Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Bloody Pond

Marker ID:  
Location: on Hamburg-Savannah Road, in the Shiloh National Military Park
County: Hardin
Coordinates: N 35° 8.008    W 088° 19.8
  35.13346666    -88.33
Waymark: None


The Battle of Shiloh was, at its time, the bloodiest conflict this nation had seen. The beautiful spring woods, fields, and orchards were transformed over two days into scenes of death and destruction which eyewitnesses described as horrible, desolate, and heart-rendering.

This shallow pond attracted the weary and wounded soldiers of both armies who were engaged in heavy fighting nearby. Some crawled here for their last drink. Observers after the battle reported that the pond was littered with dead soldiers and horses. Blood had turned the water a murky red.

The Debris of Battle
American short-story writer Ambrose Bierce was only 20 when he fought here with the Union Army of the Ohio. Bierce recorded his impressions of the aftermath:

Knapsacks, canteens, haversacks distended with soaken and swollen biscuits, gaping to disgorge, blankets beaten into the soil by the rain, rifles with bent barrels or splintered stocks, waist-belts, hats and the omnipresent sardine-box -- all the wretched debris of the battle still littered the spongy earth as far as one could see, in every direction. Dead horses were every-where; a few disabled caissons, or limbers, reclining on one elbow, as it were; ammunition wagons standing disconsolate behind four or six sprawling mules. Men? There were men enough; all dead.


More information:
NPS: Shiloh National Military Park
CWT: Shiloh
Wikipedia: Battle of Shiloh