Bate’s 2nd Tennessee Continued

By 1900, Union veterans were busy erecting monuments on the Shiloh battlefield. Many northern state governments appropriated large sums of money to commemorate their soldiers actions in the battle. It would be several years before Confederate soldiers received any type of recognition. The Confederate 2nd Tennessee Infantry headed by Col.  William Bate suffered 235 killed and wounded. This included Colonel Bate himself.  After the war, the Colonel served as a governor and as a senator for twenty years for the State of Tennessee. In 1894, he became actively involved in the formation and establishment of the Chickamauga National Military Park. By 1903, Senator Bate has seen monuments erected upon the Chickamauga battlefield. This included monuments to Tennesseans. The newly established Shiloh battlefield still did not have a monument to Confederate troop. Seeking to honor his soldiers at the battle of Shiloh, Bate to the lead to collect moneyfor a monument. By 1904, they had collected money and commissioned a monument. A private with his gun cocked and gazing into the battle adored the top of the shaft. Two flags, one national and one battle adorned one side.  The senator selected the inscriptions. He originally wanted the monument to say “The members of this regimen being the first to enlist for the war in the Confederate Army and with unexpired furouhgs, granted by teh Secretary of War, of their own volition, came together, being assigned to the left of the first line, moved into battle, and became actively engaged early in the  morning in  which the regiment lost 135 out of 365 entering the battle.” The Secretary of War rejected the inscription. So Bate left the panel blank. On the other sides he had inscribed a quote from General  Patrick Cleburne” Stranger, Go tell Tennessee that we died here fighting for her.” Unfortunately, William Bate died before he could attend the dedication of the monument. His widow send a letter to the ceremony and Captain Robert D. Smith of Columbia, Tennessee served as Master of Ceremonies. Reports estimated that that approximately 3,000 Tennesseans and people from neighboring states attended the dedication ceremony in August 1905. Years afterwards, members of the 2nd Tennessee visited the battlefield and their monument to pay respect to those lost and to remember their sacrifices. Next time you drive through Shiloh. Park at Shiloh Cemetery and follow the path past the interpretation sign and behind Governor Ray Blanton’s headstone to the 2nd Tennessee monument and remember the heroism of the Tennesseans at the battle of Shiloh.

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