independence Square? Well, I never saw online that I could only buy tour tickets ONLINE. But we saw the Liberty Bell and Congress Hall.
Well, we planned on seeing the Princeton park on Sunday morning, but….it poured all morning long.
We had to skip Princeton.
Anyway, now I’m in Boston. We plan on going to Salem on Monday!DONATE
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