Battle of Shiloh

Acrylic on canvas
72 x 96 inches
Credit Line:
Private Collection

A critical and bloody battle in southwestern Tennessee, Shiloh was a Confederate strike to stop the progress of General Grant down the Tennessee River. Fighting took place over two days, April 6 and 7, in 1862, and Grooms takes advantage of the storytelling power of painting to delineate battle details from start to finish. At upper left, the Confederates, commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston, surprise Grant’s troops in camp. The right depicts events later that day, when the Confederates drove the Union soldiers back to a hold called the “Hornet’s Nest.” On the river we see the arrival of General Buell with Union reinforcements. In the foreground, Grooms paints the incident known as Fallen Timbers, when Sherman, sent by Grant to ensure the Confederate retreat, rebuffed an attack by cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.