Before dawn on Sunday, April 6, 1862, shots rang out near Shiloh, on the west bank of the Tennessee River. A Confederate army had launched a surprise attack on their unsuspecting Union enemy. The Confederates had chosen the battlefield and the moment to attack. And they achieved almost total strategic and tactical surprise. Twelve hours later they seemed to be in a commanding position--but on the next day they withdrew in disarray. For nearly 150 years, Confederate failure has been blamed on the fact that they lost valuable time at a place called the Hornet's Nest--where a detachment of Union soldiers held the line. But now forensic history is uncovering a very different story of why things went so badly for the Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh.moreless
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