150th Shiloh: Saturday PM, Battle March (continued)


As with any army the routine is ‘hurry up and wait’. The position of troops was accomplished and we stacked arms to wait. Many of us replenished the water we had drank from our canteens during the morning and got in the shade of trees provided by some woods close to the staging area.

After about 30 minutes we were called to fall in. We subsequently unstacked arms, right faced; and began the march to the battle field. It was about a mile to the reenactor battlefield and some parts of the dirt road was still muddy, while other parts were dry due to the sunshine on Friday afternoon and all day up to this point on Saturday. We stopped one time on the way to the battlefield because we were early for the start of the battle, which was to take place at 2:00PM. During this stop I witnessed one of the most unique happenings that I have every seen. We heard the call to clear the way for wagons that were coming up the road. So, we stepped off the road into woods that bordered both sides of the road, when I saw a bald man without any hat and a walking stick in his hand suddenly appear in the road headed toward my position. Behind him I saw four yoked Oxen putting a wagon. There were no reins on the Oxen, except for the yokes they could have taken off and gone anywhere they wanted. All four were huge and they looked at us along with the road with fearful eyes. I was wondering if they would be spooked and start rampaging through us. But the man was saying words of encouragement to them to keep moving and this was the kicker. They were doing what he said. He was really the only impediment to their running away. They trusted him and did what he said. They were by us and gone before we knew it. All of us just stared in awe with our mouths gaped open at the retreating wagon after they passed. It was amazing.


About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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