What shocked many people in the Union and the Confederacy after early battles such as Shiloh and Bull Run?

1 Answer

The level of casualties in the battles. So many soldiers were killed and injured.


It is said that after Shiloh the south never smiled again. The number of soldiers killed and wounded were staggering.

The tactics of both the Confederacy and Union were much the same as the tactics of Napoleonic warfare of the early 1800's

These tactic in the face of the mimi ball percussion rifles, rifled artillery with canister resulted in massive casualties.

The technology of war had advanced, the tactics of war had not. Troops still attacked in Battalion column.

The Confederacy attacked with 44,700 soldiers 10,700 ended up as casualties. This was almost 1/4, 24% , of the Confederate army. This was shocking to the South.

The Union though caught by surprised rallied and defeated the Confederacy, largely by large numbers of reinforcement brought in by Union gunboats powered by steam. Napoleonic warfare all the ships were powered by sail.

The Union ended with 66,000 troops engaged at Shiloh. Of these 13,000 ended up dead or severely wounded. This was 20% of the Union troops that fought.

Even though the Union won the battle of Shiloh the casualties were so shocking that the Union army failed to pursue the defeated and demoralized Confederate army.

These level of casualties in battle were shocking .