1. Rosecrans at Iuka
2. Rosecrans at Corinth
3. Grant on Corinth
4. Price at Iuka
5. Van Dorn at Corinth
6. McArthur at Corinth
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
THIRD DIVISION, DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Corinth, Miss., September 29, 1862.
MAJOR: Having received the reports of the commanders of the troops, list of stores and prisoners captured, I hasten to lay before the major-general commanding the following report of the battle of Iuka:
Mower's able reconnaissance, on the 15th, on the Burnsville road, to within 2 miles of Iuka, with other information, having established the fact that Price occupied that place with a force of about twenty-eight regiments of infantry, six batteries and a strong body of cavalry, you resolved to attack, and gave orders for Ord's and Ross' commands to concentrate at Burnsville,. while I prepared to do the same at Jacinto. I telegraphed you, proposing that the force from Burnsville should attack the rebels from the west and draw them in that direction, and that I would move in on their rear by the Jacinto and Fulton roads and cut off their retreat. Your approval of the plan having been received, I ordered Stanley to concentrate his division at Jacinto on the 18th, where they had all arrived by 9 p.m. I dispatched you that evening from Jacinto of the arrival of Stanley's troops, jaded by a long march, and that in consequence of it we would not be able to reach Iuka until 2.30 o'clock of the 19th. The whole column, consisting of Stanley's and Hamilton's divisions, with five batteries, moved by daybreak of the 19th on the Tuscumbia road toward Barnett's. I dispatched you at 7 a.m. that it had moved forward in good spirits and time and that I had hoped to reach Iuka by 2.30 p.m. We reached Barnett's, a distance of 12 miles, by noon, having driven the enemy's cavalry pickets some 2 or 3 miles. Here Sanborn's brigade of Hamilton's division took the lead; the rest of Hamilton's division came next, and Stanley's division followed. The advance drove the enemy's cavalry skirmishers steadily before them until we arrived within 1½ miles of Iuka, near the forks of the <ar24_73> Jacinto road and cross-roads leading from it to the Fulton road. Here we found their infantry and a battery, which gave our advance guard a volley. Hamilton, pushing his First Brigade rapidly forward up the narrow road on the right hand, leading from the church at the forks, formed them astride it, amid the brush on the rough, wooded knoll (see accompanying map), placing Sands' battery on the only available ground. The action opened immediately with grape and canister from the enemy's battery directed at ours, and sharp musketry fire from his skirmishers. Having inspected General Hamilton's dispositions on the front and found them good, I ordered Colonel Mizner to send a battalion of the Third Michigan Cavalry to reconnoiter our right, and Colonel Perczel, with the Tenth Iowa Infantry and a section of artillery, to take position on our left, on the road leading north. The remainder of Hamilton's division formed in rear of the first line, and the head of Stanley's division stood in column below the hospital awaiting the developments on the front before being moved into line. The position of the troops at this time, say 5 p.m., is shown very nearly on the map. The enemy's line of infantry now moved forward on the battery, coming up from the woods on our right on the Fifth Iowa, while a brigade showed itself on our left and attempted to cross the road toward Colonel Perczel. The battle became furious. Our battery poured in a deadly fire upon the enemy's column advancing up the road, while their musketry, concentrated upon it, soon killed or wounded most of our horses. When within 100 yards they received a volley from our entire line, and from that time the battle raged furiously. The enemy penetrated the battery, were repulsed; again returned, were again repulsed, and finally bore down upon it with a column of three regiments and this time carried the battery. The cannoneers were many of them bayoneted at their pieces. Three of the guns were spiked. In this last charge the brigade of Texans which had attempted to turn our left, having been repulsed by Perczel, turned upon the battery and co-operated in the charge. The Forty-eighth Indiana, which lay in its track, was obliged to yield about l80 yards, where it was supported by the Fourth Minnesota, and held its position until relieved at the close of the fight by the Forty-seventh Illinois. The Fifth Iowa maintained its position on the right against a storm of fire from the rebel left and center, and even when the battery was carried its left yielded but slightly, when Boomer with a part of the Twenty-sixth Missouri came up to its support, and maintained its position to the close of the fight. About this time it was deemed prudent to order up the First Brigade of Stanley's division, which went forward with a shout. The Eleventh Missouri, filing into the woods, took its position on the right of the Fifth Iowa, slightly in its rear. Here the rebels made a last desperate attempt with two Mississippi brigades. As the first came bearing down upon the Eleventh Missouri, and when within 20 paces, an officer of the rebel ranks sprang forward and shouted, "Don't fire upon your friends, the Thirty-seventh Mississippi." He was answered by a volley which drove them back in confusion. The Second Brigade followed, and in the dusk of evening and the smoke of battle reached the very front of the Eleventh Missouri. The roar of musketry was terrific, but Mower met the shock and stood firm. The rebels recoiled and the firing ceased throughout the line. The troops rested on their arms. The Thirty-ninth Ohio and the Forty-seventh Illinois held the front, slightly in rear of the position of the advance regiments, which were withdrawn to replenish their ammunition. The Eleventh and Twenty-sixth Missouri took position in a depression of the ground in the open field in rear of the woods in which <ar24_74> the fight had occurred. The Tenth Iowa and the Eightieth Ohio held our left, on the road running north, at 8 p.m. During the early part of the night the enemy made great noise, as if chopping and constructing batteries. There was much moving of troops and commands of halting and aligning were heard, as if mussing in our front.
Profoundly disappointed at hearing nothing from the forces on the Burnsville road, and not knowing what to expect, it became my duty to make dispositions for the battle next morning as if we were alone. To this end Stanley's batteries were brought into position in the field south of the hospital on advantageous ground, and a line was selected for the infantry in case the enemy should attack us in heavy force, while Hamilton's division, having borne the brunt of the battle, was ordered to the rear, in the next field below, with the intention of moving it thence across the field to the east, through the strip of woods, to attack the enemy's left. The enemy's trains were heard from at midnight, moving in a southeasterly direction, and it became evident that he was providing for their safety.
Day dawned. No firing on the front. Our skirmishers, advancing cautiously, found the enemy had retired from his position. Skirmishers were immediately pushed forward and Stanley's column ordered to advance upon Iuka. When within sight of the town, discovering a few rebels, he ordered some shells to be thrown. They were a few stragglers from the enemy's rear guard, his entire column having gone by the Fulton road.
Taking possession of the town and the stores left there General Stanley's column pushed on in pursuit. The cavalry advanced by the intermediate road between the Fulton and Jacinto roads. Hamilton's division faced about and marched by Barnett's, following the enemy until night, when finding themselves greatly distanced the pursuit was discontinued, and our troops returned the next day to Jacinto, while the rebel column continued its flight, by Bay Springs and Marietta, to its old position on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The enemy left his dead on the field, part of them gathered for interment, and his badly wounded in the hospital at Iuka.
His loss was: Killed, 265; died in hospital of wounds, 120; left in hospital, 342; estimated number of wounded removed, 350; prisoners, 361. Total, 1,438. Among his killed were General Little and Colonel Stanton. How many other officers we do not know. Among his wounded were 26 commissioned officers.
Our loss consists of: Commissioned officers killed, 6; commissioned officers wounded. 39; commissioned officers missing, 1. Total, 46. Enlisted men killed, 138; enlisted men wounded, 559; enlisted men missing, 39. Total, 736. Total officers and men, 782.(*) Some of the missing have since returned.
Among the ordnance stores captured were 1,629 stand of arms and a large number of equipments, a quantity of quartermaster and commissary stores, and 13,000 rounds of ammunition.
Having thus given a detailed narrative of the battle, with sub-reports, appended statements, and a map,(+) I conclude with the following brief recapitulation:
We moved from Jacinto at 5 a.m. with 9,000 men on Price's forces, at Iuka. After a march of 18 miles attacked them at 4.30 p.m., and fought them on unknown and disadvantageous ground, with less than half our forces in action, until night put a stop to the contest. Having lost about 265 killed, 700 or 800 wounded, 361 prisoners, over 1,600 stand <ar24_75> of arms, and a quantity of quartermaster and commissary stores, the rebels retreated precipitately during the night toward Bay Springs. Our troops pursued them for 15 miles, and finding themselves distanced, gave up the pursuit and returned to Jacinto.
After the detail of our operations it is with pride and pleasure I bear testimony to the cheerfulness and alacrity of both officers and men during the march and their courage and energy in action. With insignificant exceptions it was all that could be asked.
Among the infantry regiments deserving special mention are the Fifth Iowa, which, under its brave colonel (Matthies) withstood the storm of triple fire and triple numbers; the Twenty-sixth Missouri, which nobly sustained the Fifth Iowa; the Eleventh Missouri, which, under the gallant Mower, met and discomfited two rebel brigades, and having exhausted every cartridge, held its ground until darkness and the withdrawal of the rebels enabled him to replenish; the Sixteenth Iowa, the Fourth Minnesota, the Forty-eighth Indiana, and Tenth Iowa, who shared in the combat, and the Forty-seventh Illinois, the Thirty-ninth Ohio, and others, who fought in the front or supported the rest. Sands' Eleventh Ohio Battery, under the command of Lieutenant Scars, behaved nobly. The fearful losses sustained by this battery (16 killed and 44 wounded(*)) show their unyielding obstinacy in serving the battery. The cavalry (Third Michigan and Second Iowa) covered our flanks, reconnoitered our front, whipped the vastly superior numbers of Armstrong's cavalry under the protection of their infantry, and kept them there during the battle and retreat.
I must not omit to mention the eminent services of Colonel Du Bols, commanding at Rienzi, and Colonel Lee, who, with the Seventh Kansas and a part of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, assured our flank and rear during the entire period of our operation.
