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Shiloh National Military Park

McAllister's Battery

McAllister's Battery monument, looking north-northeast(40K)

Image 1: McAllister's Battery monument, looking north-northeast. This is the front of the monument to McAllister's Battery, 1st Illinois Light Artillery (Army of the Tennessee). By mid-morning on April 6, 1862, the Confederate onslaught had swept aside the Union forces caught in its wake. Major General John A. McClernand moved his division into a line centered on the northeast corner of the Review Field. On the far left (east) of the Union line was the brigade of Colonel Abraham M. Hare. On the right was the brigade of Col. C. Carroll Marsh. Further to the right, on the other side of Water Oaks Pond, was the brigade of Col. Julius Raith. On the far right of the Union line were the remnants of Brigadier General William T. Sherman's division.

McAllister's Battery consisted of four 24-pdr howitzers. These guns were moved to plug the gap between Hare's and Marsh's brigades.

McAllister's Battery monument, looking south-southeast (40K)

Image 2: McAllister's Battery monument, looking south-southeast. Beyond the monument is the eastern half of the Review Field. The Confederate assault on this part of the battlefield came across the Review Field.

The Confederate assault stalled in front of the right side of the Union battle line while it pressed forward on the left. The 4th Tennessee Infantry regiment had stopped in the middle of the field, the men lying down for protection. Their brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, came forward and asked them to take the battery in front of them, McAllister's Battery. The regiment moved forward alone into a hail of canister fire, losing many men in the process. At about 30 yards from the Federals they stopped, fired a single volley, and rushed forward.

Supporting McAllister's Battery were the 45th and 48th Illinois regiments of Marsh's brigade. They were in the woods to the right of the battery. As the 4th Tennessee approached, the men of these regiments couldn't understand why they were not given the order to fire. Their officers mistook the Tennessee flag for the Stars and Stripes and — assuming that the regiment was a Union unit — ordered their men to hold fire. By the time the mistake was realized, the 4th Tennessee was at pistol range. The Tennessee men fired into the Illinois regiments, causing terrific casualties. The 48th Illinois was the first regiment to break and run to the rear, followed by the 45th Illinois.

With the two Illinois regiments gone, McAllister's Battery was on its own. The battery's commander, Captain Edward McAllister, who was wounded three times, realized that he had to retreat with his cannons. Not enough horses were left to remove all four pieces, but he did manage to escape with three of the howitzers as the 4th Tennessee swept into their flank. With the retreat of the battery and Marsh's brigade wrecked, the Union line was in a tough position. McClernand's line broke around noon, but many of the Confederate units were too fatigued from the tough fighting around the Review Field to continue.

These photographs were taken in May, 2002 with a Nikon F-601 autofocus SLR, using a Nikkor 24mm - 50mm f2.8 wide angle zoom lens. The images were captured on Kodak Gold 200 film.