CORINTH INFORMATION DATABASE Version 1.3 © 1995 Milton Sandy, Jr.

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From Corinth, Miss.
                      Corinth, Miss., May 6th, 1863.
DEAR MESSENGER:

                           "For Sale."

     Our little army here, having but shortly since returned from a
two weeks' cruise in pursuit of the Confederates, I feel authorized to
offer for sale on commission, to suit the times, a large and varied
assortment of bags, suitable for catching "rebels." They are almost
equal to new, have been used but a short time by their present owners;
also, several works on Artesian Strategy and unfathomable science,
designed to instruct the reader in the prolongation of Campaigns, and
the conduct of a war of extermination. Persons desiring to purchase,
can address "U.S.G.," "New Canal" or "Cut off, near Vicksburg, Miss."
The sale is offered simply because the Left Wing of the Army of the
Tennessee has pressed so hard on the heels of the retreating enemy
that they have hemmed them in somewhere between the Potomac River and
the Gulf of Mexico, and their General has no alternative left but to
fight or let it alone, just as he pleases. If your readers can't see
the sublimity of the Federal scheme to capture, it's because they
don't understand Geography. The enemy being, as it were, served up
between the two last water-courses I have named, has no possible
chance of escape, except by getting away, and he will scarcely be
enabled to do that, unless he can move his army, which cannot be done
while said army remains in its present position.

                       "Strategy, My Boy!"

     It seems to be pretty clearly demonstrated that the Army of the
Tennessee wants a leader; that is, a man who is free from the
prevalent disease of Canal on the brain; a man who can refrain from
kicking Israelites out of his back door, while the enemy enter at the
front; a man who is a man, and a General; one who is free from the
bigoted principles which are demoralizing our army and rendering our
success more uncertain and distant. As an evidence of some of the
inscrutable strategy which prevails in this Department, I will cite
part of our experience since my last: On the 20th ult., our garrison,
which had previously been ordered to be in readiness to resist an
attack at the first alarm, was suddenly surprised by the receipt of
marching orders; our indefatigable Gen'l Grant having determined on a
"raid." About the same time, as part of the program, Gen. Rosecrans
sent a Brigade of mounted infantry across the country to rendezvous at
Bear Creek, about forty miles souteast of this place. But a day was
allowed for preparation, when the column was put in motion, consisting
of all the troops of this District, supplied with two days' rations,
without camp and garrison equipage, and officers, and men, without a
change of clothing; two days' march brought them to Bear Creek where
they awaited the arrival of the Brigade of Rosecrans; here the plan of
the "raid" was developed.

     Our troops were to press on to the Tuscumbia Valley, where Col.
[P.D.] Rodd[e]y (C.S.A.) was supposed to be with about five thousand
troops. Our forces were, by some of the most sublime strategy, to
surround the "Confeds" and "bag" them, while the brigade from the
Cumberland Army, under their commander, Col. [A.D.] Streight, was to
push on through Alabama to a point in Georgia, for the purpose of
destroying some important railroads, which would materially interfere
with the forwarding of supplies to Bragg's Army at Tullahoma, and
force him to retire from the latter position.

                       Castles in the Air.

     This was the plan. Strategy that would do justice to old Mars
himself. (?) Worthy of the fertile brain of Ulysses. Our forces moved
forward. Suddenly they find themselves in the presence of the rag-tags
of the Confederacy. But Gen. [Grenville M.] Dodge recollects the
terrible warning of his superior, and "moves on" the enemy, as they
don't happen to have any "works." A short but decisive skirmish
ensues; our forces are forced to retire. In a short time, our columns
are massed and again move forward. This time the enemy retire, and
they do not stop retiring until they have traversed some thirty miles,
when at Town Creek, about eighteen miles southeast of Tuscumbia, Ala.,
they make a stand. Gen. Dodge has no orders to proceed further, as he
expected to find his game at Tuscumbia, so he also halts. Col.
Streight makes a detour, gains the flank of Rodd[e]y, and content with
escaping observation, shoots for the mountains, leaving Gen. Dodge to
deal with the wary foe, while he seeks to accomplish the object of his
expedition. What the precise nature of that is, and how he will
succeed I must leave the Telegraph to inform you, as at present the
information is contraband.

     Gen. Dodge, finding that Rodd[e]y had out-generaled and dodged
him, (though by what means has not yet been discovered), determined on
returning within his fortifications at Corinth; on the 28th the "about
face" was ordered, and on the 2nd inst. the column arrived here.

