Sung to the tune of "The Wandering Sailor," this song recounts one survivor's take on the battle that convinced everyone, North and South, that the War was going to be a longer, bloodier affair than anyone had imagined. The two-day conflict, which began on April 6, 1862, went in favor of the South on the first day but ended in a Union triumph on April 7. Confederate President Jefferson Davis's favorite general, Albert Sidney Johnston, bled to
death on the field for lack of a simple tourniquet, and the stars of Federal Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman began to rise as a result of their dramatic "come-from-behind" victory.
Thanks to Jim Whitesell for contributing the lyrics to this song in memory of Peter Emmanuel Whitesell (33rd Virginia Infantry), John Jefferson Whitesell (2nd Virginia Infantry), Samuel Harrison Whitesell (54th Virginia Infantry), and all of the Whitesell and Riedel families of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, who sacrificed and suffered during the War Between The States.
Come all ye 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.
'Twas on the sixth of April, just at the break of day;
The drums and fifes were playing for us to march away.
The feeling of that hour I do remember still,
When first my feet were tromping on the top of Shiloh Hill.
About the hour of sunrise the battle it began;
Before the day was ended, we fought 'em hand to hand.
The horrors of that field did my heart with anguish fill
For the wounded and the dying that lay on Shiloh Hill.
There were men from every nation laid on those bloody plains,
Fathers, sons, and brothers were numbered with the slain,
That has caused so many homes with deep mourning to be filled,
All from the bloody battle that was fought on Shiloh Hill.
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!"
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 and unuseful to the slain;
The struggle was renewed again, and ten thousand men were killed;
This was the second conflict of the famous Shiloh Hill.
The battle it raged on, though dead and dying men
Lay thick all o'er the ground, on the hill and on the glen;
And from their deadly wounds, the blood ran like a rill;
Such were the mournful sights that I saw on 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 mouldering bodies all lie on Shiloh Hill.
And now my song is ended about those bloody plains;
I hope the sight by mortal man may ne'er be seen again!
But I pray to God, the Saviour, "If consistent with Thy will,
To save the souls of all who fell on bloody Shiloh Hill."