At Shiloh, Albert Sidney Johnston put himself in harm’s way trying to redeem a reputation bruised by the fall of forts Henry and Donelson two month’s earlier. Because he put himself in a position no general of his rank should have been in, he was mortally wounded and died on the field. (As the story famously goes, he bled to death with a tourniquet in his pocket.)
He had not been on the field at Henry and Donelson. However, when the forts fell in February, Johnston took the blame as Confederate commander of the Western theater and, therefore, the man responsible for the strategy and security of the region.
But where the losses of Henry and Donelson really Johnston’s fault? Did he really have to put himself in harms way at Shiloh in order to prove something?