Understanding Position Markers?

Johnny Shafto

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Jun 21, 2021
In preparation for my first visit to a CW battlefield I’ve been studying “Battlefield America” Map # 102 for Shiloh and attempting to better understand the ebb and flow of movement beyond the general push and pull of both armies.

An example might be Johnson’s (1st) Brigade (Miss). Position Markers 429, 430, 432, 433, and 436. Numerically the first two positions are just SSW of Duncan Field, 432 is SSE of Jones Field, 433 is just W of Davis’ Wheat Field, and 436 is down by Seay Field. How does one interpret this brigade’s movement? Do the markers follow a timeline?
 
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Ole Miss

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@Johnny Shafto I apologize for just reading your request. Perhaps I might suggest a few steps prio to your visit. When are you planning to visit the Park?
Regards
David

Prior to your visit time permitting:

1) Go to the web site of Trailhead Graphics* and secure a copy of the Shiloh National Military Park map. This map has the position of every unit tablet, position markers and monuments located on the over 4,000 acres in the Park.
Y’all will be able to find all the markers of the 11th​ Iowa which will allow you to follow this regiment’s actions during the battle. The 11th​ fought on the Western flank of the battle on Sunday, at one point it battled in the area of 3 of the known Confederate Burial Trenches! Indeed a hot spot during the fight!

2) Go to the free web site** to download a PDF of the Staff Ride Handbook of the Battle of Shiloh. April 6-7 1862. This pamphlet provides an excellent introduction to the battle and a brief synopsis of the action at various points on the field.

3) Go to the Shiloh National Military Park Monument Location System*** to the above post. Using this site in conjuction with your Trailhead Graphics map will assist you in locating all of the monuments, campsites, Confederate Burial Trenches (the known ones) unit locations, mortuary monuments, and other important tablets.

4) I would suggest reading a general study of the battle and factors leading up to this great conflict in the West. Personally I favor Wiley Sword’s Shiloh: Bloody April but many others are available. There is a thread about this topic on the CivilWarTalk board and can be accessed here.***

*https://www.trailheadgraphics.com/catalog.php

**https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/educational-services/staff-rides/StaffRideHB_Shiloh.pdf

***http://www.shilohbattlefield.org/

****https://civilwartalk.com/threads/shiloh-book-question.158006/#post-2053936
 

Ole Miss

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@Johnny Shafto here are my suggestions of places to visit on your visit to Shiloh National Military Park.
Regards
David

1) Visit the Corinth Civil War Interprative Center for a solid grounding in the importance of Shiloh, Pittsburg Landing and Corinth, MS. The railroad crossing in this small North Mississippi town was the reason for this tremendous battle. Ranger Tom Parson, @TomP,
a Shiloh Ranger is located here and is an excellent source of information and assistance on all aspects of this campaigan and its participants.

2) The Shiloh NMP Visitor Center has an excellent 49 minute film, Shiloh - Fiery Trial, coupled with a small but very interesting museum which enhance one’s visit.

3) Next to the Visitor’s Center is in my opinion the most beautiful National Cemetery in the World. The 10 acre Shiloh National Cemetery holds the remains of over 3,500 Civil War soldiers, the majority of which are unknown. This web site provides additional information about this cemetery.*

4) Hagy’s Catfish Hotel is a must stop during you Shiloh Visit! Located 1 mile North of the Park, this restaurant is open for dinner or supper---except Mondays---and truly a refreshing break from traipsing the Park!

5) The Iowa Monument is the tallest one in the Park and is on the way to the Visitor’s Center.

6) The United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Confederate Monument is quite simply one of the most beautiful tributes to soldiers in the world. A must see.

7) The Park is easily visited by car with most of the major sites on and off the road.

8) I would recommend visiting the 5 known Confederate Burial Trenches, 2 of which are on the side of the road, with the other 3 requiring short walks. These trenches were established just days after the battle as Union troops hurriedly buried the Confederate dead.

If you are interested in further details about the Confederate Burial Trenches here is a link to an existing thread about this subject.**

9) I am unsure of what else I can provide at this time but please contact me if you wish. I would be pleased to assist in any way possible.

