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Wisconsin in the Civil War

War's Excitement, then Gruesome Reality Hits Home

An unidentified soldier in the 14th Wisconsin Infantry chronicles the transition from the excitement of fighting to the horror on the battlefield during the second day of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee on April 7, 1862.

We started on "double quick" and soon arrived on the battle ground. At first we were unable to see the enemy, as they were concealed among the trees and bushes; but they soon made us aware of their presence, by sending into our ranks showers of shot and shell… Our boys fought like tigers, with all the nerve and coolness of veteran soldiers.

The result of the battle, however, was uncertain, until about three o'clock p.m., when we were reinforced by infantry and artillery, and then we began to drive them back. And oh, such shouting and cheering! The roar of battle was fairly drowned out for a few moments…

May I never again be compelled to witness the horrible spectacle that was presented to us during the battle and after its close. Men were mangled, and bleeding, and dying by scores and hundreds. One poor rebel, during the battled, under took to run away "on all fours" when a cannon ball struck him, tearing him in pieces, and scattering his limbs in different directions.

Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 5, page 140.

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Fighting at Shiloh.
Fighting at Shiloh.

WHI 4603
Civil War cannon used at Shiloh.
Civil War cannon used at Shiloh, now displayed at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin.

WHI 31894
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