American Civil War Monuments
Shiloh National Military Park
Photos and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore
On April 7, 1862, the second day of fighting at Shiloh, J.D.Putnam of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteers was killed while advancing against a Mississippi Battery. Thomas Steele, one of the burying party, suggested that Putnam be buried where he fell, in front of an oak tree. After he was interred his name was carved into the trunk of the tree. In 1901 the Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commission visited the battlefield and noticed that only the stump remained, with Putnam’s name on it. Thomas Steele, who was present, asked for the stump, and the Park Commissioners agreed. Steele had it shipped to the G.A.R. Memorial Hall in Madison where it remained until it was destroyed in a fire in 1904. Luckily, Steele had had the stump photographed. The Wisconsin Monument Commission decided to reproduce it in granite and placed it on the exact spot as the original. It was so placed on April 7, 1906 and now represents not only Putnam but his entire regiment. Putnam’s remains were reinterred in the Shiloh National Cemetery in 1866.