The Battle of Shiloh was one of the first major battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The two-day battle, April 6 and April 7, 1862, involved about 65,000 Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant and Don Carlos Buell and 44,000 Confederates under Albert Sidney Johnston (killed in the battle) and P.G.T. Beauregard. The battle resulted in nearly 24,000 killed, wounded, and missing. The two days of fighting did not end in a decisive tactical victory for either side —the Union held the battlefield but failed to pursue the withdrawing Confederate forces. However, it was a decisive strategic defeat for the Confederate forces that had massed to oppose Grant's and Buell's invasion through Tennessee. The battlefield is named after Shiloh Methodist Church, a small log church near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.
The Shiloh National Military Park was established on December 27, 1894. In 1904, Basil Wilson Duke was appointed commissioner of Shiloh National Military Park by President Theodore Roosevelt. There were requests of local farmers who had grown tired of their pigs rooting up the remains of soldiers that had fallen during the battle, insisting that the federal government do something about it. The park was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the military park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The National Park Travelers Club held its 2013 convention at Shiloh.
Shiloh National Cemetery is in the northeast corner of the park adjacent to the visitor center and bookstore. Buried within its 20.09 acres (81,300 m2) are 3584 Union dead (of whom 2357 are unknown), who were re-interred in the cemetery created after the war, in 1866. There are two Confederate dead interred in the cemetery. The cemetery operations were transferred from War Department to the National Park Service in 1933.