10) Guided Tour. If you are interested in securing a guide for you visit I have 2 recommendations. Listed alphabetically. I have had the pleasure of having both men lead a tour of the battlefield and they are excellent!

Larry DeBerry at Shiloh Tours and Museum is a very qualified man and knows the Battle and Field very well. His contact info is here***

Miller Civil War Tours is owned by Starke Miller who is also very qualified tour guide and can be contacted here****

Regards
David

*https://www.nps.gov/shil/learn/historyculture/upload/Cemetery-2021-Update-3.pdf

**https://civilwartalk.com/threads/th...urial-trenches-at-shiloh.170670/#post-2218096

***https://shilohtours.com/
 

Ole Miss

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Johnny Shafto

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@Johnny Shafto I apologize for just reading your request. Perhaps I might suggest a few steps prio to your visit. When are you planning to visit the Park?
Regards
David

Prior to your visit time permitting:

1) Go to the web site of Trailhead Graphics* and secure a copy of the Shiloh National Military Park map. This map has the position of every unit tablet, position markers and monuments located on the over 4,000 acres in the Park.
Y’all will be able to find all the markers of the 11th​ Iowa which will allow you to follow this regiment’s actions during the battle. The 11th​ fought on the Western flank of the battle on Sunday, at one point it battled in the area of 3 of the known Confederate Burial Trenches! Indeed a hot spot during the fight!

2) Go to the free web site** to download a PDF of the Staff Ride Handbook of the Battle of Shiloh. April 6-7 1862. This pamphlet provides an excellent introduction to the battle and a brief synopsis of the action at various points on the field.

3) Go to the Shiloh National Military Park Monument Location System*** to the above post. Using this site in conjuction with your Trailhead Graphics map will assist you in locating all of the monuments, campsites, Confederate Burial Trenches (the known ones) unit locations, mortuary monuments, and other important tablets.

4) I would suggest reading a general study of the battle and factors leading up to this great conflict in the West. Personally I favor Wiley Sword’s Shiloh: Bloody April but many others are available. There is a thread about this topic on the CivilWarTalk board and can be accessed here.***

*https://www.trailheadgraphics.com/catalog.php

**https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/educational-services/staff-rides/StaffRideHB_Shiloh.pdf

***http://www.shilohbattlefield.org/

****https://civilwartalk.com/threads/shiloh-book-question.158006/#post-2053936
On your recommendation I ordered the Trailhead Graphics “Battlefield America” maps for both Shiloh and Gettysburg. They are excellent. Thank you so much David. And also on your suggestion I have Wiley Sword’s book and can’t wait to read it. Again thank you! I’ve heard it suggested that visiting a battlefield around the time of year the battle occurred gives one a feeling of what it may have looked and felt like. That said I’d just ad soon avoid big crowds. Shiloh in the fall perhaps?
 
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Ole Miss

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Shiloh in the Fall is a great time to visit. With the bare trees, one is able to see so much more terrain and tablets that are off the main roads. The bugs(chiggers/ticks) are gone and the temps are much cooler.

@16thAL and @MS2623 are Corinth residents and can share more info about the temps and sites to see in Corinth and at the Park. How you decided on a date to visit the Park? We may meet upon you visit if you wish. Just let us know.
Regards
David

Using the Shiloh Monument Finder and the Trailhead Graphic map allows one to follow individual units as mentioned in your initial post



An example might be Johnson’s (1st) Brigade (Miss). Position Markers 429, 430, 432, 433, and 436. Numerically the first t wo positions are just SSW of Duncan Field, 432 is SSE of Jones Field, 433 is just W of Davis’ Wheat Field, and 436 is down by Seay Field. How does one interpret this brigade’s movement? Do the markers follow a timeline? “



Johnston’s Brigade was part of Cheatham’s Division in Polk’s Corps. They proceeded up the Corinth Road past the Shiloh Meeting House, past the crossroads where the Hamburg-Purdy Raod intersects with the Corinth Road in the SE part of Woolf Field. At about 11:30 a.m. they were ordered towards the Sarah Bell Cotton Field in support of the attack against the “Hornet’s Nest” and the Peach Orchard near the location of General Johnston’s death site.

