« PreviousContinue »
Summary of Military Movements in the West.--Ariny of the Pota
mac.—Gen. Hooker Superseded.-Gen. Meado takes Command.Battle of Gettysburg.
AFTER the occupation of Corinth, the armies, respectively commanded by Gens. Grant and Buell, had separated for different undertakings. Grant was to advance southward, occupying the military positions captured along the banks of the Mississippi, as possession of that river was gradually recovered, and coöperating in the work, as occasion was presented. Buell was to move on Chattanooga and to attempt the relief of East Tennessee, occupying that stronghold and cutting the Rebel communications by that great thoroughfare.
In carrying out this policy, Buell gradually moved his army to the vicinity of Chattanooga, on the north side of the river, but soon found himself in a critical position, on account of the weakness of so long a line of communication with his base of supplies. Bragg, who had now assumed command of the opposing Rebel army, had the two corps of Hardee and Polk at Chattanooga, and that of Kirby Smith at Knoxville-having reached the former place in advance of Buell, after the evacuation of Corinth. Gen. Geo. W. Morgan, with a considerable Government force, had meanwhile occupied Cumberland Gap, which he held for weeks, but was finally flanked by Kirby Smith, and retreated across the country to the Ohio river. This exposed the left of Buell, and Morgan's failure was fatal to the campaign.
While Smith pursued his course toward Lexington, a portion of Bragg's force, on the 21st of August, crossed the Tennessee river, at Harrison, a short distance above Chattanooga, and turned the left of Buell, moving up the Sequatchie, while another detachment moved on McMinnville. A junction of the three Rebel corps was to be effected in the interior of Kentucky.
An advance force of the Rebels appeared before Munfordsville, on the 13th of September. The enemy were repulsed, on the 14th, by the small force there, under command of Col. Wilder, but the place was surrendered on the 17th. Bueli meanwhile moved with celerity, and, approaching Louisville, compelled the enemy to turn aside from his movement on that city, to open communication with the remainder of his forces, at Lexington and elsewhere. On the 18th, Bragg issued a proclamation at Glasgow, calling upon the people of Kentucky to rally to his support. On the 4th of October, Buell arrived at Bardstown, on his way to meet the enemy. On the same day, a Rebel “Provisional Governor" of Kentucky was proclaimed at Frankfort, a portion of Bragg's forces having possession of the State Capital.
During the burrying to and fro of these opposing armies, not a little excitement prevailed at Cincinnati and Louisville, in view of the apparent danger impending. Both cities were almost entirely undefended; and now might be seen the full significance of the memorable Buckner-McClellan compact. The Kentucky hights opposite the city, instead of being held and fortified, were open to scarcely disputed occupancy by the invaders. Works were speedily thrown up before Cincinnati, and Gen. Wallace, who was assigned to the command of this post, soon found a large number of men at his disposal, many thousands of the people of Ohio and Indiana having rallied at the call of the State authorities. The events of this invasion and “siege" will long have a prominent place in local tradition and history.
On the 6th, Gen. Buell's advance reached Springfield, sixty miles from Louisville, between Danville and Bardstown. His army at this time was organized into three corps, respectively commanded by Gens. Gilbert, Crittenden and McCook. Learning that a considerable Rebel force was at Perryville, a few miles distant, on the 7th, Buell formed the plan of surrounding the portion of the enemy there, bringing cach of his corps into action. Gen. Crittenden, however, failed to come up in time, and Bragg, learning this fact, determined to fall upon McCook and Gilbert, recalling Hardee's corps to Perryville for that
purpose, after he was already on his retreat. On the 8th, the battle was fought, McCook's force suffering heavily before
reënforcements from Gilbert arrived, after 3 o'clock P. M. The conflict continued until dark, the Government forces falling back. Crittenden's corps came up that night, and Bragg retreated without renewing the engagement.
Buell's loss in this engagement, including Brig. Gens. Jackson and Terrill, is stated at 466 killed, 1,463 wounded, and 160 missing-a total of 2,089. The Rebel loss was estimated at about the same.
Bragg succeeded in making his escape with a large amount of spoils, consisting mainly of various supplies, of which his army was greatly in need. He retired by way of Stanford and Mount Vernon, where pursuit ceased, and from whence Buell fell back on the line of Nashville and Louisville. Here he was superseded by Gen. Rosecrans, under the President's order of the 25th of October.
Gen. Grant having sent reënforcements to Buell during this period of marching and countermarching in Kentucky, the enemy began to assume a threatening attitude in front of his line, which extended from Corinth to Tuscumbia. The second brigade of Gen. Stanley's division fell back from the latter place, which it had held under command of Col. Murphy, to Iuka, on the 10th of September, and the Ohio brigade, holding that place, withdrew, on the 11th, to Corinth, leaving Murphy's command to hold the post. A sudden dash of Rebel cavalry put Murphy's force to rout, and secured a large amount of booty which that officer, completely surprised, neglected to destroy.
