On the morning of April 6, 1862, one of the earliest and deadliest battles of the Civil War began. The two-day conflict between Confederate and Union forces at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, located on the banks of the Tennessee River, would result in over 3,400 killed on both sides, with thousands more wounded and missing. It would ironically be forever afterwards called the Battle of Shiloh. This name was taken from a small church named Shiloh, around which General Ulysses S. Grant settled most of his troops. The name Shiloh is often translated to “peace” or “tranquility” in Hebrew. Along with the thousands of soldiers who died in that battle, two high-ranking and outstanding generals lost their lives as well: General Albert Sydney Johnston, USC, and Brigadier General W. H. L. Wallace, U.S. Army. It most certainly was not a place of peace.
Also lost in that battle was my 2nd great grand uncle, Major Samuel T. Love, who was “mortally wounded” and taken prisoner, only to die on April 17th of his wounds in the Union prison camp at Paducah, Kentucky. Major Love served in the 27th Tennessee Infantry, Company K, also known as the “Henderson County Sharpshooters.”
Samuel Love, born in 1821 in Fairfax County, Virginia, was the brother of my great-great grandfather, Charles Jones Love, Jr. Samuel was a veteran soldier who had served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 14th Infantry in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. Even though he was already 40 years old when Tennessee seceded from the Union, he followed his 17-year-old nephew, Richard Love, and signed up for duty at Trenton, Tennessee, with the newly formed 27th Infantry. Richard had enlisted in July of 1861 and Samuel in August of the same year. Richard was the son of Samuel’s brother Charles and was my great grand uncle.
Samuel entered his service as a private, but his age and experience earned him a rapid promotion from private to major in September. Richard enlisted as a corporal, since he was one of the first to sign up for service, and he would soon be promoted to sergeant.
As I researched Samuel’s Civil War record, I found several glowing accounts of his military service. In the Civil War Archives found at http://www.civilwararchive.com/RESEARCH1/1862/shilohcsa6.htm, I read that Major General B. F. Cheatham, commanding officer of the 2nd Division, First Corps, Army of the Mississippi (Confederate) at Shiloh, had written a report of the battle on April 30, 1862. His account of the battle included the following:
“During the engagement here I was re-enforced by Colonel Gibbon, with a Louisiana brigade; by Colonel Campbell, with his gallant Thirty third Tennessee, and by Maj. Samuel T. Love, with the Twenty-seventh Tennessee, all of whom deserve particular mention. Major Love gallantly led his regiment to the charge and fell mortally wounded. Thus re-enforced, I was enabled to prevent the advance of the enemy, who seemed to have thrown his whole disposable force against our left flank."