Among the officers of the command who deserve special mention are Brigadier-General Hamilton, commanding the Third Division, who took the advance and held the front in the battle; Brigadier-General Stanley, who never failed to yield the most efficient and unwearying support and assistance; Brigadier-General Sullivan, commanding the Second Brigade of Hamilton's division, whose determined courage rises with and has always proved equal to the occasion; Colonel Sanborn, commanding the First Brigade of the same division, whose conduct in his first battle was highly creditable; Colonel Eddy, Forty-eighth Indiana, and Colonel Matthies, Fifth Iowa; Colonel Boomer, Twenty-sixth Missouri, wounded in action; Colonel Mower, whose gallantry is equaled only by his energy, and numerous others, whose names appear conspicuously in the accompanying reports, are commended to the favorable notice of the major-general commanding. Besides officers of the line and their respective staffs I must not omit to acknowledge the services of the able and indefatigable chief of cavalry, Colonel Mizner. Colonel Lothtop, chief of artillery, also rendered services contributing much to the general strength and efficiency of his arm. Capts. Temple Clark, assistant adjutant-general, and Greenwood and Goddard, my aides, were very gallant and indefatigable in the discharge of their duties. The energy, painstaking, and care of Surg. A. B. Campbell, and the medical officers who attended the wounded, deserve most honorable mention.
W. S. ROSECRANS, Major-General.
Maj. JOHN A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General, District of West Tennessee.
GENERAL ORDERS NO. 130.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Corinth, September 28, 1862.
The general commanding has forborne to notice in orders the facts and results of the battle of Iuka until he should have before him the reports of all the commanders who participated in the action.
Brothers in arms: You may well be proud of the battle of Iuka. On the 18th you concentrated at Jacinto; on the 19th you marched 20 miles, driving in the rebel outposts for the last 8; reached the front of Price's army advantageously posted in unknown woods, and opened the action by 4 p.m. On a narrow front, intersected by ravines and covered with dense undergrowth, with a single battery, Hamilton's division went into action against the combined rebel hosts. On that unequal ground, which permitted the enemy to outnumber them three to one, they fought a glorious battle, mowing down the rebel hordes until, night closing in, they rested on their arms on the ground, from which the enemy retired during the night, leaving us masters of the field.
The general commanding bears cheerful testimony to the fiery alacrity with which the troops of Stanley's division moved up cheering to support, when called for, the Third Division and took their places to give them an opportunity to replenish their ammunition, and to the magnificent fighting of the Eleventh Missouri, under the gallant Mower. To all the regiments who participated in the fight he presents congratulations on their bravery and good conduct. He deems it an especial duty to signalize the Forty-eighth Indiana, which, posted on the left, held its ground until the brave Eddy fell and the whole brigade of Texans came in through a ravine on the little band, and even then only yielded a hundred yards until relieved.
The Sixteenth Iowa, amid the roar of battle, the rush of wounded artillery horses, the charges of a rebel brigade, and a storm of grape, canister, and musketry, stood like a rock, holding the center, while the glorious Fifth Iowa, under the brave and distinguished Matthies, sustained by Boomer with part of his noble Twenty-sixth, bore the thrice-repeated charges and cross-fires of the rebel left and center with a valor and determination seldom equaled, never excelled, by the most veteran soldiers.
The Tenth Iowa, under Colonel Perczel, deserves honorable mention-for covering our left flank from the assault of the Texan Legion. Sands Eleventh Ohio Battery, under Lieut. Sears, was served with unequaled bravery, under circumstances of danger and exposure such as rarely, perhaps never, has fallen to the lot of one single battery during this war.
The Thirty-ninth Ohio and Forty-seventh Illinois, who went into position at the close of the fight, and held it during the night, deserve honorable mention for the spirit they displayed in the performance of their duty.
The general commanding regrets that he must mention the conduct of the Seventeenth Iowa, whose disgraceful stampeding forms a melancholy exception to the general good courage of the troops. He doubts not that there are many good officers and men in that regiment whose cheeks burn with shame and indignation at the part the regiment acted, and he looks to them and to all its members, on the first opportunity, by conspicuous gallantry to wipe out the stain on their fair tame.
To the brave and gallant Hamilton, who formed and maintained his division under the galling fire from the rebel front, having his horse shot under him in the action; to the veteran and heroic Sullivan, young in years, but old in fight; Colonel Sanborn, commanding the leading brigade in his maiden battle; Brig. Gen. D. S. Stanley, indefatigable <ar24_77> soldier, ably aiding the advance division; to their staff officers, as well as to the regiments which have been mentioned in this order, the general commanding tenders individually his heartfelt thanks and congratulations. Their gallantry and good conduct commands his respect, and has added a page to the claims they have on the gratitude of a great people, now struggling to maintain national freedom and integrity against an unhallowed war in favor of caste and despotism.
To Colonel Mizner, chief of the cavalry division, and to the officers and men of his command, the general commanding here publicly tenders his acknowledgments. For courage, efficiency, and for incessant and successful combats he does not believe they have any superiors. In our advance on Iuka and during the action they ably performed their duty. Colonel Hatch fought and whipped the rebels at Peyton's Mill on the 19th; pursued the retreating column on the 20th, harrassed their rear and captured a large number of arms. During the action 5 privates of the Third Michigan Cavalry beyond our extreme right opened fire, captured a rebel stand of colors, a captain and lieutenant, sent in the colors that night, alone held their prisoners during the night and brought them in next morning.
The unexpected accident which alone prevented us from cutting off the retreat and capturing Price and his army only shows how much success depends on Him in whose hands are the accidents as well as the laws of life.
Brave companions in arms! be always prepared for action, firm, united, and disciplined. The day of peace from the hands of God will soon dawn, when we shall return to our happy homes, thanking Him who gives both courage and victory.
By command of Major-General Rosecrans:
H. G. KENNETT, Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
THIRD DIVISION, DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Corinth, Miss., October 25, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit, for the information of the major-general commanding the district, the following report of the battle of Corinth:
The rumors which followed the battle of Iuka were that Price had marched to the vicinity of Ripley and was being joined by Van Dorn, with all the available rebel forces in North Mississippi, for the purpose of capturing Corinth or breaking our line of communication and forcing us to retreat toward Columbus. These rumors gained strength until October 1, when strong cavalry scouts, sent out for the purpose, demonstrated the fact that the rebels were moving in force from Ripley via Ruckersville and that the main body was at Pocahontas. The question then was where would they strike the main blow? Equally favorably situated to strike Bolivar, Bethel, Jackson, or Corinth, which would it be? Unfortunately for me there was no map of the country northwest of this place to be found, therefore I could not tell whether to expect a strong demonstration here to hold us in suspense while the blow was struck elsewhere or vice versa. Rumors that the attack was to take the direction of Jackson or Bolivar via Bethel were so rife, and the fortifications of Corinth were so well known to the rebels, that I had hopes they would undertake to mask me, and, passing north, give me an opportunity to beat the masking force and cut off their retreat. This hope gained some strength from the supposed difficulties of the country lying in the triangle formed by the Memphis and Charleston and the Mobile and Ohio Railroads and Cypress Creek. To he prepared for eventualities, Hamilton's and Stanley's divisions were placed just beyond Bridge Creek, the infantry outposts were called in from Iuka, Burnsville, Rienzi, and Danville, and the outpost at Chewalla retired to near Alexander's, and strengthened by another regiment and a battery early on the morning of the 2d. During that day evidences increased showing the practicability of the country northwest of us, and disclosed the fact, not before known, that there were two good roads from Chewalla eastward, one leading directly into the old rebel intrenchments <ar24_167> and the other crossing over into the Pittsburg Landing road. Accordingly the following disposition of the troops for the 3d was ordered at 1.30 a.m. of that day, viz:
There being indications of a possible attack on Corinth immediately, the following dispositions of troops will be made: General McKean, with his division, will occupy his present position; General Davies will occupy the line between the Memphis and the Columbus roads; General Hamilton, with his division, will take position between the rebel works on the Purdy and the Hamburg roads, and General Stanley will hold his division in reserve at or near the old headquarters of Major-General Grant. The respective divisions will be formed in two lines, the second line being either in line of battle or close column by division, as circumstances may require.
The troops were ordered to move toward their positions, with 100 rounds of ammunition and three days' rations per man, by 3 a.m. These dispositions were made, and the troops at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 3d occupied the positions shown on the accompanying map, Hamilton on the right, Davies in the center, McKean on the left, with an advance of three regiments of infantry and a section of artillery, under Colonel Oliver, on the Chewalla road, at or near Alexander's, beyond the rebel breastworks. The cavalry was disposed as follows (see map accompanying Colonel Mizner's report): A battalion at Burnsville, one at Rorey's Mi11, on the Jacinto and Corinth road; Colonel Lee, with the Seventh Kansas and part of the Seventh Illinois, at Kossuth and Bone-Yard, watching the rebels' right flank; Colonel Hatch and Captain Willcox on the east and north fronts, covering and reconnoitering. The reasons for these dispositions flow obviously from the foregoing explanations of our ignorance of the northwesterly approaches and of the possibility that the rebels might threaten us on the Chewalla and attack us by the Smith's Bridge road, on our left, or go around and try us with his main force on the Purdy or even Pittsburg Landing road.
The general plan, which was explained to the division commanders verbally in the morning, was to hold the enemy at arm's-length by opposing him strongly in our assumed positions, and when his force became fully developed and he had assumed position, if we found it necessary, to take a position which would give us the use of our batteries and the open ground in the immediate vicinity of Corinth, the exact position to be determined by events and the movements of the enemy.
OPERATIONS OF THE BATTLE ON OCTOBER 3.
Early in the morning the advance, under Colonel Oliver, found strong indications that the pressure under which he had retired on the 2d came from the advancing foe, and accordingly took a strong position on the hill near the angle of the rebel breastworks with his three regiments and a section of artillery. By 9 o'clock the enemy began to press them sharply and outflank them. Brigadier-General McArthur, whom I had requested to go to the front, reported wide-spread but slack skirmishing, and said the hill was of great value to test the advancing force. I ordered him to hold it pretty firmly with that view. About 10 o'clock word came that the enemy were pressing the point hotly, and that re-enforcements were required or they must yield the position. Supposing its importance was properly understood, and that it was held in subordination to the general views of its use, which, explained, I directed General Davies to send up from his position two regiments. But it proved that General McArthur had taken up four more regiments from McKean's division and was contesting the ground <ar24_168> almost as for a battle. It was probably this which induced General Davies to ask permission to rest his right on the rebel intrenchments and to which I consented, adding the verbal order to Lieutenant-Colonel Ducat that he might "use his judgment about leaving his present for that position; but in no event must he cease to touch his left on Mc-Arthur's right." The advance was made to the breastwork (as shown on the drawing), but leaving an interval between McArthur's and Davies' left. The enemy developed his forces along that line. McArthur retired from his position, which gave the rebels an opportunity to advance behind Davies' left, and forced it, after obstinate resistance, to fall back rapidly about 1,000 yards, losing two heavy guns.
