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"...And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead."
"...Those breasts that nevermore may feel the rapture of the fight."
The Confederate's last desperate attempt to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat took place here, at Water Oaks Pond, along their left flank.  Personally encouraging the troops by his presence at the front, Beauregard organized a last desperate assault across this marshy ground towards McClernand's First Division...
After the fierce fight at Jones Field, the Union troops under Wallace, Sherman, and McClernand steadily advanced southward pushing the Confederates back through the fields surrounding Water Oaks Pond.  This 5-gun battery of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery was part of the assault which offered no respite for the withdrawing Confederates...
Around midday, the center of the Federal attack reached the Confederate defenses along the Hornets Nest/Sunken Road line from the previous day.  Though the Union had successfully defended that position for 7 bloody hours the day before, the Confederates on the second day had no hope of holding for any appreciable time against Buell's hordes.  Within an hour the Confederates had fallen back across the so-called Review Field with the Yankees hot in pursuit...
After witnessing an afternoon of unimaginable violence and ultimately futile bloodshed endured by his men in grey, Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles decided to postpone any further advances against the stubborn Hornets Nest line.  Instead, he set about assembling what would be, up to that point in the war, the greatest concentration of artillery ever gathered on a field of battle...53 pieces in all.  Ruggles' plan was simple, blast the Union line into utter oblivion which would then finally allow his soldiers to overrun the position...
Ruggles 53 guns opened up on the Union lines with a roar of fire and smoke.  Unfortunately, the bombardment wasn't as well coordinated as Ruggles would have liked but it did accomplish one important objective.  After 45 minutes there were no Union guns answering their shots...all the Union batteries supporting the soldiers of the Hornet's Nest line had been forced to withdraw.  It was time for the Confederates to make one more all-out effort to break the Union center...
After witnessing an afternoon of unimaginable violence and ultimately futile bloodshed endured by his men in grey, Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles decided to postpone any further advances against the stubborn Hornets Nest line.  Instead, he set about assembling what would be, up to that point in the war, the greatest concentration of artillery ever gathered on a field of battle...53 pieces in all.  Ruggles' plan was simple, blast the Union line into utter oblivion which would then finally allow his soldiers to overrun the position...
With their flanks in the air, the Hornets Nest and Sunken Road Positions could no longer be held, lest the men of the Second Division be completely surrounded.  The Federals began retreating back along the Corinth Road but the noose had been tightened and only a handful managed to shoot their way out.  Realizing the hopelessness of the situation, the brave units which had so fiercely defended their ground much of the day began to, one by one, surrender.  In all the Confederates captured around 2,250 men of the Second Division in and around this field along the Corinth Road.  Despite the surrender being a horrible blow to the Union army and a great boost of morale for the Confederates those soldiers who had defended their position to the last at the Hornets Nest had given General Ulysses Grant a most valuable gift...time.  For hours, the Sunken Road/Hornets Nest line had consumed the attention of most of the Confederate Army.  All the while Grant was shoring up and reinforcing his final defensive lines.  For the exhausted Confederate army the work was not yet finished, and by now daylight was running alarmingly short...
As the Confederates began to focus their efforts on the Union flanks around the Hornets Nest, Manse George's fields and peach orchards became the focal point of that struggle. Advancing from the left in this shot under a storm of artillery and small arms fire from the far side of the field, the Confederates made successive, bloody charges across this field.  The struggle here lasted several hours with the Confederates eventually forcing the Union line to pull back.  Though the center of the Union line at the Hornets Nest was still holding firm the loss of one of their flanks at the Peach Orchard meant that it was only a matter of time before they too would be overrun...
The next family to be uprooted by the flames of battle was that of a farmer named Manse George.  As the Confederates began to focus their efforts on the Union flanks around the Hornets Nest, George's fields and peach orchards became the focal point of that struggle.  Unfortunately, George's cabin did not survive the battle and this one was moved here soon thereafter...
The heights Grant positioned his last line of defense along were the most defensible natural barriers the Union forces occupied the entire battle.  Anchored by marshy streams at each end, any Confederate force attacking the line would have to cross these lowlands and then advance up relatively steep, open slopes into Grant's guns...
As the battle continued to go poorly for the Union, General Grant frantically rushed to put together a last-ditch defensive line atop the ridges surrounding Pittsburg Landing site.  If the Union army had any hope for survival, the landing needed to be kept open as a large reinforcement force under General Lew Wallace was due to arrive overnight.  Atop these heights Grant positioned no less than 51 cannon to repel the inevitable Confederate assault...
A solid line of monuments memorialize various regiments which, after this long and bloody day of fighting, fell back to take position along Grants final ridgetop defensive line.  Consolidating his forces, the 2-mile arc was packed with some 20,000 men and 51 cannon.  If the Confederates wanted to take this position Grant was assuring them an extremely bloody fight in the attempt...
As the Federal line along the Sunken Road and Hornets Nest began to fall back, many wounded and dying soldiers found themselves instinctively drawn to the cool and refreshing waters of this shallow nearby pond.  Soon this small body of water was choked with soldiers and horses, the blood of the wounded soon giving the waters a devilish red hue.  Thereafter, this non-descript pond would forever be known as Bloody Pond...
"...And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead."

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"...And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead."
"...And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead."

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Photo by: Dan Weemhoff (dwhike) · See photo in original gallery.

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