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Shiloh National Military Park

Hornets' Nest II (Hornets' Nest Center)

Every major battlefield in the Civil War had areas of intense fighting that became indelibly etched in the collective memory of the participating soldiers. The soldiers often gave these areas descriptive names, perhaps in an attempt to put words to the horror that swept over them: Bloody Lane at Antietam, the Angle at Gettysburg, and the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania. One of the first, and bloodiest, of the conflict was the Hornets' Nest at Shiloh.

These pictures are from the central portion of the Hornets' Nest. The other sections of the Hornets' Nest can be seen in the Hornets' Nest I (Duncan Field), Hornets' Nest III (Peach Orchard), Bloody Pond and Wallace Monument pages.

These pictures are a continuation of the shots on the Hornets' Nest I (Duncan Field) page. The images are displayed in order from west to east, in the same order someone would encounter them if they walked this portion of the battlefield from the right side of the Union line to the left.

7th and 12th Iowa monuments (34K)

Image 1: 7th and 12th Iowa monuments. This is a photograph of the Hornet's Nest line, looking northwest, with Duncan Field on the left. The closest monument, on the right, is the 12th Iowa monument. The monument in the center is the 7th Iowa monument. Off in the background (with a car parked in front of it) is the 2nd Iowa Infantry monument, the monument found on image 1 on the Hornets' Nest I (Duncan Field) page.

The monuments stand on a walking trail that follows the path of the sunken road. The sunken road offered a "natural" defensive position in front of the woods, seen on the right of the picture. Union troops defended the sunken road and the oak thicket behind it.

12th Iowa monument (34K)

Image 2: 12th Iowa monument. Another view of the 12th Iowa monument, looking southeast. The monument to Munch's Battery, 1st Minnesota Light Artillery is just visible in the background, to the left of the 12th Iowa monument.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery monument (44K)

Image 3: Munch's Battery, 1st Minnesota Light Artillery monument. This is the monument to Munch's Battery of the 1st Minnesota Light Artillery. On the right side of the picture, running behind the monument, is the East Corinth Road. The road runs northeast, and this picture is looking roughly eastward. This is the monument to the battery, but the battery's actual position during the battle is shown in the next three photographs.

Center of the Union line (42K)

Image 4: Center of the Union line. This is a picture looking southeast along the line of the sunken road. The blue marker on the left in the foreground indicates the center of the Union's Hornets' Nest battle line. (Written across the middle of the marker is "Center of the Union Line" and written in an arc, above it, is "Hornets' Nest"). In the background on the left is the 14th Iowa monument. In the background on the right are field guns marking the actual position of Munch's Battery, 1st Minnesota Light Artillery.

The Hornets' Nest position was formed around the division of Brigadier General William H. L. Wallace in the center of the Union line, elements of Brig. Gen. Benjamin Prentiss' division on the Union left and elements of Brig. Gen. Stephen Hurlbut's division on the Union left and right. After the rout of Union troops at the beginning of the battle, this position in the center of the battlefield slowed down the Confederate advance. For five hours, the Confederates repeatedly assaulted the position, which became known as the Hornets' Nest due to the musket balls and shrapnel that filled the air.

Eventually the Confederates assembled a huge "grand battery" of artillery and pummelled the Union line (see the Ruggles' Battery page). The left and right flanks of the Hornets' Nest line collapsed. The remaining troops in the center were surrounded, and 2,200 Federal soldiers were captured. The position did it's job, though. The Confederate juggernaut was slowed long enough for Major General Ulysses S. Grant to form a last-ditch defensive line protecting Pittsburg Landing. Overnight, soldiers from Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio crossed the Tennessee River. The next day the Federals counterattacked, and — after a day of hard fighting — drove the Confederates from the field.

Sunken Road and 14th Iowa monument (41K)

Image 5: Sunken Road and 14th Iowa monument. Another view of the 14th Iowa monument, looking southeast. This picture shows the line of the sunken road leading up the hill to the Iowa monument. The sunken road has eroded over the years, leaving little more than a dirt trail. on the right are field guns marking the actual position of Munch's Battery, 1st Minnesota Light Artillery.

14th Iowa monument and Munch's Battery position (40K)

Image 6: 14th Iowa monument and Munch's Battery position. Another view of the 14th Iowa monument, looking southeast. The position of Munch's Battery of the 1st Minnesota Light Artillery is indicated by the field guns on the right. Off in the background is the monument to the 8th Iowa infantry.

Arkansas State Monument (33K)

Image 7: Arkansas State Monument. A short distance southwest of "Center of the Union Line" marker (see image 4), along the East Corinth Road, is the Arkansas State Monument. This picture looks southwest, with the East Corinth Road running behind the monument.

The Hornets' Nest photographs are continued on the Hornets' Nest III (Peach Orchard) page.

Images 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 were captured in March, 2000 on Fuji ISO 200 speed film. Images 4 and 5 were captured on Kodak Gold 200 film in May, 2002. These photographs were taken with a Nikon F-601 autofocus SLR, using a Nikkor 24mm - 50mm f2.8 wide angle zoom lens.