Our troops fought with the most determined courage, firing very low. At 1 p.m. Davies, having resumed the same position he had occupied in the morning and McArthur's brigade having fought a heavy force, it became evident that the enemy were in full strength and meant mischief. McKean, with Crocker's brigade, had seen only skirmishers; there were no signs of any movements on our left and only a few cavalry skirmishers on our right. It was pretty clear that we were to expect the weight of the attack to fall on our center, where hopes had been given by our falling back. Orders were accordingly given to McKean to fall back to the next ridge beyond our intrenchments, to touch his right on Davies' left; for Stanley to move northward and eastward, to stand in close, en echelon, with McKean, but nearer town. General Hamilton was ordered to face toward Chewalla and move down until his left reached Davies' right. Davies was informed of these dispositions, told to hold his ground obstinately, and then, when he had drawn them in strongly, Hamilton would swing in on their flank and rear and close the day. Hamilton was carefully instructed on this point and entered into the spirit of it.
Owing to loss of time in conveying orders to Generals McKean and Davies the orders were less perfectly conformed to, but nothing materially injurious resulted therefrom. But owing to the tremendous force with which the enemy pressed Davies back Stanley was called with his division into the batteries, and sent a brigade, under Colonel Mower, to support Davies, whose right had at last become hotly engaged. Mower came up while Davies was contesting a position pear the White House, and Hamilton began to swing in on the enemy's flank, across the Columbus railroad, through a very impracticable thicket, when night closed in and put an end to the operations for the day.
The details of the heroic deeds of the troops of Davies' division of McArthur's and Oliver's brigades, as well as those of Sullivan's brigade of Hamilton's division, will be found in the accompanying sub-reports.
THE DISPOSITIONS FOR THE BATTLE OF OCTOBER 4.
We had now before us the entire army which the rebels could muster in Northern Mississippi, Van Dorn commanding; Price's army, Van Dorn's army, Villepigue, and the remnants of Breckinridge's corps. They were in the angle between the Columbus and Memphis roads. Our left was comparatively free, our right very assailable. They outnumbered us probably two to one.
The plan was to rest our left on the batteries, extending from Battery Robinett, our center on the slight ridge north of the houses, and our right on the high ground covering both the Pittsburg and Purdy roads, while it also covered the ridge road between them, leading to their old <ar24_169> camps. McKean held the extreme left, and Stanley, with his well-tried division, Batteries Williams and Robinett, the Memphis Railroad and the Chewalla road, extending nearly to the Columbus road. Davies' tried division was placed in the center, which was retired, reaching to Battery Powell. Hamilton's staunch fighting division was on the right, with Dillon's battery, supported by two regiments, posted on the prolongation of Davies' line. The design of General Hamilton was to use the hill where the batteries stood against an approach from the west, where Sullivan found the enemy on the last evening. Against my better judgment, expressed to him at the time, I yielded to his wishes and allowed the occupation as described.
Early in the evening I called the chiefs of divisions together and explained to them these plans, and having supervised the positions retired at 3 a.m. on the 4th to take some rest. I was soon aroused by the opening of the enemy's artillery, which he had planted within 600 yards of Battery Robinett.
This early opening gave promise of a hot day's work, but the heavy batteries and the Tenth Ohio, placed north of General Halleck's old headquarters, silenced them by 7 o'clock, and there was an interval of an hour, which was employed in going over our lines. About 9 o'clock the skirmishers which we had sent into the woods on our front by their hot firing proclaimed the presence of their forces preparing for the assault. Soon the heads of their columns were seen emerging to attack our center, on Davies first, Stanley next, and Hamilton last. The drawing shows these positions, and is referred to for the sake of brevity.
I shall leave to pens dipped in poetic ink to inscribe the gorgeous pyrotechny of the battle and paint in words of fire the heroes of this fight, the details of which will be found graphically depicted in the accompanying sub-reports.
I will only say that when Price's left bore down on our center in gallant style their force was so overpowering that our wearied and jaded troops yielded and fell back, scattering among the houses. I had the personal mortification of witnessing this untoward and untimely stampede. Riddled and scattered, the ragged head of Price's right storming columns advanced to near the house, north side of the square, in front of General Halleck's headquarters, when it was greeted by a storm of grape from a section of Immell's battery, soon re-enforced by the Tenth Ohio, which sent them whirling back, pursued by the Fifth Minnesota, which advanced on them from their position near the depot. General Sullivan was ordered and promptly advanced to support General Davies' center. His right rallied and retook Battery Powell, into which a few of the storming column had penetrated, while Hamilton, having played upon the rebels on his right, over the open field, effectively swept by his artillery, advanced on them and they fled. The battle was over on the right.
During all this the skirmishers of the left were moving in our front. A line of battle was formed on the ridge, as shown in the drawing. About twenty minutes after the attack on the right the enemy advanced in four columns on Battery Robinett, and were treated to grape and canister until within 50 yards, when the Ohio brigade arose and gave them a murderous fire of musketry, before which they reeled and fell back to the woods. They, however, gallantly reformed and advanced <ar24_170> again to the charge, led by Colonel Rogers, of the Second Texas. This time they reached the edge of the ditch, but the deadly musketry fire of the Ohio brigade again broke them, and at the word "Charge!" the Eleventh Missouri and Twenty-seventh Ohio sprang up and forward at them, chasing their broken fragments back to the woods. Thus by noon ended the battle of October 4.
After waiting for the enemy's return a short time our skirmishers began to advance and found that their skirmishers were gone from the field, leaving their dead and wounded. Having ridden over it and satisfied myself of the fact I rode over all our lines, announcing the result of the fight in person, and notified our victorious troops that after two days of fighting, two almost sleepless nights of preparation, movement, and march, I wished them to replenish their cartridge-boxes, haversacks, and stomachs, take an early sleep, and start in pursuit by daylight. Returning from this, I found the gallant McPherson with a fresh brigade on the public square and gave him the same notice, with orders to take the advance.
The results of the battle briefly stated are: We fought the combined rebel forces of Mississippi, commanded by Van Dorn, Price, Lovell, Villepigue, and Rust in person, numbering, according to their own authorities, 38,000 men. We signally defeated them with little more than half their numbers, and they fled, leaving their dead and wounded on the field.
The enemy's loss in killed was 1,423 officers and men. Their loss in wounded, taking the general average, amounts to 5,692. We took 2,268 prisoners, among whom are 137 field officers, captains, and subalterns, representing 53 regiments of infantry, 16 regiments of cavalry, 13 batteries of artillery, and 7 battalions, making 69 regiments, 7 battalions, and 13 batteries, besides separate companies. We took also 14 stand of colors, 2 pieces of artillery, 3,300 stand of small-arms, 45,000 rounds of ammunition, and a large lot of accouterments.
The enemy blew up several ammunition wagons between Corinth and Chewalla, and beyond Chewalla many ammunition wagons and carriages were destroyed, and the ground was strewn with tents, officers' mess-chests, and small-arms.
We pursued them 40 miles in force and 60 miles with cavalry.
Our loss was only 315 killed, 1,812 wounded, and 232 prisoners and missing.(*)
It is said the enemy was so demoralized and alarmed at our advance that they set fire to the stores at Tupelo, but finding we were not close upon them, they extinguished the fire and removed the public stores, except two car loads of bacon, which they destroyed.
To signalize in this report all those officers and men whose actions in the battle deserve mention would unnecessarily lengthen this report. I must therefore refer to the sub reports and special mentions, and to a special paper herewith, wherein those most conspicuous, to the number of 109 officers and men, are mentioned.
W. S. ROSECRANS, Major-General.
Maj. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Plan of the battle of Corinth, fought on the 3d and 4th of October, 1862, between the Confederate forces under Major-Generals Van Dorn, Price, and Lovell and the United States forces under Major-General Rosecrans.[bitmap]
GENERAL ORDERS No. 145.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, THIRD DIV., DIST. OF WEST TENNESSEE, Corinth, Miss., Oct. 23, 1862.
The general commanding cannot forbear to give pleasure to many, besides the brave men immediately concerned, by announcing in advance of the regular orders that the Seventeenth Iowa Infantry, by its gallantry in the battle of Corinth on the 4th of October, charging the enemy and capturing the flag of the Fortieth Mississippi, has amply atoned for its misfortune at Iuka, and stands among the honored regiments of his command. Long may they wear with unceasing brightness the honors they have won.
By order of Maj. Gen. W. S. Rosecrans:
C. GODDARD, First Lieut., Twelfth Infty., Ohio Volunteers, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen.
GENERAL ORDERS THIRD DIV.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, DISTRICT OF WEST TENN., No. 152. Corinth, October 25, 1862.
Army of the Third Division of the District of West Tennessee.
The preliminary announcement of the results of the great battle of Corinth was given to you on the battle-field by myself in person. I then proclaimed to you that "they were badly beaten at all points and had fled, leaving their dead and wounded on the field." When I told you to replenish your cartridge-boxes and haversacks, snatch a sleep after your two days' fighting and two nights of watching the movements, and be ready by the morning's dawn to follow the retreating foe, my heart beat high with pride and pleasure to the round and joyful response from your toil-worn and battle-stained ranks. Such a response was worthy such soldiers and of the country and cause for which they fought. I have now received the reports of the various commanders. I have now to tell you that the magnitude of the stake, the battle, and the results become more than ever apparent. Upon the issue of this fight depended the possession of West. Tennessee, and perhaps even the fate of operations in Kentucky. The entire available force of the rebels in Mississippi, save a few garrisons and a small reserve, attacked you. They were commanded by Van Dorn, Price, Villepigue, Rust, Armstrong, Maury, and others in person. They numbered, according to their own authorities, nearly 40,000 men, almost double your own numbers. You fought them into the position we desired on the 3d, punishing them terribly; and on the 4th, in three hours after the infantry entered into action, they were completely beaten. You killed and buried 1,423 officers and men; some of their most distinguished officers falling, among whom was the gallant Colonel Rogers, of the Second Texas, who bore their colors at the head of his storming column to the edge of the ditch of Battery Robinett, where he fell. Their wounded at the usual rate must exceed 5,000. You took 2,268 prisoners, among whom are 137 field officers, captains, and subalterns, representing 53 regiments of infantry, 16 regiments of cavalry, 13 batteries of artillery, and 7 battalions; making 69 regiments, 13 batteries, 7 battalions, besides several companies. You captured 3,300 stand of small-arms, 14 stand of colors, 2 pieces of artillery, and a large quantity of equipments. You pursued his retreating columns 40 miles in force with infantry and 60 miles with cavalry, and were ready to follow him to Mobile, if necessary, had you received orders.
