« PreviousContinue »
BATTLE OF CORINTH.
on Davies's left. Hamilton's division was moved so as to touch Davies's right, and Stanley took position in close échelon with McKean, near Corinth.
While these movements were going on, the Confederates were pressing heavily on the National center. Davies was pushed back. He called upon Stanley for aid. Colonel Mower was sent with a brigade, and had just arrived, and Hamilton was coming in through a thicket on Lovell's left, when darkness fell, and the struggle ceased. Many brave men of the National army had fallen. General Oglesby was severely wounded, and General Hackelman was killed. The Confederates, elated by seeming success, enveloped Rosecrans’s front, and rested on their arms with assurance of victory in the morning. Van Dorn believed Corinth would be his before the rising of the sun. So early as three o'clock, when McKean fell back, he had sent a shout of triumph to Richmond by telegraph,' that was followed by a melancholy moan thirty hours later.
The battle was renewed before dawn the next morning. Both parties had spent the night in preparing for it. Rosecrans and his staff were on the field all night. The National batteries around
a Oct. 4,
1862. Corinth were well manned, and a new one, mounting five guns, and called Fort Richardson, was constructed during the dark hours by sappers and miners, composed
of negro slaves, under Captain Gau, at the left of Hamilton's division. The Confederates had also thrown up redoubts, one of which was not more than two hundred yards in front of Battery Robinett,
Robinett, that covered the Chewalla road northward from
FORT ROBINETT.3 Corinth. It was that Confederate battery that opened the fight. Its shells fell in the streets of Corinth, producing great consternation among the noncombatants. It was not answered until daylight, when Captain Williams, from Battery Williams (which, with Robinett, protected Stanley's division), opened his 20-pounder Parrott guns upon it, and silenced it in three minutes. The Confederates fled with two of the guns, leaving a third as a trophy for the Nationals.
This disconcerted the Confederate plan of attack, which was for Price on
1 "Our troops," he said, “have driven the enemy from their position. We are within three-fourths of a mile of Corinth. The enemy are huddled together about the town. Some on the extreme left still trying to hold their position. So far all is glorious."
2 The batteries of the new fortifications constructed by Major Prime extended from a point near the railway, close to the southern borders of Corinth, around west of it to a point due north from the starting point These were named Battery Madison, Lathrop, Tanurath, Phillips, Williams, Robinett, Powell, and Richardson. See map on page 522.
* This is a view of Fort Robinett and the ground in front of it, as it appeared on the morning after the battle, with the exception of the dead bodies of the Confederates which strewed the ground. It is from a photograph made that day by G. S. and C. T. Smith, of Jackson, Mississippi, who kindly gave the writer a copy of it when he was there in April, 1866.
their left to open a cannonade (as he did) to attract the attention of the Nationals and keep them employed in that direction, while Lovell, on the right in strong force, should storm the works on the National left. The sudden crushing out of Price's battery changed the plan. It was followed by the severe musket-firing of skirmishers in the thickets between the belligerents, and random thunderings of batteries. Finally, at a little after nine o'clock, the Confederates, in heavy masses, suddenly came out from cover northward of the railway, advanced rapidly along the Bolivar road, and in wedge form fell fiercely upon Davies and Fort Powell on the National right center, intending to penetrate Corinth. The struggle was very severe. Grape and canister shot made fearful lanes through the Confederate ranks, yet they pressed up most gallantly in the face of the storm.' A portion of Davies's division gave way, but was soon rallied. The sudden weakness
encouraged the assailants, and they pressed forward, captured Fort Powell, and a score of them penetrated the town to the head-quarters of Rosecrans, on the public square, which they captured. Sheltered by its portico and
angles, they fired upon aumwa na
the Nationals on the ROSECRANS'S HEAD-QUARTERS.
opposite side of the But their triumph was short lived. The column that had pushed Davies back was in turn assailed by a section of Immell's battery, supported by the Tenth Ohio and Fifteenth Minnesota, and driven toward the forest, when Sullivan coming to the aid of Davies, Fort Powell was retaken. This was accomplished by a charge of the Fifty-sixth Illinois. At the same time, the guns of Hamilton (who had fallen back with Davies) on the extreme right were making dreadful havoc in the Confederate ranks. The foe was
1 An eye-witness (correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial) says the soldiers “ marched steadily to death, with their faces averted, like men striving to protect themselves against a driving storm of hail."
? This was the appearance of the house when the writer sketched it, late in April, 1866. It was the residence of Hampton Mark. During the battle, at the time mentioned in the text, it was much injured; but at the time of the writer's visit it was in good order. The correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, who was present, says, "Seven rebels were killed within the little inclosure in front of the General's cottage." Obliquely across the square was the public-house, known as the - Verandah Hotel," kept by Dr. Gibson, the post-master of Corinth, when the writer visited that place. This was the head-quarters of General Bragg at the time of the siege of Corinth, at the close of May, 1862, and was one of the few dwellings in that village that survived the storms of the war. It was nsed as a hospital, and bore many scars made by the conflict. During the occupation of Corinth by the Confederate Army, General A. 8. Johnston's quarters were at the Tishamingo Hotel (which was burned), Polk's were at the house of the Widow Hayes, and Hardee's at the house of Dr. Stout
speedily burled back in great disorder, and casting away all incumbrances, fled to the woods, closely pursued by the victors with shouts of triumph.
