By Lt. Frederick Martin, USS Shiloh Public Affairs
SOUTH CHINA SEA – Sailors of Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) from both North and South of the Mason Dixon line commemorated the anniversary of their ship’s namesake battle, April 7, while operating on the other side of the world from where it took place.
Shiloh, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, is at sea supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region during the anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, which took place April 6th and 7th, 1862 in Southwestern Tennessee.
“It is important to remember our history,” said Lt. Autumn Wilson, Shiloh’s chaplain who coordinator the events. “It connects us to our country’s past, our legacy, and the lessons we can learn from it. At the same time, it brings the crew together, building esprit-de-corps and moral while we are away from our loved ones.”
The battle of Shiloh was a key moment in the American Civil War. It resulted in a key strategic victory for the Union Forces, leading to the severing of Confederate east-west rail lines, and eventually led to the Union gaining control of the Mississippi River. But the battle had an incredible cost. 23,746 were killed, wounded or missing at the end of the battle, which was the bloodiest battle up to that time, and one of the worst in all of American history.
On board the ship, the Sailors marked the 153rd anniversary over the course of both days. Corresponding to the battle’s timeline, Sailors announced key events on the ship’s 1MC general announcing system, beginning with the attack of Confederate forces, continuing with the eventual reversal as Union forces were reinforced, and ending with describing how the tide of battle turned, Confederate gains were lost and the Union forces were victorious.
The ship marked the end of the battle with a special meal and event on Shiloh’s Mess Deck. The ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Kurush Morris, spoke about the history of the battle and it’s significance to both American history and the spirit with which modern day Shiloh Sailors carry out their mission. He explained the origin of the ship’s hornet mascot, which came from a depressed area of road known as the “Hornet’s Nest,” in which Union troops held off Confederate soldiers long enough for a defensive line to be formed at Pittsburg Landing, which allowed for reinforcements and a successful counter-attack the following day.
The crew then cut a commemorative cake, shared a meal, and carried on with their mission, taking with them the memory and spirit embodied by the battle for which their ship is named.