I congratulate you on the decisive results. In the name of the Government and the people I thank you. I beg you to unite with me in giving thanks to the Great Master of all for our victory. It would be to me a great pleasure to signalize in this general order those whose gallant deeds are recorded in the various reports, but their number forbids. I will only say that to Generals Hamilton, Stanley, McArthur, and Davies, to General Oglesby and Colonel Mizner, and the brigade and regimental commanders under them, I offer my thanks for the gallant and able manner in which they have performed their several duties. To the regimental commanders and chiefs of batteries and cavalry, and especially to Colonels Lee and Hatch, I present my thanks for their gallantry on the battle-field and in the pursuit. I desire especially to offer my thanks to General Davies and his division, whose magnificent fighting on the 3d more than atones for all that was lacking on the 4th. To all the officers and soldiers of this army who bravely fought I offer <ar24_173> my heartfelt thanks for their noble behavior, and pray that God and their country may add to the rewards which flow from the consciousness of duty performed, and that the time may speedily come when under the flag of a nation one and indivisible benign peace may again smile on us amid the endearments of home and family.
But our victory has cost us the lives of 315 brave officers and soldiers, besides the wounded. Words of praise cannot reach those who died for their country in this battle, but they console and encourage the living. The memory of the brave Hackleman, the chivalrous Kirby Smith,(*) the true and noble Colonels Thrush, Baker,(*) and Mills,(*) and Capt. Guy C. Ward, with many others, live with us and in the memory of a free people, while history will inscribe their names among its heroes.
W. S. ROSECRANS.
GRANT'S HEADQUARTERS, Jackson, Tenn., October 4, 1862.
The rebels are now massing on Corinth in the northwest angle of the railroad. There was some fighting yesterday. Rosecrans informs me that his troops occupy from College Hill to Pittsburg road on the enemy's old works. General McPherson has gone with a fine brigade, raised from troops here and Trenton, to his relief; probably reached Corinth by 7 this morning. Hurlbut is moving on the enemy's flank from Bolivar. I have given every aid possible.
U.S. GRANT, Major-General.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
GRANT'S HEADQUARTERS, Jackson, Tenn., October 5, 1862.
Yesterday the rebels, under Van Dorn, Price, and Lovell, were repulsed from their attack on Corinth with great slaughter. The enemy are in full retreat, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. Rosecrans telegraphs that the loss is serious on our side, particularly in officers, but bears no comparison with that of the enemy. General Hackleman fell while gallantly leading his brigade. General Oglesby is dangerously wounded. McPherson reached Corinth with his command yesterday. Rosecrans pursued the retreating enemy this morning, and should he attempt to reach Bolivar will follow him to that place. Hurlbut is at the Hatchie with 5,000 or 6,000 men, and is no doubt with the pursuing column. From 700 to 1,000 prisoners, besides wounded, are left in our hands.
U.S. GRANT, Major-General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS, Jackson, Tenn., October 5, 1862.
General Ord, who followed Hurlbut and took command, met the enemy to-day on south side of Hatchie, as I understand from dispatch, and drove him across the stream and got possession of the heights with our troops. Ord took two batteries and about 200 prisoners. A large portion of Rosecrans' forces were at Chewalla. At this distance everything looks most favorable, and I cannot see how the enemy are to escape without losing everything but their small-arms. I have strained everything to take into the fight an adequate force and to get them to the right place.
U.S. GRANT, Major-General.
Major-general HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
GENERAL GRANT'S HEADQUARTERS, Jackson, Tenn., October 6, 1862--12.3 p.m.
Generals Ord and Hurlbut came on the enemy yesterday, and Hurlbut, having driven small bodies the day before, after seven hours' fighting, drove the enemy 5 miles back across the Hatchie toward Corinth, capturing two batteries, about 300 prisoners, and many small-arms. I immediately apprised Rosecrans of these facts and directed him to urge on the good work.
Following dispatch just received from Chewalla, October 6:
[CHEWALLA, October 5.]
The enemy are totally routed, throwing away everything. We are following sharply.
W. S. ROSECRANS.
Under previous instructions Hurlbut is also following McPherson, in the lead of Rosecrans' column. Rebel General Martin said to be killed.
U.S. GRANT, Major-General, Commanding.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
JACKSON, TENN., October 8, 1862--9 a.m.
Rosecrans has followed rebels to Ripley. Troops from Bolivar will occupy Grand Junction to-morrow, with re-enforcements rapidly sent on from the new levies. I can take everything on the Mississippi Central road. I ordered Rosecrans back last night, but he is so averse to returning that I have directed him to remain still until you can be heard from.
U.S. GRANT, Major-General.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
JACKSON, TENN., October 8, 1862.
Before telegraphing you this morning for re-enforcements to follow up our victories I ordered General Rosecrans to return. He showed such reluctance that I consented to allow him to remain until you could be heard from if further re-enforcements could be had. On reflection I deem it idle to pursue farther without more preparation, and have for the third time ordered his return.
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
Major-General HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, October 8, 1862.
Why order a return of our troops? Why not re-enforce Rosecrans and pursue the enemy into Mississippi, supporting your army on the country?
H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
Major-General GRANT, Jackson, Tenn.
JACKSON, TENN., October 8, 1862--7.30 p.m.
An army cannot subsist itself on the country except in forage. They did not start out to follow for more than a few days, and are much worn out, and I have information not only that the enemy have reserves that are on their way to join their retreating columns, but they have fortifications to return to in case of need. The Mobile road is also open to the enemy to near Rienzi, and Corinth would be exposed by the advance. Although partial success might result from farther pursuit disaster would follow in the end. If you say so, however, it is not too late yet to go on, and I will join the moving column and go to the farthest extent possible. Rosecrans has been re-enforced with everything at hand, even at the risk of this road against raids.
U.S. GRANT, Major-general.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in- Chief.
JACKSON, TENN., October 9, 1862.
Your dispatch received. Cannot answer it so fully as I would wish. Paroled now 813 enlisted men and 43 commissioned officers in good <ar24_157> health; 700 Confederate wounded already sent to Iuka paroled; 350 wounded paroled still at Corinth. Cannot tell the number of dead yet. About 800 rebels already buried. Their loss in killed about nine to one of ours. The ground is not yet cleared of their unburied dead. Prisoners yet arriving by every road and train. This does not include casualties where Ord attacked in the rear. He has 350 well prisoners, besides two batteries and small-arms in large numbers. Our loss there was between 400 and 500. Rebel loss about the same. General Oglesby is shot through the breast and the ball lodged in the spine. Hopes for his recovery. Our killed and wounded at Corinth will not exceed 900, many of them slightly.
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Jackson, Tenn., October 30, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the accompanying reports of the battles of Corinth and of the Hatchie, fought on the 3d, 4th, and 5th instant, together with a short statement of the preparation made to receive the enemy and of orders given previous to and during the engagement:
From information brought in by scouts, who were constantly kept out by General Rosecrans, from Corinth, and General Hurlbut from Bolivar, it was evident for a number of days before the final attack upon Corinth that that place or Bolivar was to be assailed. From the dispositions made by the enemy of his forces it was impossible to tell which place would be the one selected for the attack. My main bodies of troops were at these two places, but to re-enforce one from the other would have invited an attack upon the weaker place. I was compelled therefore to leave my forces where they were until the enemy fully exhibited his plans. At this time Price was at Ripley with his force; Van Dorn was at La Grange, with cavalry thrown out to the neighborhood of Somerville, and Villepigue (and Lovell probably)at Salem. With this disposition made of his cavalry Van Dorn was enabled to move from La Grange to Ripley without being discovered. This I learned on the 30th instant by dispatches from both General Rosecrans and General Hurlbut. This demonstrated clearly a design on the part of the enemy to attack Corinth. I accordingly notified General Rosecrans, commanding Corinth, of the probable intention of the rebels to try to get in north of Corinth and cut the road between that and Bethel, and directed him to concentrate all his forces at or near Corinth, instructions having been previously given him to break up Iuka and bring his forces in the neighborhood of Corinth; and at the same time directed General Hurlbut, commanding Bolivar, to watch the movements of the enemy to the east and northeast of Bolivar, and if a chance occurred to attack him with all the force he could spare, holding his entire force in readiness for action.
To save the bridge 6 miles south of Bolivar I ordered two regiments from here, under Colonel Lawler. It had the desired effect, and compelled the enemy to cut the road nearer Corinth and where the damage could not be made serious. General Rosecrans was immediately informed of this disposition of troops. He was also directed to send back <ar24_158> to Jackson all cars and locomotives. This I regarded as a necessary precaution and subsequent events proved it to be so. I also ordered troop& from Bolivar, to increase the force on the important bridges north of that place.
On the 2d I permitted the train to run to Corinth, but informed General Rosecrans that the enemy had crossed the Hatchie with the intention of cutting the railroad, and directed him to send the train back that night; that the enemy's pickets only were then across the stream, and also told him, if opportunity occurred, to attack, but to inform me, so that I might order the Bolivar forces to his assistance. There was no attack made on the 2d, however, but General Rosecrans pushed out toward Chewalla, where he was attacked on the following day.
On the 3d I ordered General Hurlbut, who had been previously ordered to be in readiness to move at any moment, to march upon the enemy's rear by way of Pocahontas. Also sent two regiments from here, under Colonel Stevenson, of the Seventh Missouri, to join Colonel Lawler at the bridge 6 miles south of Bethel, and put the whole under General McPherson, with directions to reach Corinth at the earliest possible moment. Owing to the cutting of the railroad and telegraph on the 2d the train of cars sent on that day could not return, and all communications between General Rosecrans and myself had to be sent by couriers from Bethel. The enemy occupying the direct road to Corinth compelled the couriers to take a circuitous route by way of Farmington, thus separating General Rosecrans and myself some seven or eight hours. (For the battles fought on the 3d, 4th, and 5th see accompanying reports. Not having been present, I can only judge of the conduct of the troops by these reports and the results.) I had informed General Rosecrans where Generals Ord and Hurlbut would be, and directed him to follow up the enemy the moment he began to retreat; to follow him to Bolivar if he should fall upon Ord's command and drive it that far. As shown by the reports, the enemy was repulsed at Corinth at 11 a.m. on the 4th and was not followed until next morning. Two days' hard fighting without rest probably had so fatigued the troops as to make earlier pursuit impracticable. I regretted this, as the enemy would have been compelled to abandon most of his artillery and transportation in the difficult roads of the Hatchie crossing had the pursuit commenced then. The victory was most triumphant as it was, however, and all praise is due the officers and men for their undaunted courage and obstinate resistance against an enemy outnumbering them as three to two.
