The Battle of Shiloh was fought on 6 April 1862 in Tennessee, a battle that might have ended the careers of Grant and Sherman had Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston prevailed. In the postwar, Gen. Alexander P. Stewart saw the near-victory of Southern arms there “as [the Army of Tennessee’s] one chance to truly destroy a Federal army and change the course of the war in the West.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
Soldiers Worthy of the Women of the South
“Perhaps because of the storm or criticism which had assailed him after the surrender of Fort Donelson, [Johnston] unselfishly offered the command to [Gen. PGT] Beauregard. The Creole general refused the responsibility, but he drew up the faulty plan of attack which Johnston adopted; namely, the placing of one corps behind another in three long thin lines of battle instead of advancing by columns.
In a proclamation to the soldiers Johnston described the Union army as “agrarian mercenaries sent to despoil you of your liberties, property and honor.” Appealing to his men the show themselves “worthy of the women of the South, whose noble devotion in this war has never been exceeded in any time.”
The Confederate advance [at Shiloh] was so delayed by rain and muddy roads that Beauregard believed all chance for a surprise had been lost and urged returning to their base; but the other corps commanders favored attack, and Johnston was so confident of victory that he said, “Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River.”
The Confederate attack early Sunday morning April 6  on [Sherman’s] advance division proved to be a surprise, announced only by a reconnaissance force that encountered the Confederate vedettes and mange to give the alarm so that the Federals got into line of battle for the attack. Grant was at his headquarters at Savannah, Tennessee, nine miles away on the other side of the river, when the battle began.
“Like an avalanche,” wrote Beauregard, the grey army drove the Federal troops from their camp and occupied Sherman’s headquarters at “the rude log chapel” of Shiloh. Instead of following up the victory, however, many of the Confederate soldiers stopped to plunder the camp.
At 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon [Johnston] was hit by a Minie ball which cut an artery in his leg. The wound was not necessarily mortal, but he remained in the saddle till he bled to death. The Confederates drove the Federals . . . nearly to the river; but, having used their reserve earlier in the day, they did not have the fresh strength to completer their victory.
At six o’clock in the evening . . . Beauregard halted the fighting . . . [as] the Southern troops had become hopelessly entangled, until they were a confused mob. Beauregard reported, his men were jaded by the previous day’s march through mud and rain, and they had fought twelve hours without food. The arrival of [enemy reinforcements] late that afternoon and during the night enabled the Union armies the following day to turn the tide of battle.”
(The History of the Southern Confederacy, Clement Eaton, Macmillan Company, 1954, excerpts, pp. 162-163)