Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Confederate monument (UDC)

This is one of my favorite monuments at Shiloh. It was designed by Frederick C. Hibbard and was erected in 1917 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in memory of all Southern troops who fought in the battle. More than any other monument there it has an impressive story to it. Hibbard titled the monument "Victory Defeated by Death and Night."

The central group represents a "Defeated Victory." The front figure, representing the Confederacy, is surrendering the laurel wreath of victory to Death, on the left, and Night, on the right. The main Death being referenced here is the death of army commander Albert Sidney Johnston. Night brought reinforcements to the enemy in the form of Lew Wallace and Don Carlos Buell. Those two events sealed the fate of the battle, at least to Hibbard and the UDC.

There are two other groups of figures. On the extreme right is the infantry and the artillery. The infantry soldier has snatched up his flag and is defiant. The artillerist is calm and appears to be looking through the smoke of battle. The group on the left has the cavalryman and an officer. The cavalry solider is anxious to do something but cannot due to the thick woods. The officer has his head bowed in submission to the order to cease firing when it seemed the Confederates were on the verge of winning the battle.

In the center of the massive pedestal is a marble relief of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. To his right is a panel of heads representing the spirit of the first day; hopeful, fearless, courageous. On the left another panel of heads represents the second day of the battle and the sorrow of the men, now reduced to 10, over the victory so nearly won and so unexpectedly lost. You'll also notice on their shoulders is a wave, which looks slightly different in each panel. One could say the wave has crested and is now receding.

On the back of the monument Shiloh Superintendent DeLong Rice provided these remarks, "The states of the South sent to the battle of Shiloh, seventy-nine organizations of infantry, ten organizations of cavalry and twenty-three batteries of artillery. How bravely and how well they fought, let the tablets of history on this field tell. As a greeting to the living remnant of the host of gray, and in honor of its dead - whether sleeping in distant places or graveless here in traceless dust - this monument has been lifted up by the hands of a loving and a grateful people."


Linda said...

Hi, my great grand uncle, William Benton Hawkins Farmer served with Breckenridge at Shiloh in April 1862. I understand that there is possibly no documented information as to who served at that time. William was gravely wounded at that battle and died at Corinth MS the 3rd week of April 1862. Can you direct me to any place that might be able to help me with acknowledgement of his service, please? Thanks, Linda Farmer Ames

Nick said...

I know Confederate records are sometimes incomplete or missing but if you know the state he served with I would look to see if there is an adjutant general's report for that state. You'll need to know the regiment too, or if you don't mind reading tons of pages you could do it without the regimental number. If there is it will have have (in most cases) info about muster in and out dates at the very least. Some states also provide other details but the adjutant report will be a good place to start. Some states also have more detailed records you can research in person, or do through mail, likely for a charge. A good sized library will have the adjutant general reports, some might even be online.