When it became evident that an attack would be made I drew off from the guard along the line of the railroad all the troops that could possibly be spared (six regiments) to re-enforce Corinth and Bolivar. As before stated, four of these were sent, under General McPherson, to the former place and formed the advance in the pursuit. Two were sent to Bolivar, and gave that much additional force to be spared to operate on the enemy's rear. When I ascertained that the enemy had succeeded in crossing the Hatchie I ordered a discontinuance of the pursuit. Before this order reached them the advance infantry force had reached Ripley and the cavalry had gone beyond, possibly 20 miles. This I regarded, and yet regard, as absolutely necessary to the safety of our army. They could not have possibly caught the enemy before reaching his fortifications at Holly Springs, where a garrison of several thousand troops were left that were not engaged in the battle of Corinth. Our own troops would have suffered for food and suffered greatly from fatigue. Finding that the pursuit had followed so far and that our forces were very much scattered, I immediately ordered an advance <ar24_159> from Bolivar to be made to cover the return of the Corinth forces. They went as far south as Davis' Mills, about 7 miles south of Grand Junction, drove a small rebel garrison from there, and entirely destroyed the railroad bridge at that place.
The accompanying reports show fully al the casualties and other results of these battles.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT, Major-General, Commanding.
Col. J. C. KELTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D.C.
GENERAL ORDERS No. 88.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Jackson, Tenn., October 7, 1862.
It is with heartfelt gratitude the general commanding congratulates the Armies of the West for another great victory won by them on the 3d, 4th, and 5th instant, over the combined armies of Van Dorn, Price, and Lovell.
The enemy chose his own time and place of attack, and knowing the troops of the West as he does, and with great facilities for knowing their number, never would have made the attack except with a superior force numerically. But for the undaunted bravery of officers and soldiers who have yet to learn defeat the efforts of the enemy must have proven successful.
Whilst one division of the army under Major-General Rosecrans was resisting and repelling the onslaught of the rebel hosts at Corinth another from Bolivar, under Major-General Hurlbut, was marching upon the enemy's rear, driving in their pickets and cavalry, and attracting the attention of a large force of infantry and artillery. On the following day, under Major General Ord, these forces advanced with unsurpassed gallantry, driving the enemy back and across the Hatchie over ground where it is almost incredible that a superior force should be driven by an inferior, capturing two of his batteries (eight gains), many hundred small-arms, and several hundred prisoners.
To these two divisions of the army all praise is due and will be awarded by a grateful country.
Between them there should be, and I trust is, the warmest bonds of brotherhood. Each was risking life in the same cause, and on this occasion risking it also to save and assist the other. No troops could do more than these separate armies. Each did all possible for it to do in the places assigned it.
As in all great battles so in this, it becomes our fate to mourn the loss of many brave and faithful officers and soldiers who have given up their lives a sacrifice for a great principle. The nation mourns for them.
By command of Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant:
JNO. A. RAWLINS,
GENERAL ORDERS No. 89.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Jackson, Tenn., October 9, 1862.
The following dispatch from the President of the United States of <ar24_160> America has been officially received and is published to the armies in this district:
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 1862.
I congratulate you and all concerned in your recent battles and victories. How does it all sum up? I especially regret the death of General Hackleman, and am very anxious to know the condition of General Oglesby, who is an intimate personal friend.
By command of Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant:
JNO. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF the WEST, Baldwyn, Miss., September 26, 1862.
COLONEL: I beg leave to submit to the general commanding this department the following report of the operations of this army subsequent <ar24_120> to July 25, when I, by his order, assumed command of the District of the Tennessee:
As soon as the withdrawal of General Hardee's army gave me the control of the railroad I began to concentrate all of the troops within the district at Tupelo, with the intention of making a forward movement at the earliest day possible. Believing that it was very important, if not essential to success, that such a movement should be made with the co-operation of Major-General Van Dorn, I wrote to him on July 31, proposing to "advance our armies rapidly and concurrently toward Grand Junction or some other point on or near the Tennessee line," at which place he should assume command of the combined armies and move thence through Western or Central Tennessee into Kentucky.
Having received no reply to this dispatch I wrote him again on August 4:
The success of the campaign depends on the promptness and boldness of our movements and the ability which we shall manifest to avail ourselves of our present advantages. The enemy are still transferring their troops from Corinth and its vicinity eastward. They will by the end of this week have reduced their force to its minimum. We should be quick to take advantage of this, for they will soon begin to get in re-enforcements under the late call for volunteers. In fact every consideration makes it important that I should move forward without unnecessary delay. I earnestly desire your co-operation in such a movement, and will, as I have before said, place myself and my army under your command in that contingency.
Events happening within his own district made it utterly impossible for General Van Dorn to accede at the time to my proposition. Believing that I could not advance successfully without his co-operation I determined to await either that or the weakening of the enemy's force in front of me and to meanwhile perfect my preparations to move. I at the same time sent out a cavalry expedition under Actg. Brig. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong. This gallant young cavalry officer had already distinguished himself and done the country some service at Courtland, as I have already informed the commanding general He now left Baldwyn at the head of about 1,600 men. Having been re-enforced at Holly Springs by about 1,100 cavalry, under command of Colonel Jackson, of General Van Dorn's army, he pushed boldly forward toward Bolivar, met a largely superior force in front of that town, and drove them back with heavy loss, killing and wounding a large number and capturing 73 prisoners. Having accomplished this he did not delay, but pushed northward, crossed the Hatchie River, passed between Jackson and Bolivar--at each of which places there were heavy bodies of the enemy--and took and held possession of the railroad for more than thirty hours, during which time he destroyed all the bridges and a mile of trestle work. Returning, he encountered the enemy in force near Denmark, attacked and routed them, killing and wounding about 75 of them, capturing 213 prisoners, and taking two pieces of artillery, after which he returned to Baldwyn.
His entire loss upon the expedition was, in killed, wounded, and missing, 115, among whom I regret to mention Capt. J. Rock Champion, whose reckless daring and intrepid boldness have illustrated the battle-fields of Missouri, Arkansas, and Alabama, as well as that of Bolivar, in which he fell far in advance of all his command.
the highest praise should be awarded to General Armstrong for the prudence, discretion, and good sense with which he conducted this expedition, and his officers and men for the gallantry and soldierly bearing which they displayed upon it.
I meanwhile (August 17) received from General Bragg a copy of his letter of August 11, addressed to General Van Dorn, in which, referring <ar24_121> to my proposition to the latter to combine our armies and move into West Tennessee, the general commanding says:
If you hold them (the enemy's forces in West Tennessee) in check we are sure of success here; but should they re-enforce here so as to defy us, then you may redeem West Tennessee, and probably aid us by crossing to the enemy's rear. * * * To move your available force into West Tennessee, co-operating with General Price, who will move soon toward Corinth, or to move to Tupelo by rail and join Price, are suggestions merely. I cannot give you specific instructions, as circumstances and military conditions in your front may vary materially from day to day.
A few days later I received General Bragg's dispatch of August 19, informing me that he had ordered one-third of the exchanged prisoners to this army, and I at once, in anticipation of receiving them, immediately made every preparation for arming and equipping them and supplying them with transportation, &c., and was, while doing this, better content to await General Van Dorn's co-operation, which now seemed certain at no distant day, as he on August 24 replied to my proposition of July 31 and August 4 by saying that he would be ready to join me with 10,000 men in about twenty days. I answered him at once that I would be ready to move in five days, and having on September 2 received another telegraphic dispatch from General Bragg--in which he said, "Buell's whole force is in full retreat upon Nashville, destroying their stores; watch Rosecrans and prevent a junction, or if he escapes you, follow him closely "--I sent one of my aides-de-camp to General Van Dorn with dispatches urging him to hasten his movements, and forthwith ordered my own army forward to this place. General Van Dorn replied the next day that he would be ready to move from Holly Springs by the 12th, and that he would support me if I, finding that Rosecrans was attempting to effect a junction with Buell, should follow and overtake him.
I immediately advanced my headquarters to Guntown, and having ascertained that Rosecrans was at Iuka with about 10,000 men, I on the 11th instant marched in that direction with my whole army. My cavalry, under General Armstrong, arrived before the town on the 13th and my infantry and artillery arrived there by a forced march at sunrise on the 14th. The enemy had, however, evacuated the place during the night, abandoning a large quantity of valuable army stores, all of which fell into our hands.
As Rosecrans had retreated westward with his forces I did not think it was my duty to cross the Tennessee and move upon Nashville, as had been ordered by General Bragg, under the belief, as I presumed, that Rosecrans had eluded me and was marching to the relief of Buell, but that I should continue to hold Rosecrans in check and prevent if possible his junction with Buell. I accordingly dispatched couriers the same day to General Van Dorn, announcing my occupation of Iuka and Rosecrans' retreat westward, and again proposing to unite our armies and move against Corinth. I also sent Brigadier-General Moore to Tupelo to hasten forward the exchanged prisoners that General Bragg had ordered to be sent there for this army.
Early on the morning of September 19 I received dispatches from General Van Dorn, saying that he acceded to my proposition and requesting me to move immediately toward Rienzi. I at once replied that I would move my army as quickly as I could in the direction proposed by him, and issued orders for the instant loading of the trains and for the marching of the army early next morning.
About the same time I received from the enemy a demand to lay down my arms because of certain victories which they pretended to have <ar24_122> gained in Maryland. I replied to the insolent demand through the commanding officer of my cavalry advance.
