Battle of Shiloh. They both died in the woods just west of the Tennessee River. Both died of gunshot wounds. Both died in the arms of friends. Both men were Christians. Both places where they died have had markers placed at Shiloh to identify the spot. The first man who died (pictured) was the highest ranking officer to be killed on the battlefield during the Civil War. His name was General Sydney Albert Johnston. He had led the army of the Confederate States of America into the Battle of Shiloh. About 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon Johnston had been found sitting on his horse, losing consciousness as he bled out from a gunshot wound to the back of his right knee. He had come to the front lines a few minutes earlier to rally his troops as they attacked the Union left flank to drive the Union army into the Tennessee River. Isham G. Harris, the man who discovered the wounded General and carried him to the safety of a nearby ravine and cared for him until Johnston died, would later became the governor of Tennessee. As word of the death of General Sydney Albert Johnston spread among the troops, the CSA solders became demoralized. Some scholars believe General Johnston's absence on the battlefield eventually led to the Confederates losing the Battle of Shiloh.
the 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Of all the regiments in the Union army at Shiloh, the Illinois 9th Regiment lost more men than any other. Jesse Mock was one of those men. Nobody knows who shot General Johnston. Nobody knows who shot Jesse Mock. Everyone knows they died on the same woods, within the same hour, during the same battle, under similar circumstances.
Jesse Mock is my wife's great-great uncle. Jesse's brother on the battlefield at Shiloh, William
Mock, is my wife's great-great grandfather. William survived the Civil War, and in honor of his dead brother, William named his first born son Jesse. Jesse then had a son named Charles (Rachelle's grandfather) and Charles had a son he named Don (Rachelle's father). As Rachelle and I walked yesterday to the monument where the 9th Illinois engaged General Johnston and the CSA troops, to the very place where private Jesse Mock and many more Union solders of the Illinois 9th were killed and buried during the Battle of Shiloh, I couldn't help but wonder what my world would be like today if just one or two things had been different on that April Sunday afternoon in 1862. What if General Johnston had not been killed? What if the Confederates have won the Battle of Shiloh? What if William Mock had died and Jesse Mock had lived? What if ....?
Likewise, God orchestrated all events at Shiloh so that one day I would eventually meet the beautiful woman whose great-great grandfather survived wounds in both thighs while his own brother died and was buried in the fields of Shiloh. I am grateful that our God sits on His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all. So are my kids.
"Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise;
All my times are in Thy hand,
All events at Thy command.
He who formed me in the womb,
He will guide me to the tomb.
Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids I shall not die."
For those who wish to "curse God and die" when bad things happen to God's people, I simply remind you of Job's words when he lost his job, his home, his family, his land, and his wife told him to do that very thing. Job responded, "What? Shall we receive good things from God and not affliction? The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Amen.