The Official Record of the 48th OVI at Shiloh

Introduction and Comments by Stephen E. Williams


During the battle of Pittsburg Landing, a position of great importance had to be held at all hazards. The tide of battle was temporarily against the Union arms, and men were falling everywhere, while pandemonium reigned. At this juncture, Col. Job R. Parker, commanding the Forty-eighth Ohio, was directed to seize and hold the coveted position. This he did amid the most unfavorable and demoralizing surroundings, and received the compliments of General Sherman for his valiant services. This was the first battle in which the regiment participated, and a very trying initiation into the horrors of war. Colonel Parker, and his invincible regiment, received the most flattering encomiums, not only in his home city of Chillicothe, but in the army, where the gallant service could be more fully appreciated by those already driven to the last ditch by superior numbers.
The County of Ross, Henry Holcomb Bennett, ed.

The 48th Ohio was in Grant's Army of the Tennessee, Sherman's Division and Buckland's Brigade at the Battle of Shiloh. Each of these men and the regimental officers who served under them wrote official reports of the battle. The reports are of considerable interest both because they were written when the details of the two day battle were still fresh in the minds of the officers that wrote them and because the political hornet's nest that resulted from Shiloh had not yet been perturbed so the reports are less likely to be tainted by attempts to defend against criticism of their author's actions than later accounts of the battle by the same men.

Sherman's report offers an excellent overview of the battle in his division's sector. His report is so well done as to be self explanatory to anyone with a good map of the battle field. Buckland served as both commander of the Fourth Brigade and Colonel of the 72nd Ohio Regiment. His report adds some detail to Sherman's report especially with regard to Colonel Sullivan, his immediate subordinate, but it deals primarily with his own regiment-the 72nd. Unfortunately for those interested in the Forty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry Lieut. Col. Parker who wrote the report for this regiment was a man of few words. His report is brief, lacking in detail, and relatively uninformative. However, the flow of the battle for the 48th can be pieced together by following the very complete reports for the other two regiments in Buckland's Brigade. Both the Regimental History of the 48th Ohio and F. M. Posegate's description of the first day of battle describe the initial action of the 48th Ohio in detail. After the initial maneuver that placed the 48th on the left of the 70th the two regiments were together through the rest of the battle and the general description of the battle seen by Col. Joseph R. Cockerill for the 70th also fits the 48th. Col. Cockerill's report on the 70th is complete and informative. At a critical point in the battle Buckland's Brigade was flanked. This situation resulted from actions that occurred in the brigade to the Left of Buckland's. Sherman's report makes it clear what happened but considerable additional detail may be gained by reading the report of Lieut. Col. Fulton of the 53rd Ohio. This report also offers an interesting contrast because it shows a regiment that was scattered during the first day of the battle. Two of the 53rd's companies that did not run fought with the 48th much of the first day.

Overview of the Battle of Shiloh

Report of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman
U. S. Army, Commanding Fifth Division
An excellent overview of the western sector of the battle.

Report of Col. Ralph P. Buckland
Seventy-second Ohio Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade
Describes action of Forth Brigade and Col. Sullivan's actions.

Report of Lieut. Col. Job R. Parker
Forty-eighth Ohio Infantry
A brief account of the action of the 48th at Shiloh.

Report of Col. Joseph R. Cockerill
Seventieth Ohio Infantry
A detailed account of the 70th Ohio's action which is closely parallel to the that of the 48th throughout the battle.

Report of Lieut. Col. Robert A. Fulton
Fifty-third Ohio Infantry
A detailed account of the 53rd Ohio's action which precipitated the retreat from the initial line of defence and added two companies to the 48th for a time.

Report of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman
U. S. Army, Commanding Fifth Division
Gen. William T. Sherman's report on his recognizance of the retreating Confederate army and the skirmish at Fallen Timbers, April 8, 1862.






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