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artillery constituting the left wing, with General Rosecrans in command. General E. O. C. Ord commanded the centre wing and General W. T. Sherman the right wing, which extended to Memphis, with two of his brigades back at Brownsville. All except Sherman's forces were in easy telegraphic communication. Corinth was a strongly fortified point. As a part of the plan of subjugation, preparations were being made by the enemy for an advance through Mississippi and an attack on Vicksburg by combined land and naval forces. General Bragg had moved into Kentucky, leaving General Van Dorn and General Sterling Price in command of the Confederate troops in northern Mississippi. General Grant had been constantly called on to reinforce General Buell, so that he had at this time a total force of about 42,000 men. General Price and General Van Dorn united their forces and prepared for an attack on Corinth, by the capture of which position the Federal forces could be driven from western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. This would have made Ohio River the dividing line between the belligerents west of the Alleghanies. At the east the line was already farther north than when hostilities commenced at the opening of the year.

General Bragg's instructions to Generals Price and Van Dorn had been to prevent a junction of the opposing forces with General Buell in Middle Tennessee. General Price learned that General Rosecrans was moving to cross the Tennessee and join Buell. He therefore marched from Tupelo, reached Iuka on the 13th, and on the following day took possession. Colonel R. C. Murphy, commanding the Federal forces, made no resistance, but marched his regiment out, leaving a considerable quantity of army stores and a large amount of cotton. The cotton was burned and Price settled down leisurely under the nose of General Grant, who was at Corinth, thirty miles away. Grant planned a combined attack by Rosecrans from the south and Ord from the west; Ord took position six miles from Iuka to await Rosecrans's attack. There ran two roads

from the southward to Iuka: the Fulton road, and two miles west of it the Tuscumbia road. Grant's plan had been an approach by the Fulton road, with a view to cutting off Price's escape by that way; but Rosecrans, for reasons of his own, advanced with his whole force by the Tuscumbia road, leaving the Fulton road entirely open.

On the 1st of September, General Bragg had telegraphed Price to watch Rosecrans and prevent his joining Buell in Middle Tennessee. On reaching Iuka, Price learned that Rosecrans had sent three divisions to Buell, but had remained west of Iuka with two divisions. He decided to remain, and telegraphed Van Dorn that he would turn back. and coöperate with him in an attack on Corinth. Almost at the same time he had another telegram from Bragg urging him to hasten to Nashville. He did not go, though Grant, Halleck, and Rosecrans feared that he would do so, and Halleck had written Grant to "do everything in your power to prevent Price from crossing the Tennessee. A junction of Price and Bragg in Tennessee would be most disastrous. They should be fought while separate." Grant's response was that he would do everything in his power "to prevent such a catastrophe," and he at once began concentrating his forces against Price. Even after Ord's march to within six miles of Iuka, there was time for Price to hurry to Nashville, and pursuit would hardly have been made, since Grant would not dare to open West Tennessee to the advance of Van Dorn, who was waiting to enter it. Price was still hesitating when, during the night of September 18th, he learned that Van Dorn had been directed by the president to take command of the force under Price and the Army of the West. The officer bringing this information was authorized to arrange the movements by which the two armies should unite and preparations were made to inaugurate on the following morning the beginning of the movements.

At two o'clock in the afternoon of September 19th, however, Price learned that Rosecrans was advancing in force by the Jacinto road, while all his artillery and infantry

THE

NEW YORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY,

Aster, Lercx and Tiden

Frenatis.

1905

[graphic]

John Bankhead Magruder, Major-general, C. S. A.

James Chesnut, Jr., Brigadier-general, C. S. A.

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were in front of Ord, by whom he expected the attack to be made. Brigadier-general Henry Little was ordered to send General Louis Hebert's brigade to the left, and it came on the instant. By this time, Hamilton's division of Rosecrans's corps was within a mile and a half of the centre of the town. In response to Price's order for another brigade General Little sent Martin's brigade quickly to the field, the fight having already begun. Little was ordered to bring up the rest of his division; he started it forward and joined General Price in the thickest of the fight. A minie ball crashed through his forehead, killing him instantly. Hamilton gave way, losing nine of his guns, and was reinforced by General D. S. Stanley's division. About the same time the rest of Little's division arrived, but darkness had put a stop to the battle. General Price resolved to renew the fight at daylight, but influenced by the apprehensions of his generals that Grant would attack in overwhelming force in the morning, he reluctantly ordered that the preparations of the preceding day for withdrawal be carried out. This was done. It was learned afterward that Grant never heard of the fight until the following day. Rosecrans entered Iuka when Price had withdrawn. Grant sent two divisions and some cavalry in pursuit and they overtook Price's rearguard in the afternoon, but being severely handled they retired. This was pronounced a severe fight by both armies, Major-general Hamilton saying: "I never saw a hotter or more destructive engagement.' General Price in his official report says: "The fight began and was waged with a severity I have never seen surpassed."

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Rosecrans's column was 9,000 strong, but the battle was mainly waged by Hamilton's division. The Federal loss was 141 killed, 649 wounded, and 36 missing. On the Confederate side, only two brigades of Price's army, Hebert's and John Adams's brigades of Little's division, 3,179 officers and men, were engaged. The Confederate loss was 86 killed, 408 wounded; about 200 Confederate sick were left at Iuka or on the road.

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