My ancestor at Shiloh: A photo essay

On this day 149 years ago, my great-great-great-grandfather, 1st Lt. David Poindexter Reeves of Company C, 28th Tennessee Infantry (2nd Mountain Volunteers), CSA, died in valiant battle near Shiloh Church in Hardin County, Tennessee.  At age 43 and before the conscription acts, 1st Lt. Reeves must not have entered Confederate service lightly; though I have not found evidence of the exact reason, he certainly must have believed in the cause.  He and his North Carolinian / Tennessean lineage were successful, though not Southern aristocratic, and nobody owned slaves; a son later described him as “a farmer and stock trader … a very successful man in all his business transactions, and [he] grew to be quite wealthy” (see: Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas). This might have given him standing in the community and led to his rank as 1st Lieutenant, but that is just a guess.  From a book about his lineage, I can gather that the family was openly prideful and boisterously fun-loving, so those traits must have been influential in his decision on the whole to return to Overton County, TN, from Texas and enlist in late 1861.  Of note, his future son-in-law, William R. Smith, my great-great-grandfather, also joined the same Company, but I have no proof that Smith, who lied about his age so that he could be old enough to enlist, fought at Shiloh; that said, I also have no reason to believe he didn’t.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit the Shiloh battlefield with my in-laws.  Needless to say, it was especially moving.  Here are some of the pictures I took:

The field from which the Confederate Army approached Shiloh early in the morning of April 6, 1862

The "Peach Orchard" from the vantage point of 1st Lt. Reeves

The Confederate right of the Peach Orchard, where Hardee's Corps and Breckinridge's reserves held ground

The sign next to the cannon about the 28th Tennessee

Though I don't know for sure, I would posit that 1st Lt. Reeves was killed in Breckinridge's charge across the Orchard; imagine running across this field, at the time consisting of an orchard full of shot-up peach trees, and meeting destiny

The Peach Orchard from the Union view; shots from here likely killed 1st Lt. Reeves, who would be coming from the left of this vantage point

Same as above, but zoomed-in on the opposing Confederate line

A marker at one of several Confederate soldier burial trenches, this one being closest to the orchard

The plaque with the marker

The entire burial trench with a proud and somewhat-appropriately limp Stars and Bars

This entry was posted in Battles, Civil War, Genealogy, Soldiers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My ancestor at Shiloh: A photo essay

  1. martin says:

    Nice article. I’m only a second generation American, so I’m a little envious that you can trace your history back that far in America.

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