Nov. 17–Living historians are recreating one of the most unique events that took place during the Battle of Shiloh.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, the reenactors will move, by hand, a 20-pounder Parrott rifle and limber from Pittsburg Landing. Following the move, the unit will conduct cannon firing demonstrations in the afternoon.
The reenactment portrays an event which took place on Saturday, April 5, 1862.
According to historians, an untested artillery unit from Chicago landed at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. This unit was Battery H, First Illinois Light Artillery commanded by a former Swedish artillery officer named Captain Axel Silfversparre.
The men were largely recruited from the immigrant community with 40 percent being Swedish and roughly two out of three men being born overseas. The battery was armed with four 20-pounder Parrott rifles, the largest, and heaviest, field pieces being used in the war, with each gun and carriage weighing in excess of 2,900 pounds (1.4 tons).
When the Battle of Shiloh began, Silfversparre’s Battery was stuck at the landing as their horses had not yet arrived. Ordered into line by Union Gen. U.S. Grant’s chief of staff, Joseph Dana, Silfversparre and his cannoneers man-handled the heavy Parrot rifles up the bluff and into line on the Pittsburg Landing Road. There, they received their baptism of fire.
This Saturday, at 8:30 a.m., the program will begin at Pittsburg landing with a presentation on the history of the unit and actions at Shiloh. Living historians will then recreate the movements of Silfversparre’s Battery by moving a 20-pounder Parrott rifle from the landing and into Powell Field by hand.
Firing demonstrations will take place after noon.