According to Gregg Gaston, who shared this poem with us, the following annotation was found on the back: "An Ode. Written by Charles R. Allen during his last illness his Co. A was sent to hunt and hurry Wallace to Shiloh."
To say that the beginning of the battle of Shiloh caught General Ulysses S. Grant unprepared would be an understatement. When on the morning of April 6, 1862, Confederate troops surprised the Union Army (most of which was either still asleep or preparing breakfast), Grant himself was several miles downriver at Savannah. Upon hearing the noise of the fray, Grant hurried to Pittsburg Landing, ordering Generals William Nelson and Lew Wallace to bring their divisions up immediately. Nelson arrived in time to shore up the sagging Federal left flank, but Wallace misunderstood his orders and did not reach the battle until nightfall.
Despite his tardy arrival, Wallace made his presence felt on the following day. From his position on the extreme right of Grant's attack, he assisted in the retaking of the ground that had been lost to the Confederate Army the day before.
Allen's poem deals with frantic Union efforts to find Wallace's division on the first day of the battle and move it to the battlefield while it could still do some good.