By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
PICKWICK LANDING, Tenn. – On Friday, Shiloh National Military Park retires the orientation film “Shiloh: Portrait of a Battle” directed by Ira B. Likes in 1955.
A premiere screening of the new film, “The Story of Shiloh: Fiery Trial,” held at Pickwick Landing State Park on Wednesday was greeted eagerly by about 650 people who turned out for the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event.
Dozens of the 350 re-enactors who played roles in the film, as well as National Park Service, state and county tourism officials were special guests at the event.
Eddie and Joanne Shaw, who now live at Pickwick, were eager to see the film, having lived many years outside the gates of Shiloh.
“My husband’s family had Ed Shaw’s Restaurant right at the edge of the park,” Joanne said.
“My family was there from 1924,” Eddie Shaw continued. “In fact, the actors for the first film stayed nearby and changed their clothes during the filming in our dining room.”
Bringing the film project to completion is satisfying for Shiloh Superintendent Woody Harrell, who retires after this weekend, which includes the actual 150th anniversary dates of the Battle of Shiloh.
The Battle of Shiloh was fought April 6-7, 1862, one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Confederate Generals A.S. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard challenged the movement of Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Don Carlos Buell toward Corinth.
In Corinth the two main railroads east of the Mississippi River – the Memphis & Charleston east-west route and the Mobile & Ohio north-south connection – crossed, and it was considered the most important transportation hub in the southwestern theater.
“I am overwhelmed by this turnout and response,” Harrell said. “I’ve been anxious and nervous, and I hope people are pleased. I’m happy so many of the re-enactors turned out.”