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Confederate High Command At Shiloh

Length: 72 pages1 hour


This is a study of the actions of the senior Confederate commanders at the battle of Shiloh. The senior commander, General Albert Sidney Johnston and his second in command, General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, did not come to a complete agreement on how to fight the battle. This disconnect between the two generals was the main reason for the South’s failure to achieve victory. The research method consisted of comparing the official records to other sources. These sources included books, biographies, telephone interviews, and one unpublished paper from the Shiloh National Military Park Library. Official records sometimes did not survive the test of scrutiny, particularly General Braxton Bragg’s assertion of actions at the close of April 6. The most important lesson that a student of military history can learn from this study is that commanders at all levels must ensure that the commander’s intent is clearly understood. Failure to do so almost guarantees confusion up and down the chain of command which will, most likely, result in defeat.

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