Gen. Rosecrans, who had succeeded to the command surrendered by Gen. Pope on going to Virginia, took prompt measures to meet the emergency. The force under Price appears to have been sent forward for the purpose of either coöperating with Bragg, or of drawing away troops from Corinth, to facilitate its capture by Van Dorn. The movement was met by an attempt of Gen. Grant to cut off the retreat of Price, and to force him to surrender his army, numbering, as reported, about 15,000 men. A force of about 5,000 men, under Gen. Ord, (who was accompanied by Gen. Grant in person) was to move toward Burnsville, to attack in front, while Gen
Rosecraus was to take part of his command by Jacinto to attack the flank of Price's army. The execution of this plan commenced on the 18th of September. Rosecrans, advancing by rapid marches, in a heavy rain, fell in with the Rebel pickets on the following day, seven miles from Iuka, and a skirmish ensued, the force encountered falling back toward that village. The forces of Rosecrans were now concentrated at Barnett's, and after waiting two hours for the expected sound of Ord's cannon, a dispatch from Gen. Grant, on the other side of Iuka, was received, saying that he was waiting for Rosecrans to open on the enemy. The force was then moved up from Barnett's to within two miles of Iuka, where the Rebels were found in strong position on a commanding ridge. A hot engagement immediately commenced, which lasted more than two hours, closing at nightfall.
Gen. Hamilton's division bore the brunt of this conflict, aided by the Eleventh Ohio Battery, which, in half an hour of the thickest of the fight, lost 72 men in killed and wounded. The Fifth Iowa Regiment lost 116 men in killed and wounded, and the Eleventh Missouri, 76. The fiercest contest was over the Ohio battery, twice captured by the Rebels, twice retaken at the point of the bayonet. During the night, Price escaped, retiring to Bay Spring. Grant and Ord had not been able, it appears, to engage the enemy, or to prevent his flight. The road by which he withdrew was one unknown to the commanding General. The loss of Rosecrans was 148 killed, 570 wounded, and 94 missing-a total of 812. He took several hundred prisoners from Price, whose other losses were believed to be greater than those of Rosecrans, including two or three generals killed.
This battle had the effect of preventing Price from rendering any direct aid to Bragg, in his incursion through Kentucky, one apprehended purpose of this movement. The retreating column was pursued for some distance, and its loss in arms and other property was large.
On the 26th of September, Gen. Rosecrans took command at Corinth, Gen. Grant proceeding to Jackson, and Gen. Ord to Bolivar, both on the Mobile and Ohio railroad, north or
Grand Junction. Price, continuing his retreat to Baldwin, Mississippi, moved to Dumas, fifteen miles northwest, and effected a junction with Van Dorn. He was afterward joined by Mansfield Lovell at Pocahontas, Van Dorn having chief command of the concentrated force. Gen. Rosecrans antici. pated an attack on Corinth, and prepared accordingly. The position was regarded as a strong one, Gen. Halleck having much improved the defensive works of the place, after its evacuation by Beauregard.
The forces under Van Dorn's command having concentrated at Ripley, crossed the Hatchie river and occupied the railroad north of Corinth, on which they advanced on the 2d of October, cutting off direct communication with Bolivar and Jackson. A force was sent by Gen. Grant, however, under command of McPherson, which seasonably arrived at Corinth by a circuitous route. Of the four divisions of Rosecraps at Cor. inth, three, under Geng. Hamilton, Davies and McKean, were drawn
up in line of battle near the outer intrenchments, while the other division remained in the town as a reserve. Heavy skirmishing was kept up through the day on the 3d. On the morning of the 4th, two dense assaulting columns approached, about 9 o'clock-one on the right, under the lead of Price; the other on the left, under Van Dorn. The movement was intended to be simultaneous, but Price, having a less obstructed route, first forced his way, under the destructive fire of numerous heavy guns, quite within the outer intrenchments. For a moment, the division of Davies fell back, and all seemed lost. Rosecrans in person rallied his men, however, and under the gallant conduct of the Fifty-sixth Illinois Regiment, which delivered an effective fire of musketry and advanced with a resolute charge of bayonets, the enemy was driven back, and scattered with terrible havoc. This brilliant affair was well over, when Van Dorn, approaching in a similar manner, found himself confronted by Hamilton's division—the Ohio brigade, under Col. Fuller, and the Eleventh Missouri Regiment, bearing the brunt of the fight, on the part of the infantry force. The batteries on this side of the town, also, did frightful execution, and Van Dorn's column failed to gain a footbald within