During the early part of the afternoon of the same day my pickets on the Jacinto road were driven in. About 2.30 o'clock they reported that the enemy were advancing on that road in force. I ordered General Little to send Hebert's brigade to meet them and soon afterward directed Martin's brigade to follow it. Both brigades moved to the field gladly and gallantly. They met the enemy, commanded by Rosecrans in person, within a mile of the town. The line of battle was instantly formed and the fight began, and was waged with a severity which I have never seen surpassed. I had myself gone to the field, accompanied by General Little and my staff. Discovering that the enemy's force, which turned out to be their right wing, about 8,000 strong, under Rosecrans in person, was much greater than I had been led to believe, I directed General Little to bring forward his two other brigades, which were some 2 miles distant. Just there he fell, pierced through the brain with a Minie ball.
Meanwhile Hebert's and Martin's brigades carried on the unequal contest not only successfully but gloriously. They drove the enemy from every position a distance of more than 600 yards, capturing 9 pieces of artillery and taking about 50 prisoners. They were finally staid in their triumphant progress by the darkness just as the First and Third Brigades of Little's division reached the field, eager to avenge the death of their friend and commander. The division bivouacked upon the field of battle.
I had proposed to renew the battle in the morning and had made my dispositions accordingly, but having ascertained toward morning that the enemy had by means of the two railroads massed against me a greatly superior force, and knowing that my position was such that a battle would endanger the safety of my trains even if I should be victorious, of which I had but little doubt, I determine to adhere to my original purpose and to make the movement upon which I had already agreed with General Van Dorn. Orders were issued accordingly, and the wagons trains having been put in motion, the troops were withdrawn from the battle-field a little before sunrise, the enemy manifesting no desire to renew the bloody conflict and firing only two or three shots at my cavalry rear guard. Every wagon and all of the valuable stores that we had taken, together with many of the sick and wounded, were safely brought away.
General Maury, who had taken position with two of his brigades on the heights east of the town so as to cover the movement, says in his report:
The train and army having marched past me, I withdrew from my position by order of the commanding general at 8 a.m. and marched in rear of the army. The enemy followed us feebly with cavalry chiefly, which was held in check all the time by the cavalry under General Armstrong covering my rear.
About 2 p.m., while halted at a point about 8 miles from Iuka, the pursuing enemy was drawn into an ambuscade, admirably planned and executed by General Armstrong, Colonel Rogers, and Captain Bledsoe. They received the fire of the Second Texas Sharpshooters and of Captain Bledsoe's battery at short range, and were charged by McCulloch's cavalry and utterly routed. During the remainder of the march to Baldwyn they ventured within range no more.
General Maury also speaks in terms of just praise of the great efficiency and skill with which the cavalry force was handled by General Armstrong, and of a very daring and successful ambuscade planned and executed on the 17th by Colonels Wirt Adams and Slemons, commanding <ar24_123> two regiments of cavalry, for the particulars of which I must refer you to his report.
the brunt of the battle of Iuka fell upon Hebert's brigade, and nobly did it sustain it, and worthily of its accomplished commander and of the brigade which numbers among its forces the ever-glorious Third Louisiana, the Third Texas Dismounted Cavalry, and Whitfield Texas Legion. The Third Louisiana and the Third Texas had already fought under my eyes at the Oak Hills and at Elkhorn. No men have ever fought more bravely or more victoriously than they, and he who can say hereafter "I belonged to the Third Louisiana or the Third Texas" need never blush in my presence. In this the hardest-fought fight which I have ever witnessed they well sustained their bloodily won reputation, as the accompanying report of the killed and wounded will testify. The commanding officer of each regiment--Lieutenant-Colonel Gilmore and Colonel Mabry--was severely wounded. Brave men were never more bravely commanded.
Whitfield's Legion not only took a battery with the aid of the Third Texas, but fully established on this occasion its right to stand side by side with the veteran regiments already named, and won under their gallant leader a reputation for dashing boldness and steady courage which places them side by side with the bravest and the best. I regret that they are to lose in the impending conflicts the leadership of their able commander, Col. John W. Whitfield, who was painfully wounded, though not dangerously.
General Hebert very well says in his report:
Where all have done their duty, where officers and soldiers have displayed unparalleled bravery, determination, and fortitude, no discrimination can be made. Under my personal supervision no one faltered, no one hesitated to meet the foe, even in a hand-to-hand conflict. I must, however, put into the position of brave and true men the small numbers of the Fourteenth and Seventeenth Regiments of Arkansas Infantry, upon whom past circumstances had east a doubt. Nobly, heroically have they proved themselves true patriots and brave soldiers. They have placed themselves above suspicion--above accusation.
Colonel Colbert's regiment (the Fortieth Mississippi) also proved its worthiness to take its place in this brave brigade, the command of which has by the fortunes of war been already devolved upon its intelligent and brave colonel.
King's battery, which was the only one brought into action on our side, demonstrated its willingness and its ability to sustain the reputation which it had gained under its former captain, the lamented young S. Churchill Clark.
Two regiments---the Thirty sixth Mississippi and Thirty-seventh Alabama-of Martin's brigade, were sent to the support of General Hebert's left wing, and were gallantly led by and fought bravely under their brigade commander, Col. John D. Martin. Colonel Dowdell and Lieutenant-Colonel Greene, of the Thirty-seventh Alabama, were both wounded, the former slightly, the latter severely. The other two regiments of Martin's brigade--the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Mississippi--were detached for the support of General Hebert's right, and were advancing steadily when the Thirty-eighth, coming suddenly upon a masked battery, was thrown into some confusion, from which it soon recovered.
Hebert's brigade lost in the action 63 killed and 299 wounded; Martin's brigade, 22 killed and 95 wounded.
It will thus be seen that our success was obtained at the sacrifice of many a brave officer and patriot soldier. Chief among them was Brig. Gen. Henry Little, commanding the First Division of this army. Than <ar24_124> this brave Marylander no one could have fallen more dear to me or whose memory should be more fondly cherished by his countrymen. Than him no more skillful officer or more devoted patriot has drawn his sword in this war of independence. He died in the day of his greatest usefulness, lamented by his friends, by the brigade of his love, by the division which he so ably commanded, and by the Army of the West, of which he had from the beginning been one of the chief ornaments.
I have, colonel, the honor to be, with great respect, yours, &c.,
STERLING PRICE, Major-General, Commanding.
Lieut. Col. GEORGE G. GARNER, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department No. 2.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Holly Springs, Miss., October 20, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the battle of Corinth:
Having established batteries at Port Hudson, secured the mouth of Red River and the navigation of the Mississippi River to Vicksburg, I turned my special attention to affairs in the northern portion of my district.
On August 30 I received a dispatch from General Bragg, informing rite that he was about to march into Kentucky and would leave to General Price and myself the enemy in West Tennessee.
On September 4 I received a communication from General Price, in which was inclosed a copy of the dispatch from General Bragg, above named, making an offer to co-operate with me. At this time General Breckinridge was operating on the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and Port Hudson with all the available force I had for the field; therefore I could not accept General Price's proposition. Upon the return, however, of General Breckinridge I immediately addressed General Price, giving him my views in full in regard to the campaign in West Tennessee, and stating that I was then ready to join him with all my troops.
In the mean time orders were received by him from General Bragg to follow Rosecrans across the Tennessee River into Middle Tennessee, whither it was then supposed he had gone. Upon the receipt of this intelligence I felt at once that all my hopes of accomplishing anything in West Tennessee with my small force were marred. I nevertheless moved up to Davis' Mill, a few miles from Grand Junction, Tenn., with the intention of defending my district to the best of my ability, and to make a demonstration in favor of General Price, to which latter end also I marched my whole command on September 20 to within 7 miles of Bolivar, driving three brigades of the enemy back to that place and forcing the return to Corinth of one division (Ross'), which had been sent there to strengthen Grant's army.
General Price, in obedience to his orders, marched in the direction of Iuka to cross the Tennessee, but was not long in discovering that Rosecrans had not crossed that stream. This officer, in connection with <ar24_377> Grant, attacked him on September 19, and compelled him to fall back toward Baldwyn, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
On the 25th day of the same month I received a dispatch by courier from General Price, stating that he was at Baldwyn and was then ready to join me with his forces in an attack on Corinth, as had been previously suggested by me.
We met at Ripley on September 28, according to agreement, and marched the next morning toward Pocahontas, which place we reached on October 1.
From all the information I could obtain the following was the situation of the Federal army at that time: Sherman at Memphis with about 6,000 men; Hurlbut (afterward Ord) at Bolivar with about 8,000; Grant's headquarters at Jackson with about 3,000 ; Rosecrans at Corinth with about 15,000, together with the following outposts, viz: Rienzi, 2,500; Burnsville, Jacinto, and Iuka about 6,000; at important bridges and on garrison duty about 2,000 or 3,000, making in the aggregate about 42,000 men in West Tennessee. Memphis, Jackson, Bolivar, and Corinth were fortified, the works mounting siege guns; the outposts slightly fortified, having field pieces. Memphis, Bolivar, and Corinth are on the are of a circle, the chord of which from Memphis to Corinth' makes an angle with the due east line about 15° south. Bolivar is about equidistant from Memphis and Corinth, somewhat nearer the latter, and is at the intersection of the Hatchie River and the Mississippi Central and Ohio Railroad. Corinth is the strongest but the most salient point.
Surveying the whole field of operations before me calmly and dispassionately, the conclusion forced itself irresistibly upon my mind that the taking of Corinth was a condition, precedent to the accomplishment of anything of importance in West Tennessee. To take Memphis would be to destroy an immense amount of property without any adequate military advantage, even admitting that it could be held without heavy guns against the enemy's gun and mortar boats. The line of fortifications around Bolivar is intersected by the Hatchie River, rendering it impossible to take the place by quick assault, and re-enforcements could be thrown in from Jackson by railroad, and situated as it is in the reentrant angle of the three fortified places, an advance upon it would expose both my flanks and rear to an attack from the forces at Memphis and Corinth. It was clear to my mind that if a successful attack could be made upon Corinth from the west and northwest, the forces there driven back on the Tennessee and cut off, Bolivar and Jackson would easily fall, and then, upon the arrival of the exchanged prisoners of war, West Tennessee would soon be in our possession and communication with General Bragg effected through Middle Tennessee. The attack on Corinth was a military necessity, requiring prompt and vigorous action. It was being strengthened daily under that astute soldier General Rosecrans. Convalescents were returning to fill his ranks, new levies were arriving to increase his brigades, and fortifications were being constructed at new points, and it was very evident that unless a sudden and vigorous blow could be struck there at once no hope could be entertained of driving the enemy from a base of operations so convenient that in the event of misfortune to Bragg in Kentucky the whole valley of the Mississippi would be lost to us before winter. To have waited for the arrival, arming, clothing, and organization of the exchanged prisoners would have been to wait for the enemy to strengthen themselves more than we could possibly do.