In the mean time Lovell, whose attack on the National left was to have been simultaneous with that of Price on the right, had done his best. He
sent forward a heavy skirmish-line, and with four columns of attack, composed chiefly of Texans and Mississippians, he pressed on in the face of the artillery fire from two batteries, and fell upon Fort Robinett and the adjacent lines. A bloody battle ensued, and great bravery was exhibited on both sides. Forts Robinett and Williams swept the approaching lines fearfully with grape and canister. Steadily those lines moved on and reached the ditch, where they paused for a moment—a fatal moment—before making the
contemplated charge. Then Colonel Rogers, a brave actingCONFEDERATE FLAG.
brigadier of Texas, with the new Confederate flag' in one hand, and a revolver in the other, leaped the ditch, scaled the parapet, and, with five companions, fell forward dead within the fort. There was
a power behind that parapet unsuspected by the Confederate leader. It was the Ohio brigade of Colonel Fuller,' which had lain prone until the foe was
1 By a recent act of the “ Congress " at Richmond the design of the Confederate fiag had been changed. Instead of the “ Stars and Bars” first adopted (see page 256, volume I.), it was a white flag, with the Union represented by stars on a blue field, arranged in the form of a cross. This was the style of the flag until the close of the war.
2 Composed of the Twenty-seventh, Thirty-ninth, Forty-third, and Sixty-third Ohio, and Eleventh MisBouri, Colonel Mower.
ROSECRANS SUPERSEDES BUELL.
at the ditch, when portions suddenly rose and delivered such murderous volleys that the assailants recoiled. In a moment they rallied and came again to the encounter. The Eleventh Missouri and Twenty-seventh Ohio gave them fearful volleys, and then the word “Charge !" rang out along the line. The Nationals poured over the parapet, engaged in a terrible hand-tohand fight with the assailants, and soon sent them flying in wildest confusion to the shelter of the forest. By noon THE BATTLE OF Corinth was ended, and the whole Confederate force was retreating southward.
Rosecrans ordered five days' rations and a rest until the next morning for his gallant troops (who had been marching and fighting for forty-eight hours), preparatory to a vigorous pursuit. Just before sunset General McPherson arrived, with five fresh regiments sent by General Grant, and early in the morning he went forward as the advance of the pursuers, and followed the Confederates fifteen miles that day. In the mean time another division from Grant, under General Hurlbut, which had been pushed forward to attack the Confederate rear or intercept their retreat, had met the head of Van Dorn's column near Pocahontas, on the morning of the 5th, and was driving it back across the Hatchee, toward Corinth, at Davis's Bridge, when General Ord, who ranked Hurlbut, came up and took the command. There was severe fighting there, in what is known as THE BATTLE OF THE HATCHEE, where the Confederates lost two batteries, and three hundred men made prisoners. Ord had fallen severely wounded during the engagement, and Hurlbut resumed the command.' His force was inferior, and he did not pursue. The Confederates made a wide circuit, and crossed the Hatchee at Crown's bridge, a few miles farther south, burning it behind them. McPherson, coming up, rebuilt it, and on the following day pushed on in pursuit. The greater portion of the National army followed the fugitives to Ripley, and their gallant leader, satisfied that he could soon overtake and capture or destroy Van Dorn's army, was anxious to continue the pursuit. Grant thought it best not to go farther, and Rosecrans was recalled. The fugitives had been followed forty miles by the main body of the victors, and sixty miles by the cavalry.”
A few days after his return to Corinth, and while the country was ringing with his praises, Rosecrans was relieved from his command, and ordered to report at Cincinnati, where he found orders for him to supersede Buell in command of the Army of the Ohio, which, as we have observed, was now called the Army of the Cumberland.
a Oct. 6,
1 In this conflict General Veatch was also wounded. Ord's logs in that pursuit was heavier than that of the flying Confederates, who made a stand at three well-covered places, in succession.
2 General Rosecrans reported his loss in the battle of Corinth and in the pursuit at 2,859, of whom 81i were killed, 1,812 wounderl, and 232 missing. We have no official report of the loss of the Confederates. Rosecra3 estimated it at 1,423 killed, 5,692 wounded, and 2,243 prisoners, making a total of 9,363 Pollard admits that their loss was more than 4,500. Among the trophies were 14 fags, 2 guns, and 3,300 small arms. Rosecrans says that, according to the Confederate authority, they had 38,000 men in the battle, and that his own force was less than 20,008). General Hackelman was among the loyal slain.