For U. S. Grant the victory at Shiloh was a combination of both luck and dogged determination. For the Union the battle had wide-ranging ramifications. Had Grant been defeated at Shiloh it is unlikely he would have ever commanded another army.
Jacobson, Eric A. (2013-11-01). For Cause and Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill & the Battle of Franklin (Kindle Location 341). O’More Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Writing his memoirs more than two decades later, Grant stated, “Up to the battle of Shiloh I, as well as thousands of other citizens, believed that the rebellion against the Government would collapse suddenly and soon, if a decisive victory could be gained over any of its armies.” Shiloh, he said, changed his mind. “I gave up all idea of saving the Union except by complete conquest.” Up to this time, it had been Grant’s policy, reiterated in dozens of general orders, to spare the property of civilians. “After this, however, I regarded it as humane to both sides to protect the persons of those found at their homes, but to consume everything that could be used to support or supply armies.”56 The passage of two decades had led the 1885 Grant to telescope into a single battle the metamorphosis that had in fact taken place in his thinking over the several months following the Battle of Shiloh. Nor was Grant the only one whose thoughts that summer were migrating away from ideas of a limited police action against a clique of insurgent politicians to an all-out war against a rebellious people.
Woodworth, Steven E. (2007-12-18). Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865 (Vintage Civil War Library) (p. 200). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Grant made mistakes before the battle that all of his undoubted coolness and indomitable will during the fighting barely redeemed. But in the end the Union armies won a strategic success of great importance at Shiloh. They turned back the Confederacy’s supreme bid to regain the initiative in the Mississippi Valley.
McPherson, James M. (2013-01-28). Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Kindle Locations 8763-8765). ACLS Humanities E-Book. Kindle Edition.
Shortly before his death more than two decades later, Grant reflected on the events that transpired at Shiloh. “Up to the battle of Shiloh I, as well as thousands of other citizens, believed that the rebellion against the Government would collapse suddenly and soon, if a decisive victory could be gained over any of its armies.” The two days of carnage along the Tennessee began to change his mind. Shiloh was a harbinger of the length and cost of the conflict that was then only just beginning.
Woodworth, Steven E. (2011-04-16). This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War (Kindle Locations 1933-1936). Rowman & Littlefield. Kindle Edition.