Friday Photo: 23,743 Luminaries Commemorate the Battle of Shiloh


Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee commemorated the 150th anniversary of what many consider to be the first major battle of the Civil War. Park officials honored the 23,743 casualties from that two-day battle by lighting candles throughout the battlefield in a “Grand Illumination”–a moving highlight to more than a week of related events at the park.

According to Chief Park Ranger Stacy D. Allen in Shiloh’s Division of Interpretation & Resource Management, an estimated 15,000 people witnessed the illumination, driving about ten miles through the battlefield where the candles had been lit. Over the course of the 150th anniversary commemorations from March 28 through April 8, the park welcomed more than 104,000 visitors, representing about 30 percent of the total number of visitors to the park in 2011. Since Shiloh, like Pea Ridge National Military Park, is considered one of the most secluded and best-preserved battlefields in the United States, Allen describes the arrival of thousands of people in just a few days as “historic visitation records.”

You can enjoy more photos from the Grand Illumination and other commemorative events on Shiloh National Military Park’s Facebook page.

About the Author

Editor of Online Communications Jennifer Errick

Jennifer Errick is editor of online communications at NPCA.

  • Nicholas Bleser

    Albert Einstein was a luminary. Those paper bags with candles are lunimarias. Get it right.

    • Di

      I’m not sure what a lunimaria is . . . I’m assuming luminaria is what you meant – get it right.

      And, seems to me – either is correct. Candles are a source of light.

      Main Entry: lu·mi·nary
      Pronunciation: lü-m-ner-
      Function: noun
      Inflected Form(s): plural -nar·ies
      1 : a very famous person
      2 : a source of light; especially : one of the heavenly bodies

      • Jennifer Errick

        Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I agree that either luminaries or luminarias would have been correct in this context, however, my use of the word luminaries reflects Shiloh National Military Park’s own description of the ceremony. Please check out the commemorations on the park’s website to learn more, as it truly sounds like the crew there worked hard on two weeks of spectacular events:

        • Di

          I’m sorry – I couldn’t resist the reply to Nicholas – if you’re going to correct someone, then at least make sure your correction is accurate. Either term is appropriate AND he even misspelled the word. And, really? Is that the only comment you can give for such hard work and for such lovely photos?

          I support the NPS fully. I am a true history buff, as well as a Civil War reenactor. Vacations normally revolve around trips to National Parks. The park staff definitely work hard and certainly don’t get enough recognition for all they do. Wish I could have made it to Shiloh for this, but alas I’m in PA, so not simply a day trip for me.

  • Chuck


  • Chuck

    Meant to say “Excellent Di”!!!!!!!!!