A Civil War Encounter at the Shiloh Battlefield


Dr. Bennett, a Blue Mountain College history teacher, took his U.S. Military History students on a field trip a few weeks back on March 9, 2021, to Shiloh National Battlefield in Shiloh, Tennessee. The field trip was from 8:00 A.M.- 6 P.M.. The students were well prepared, according to Bennett, as they had been studying the whole semester for the event. Each student had picked out a Civil War topic/event and researched it with a group in the class, each group made up of 3 people, so that they all would be ready to help their professor give their own tour when they got to Shiloh Battlefield by knowing everything they could about the battle and presenting it to the class, one particular subject about the battle per class group.


According to the syllabus for the trip, the students would need to know “the importance of the area / subject [of] the battle, [the subject’s] importance before and after the battle, [soldiers’] accounts and quotes concerning [their] subject, what [each group] found to be the most interesting thing [they] learned about [their] topic [while researching], [and] any other interesting, strange, or fascinating facts about [they happened to learn about their] subject.” Dr. Bennett said he wanted his students to know their history as a real life story, not just names and dates. According to Jamie Henderson, one of the students on the field trip, “Each student had a hand in presenting, to the class, why a certain part of the battle [of Shiloh] was important.” The students made Dr. Bennett proud of all their hard work while on the field trip.


The places visited included, according to the U.S. Military History class syllabus, “Bloody Pond, The Hornet’s Nest / Sunken Road, Peach Orchard / Death site of Johnston, The Tennessee River / Union Navy, National Cemetery / Confederate Trenches, Cannons of Shiloh, [and] Indian Mounds on the Battlefield.”


Here Jamie talks about some of the battlefield’s scenery: “We picnicked on the battlefield by a line of cannons. (I believe the line it represented originally had 64 cannons in it, which was insane. Most cannon lines had six or less.) It was muddy, and everyone slipped and slid as we walked to places like the Bloody Pond and the Peach Orchard. (The Pond is no longer bloody.) They've replanted the trees in the Peach Orchard to bring it back to its former glory.”


Dr. Bennett is now offering a class this summer on the Civil War Atlanta Campaign, and any students are welcome to join. It is a junior level class but is open to sophomores and freshmen eligible to take it. The course is a 3-week summer course from May 31-June 20 and counts as an upper level, 3-hour history credit for graduation. It has transportation and housing costs covered for when the field trip to the Georgia battlefield will take place for the class from June 11-13. For further information, email Dr. Bennett at sbennett@bmc.edu.