With these reflections and after mature deliberation I determined to <ar24_378> attempt Corinth. I had a reasonable hope of success. Field returns at Ripley showed my strength to be about 22,000 men. Rosecrans at Corinth had about 15,000, with about 8,000 additional men at outposts from 12 to 15 miles distant. I might surprise him and carry the place before these troops could be brought in. I therefore marched toward Pocahontas, threatening Bolivar; then turned suddenly across the Hatchie and Tuscumbia and attacked Corinth without hesitation, and did surprise that place before the outpost garrisons were called in. It was necessary that this blow should be sudden and decisive, and if unsuccessful that I should withdraw rapidly from the position between the two armies of Oral and Rosecrans. The troops were in fine spirits and the whole army of West Tennessee seemed eager to emulate the Armies of the Potomac and of Kentucky. No army ever marched to battle with prouder steps, more hopeful countenances, or with more courage than marched the Army of West Tennessee out of Ripley on the morning of September 29 on its way to Corinth.
Fully alive to the responsibility of my position as commander of the army, and after mature and deliberate reflection, the march was ordered. The ground was well known to me and required no study to determine where to make the attack. The bridge over the Hatchie was soon reconstructed and the army crossed at 4 a.m. on October 2. Adams' brigade of cavalry was left here to guard this approach to our rear and to protect the train, which was parked between the Hatchie and Tuscumbia. Colonel Hawkins' regiment of infantry and Captain Dawson's battery of artillery were also left on the Bone Yard road, in easy supporting distance of the bridge. The army bivouacked at Chewalla after the driving in of some pickets from that vicinity by Armstrong's and Jackson's cavalry. This point is about 10 miles from Corinth.
At daybreak on the 3d the march was resumed, the precaution having been taken to cut the railroad between Corinth and Jackson, which was done by a squadron of Armstrong's cavalry. Lovell's division in front kept the road on the south side of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Price, after marching on the same road about 5 miles, turned to the left, crossing the railroad, and formed line of battle in front of the outer line of intrenchments and about 3 miles from Corinth. Lovell formed line of battle, after some heavy skirmishing--having to construct a passage across the dry bed of Indian Creek for his artillery under fire--on the right and in front of the same line of intrenchments.
The following was the first order of battle: The three brigades of Lovell's division--Villepigue's, Bowen's, and Rust's--in line, with reserves in rear of each; Jackson's cavalry brigade on the right en échelon, the left flank of the division on the Charleston Railroad; Price's corps on the left, with the right flank resting on the same road; Maury's division on the right, with Moore's and Phifer's brigades in line, Cabell's in reserve; Hébert's division on the left, with Gates and Martin's brigades in line, Colbert's in reserve; Armstrong's cavalry brigade on the extreme left, somewhat detached and out of view. Hébert's left was masked behind a timbered ridge, with orders not to bring it into action until the last moment. This was done in hopes of inducing the enemy to weaken his right by re-enforcing his center and left--where the attack was first to be made--that his right might be forced.
At 10 o'clock all skirmishers were driven into the intrenchments and the two armies were in line of battle, confronting each other in force. A belt of fallen timber, or abatis, about 400 yards in width extended along the whole line of intrenchments. This was to be crossed. <ar24_379>
The attack was commenced on the right by Lovell's division and extended gradually to the left, and by 1.30 o'clock the whole line of outer works was carried, several pieces of artillery being taken. The enemy made several ineffectual efforts to hold their ground, forming line of battle at advantageous points and resisting obstinately our advance to the second line of detached works.
I had been in hopes that one day's operations would end the contest and decide who should be the victors on this bloody field, but a 10 miles' march over a parched country, on dusty roads, without water, getting into line of battle in forests with undergrowth, and the more than equal activity and determined courage displayed by the enemy, commanded by one of the ablest generals of the United States Army, who threw all possible obstacles in our way that an active mind could suggest, prolonged the battle until I saw, with regret, the sun sink behind the horizon as the last shot of our sharpshooters followed the retreating foe into their innermost lines. One hour more of daylight and victory would have soothed our grief for the loss of the gallant dead who sleep on that lost but not dishonored field. The army slept on their arms within 600 yards of Corinth, victorious so far.
During the night three batteries were ordered to take position on the ridge overlooking the town from the west, just where the hills dip into the flat extending into the railroad depot, with instructions to open on the town at 4 a.m. Hébert, on the left, was ordered to mask part of his division on his left; to put Cabell's brigade en échelon on the left also, Cabell's brigade being detached from Maury's division for this purpose; to move Armstrong's cavalry brigade across the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and if possible to get some of his artillery in position across the road. In this order of battle he was directed to attack at daybreak with his whole force, swinging his left flank in toward Corinth and advance down the Purdy Ridge. Lovell,--on the extreme right, with two of his brigades in line of battle and one in reserve, with Jackson's cavalry on the extreme right on College Hill, his left flank resting on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad--was ordered to await in this order or to feel his way along slowly with his sharpshooters until Hébert was heavily engaged with the enemy on the left. He was then to move rapidly to the assault and force his right inward across the low grounds southwest of town. The center, under Maury, was to move at the same time quickly to the front and directly at Corinth. Jackson was directed to burn the railroad bridge over the Tuscumbia during the night.
Daylight came and there was no attack on the left. A staff officer was sent to Hébert to inquire the cause. That officer could not be found. Another messenger was sent and a third; and about 7 o'clock General Hébert came to my headquarters and reported sick. General Price then put Brigadier-General Green in command of the left wing, and it was 8 o'clock before the proper dispositions for the attack at this point were made. In the mean time the troops of Maury's left became engaged with the enemy's sharpshooters and the battle was brought on and extended along the whole center and left wing, and I regretted to observe that my whole plan of attack was by this unfortunate delay disarranged. One brigade after another went gallantly into the action, and pushing forward through direct and cross fire over every obstacle, reached Corinth and planted their colors on the last stronghold of the enemy. A hand-to-hand contest was being enacted in the very yard of General Rosecrans' headquarters and in the streets of the town. The heavy guns were silenced and all seemed about to <ar24_380> be ended when a heavy fire from fresh troops from Iuka, Burnsville, and Rienzi, that had succeeded in reaching Corinth in time, poured into our thinned ranks. Exhausted from loss of sleep, wearied from hard marching and fighting, companies and regiments without officers, our troops--let no one censure them--gave way. The day was lost. Lovell's division was at this time advancing pursuant to orders and was on the point of assaulting the works when he received my orders to throw one of his brigades (Villepigue's) rapidly to the center to cover the broken ranks thrown back from Corinth and to prevent a sortie. He then moved his whole division to the left and was soon afterward ordered to move slowly back and take position on Indian Creek and prevent the enemy from turning our flank. The center and left were withdrawn on the same road on which they approached, and being somewhat in confusion on account of the loss of officers, fatigue, thirst, want of sleep thinned ranks, and the nature of the ground Villepigue's brigade was brought in opportunely and covered the rear to Chewalla. Lovell came in rear of the whole army and all bivouacked again at Chewalla. No enemy disturbed the sleep of the weary troops. During the night I had a bridge constructed over the Tuscumbia and sent Armstrong's and Jackson's cavalry with a battery of artillery to seize and hold Rienzi until the army came up, intending to march to and hold that point; but after consultation with General Price, who represented his troops to be somewhat disorganized, it was deemed advisable to return by the same route we came and fill back toward Ripley and Oxford. Anticipating that the Bolivar force would move out and dispute my passage across the Hatchie Bridge I pushed rapidly on to that point in hopes of reaching and scenting the bridge before their arrival, but I soon learned by couriers from Col. Witt Adams that I would be too late. I nevertheless pushed on with the intention of engaging the enemy until I could get my train and reserve artillery unparked and on the Bone Yard road to the crossing at Crum's Mill. This road branches off south from the State Line road about 2½ miles west of Tuscumbia Bridge, running south or up the Hatchie. No contest of long duration could be made here, as it was evident that the army of Corinth would soon make its appearance on our right flank and rear. The trains and reserve artillery were therefore immediately ordered on the Bone Yard road, and orders were sent to Armstrong and Jackson to change their direction and cover the front and flank of the trains until they crossed the Hatchie, and then to cover them in front until they were on the Ripley road. The enemy were then engaged beyond the Hatchie Bridge by small fragments of Maury's division as they could be hastened up, and were kept in cheek sufficiently long to get everything off. General Ord commanded the forces of the enemy and succeeded in getting into position before any number of our travel-worn troops could get into line of battle. It is not surprising, therefore, that they were driven back across the bridge; but they maintained their positions on the hills overlooking it under their gallant leader, General Price, until orders were sent to fall back and take up their line of march on the Bone Yard road in rear of the whole train.
At one time, fearing that the enemy, superior in numbers to the whole force I had in advance of the train, would drive us back, I ordered General Lovell to leave one brigade to guard the rear at the Tuscmbia Bridge and to push forward with the other two to the front. This order was quickly executed and very soon the splendid brigades of Rust and Villepigue made their appearance close at hand. The army corps of <ar24_381> General Price was withdrawn and Villepigue filed in and took position as rear guard to the army against Ord's forces. Rust was ordered forward to report to General Price, who was directed to cross the Hatchie at Crum's Mill and take position to cover the crossing of the trains and artillery. Bowen was left at Tuscumbia Bridge as rear guard against the advance of Rosecrans from Corinth, with orders to defend that bridge until the trains were unparked and on the road, then to cross the bridge and burn it and to join Villepigue at the junction of the roads. In the execution of this order, and while in position near the bridge, the head of the Corinth army made its appearance and engaged him, but was repulsed with heavy loss and in a manner that reflected great credit on General Bowen and his brigade. The army was not again molested in its retreat to Ripley nor on its march to this place.
