From the recording The Battle of Shiloh Hill

This is certainly one of my favorite songs from this period.  I love storytelling songs, especially hard-hitting ones.  This scores on both points.  The song tells the story of the battle of Shiloh, which took place on April 6th and 7th, 1862.  It was the bloodiest engagement ever experienced on American soil, although its carnage would be overshadowed by other battles in the next three years.  Overnight, between the two days' fighting, the dead and wounded lay out in a downpour.  Ulysses S. Grant had been surprised by the attack under generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard, but Union reinforcements turned the tide the next day.  The casualties were prodigious:  Union casualties being 13,047, Confederate casualties, 10,699. The total dead, however, were far less than stated in the song, which claims 10,000; in reality, about 3,500 men lost their lives, still a terrible number.


Come all you valiant soldiers, a story I will tell,
About the bloody battle that was fought on Shiloh hill.
It was an awful struggle and will cause your blood to chill.
It was the famous battle that was fought on Shiloh hill.
It was on the sixth of April, just at the break of day.
The fife and drums were playing, for us to march away.
About the hour of sunrise the battle it began,
And before the day had vanished, we fought them hand to hand.
The wounded men were crying for help from everywhere.
While others, who were dying, were offering God their prayer:
"Protect my wife and children if it is Thy holy will."
Oh, such were the prayers I heard that night on Shiloh hill.
And early the next morning we were called to arms again,
Unmindful of the wounded, unuseful to  the slain.
The struggle was renewed, and ten thousand men were killed.
This was the second conflict of the famous Shiloh hill.
Before the day was ended, the battle ceased to roar,
And thousands of brave soldiers had fell to rise no more.
They left their vacant ranks for some other ones to fill.
And now their moldering bodies all lie on Shiloh hill.
They left their vacant ranks for other men to fill,
God save the souls of those brave men who died on Shiloh Hill.