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.”