Battle of Shiloh Lesson for Kids: Summary & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

The Battle of Shiloh was one of the most violent battles of the American Civil War. In this lesson, learn about the events leading up to the battle, identify the key military leaders for both sides, and learn about the results of this battle.

War in America

It might be hard to imagine, but a few hundred years ago the United States was divided. In the 1860s, some areas of the country wanted slavery to be over. Other parts of the country, mostly in the South, wanted slavery to continue. People were so passionate about this issue that the country went to war. The Civil War was very violent and costly, and there were several key battles throughout the war. Let's learn more about one of the deadliest battles of the war, the Battle of Shiloh.

Leading Up To Battle

Several months leading up to this battle, the Union forces had experienced many victories. The Union was the collection of states, mostly in the North, that did not want slavery to continue. They were led by several important military leaders. One important general was Ulysses S. Grant. Under his leadership, the Union forces had gained control of most of Tennessee before the Battle of Shiloh.

The southern states fighting to uphold slavery were known as the Confederacy. In February 1862, the Confederate forces had suffered major losses thanks to troops led by Grant. However, there was a Confederate general who was planning something big in the hopes of gaining a victory for the South.

Leaders Make Plans

After two tough losses, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston gathered troops in the town of Corinth, Mississippi. Corinth was an important area because it was the home to a railroad stop. Railroads were a way that supplies could be transported to the Confederacy, so you can imagine that Johnston wanted to protect this area. Meanwhile, General Grant believed that capturing Corinth could mean complete control of the area for the Union.

General Albert Sidney Johnston, leader of Confederate troops at the Battle of Shiloh
Civil War

Attack at Dawn

General Grant wanted to combine his forces with another Union general, but General Johnston didn't wait for this to happen. In the early morning hours of April 6, 1862, Johnston's men were ready for battle. They gathered near Shiloh Church, which is how the upcoming battle got its name. A soldier for the Union was walking near the church, and he noticed the Confederates ready for battle. The attack was on!

Confederate and Union forces in battle near Shiloh Church
Civil War

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