                         There Are A War

     Attached to the expedition were the 7th Kansas Cavalry, the
latter composed of refugees from the Northern and Eastern part of
Alabama. Most of these men had been driven from their homes by the
rebel conscription, and their houses and other property had either
been destroyed or confiscated, consequently when they found themselves
around the scenes of their sufferings and persecution, they began to
wreak vengeance on all that came within their reach. Aided by the
"Jayhawkers," whose desire for plunder only equaled their deviltry,
they commenced a series of atrocities, the equal of which this army
has probably never before been disgraced with. -- So me of the finest
mansions in the state were ruthlessly entered, their inmates abused
and maltreated, property destroyed or pillaged, and then the buildings
laid in a heap of smoldering ruins.

     In fact, during the whole march from Town Creek to Iuka, these
men destroyed everything they came to, burning houses, fences,
outhouses, &c., without any consideration or judgment whatever, never
asking whether the owner was a loyal man or not. That question was
useless with them. As long as they could satisfy their spirit of
destruction they were content. The whole route of Gen. Dodge is marked
by desolated plantations and the ruins of buildings so wantonly
destroyed by our soldiery. After it was all over, Gen. Dodge ordered
that any man found thus plundering or burning, should be instantly
shot. The orders came, however, too late, as many a citizen of the
Tuscumbia Valley can bear witness to.

                         Again In Camp.

     Since the return of the garrison here, everything has relapsed
into its usual quiet--quiet as perfect as ever reigned on the Potomac,
when the dove of peace hovered over the hosts of McClellan. It is
truly a pleasant change. Our mails come regularly, the cars stop about
a half mile from us, and once more we are enabled to get the morning
papers, and know how the world and the war is rolling on. We go
cheerfully through our round of daily duty, and nightly to our rest as
quietly as if we were at home.

                       Nigger On The Brain

     During the wet weather which has prevailed for the past few days,
our camps were very muddy and disagreeable, and the ascent and descent
of the steep hills around us anything but pleasant. It was no facilis
descensus Avneri, by any means; but, however, as the darkies and their
white pupils and imitators say, "The mud is all done gone," and long
may it stay away. Things begin to assume an aspect of permanence, our
camp ground is regularly laid out, ditched and put in trim order. In
lieu of tents, officers and men have comfortable log houses, in many
cases erected and finished with considerable architectural skill. We
have a bakery which gives us bread instead of hard crackers, and we
have commenced building a meeting house, wherein a chaplain can hold
forth when ever one thinks proper to shed the light of his countenance
upon us, which is not often.

     As is the case, no doubt, in all parts of the army, there are men
among us of every shade of political opinion, and many have been
dissatisfied because our chaplain [John Eaton, Jr.], as they said,
"preached too much nigger." Now I think that respect should be paid to
the feelings, and even the prejudices of others, when all are embarked
in a cause like ours. There are officers and men here, with whom I
differ widely on the slavery question, and I think them wrong, as, no
doubt, they think I am, but they do their duty manfully, like good
soldiers; they love their Government, they have fought for it and will
fight for it again if need be, and it is folly, to do anything which
may cause dissension among brothers engaged in a common cause. Upon
religious questions, however, our chaplain is quite circumspect,
taking every care to avoid wounding the feelings of those who are not
of the same creed as himself.

                            Fast Day

     Though the regular garrison were absent on the above day, yet the
troops temporarily here, observed the 30th ult., with marked
attention. In the morning, religious exercises were held at the
headquarters of the different Brigades here, the respective commands
participating. It was a solemn occasion -- a beautiful scene. Here, bent
in all humility, were hundreds of men, many of them bearing all honors
of earth, and clothed in the insignia of worldly power and authority.
Here, heads were bared that had never lowered to a foe, and hearts
melted which had been tempered by the fierce fires of war. After
appropriate services and addresses on the part of the reverend
gentlemen present, in which they touched on the greatness of our
country, and the ruin which would inevitably follow its disruption,
the religious observances were completed, and the officiating
gentlemen announced that they left room for secular discussion, when
two or three hours were spent in patriotic speeches by several of the
officers present.

                          Miscellaneous

     This place is becoming quite pleasant and comfortable. Spring has
come, and heaven seems to smile on us. One thing very remarkable about
Corinth (and it is by no means disagreeable) is that almost every
dwelling in the town, and the quarters of the officers about it, is
surrounded by a flower garden, in which trees, shrubbery and flowers
grow in profusion, adding much to the health of the town.

     Were it not for the smiling faces and fair forms of the ladies,
which we are occasionally favored with a sight of, we should almost
forget that we were once in a land where the refining influence of
woman threw a softening halo around our pathway. I am glad to see that
many of our officers' wives are coming down here, though I am inclined
to think that nothing but the affection they bear their husbands could
induce them to leave the land of milk and honey, and share the rough
fortunes of war; but what won't a woman do for love and loved ones?

     I fear this letter will prove monotonous to your readers. If you
think so, put it in your basket, but you wanted me to write, and this
is the result of a couple of hours' cogitation.

                                         J.C.C.


Source: Bryan Boyle's Bronx Bulletin Board


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