The following was found to be our loss in the several conflicts with the enemy and on the march to and from Corinth, viz: Killed, 594 wounded, 2,162; prisoners and missing, 2,102. One piece of artillery was driven in the night by mistake into the enemy's lines and captured. Four pieces were taken at the Hatchie Bridge, the horses being shot. Nine wagons were upset and abandoned by teamsters on the night-march to Crum's Mill. Some baggage was thrown out of the wagons, not amounting to any serious loss. Two pieces of artillery were captured from the enemy at Corinth by General Lovell's division, one of which was brought off. Five pieces were also taken by General Price's corps, two of which were brought off, thus making a loss to us of only two pieces.
The enemy's loss in killed and wounded, by their own accounts, was over 3,000. We took over 300 prisoners. Most of the prisoners taken from us were the stragglers from the army on the retreat.
The retreat from Corinth was not a rout, as it has been industriously represented to be by the enemy and by the cowardly deserters from the army. The division of General Lovell formed line of battle facing the rear on several occasions when it was reported the enemy was near, but not a gun was fired after the army retired from the Hatchie and Tuscumbia Bridges, nor did the enemy follow, except at a respectful distance.
Although many officers and soldiers who distinguished themselves in the battle of Corinth and in the affair at Hatchie Bridge came under my personal observation I will not mention them to the exclusion of others who may have been equally deserving but who did not fall under my own eye. I have deemed it best to call on the different commanders to furnish me a special report and a list of the names of the officers and soldiers of their respective commands who deserve special mention. These lists and special reports 1 will take pleasure in forwarding, together with one of my own, when completed, and I respectfully request that they may be appended as part of my report.
I cannot refrain, however, from mentioning here the conspicuous gallantry of a noble Texan, whose deeds at Corinth are the constant theme of both friends and foes. As long as courage, manliness, fortitude, patriotism, and honor exist the name of Rogers will be revered and honored among men. He fell in the front of battle, and died beneath the colors of his regiment, in the very center of the enemy's stronghold. He sleeps, and glory is his sentinel.
The attempt at Corinth has failed, and in consequence I am condemned and have been superseded in my command. In my zeal for my country 1 may have ventured too far with inadequate means, and I bow to the opinion of the people whom I serve. Yet I feel that if the <ar24_382> spirits of the gallant dead who now lie beneath the batteries of Corinth see and judge the motives of men they do not rebuke me, for there is no sting in my conscience, nor does retrospection admonish me of error or of a reckless disregard of their valued lives.
Very respectfully, sir, I am, your obedient servant,
EARL VAN DORN, Major-general.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVII/1 [S# 24] OCTOBER 3-12, 1862.--Battle of Corinth, Miss., and pursuit of the Confederate forces. No. 90.--Report of Brig. Gen. John McArthur, U.S. Army, commanding First Brigade and Sixth Division, including operations October 3-11.
HDQRS. SIXTH DIVISION, ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Corinth, Miss., October 15, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my command at the battle of Corinth on October 3 and 4 and the subsequent pursuit of the enemy on their retreat:
On the morning of Friday, October 3, by special order on the field, I assumed the command of the First Brigade of this division, consisting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Wisconsin and the Twenty-first Missouri Infantry, with orders to support Colonel Oliver, commanding Second Brigade, same division, who had met the enemy at Chewalla and was checking their advance.
After falling back slowly I determined to make a stand on Cane Creek Bluff, on the Chewalla road, about 4 miles from Corinth, and accordingly gave orders to Colonel Oliver to that effect, supporting him with the Sixteenth Wisconsin and Twenty-first Missouri. Finding that the enemy was advancing in force on that road and deploying to my right so as to gain the old rebel breastworks, I again dispatched for re-enforcements, and succeeded in getting the Third Brigade, Second Division, Colonel Baldwin commanding, consisting of the Seventh, Fiftieth, and Fifty-seventh Illinois Regiments, which were promptly sent forward by General Davies. Placing them in position, together with a section of Battery --, First Missouri Light Artillery, also from the same division, we fought the enemy successfully, causing them to wake a detour still farther to the right, so as to gain the ridge (the spur of which we held), which they accomplished about 12 m., attacking us vigorously on our right flank and in front, our troops repulsing them handsomely in several attempts to dislodge us with heavy loss. The enemy finding no troops on my right to oppose him immediately commenced massing his troops so as to turn my right, on perceiving which I ordered the Seventh Illinois to change front to the right and charge them with the bayonet, which they attempted to do, but were met by an overwhelming force of the enemy, who had partially succeeded in gaining their rear, with a view to cut them off. On this being reported to me I ordered the line to fall back, Colonel Babcock extricating his men from their perilous position in good style. Falling back toward the main line we again rallied in front of it facing north, but not before the enemy had succeeded in gaining the ground occupied by the camps of the Seventeenth Wisconsin and Twenty-first Missouri. I then determined to drive them out of it, and ordered the line to charge with the bayonet en échelon of battalion from the right. The Seventeenth Wisconsin on the fight, Colonel Doran commanding, moved forward, gallantly charging with an impetuosity truly characteristic, nobly seconded by the Seventh Illinois, Colonel Babcock; Fifty-seventh Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Hurlbut; the Fiftieth Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Swarthout; the Sixteenth Wisconsin, Major Reynolds; the Twenty-first Missouri, Major Moore, covering the left flank, all in fine order, sweeping the enemy before them out of the camps a distance of half a mile. Hearing them again becoming hotly engaged, and fearing they had advanced beyond our line on the right (which afterward proved to be the case), I applied to General McKean for two more regiments to <ar24_345> support the first line, which he promptly ordered forward. They failed, however, to comprehend the situation of affairs, and after firing an unnecessary volley retired precipitately. I then ordered the whole line to retire, which they did in good order, forming in rear of the main line.
Afterward, in obedience to orders and in accordance with the general plan, marched into Corinth and took position for the night inside the inner works, on the north side of the town of Corinth. The Third Brigade, Second Division, reported back to General Davies, leaving me with the First and Second Brigades and the Tenth Ohio Battery, when we rested on our arms for the night.
At daybreak on the morning of the 4th, the enemy having commenced shelling the town, we changed our position a little and commenced throwing up temporary breastworks of fallen timber and what material we could find, from which when partially completed we were again ordered to the left of the remainder of the division, immediately in front of the general hospital, where we remained, supporting the batteries without becoming actively engaged during the balance of the engagement, with the exception of the Sixteenth Wisconsin, which regiment did good service in protecting our extreme left from being harassed by the enemy's skirmishers.
At 2 p.m., immediately on the firing slacking, and in obedience to orders from Major-General Rosecrans, I proceeded with a portion of the Sixteenth Wisconsin and the Twenty-first Missouri Infantry to reconnoiter the enemy along their right, advancing as far as Battery C, on the Kossuth turnpike, and ascertaining that no enemy had passed out that road. I then turned north along the line of our abandoned works, skirmishing the woods, taking a few prisoners, until I reached Battery E, on the Smith's Bridge road, where we saw the rear guard of the enemy's cavalry passing out. My infantry, although making every exertion, was unable to intercept them, but followed them as far west as Carter's house, a distance of 4 miles from Corinth. Thence turning north we picketed the line to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, inclosing the hospitals of the enemy, and taking 1 commissioned officer and 308 enlisted men prisoners, together with 50 officers and 497 men wounded in hospitals; also 460 muskets and 400 cartridge-boxes, together with several horses and mules, tents and ambulances, left in charge of medical department; remaining under arms without food or rest till morn ing, when I ordered Major Moore, of the Twenty-first Missouri, to remain in charge of hospitals and prisoners with the portions of the two regiments that had been on duty, collecting whatever was valuable of the débris hastily abandoned by the discomfited foe.
I was then immediately joined by the Second Brigade, Colonel Oliver, and the remainder of the First Brigade, with orders to follow the retreating enemy and harass them on the retreat. I accordingly started in pursuit, and when at the distance of 7 miles from Corinth was met by a party of 200 of the enemy bearing a flag of truce, under Colonel Barry, of the Thirty-fifth Mississippi, which detained me three hours; long enough, as it afterward proved, to allow three brigades of the enemy (commanded by Rust, Bowen, and Villepigue respectively, who had encamped on the road I was following) time to get out of the way, as I reached their camp three hours after they had left. Following on I came up with the brigade of General McPherson, who had crossed from the north road to the one I was following. I therefore followed him closely, supporting him at all times when he encountered the enemy.
On the morning of the 6th, in obedience to orders, I assumed command of the whole division, placing the First Brigade, also in command <ar24_346> of Colonel Oliver, continuing in pursuit in the same order until we reached Ripley, Miss., capturing many prisoners and cat sing the enemy to abandon and destroy much of their property in arms, artillery ammunition, and camp equipage, and returning from Ripley to Corinth on the night of Saturday, October 11, without any loss in men or property.
I must here bear honorable mention of the endurance, cheerful obedience, and persevering spirit exhibited by the officers and soldiers in the pursuit; also to their good conduct in their several engagements with the enemy.
Without particularizing too much I must mention the gallant conduct of the Seventeenth Wisconsin and Seventh Illinois Regiments in the bayonet charge on the afternoon of the 3d; also the good service rendered by the Sixteenth Wisconsin as skirmishers.
I would also call the attention of the general commanding to the efficient services rendered by Colonel Oliver, commanding Second Brigade, and respectfully refer him to his report as to the part taken by his command in their persevering efforts to check the enemy's advance, harassing and delaying their attack, thereby gaining time and putting the enemy's already exhausted commissary supplies to a severe test.
I would also mention Captain Hickenlooper, Fifth Ohio Battery, chief of artillery of this division, for his very able management and direction of his batteries, conspicuous among which were the Tenth Ohio, Capt. H. B. White, and one section First Minnesota, under Sergeant Clayton, who ought to be promoted. Also the Fifth Ohio Battery was well served.
My thanks are also due to my aides-de-camp, Lieutenants Willard and McArthur; also Captain Zeigler and Lieutenant Lewman, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, for their valuable assistance throughout. I commend them as efficient officers. Also Lieutenant Higley, acting division quartermaster, for promptness in discharge of duty.
I refer you also to the accompanying report of Colonel Crocker, commanding Third Brigade, it not being under my command on the 3d and 4th instant.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
JOHN McARTHUR, Brig. Gen., Comdg. Sixth Division, Army of the Tennessee.
Lieut. Col. C. GODDARD, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.