All this was done using the Shiloh Monument Finder in conjunction with the Trailhead Graphics map.
 

16thAL

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Location
Corinth MS
Shiloh in the Fall is a great time to visit. With the bare trees, one is able to see so much more terrain and tablets that are off the main roads. The bugs(chiggers/ticks) are gone and the temps are much cooler.

@16thAL and @MS2623 are Corinth residents and can share more info about the temps and sites to see in Corinth and at the Park. How you decided on a date to visit the Park? We may meet upon you visit if you wish. Just let us know.
Regards
David

Using the Shiloh Monument Finder and the Trailhead Graphic map allows one to follow individual units as mentioned in your initial post



An example might be Johnson’s (1st) Brigade (Miss). Position Markers 429, 430, 432, 433, and 436. Numerically the first t wo positions are just SSW of Duncan Field, 432 is SSE of Jones Field, 433 is just W of Davis’ Wheat Field, and 436 is down by Seay Field. How does one interpret this brigade’s movement? Do the markers follow a timeline? “



Johnston’s Brigade was part of Cheatham’s Division in Polk’s Corps. They proceeded up the Corinth Road past the Shiloh Meeting House, past the crossroads where the Hamburg-Purdy Raod intersects with the Corinth Road in the SE part of Woolf Field. At about 11:30 a.m. they were ordered towards the Sarah Bell Cotton Field in support of the attack against the “Hornet’s Nest” and the Peach Orchard near the location of General Johnston’s death site.

All this was done using the Shiloh Monument Finder in conjunction with the Trailhead Graphics map.
Absolutely . We would love to assist in finding those out of the way markers .
 

James N.

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Image (2).jpg

One of tge best threads about Shiloh here on CivilWarTalk is James N. The Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, April 6 & 7, 1862. I am not sure but rumor has it he was a drummer boy at the battle for the 2nd Texas Infantry! He has many photos and stories from his many visits and would be glad to share them.
Regards
David


https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-battle-of-shiloh-tennessee-april-6-7-1862.156549/
What do you mean drummer boy? I was an officer! :frantic: (Seen here with my ADC @mkyzzzrdet ca. '61 0r '62.)

...

An example might be Johnson’s (1st) Brigade (Miss). Position Markers 429, 430, 432, 433, and 436. Numerically the first two positions are just SSW of Duncan Field, 432 is SSE of Jones Field, 433 is just W of Davis’ Wheat Field, and 436 is down by Seay Field. How does one interpret this brigade’s movement? Do the markers follow a timeline?
They do, and are likely in the order they are numbered; remember that these earliest battlefield markers were actually placed by the U.S. War Department when the first parks were intended in part as outdoor laboratories for the study of tactics and strategy by members of the army. At Shiloh, since it occurred over a period of two days, there's also a visual assist by the markers themselves which are color-coded (with borders and text in red for Confederates; blue for Grant's Army of the Tennessee; and yellow for Buell's Army of the Ohio) and rectangular for actions on April 6 and oval for April 7. The sign headed EXPLANITORY below in front of the Iowa Monument shows and describes the variations:

dsc06072-jpg.jpg

dsc06079-jpg.jpg


It helps most to understand by taking a look at the markers themselves; here are two marking positions of batteries at Shiloh. Just at a glance one can tell by the shape which day is represented: rectangular/April 6 above, oval/April 7 below. The blue color trim instantly shows the one above is Union of Grant's army, the lower red-bordered one is Confederate. Note that in addition to the designation of each particular battery, the larger unit to which it was attached is also indicated as well as the particular action represented and often the name of the unit commander(s).

dsc06062-jpg.jpg

DSC01507.JPG


I don't have a good, clear photo of a marker at Shiloh showing the text describing movements, etc. but you can get a pretty good idea about them from these from Chickamauga. Above and below are two of of FIVE placed in a more or less straight line across the park corresponding to the movement of S. A. M. Wood's Brigade of Pat Cleburne's Division of D. H. Hill's Corps of Bragg's army:

DSC01508.JPG
 
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James N.

