Shiloh National Military Park facilities are open, and the battlefield has several recent additions for visitors to explore.
New trees are freshly planted in the historic orchards, and the Shiloh driving tour gained two new stops with wayside exhibits. To point the way, an updated park brochure is available in the visitor center, where COVID restrictions limit the number of visitors to 10.
Woolf Field (tour stop #13) and Davis Wheat Field (tour stop #15) are new to the driving tour.
“Our wayside exhibits not only explain the action which took place during the bloody fighting, they also give visitors a sense of place in the big picture of the two-day struggle in 1862,” said Superintendent Allen Etheridge.
Shiloh Church (tour stop #5) has new signage with the story of both days of fighting in and around the iconic landmark. All of the tour stops feature concrete pads and walkways.
The park maintenance staff planted new fruit frees on Dec. 28 at the Tent Hospital Site (tour stop #16) and the Peach Orchard Site (tour stop #18). In Larkin Bell Field, just south of the Tent Hospital Site, a dozen new apple trees now occupy the historic orchard. Union Colonel David Stuart’s regiments camped in this orchard before the Battle of Shiloh, and many of the soldiers left accounts of camping among the apple trees.
In the historic Peach Orchard, dozens of three-year old peach trees of the June Gold variety were resettled in the area.
“In the past, we have plated younger trees, but they just were not surviving due to weather conditions and wildlife,” said Maintenance Chief Randy Martin. “We hope that by transplanting these older trees, we will have better results.”
The Peach Orchard was the scene of severe fighting on both days of the Battle of Shiloh. General Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander of all Confederate forces in the Western Theater, would be among those killed on April 6, 1862, in this area of the battlefield.