Having found Sheriff Pusser's home closed and no churches that appeared to be of the snake-handling kind, we proceeded on the few miles to the Shiloh National Military Park (NMP). One thing to note however: If I had known the Shiloh church was still an active Methodist congregation, and meeting that day, I WOULD have gone there to worship.
|Current Shiloh Methodist|
Church. The original stands
|The Hurricane arrives at Shiloh|
|The Hornet's Nest|
|Part of the Sunken Road|
But back to the Hurricane and I. Tour map in hand we set out for the first stop noting that there were a LOT of other monuments, cannons, and such along the way. So we drove a hundred yards, jumped out to take pictures,and so forth. You get the idea. After a bit we realized we'd be there all day taking pictures of every monument. We also realized something pretty quickly-all the state monuments looked the same so if you know what Ohio's looks like, for instance, you can cut down the field. There were also a LOT of monuments up by the center but none the one we were looking for. After reading a bit,she realized these were the "participation award" monuments of the units on site but not actually in the battle. It became the pun of the tour.
So we moved along a little more quickly from stop to stop, following the story but looking specifically for grandpa's unit. We tramped a lot of fields saying things like, "there's one over there! Oh wait, that's an Indiana one (or Illinois, etc.)". We were also fortunate because the Park Service had color and shape coded the markers: Red for Confederate; Blue for Army of the Tennessee; Yellow for Army of the Ohio; rectangle for day one and oval for day two. We got good at looking for oval yellow markers. We went all over the park, following the tour and looking, looking, looking. One this is nice though. Even when looking back in the weeds and woods, the path is generally apparent and has been mowed fairly recently so you don't have to just plow off through the brier patch.
It was hot and humid. I mean cut a patch of sky out with your pocket knife and drink it humid. We met a nice couple from Florida who were working their way to Montana on vacation. The Hurricane and I were STINKIN' SOPPY wet and they weren't. She said it's really humid in Florida and she thought it was nice here. In fact she said "I'm not even sweating yet". The Hurricane wouldn't let me hit her. Besides, I didn't have the energy.
|Me & the first marker|
|Front of the 59th Monument|
|Back of the 59th Monument|
Finding these markers and monuments and actually seeing the battleground really helped me formulate in my mind the movements of the units and the reasons for what happened. Actually seeing the terrain helps me understand the noise, carnage and confusion, along with the complete lack of modern communication and delays in relaying information, that led to some of the events of those two days.
|Second marker at Hamburg Rd|
Well, we made our way back to our motel, America's Best Hotel in Selmer (it wasn't America's BEST but it was clean and met our needs) run by Yogi Patel. Mrs Patel was at the desk (or was she Yogi? I'm not sure as the only Yogi I know of is from Jellystone Park). She was nice and apologized for the ice machine not working but had a big ice chest and gladly filled up my ice bucket. We spent a good night, dead to the world (remember, we really haven't slept since the hour at SkeeterVille) and got up ready to launch ourselves into another historical day (in more ways than one!).