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DSC06217.JPG


It occurred to me to mention other kinds of markers at Shiloh you will see that aren't really position markers, which are as previously noted rectangular, with ornamented corners. These are informational, and most of them are also color-coded like the others; some are SQUARE and usually describe a particular incident like the death of Confederate commander Albert Sidney Johnston below, or more general information like the one above alongside the Corinth-Pittsburg Landing Road above describing the overall structure and action of Breckinridge's Reserve Corps.

Another very important (and surprising to newcomers) fact to remember is that by NO means are all the markers located within the park itself! For example, the Breckinridge marker is only one of many located south of the NPS boundary right along Tenn. 22 which was and still is the road leading to Corinth, along which the entire Confederate army was encamped the evening of April 5. There are even markers down some of the side roads leading off from the main road. When these were originally placed by the U.S. Army in the 1890's all this was all privately owned farm and wooldland and much of it remains so to this day and there was no thought about placing these on public access roadsides.

DSC06133.JPG

DSC06106.JPG


In addition, there are smaller markers that indicate the locations of specific sites such as Union camps, burial trenches, or particular events like the surrender of Prentiss below.

DSC06120.JPG


Geographical features such as Dill Branch below, Bloody Pond, the Hornet's Nest, Shiloh Church, etc., etc. are marked by small silver signs with black edging:

DSC06086.JPG
 
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Johnny Shafto

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Joined
Jun 21, 2021
View attachment 414660

What do you mean drummer boy? I was an officer! :frantic: (Seen here with my ADC @mkyzzzrdet ca. '61 0r '62.)


They do, and are likely in the order they are numbered; remember that these earliest battlefield markers were actually placed by the U.S. War Department when the first parks were intended in part as outdoor laboratories for the study of tactics and strategy by members of the army. At Shiloh, since it occurred over a period of two days, there's also a visual assist by the markers themselves which are color-coded (with borders and text in red for Confederates; blue for Grant's Army of the Tennessee; and yellow for Buell's Army of the Ohio) and rectangular for actions on April 6 and oval for April 7. The sign headed EXPLANITORY below in front of the Iowa Monument shows and describes the variations:

View attachment 414675
View attachment 414673

It helps most to understand by taking a look at the markers themselves; here are two marking positions of batteries at Shiloh. Just at a glance one can tell by the shape which day is represented: rectangular/April 6 above, oval/April 7 below. The blue color trim instantly shows the one above is Union of Grant's army, the lower red-bordered one is Confederate. Note that in addition to the designation of each particular battery, the larger unit to which it was attached is also indicated as well as the particular action represented and often the name of the unit commander(s).

View attachment 414674
View attachment 414692

I don't have a good, clear photo of a marker at Shiloh showing the text describing movements, etc. but you can get a pretty good idea about them from these from Chickamauga. Above and below are two of of FIVE placed in a more or less straight line across the park corresponding to the movement of S. A. M. Wood's Brigade of Pat Cleburne's Division of D. H. Hill's Corps of Bragg's army:

View attachment 414693
James N. Wonderful examples and so appreciated. During graduation ceremonies a chemistry professor of mine walked up to congratulate me. As he shook my hand he very earnestly leaned in and whispered in my ear, “never stop learning”. I am in debt to you both.
Thank you Sir. JS.
 
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Johnny Shafto

Private
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
View attachment 414923

It occurred to me to mention other kinds of markers at Shiloh you will see that aren't really position markers, which are as previously noted rectangular, with ornamented corners. These are informational, and most of them are also color-coded like the others; some are SQUARE and usually describe a particular incident like the death of Confederate commander Albert Sidney Johnston below, or more general information like the one above alongside the Corinth-Pittsburg Landing Road above describing the overall structure and action of Breckinridge's Reserve Corps.

Another very important (and surprising to newcomers) fact to remember is that by NO means are all the markers located within the park itself! For example, the Breckinridge marker is only one of many located south of the NPS boundary right along Tenn. 22 which was and still is the road leading to Corinth, along which the entire Confederate army was encamped the evening of April 5. There are even markers down some of the side roads leading off from the main road. When these were originally placed by the U.S. Army in the 1890's all this was all privately owned farm and wooldland and much of it remains so to this day and there was no thought about placing these on public access roadsides.

