Civil War Luminaries at Shiloh, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Published on April 9th, 2012 | by Newt Rayburn

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Shiloh’s Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012 Photographs by Newt Rayburn

Shiloh’s Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012

Photographs by Newt Rayburn

Shiloh, Tennessee (TLV) – In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the bloody Civil War Battle of Shiloh, the National Park Service presented a “Grand Illumination” of the battlefields on the evening of April 7, 2012. Luminarias were placed around the park representing the 23,746 casualties of the terrible fight. These photographs were shot by Newt Rayburn of The Local Voice newspaper, Oxford, Mississippi, with the assistance of Nature Humphries, Editor.

This photo shoot was particularly interesting and challenging for a few reasons.

First, Shiloh park is not normally open at night. Being able to be in the park at night is a very rare event that even the most frequent visitor has not seen.

Second, it was the 150th anniversary of the battle, the Sesquicentennial of Shiloh brought out a large crowd.

Third, to accommodate the traffic, the National Park Service actually had all the cars tour the battlefield clockwise, starting at Pittsburg Landing.

Normally at Shiloh you would tour the park counter-clockwise, and Pittsburg landing would be your last stop.

Newt Rayburn at Shiloh's National Cemetery. Photograph by Nature Humphries. © April 7, 2012.

Newt Rayburn at Shiloh’s National Cemetery. Photograph by Nature Humphries. © April 7, 2012.

The only lights in the battlefield were the luminarias, and boy were there plenty of them. 23,000 plus casualties is quite a lot, but you really don’t get a sense of how many that is until you seen that many candles in person.

I’m not sure if they really had 23,000, but the amount they did have lit up the 16 square miles of rural Tennessee once again. These light sources were awesome, but nighttime photography is challenging even in the best of circumstances. You have to have a tripod, a long exposure, and a bit of patience to get the shot.

There was so much traffic, I felt rushed and I had to work fast, and that was a real challenge. I was met by one over zealous Park Ranger fresh in from Virginia for the weekend events when I stepped out on foot in Cloud Field.

He was shooing photographers back into their vehicles. Nevertheless, we had to pull over and set up my tripod quite often on this three hour tour. Other vehicles were forced to bypass our car.

Sometimes the visitors of Shiloh were very cool and understanding (one driver asked me to take my time when he saw me hurrying at Johnston’s monument), while some passengers were not cool at all (one old lady rolled down her window and declared, “That’s not very smart.” I looked back and replied, “Oh yes it is!”).

This was a once in a lifetime event, and I was determined to document it.

Here are just a few of the photographs from Newt Rayburn‘s Photo Shoot of Shiloh’s Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012.

Shiloh's Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Shiloh’s Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

Luminaries in Cloud Field, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias in Cloud Field, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at The Bloody Pond, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at The Bloody Pond, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at General Albert Sidney Johnston's Monument, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Monument, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Bell's Field, looking towards The Peach Orchard, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Bell’s Field, looking towards The Peach Orchard, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Shiloh National Military Park, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Shiloh National Military Park, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Shiloh National Military Park, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Barnes’ Filed, Shiloh National Military Park, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Shiloh, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Shiloh Church, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Shiloh, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Shiloh Church, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at the Illinois Monument at Shiloh Church, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at the Illinois Monument at Shiloh Church, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at the Illinois Monument at Shiloh Church, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at the Illinois Monument at Shiloh Church, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Ruggle's Battery, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Ruggle’s Battery, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminaries at Ruggle's Battery, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at Ruggle’s Battery, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

The Moon watches over the luminaries at The Hornet's Nest, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

The Moon watches over the luminarias at The Hornet’s Nest, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Lluminaries at The Hornet's Nest, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at The Hornet’s Nest, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Lluminaries at The Confederate Monument, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn

Luminarias at The Confederate Monument, April 7, 2012 Photograph by Newt Rayburn. © April 7, 2012.

 

Luminarias at the Confederate Memorial at Shiloh. Photograph by Newt Rayburn © April 7, 2012

Luminarias at the Confederate Memorial at Shiloh. Photograph by Newt Rayburn © April 7, 2012

 

Luminarias at a Confederate Burial Trench at Shiloh. Photograph by Newt Rayburn © April 7, 2012

Luminarias at a Confederate Burial Trench at Shiloh. Photograph by Newt Rayburn © April 7, 2012

 See more of Newt Rayburn’s photographs from Shiloh National Military Park here.

Read more of The Local Voice’s coverage of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh here:

“Rediscover the Battle of Shiloh”
by Newt Rayburn

Including exclusive photographs from important areas of the battlefield.

“Why I Reenact” by Brian Walker

Including exclusive photographs of the Sesquicentennial Reenactment of the Battle of Shiloh.

“Shiloh’s Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012”
by Newt Rayburn

Including exclusive photographs of the 23,746 luminarias placed at the site of the Battle of Shiloh, 150 years later.

 

Crawfish Season Is Here!
"Rediscover the Battle of Shiloh" by Newt Rayburn

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt is perhaps best known as the leader of the Mississippi RocknRoll band THE COOTERS, but he also has the Country & Southern Rock group, HAWGWASH. Newt is a Photographer, Writer, and Civil War Enthusiast.



4 Responses to Shiloh’s Grand Illumination, April 7, 2012 Photographs by Newt Rayburn

  1. Joe says:

    Yes, there were 23,746 luminarias I helped fill them and helped put them out

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks for the coverage. Your article and photos are the best I’ve seen on the web.

  3. John & Sarah Anderson says:

    We too helped in assembling the 23,746 luminaries. They were counted one by one.

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