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1862 October 8: A “Great Victory” for the Union at the Battle of Corinth

October 8, 2012

From the October 8, 1862, issue of The Prescott Journal comes this account of the Battle of Corinth, which took place on October 3-4, 1862, in Corinth, Mississippi.

W A R   N E W S !


Rebels Routed and Retreating.
Loss Heavy on Both Sides.
Gen. Rosecrans to Renew the Attack.

Glorious news to-day from Corinth.

The rebels were routed and are retreating.

The rebel loss was very heavy, and ours is also large.

Gen. Dodge1 sent a message from Columbus to prepare for a large number of wounded.

Battle of Corinth, by Kurz & Allison (see footnote 2)

Price [Sterling Price], Van Dorn [Earl Van Dorn], and Lovell3 were in command of the rebels, who numbered 40,000.

We can get no distinct account of Friday’s battle.

On Saturday morning Price attacked Rosecrans’ [William S. Rosecrans] right, and Van Dorn and Lovell his left.

The assault was made with great determination.  At one time our center was penetrated, and the rebels reached the Corinth House near the center of the town.  They were driven out at the point of the bayonet.

Van Dorn led his column over an abattis4 on the left, up to within fifty yards of a ditch, exposed all the time to a scathing fire of grape and canister.  They were driven back by a charge of the 27th Ohio and 11th Missouri.

The battle lasted till half past eleven, when the rebels began to retreat towards Hatchie river.

Battle of Corinth, from the “Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” plate 25, map 1 (see footnote 5)

The number of killed and wounded on either is not known.6

The rebel loss is reported to be much larger than ours.

We have between 700 and 1,000 prisoners, not including the wounded.

Gen. Hackleman7 is killed.

Gen.Ogelsby [sic]8 is dangerously wounded.

Cols. Smith, Gilbert, and Monver [sic: Mower] are wounded.9

The Mobile and Ohio Railroad is not seriously injured.

The telegraph has been repaired to Corinth.

Gen. Hulbert [sic: Stephen A. Hurlbut] marched on Saturday to the south side of Hatchie river, thus cutting off Price’s retreat.

Rosecrans moved early this morning to renew the attack.

Cannonading was heard to-day in the direction of these forces.

Price is in the forks of Hatchie river, between Humboldt [in Tennessee] and Rosecrans.

1.  Grenville Mellen Dodge (1831-1916) was a civil engineer and railroad surveyor. At the beginning of the Civil War, he was appointed colonel of the 4th Iowa Infantry in July 1861. He commanded the 1st Brigade, 4th Division at the Battle of Pea Ridge, where he was wounded. He was then appointed brigadier general of volunteers and placed in command of the District of Mississippi. As the Civil War was ending in 1865, Dodge ordered the Powder River Expedition to quell Indian raids on the Bozeman Trail. After the War he became the Union Pacific Railroad’s chief engineer.
2.  This digital image is from an original 1891 Kurz & Allison print, available at the Library of Congress. The UWRF University Archives & Area Research Center has in its special collections a copy of Battles of the Civil War: The Complete Kurz & Allison Prints, 1861-1865, Birmingham, Ala.: Oxmoor House, 1976 (Oversized E 468.7 .B3 1976).
3.  Mansfield Lovell (1822-1884), whose father had been the 8th Surgeon General of the United States and grandfather was a member of the Continental Congress, was a graduate of West Point and served in the Mexican War. When the Civil War broke out, he left his business in New York City and enlisted in the Confederate Army, and in October 1861 replaced General David Twiggs in charge of New Orleans. Lovell was severely criticized for failing to prevent the fall of New Orleans.  At the Battle of Corinth he commanded the 1st Division of the District of the Mississippi, which opened the fighting.
4.  An abattis is a line of defense consisting of a barrier of felled or live trees with sharpened branches pointed toward the enemy. During the last four days of September the trees in the vicinity of the centrally placed Battery Robinett had been felled to form an abatis (another spelling of abattis, as is abbattis).
5.  Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, published under the direction of Redfield Proctor, Stephen B. Elkins, and Daniel S. Lamont, Secretaries of War, by George B. Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph W. Kirkley, Board of Publication ; compiled by Calvin D. Cowles (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891-1895). Available in Special Collections, UWRF University Archives & Area Research Center (E 464 .U6), or digitally at Ohio State University’s eHistory.
6.  The Union lost 2,359 killed, wounded, and missing out of approximately 23,000 troops. The Confederates lost 4,838 our of approximately 22,000 troops. From the National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program web page for Corinth.
7.  Pleasant Adam Hackleman (1814-1862) was a lawyer and politician before becoming colonel of the 16th Illinois Infantry when the Civil War began. In 1861 they participated in the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. In April 1862 he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and assigned to command the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Army of the Tennessee. Early in the fighting at the Battle of Corinth, while trying to rally his brigade, Hackleman was shot through the neck and died. His final words were, “I am dying, but I die for my country.”
8.  Richard James Oglesby (1824-1899) was orphaned as a child and lived with his uncle in Decatur, Illinois, where he later worked as a farmhand, ropemaker, and carpenter. He served in the Mexican War, studied law, and mined gold in California. When the Civil War began, he was appointed colonel of the 8th Illinois Infantry and was soon given command of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division in the Department of the Missouri. He commanded his brigade at the Fort Henry and Fort Donelson battles. Oglesby was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division in the Army of the Tennessee at the Battle of Corinth, where hHe was severely wounded. On April 15, 1865, Oglesby was present in the room when President Abraham Lincoln died. After the War, Oglesby was elected the 14th governor of Illinois and served three terms.
9.  Joseph L. Kirby Smith (1836-1862), a nephew of General E. Kirby Smith, graduated from West Point in 1857. He was colonel of the 43rd Ohio Infantry and was mortally wounded at the Battle of Corinth.
Alfred West Gilbert (1816-1900) studied law under Salmon P. Chase. He was a member of the Cincinnati Home Guard and was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 39th Ohio Infantry when the War started. He was promoted to colonel in March of 1862. Gilbert participated in the battles of New Madrid, Iuka, and Corinth. He was seriously injured at the Battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862 from a concussion when he was thrown from his horse due to a nearby exploding artillery shell. He then resigned his commission and returned to Cincinnati.
Joseph Anthony Mower (1827-1870) was colonel of the 11th Missouri Infantry and assumed command of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division in the Army of the Mississippi and led it into action at the battle of Corinth. He was wounded in the neck and taken prisoner by Confederate forces but he was recovered by Union soldiers the same day. In November 1862 he was promoted to brigadier general will command a brigade during the Vicksburg Campaign.

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