View attachment 414922
View attachment 414924

In addition, there are smaller markers that indicate the locations of specific sites such as Union camps, burial trenches, or particular events like the surrender of Prentiss below.

View attachment 414925

Geographical features such as Dill Branch below, Bloody Pond, the Hornet's Nest, Shiloh Church, etc., etc. are marked by small silver signs with black edging:

View attachment 414926
This is simply outstanding! (and I believe exclamation marks are widely overused). Between you and Ole Miss the excitement for this first visit only intensifies. Based upon input from Ole Miss I believe our first steps on this hallowed ground will occur mid to late October of 22. This will allow enough time to properly prepare.
 

Johnny Shafto

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Joined
Jun 21, 2021
@Johnny Shafto I apologize for just reading your request. Perhaps I might suggest a few steps prio to your visit. When are you planning to visit the Park?
Regards
David

Prior to your visit time permitting:

1) Go to the web site of Trailhead Graphics* and secure a copy of the Shiloh National Military Park map. This map has the position of every unit tablet, position markers and monuments located on the over 4,000 acres in the Park.
Y’all will be able to find all the markers of the 11th​ Iowa which will allow you to follow this regiment’s actions during the battle. The 11th​ fought on the Western flank of the battle on Sunday, at one point it battled in the area of 3 of the known Confederate Burial Trenches! Indeed a hot spot during the fight!

2) Go to the free web site** to download a PDF of the Staff Ride Handbook of the Battle of Shiloh. April 6-7 1862. This pamphlet provides an excellent introduction to the battle and a brief synopsis of the action at various points on the field.

3) Go to the Shiloh National Military Park Monument Location System*** to the above post. Using this site in conjuction with your Trailhead Graphics map will assist you in locating all of the monuments, campsites, Confederate Burial Trenches (the known ones) unit locations, mortuary monuments, and other important tablets.

4) I would suggest reading a general study of the battle and factors leading up to this great conflict in the West. Personally I favor Wiley Sword’s Shiloh: Bloody April but many others are available. There is a thread about this topic on the CivilWarTalk board and can be accessed here.***

*https://www.trailheadgraphics.com/catalog.php

**https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/educational-services/staff-rides/StaffRideHB_Shiloh.pdf

***http://www.shilohbattlefield.org/

****https://civilwartalk.com/threads/shiloh-book-question.158006/#post-2053936
Thank you so much David. Planning the visit for mid-late October 2022 allowing ample time to prepare. Checked off all 4 of your excellent suggestions.
@Johnny Shafto I apologize for just reading your request. Perhaps I might suggest a few steps prio to your visit. When are you planning to visit the Park?
Regards
David

Prior to your visit time permitting:

1) Go to the web site of Trailhead Graphics* and secure a copy of the Shiloh National Military Park map. This map has the position of every unit tablet, position markers and monuments located on the over 4,000 acres in the Park.
Y’all will be able to find all the markers of the 11th​ Iowa which will allow you to follow this regiment’s actions during the battle. The 11th​ fought on the Western flank of the battle on Sunday, at one point it battled in the area of 3 of the known Confederate Burial Trenches! Indeed a hot spot during the fight!

2) Go to the free web site** to download a PDF of the Staff Ride Handbook of the Battle of Shiloh. April 6-7 1862. This pamphlet provides an excellent introduction to the battle and a brief synopsis of the action at various points on the field.

3) Go to the Shiloh National Military Park Monument Location System*** to the above post. Using this site in conjuction with your Trailhead Graphics map will assist you in locating all of the monuments, campsites, Confederate Burial Trenches (the known ones) unit locations, mortuary monuments, and other important tablets.

4) I would suggest reading a general study of the battle and factors leading up to this great conflict in the West. Personally I favor Wiley Sword’s Shiloh: Bloody April but many others are available. There is a thread about this topic on the CivilWarTalk board and can be accessed here.***

*https://www.trailheadgraphics.com/catalog.php

**https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/educational-services/staff-rides/StaffRideHB_Shiloh.pdf

***http://www.shilohbattlefield.org/

****https://civilwartalk.com/threads/shiloh-book-question.158006/#post-2053936

wonderful recommendations. The Staff Ride Handbook looks to be very interesting.
 
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