(c) 1995 Milton Sandy, Jr.

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CORINTH 1861-1865


Margaret Greene Rogers

Northeast Mississippi Museum Association

Corinth, at the junction of the Memphis and Charleston and
the Mobile and Ohio Railroads, was recognized by both Confederate
and Federal Commanders as being of such strategic importance that
the village was occupied by one or the other of the forces from
1861 to 1865.

The resident population of the little town was 1,200; yet it
boasted five churches, Corona College, three large hotels,
numerous businesses and a number of fine homes.

During 1861 Corinth was a mobilization center for
Confederate troops moving to Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida;
Virginia; and Bowling Green, Kentucky. Early in 1862, Gen. A. S.
Johnston, Commander of the Confederate Army in the West, charged
Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard with the responsibility of assembling
troops in Corinth. New Orleans and northern Arkansas were
abandoned and the coastal defenses at Pensacola, Mobile, and
Charleston were stripped.

Union Gen. W. H. Halleck ordered Federal forces to
concentrate at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River in
preparation for an attack on the northeast Mississippi village of

Early in April Gen. Johnston decided to strike the Federal
forces rather than let them attack Corinth. The two-day battle
named for Shiloh Church ensued. On the second day the CSA forces
retreated to Corinth.

Corinth became a vast hospital center. Despite the fact
that more than half of the 112,000 CSA army were either wounded
or sick, fortifications on the eastern and northern approaches to
the city were constructed.

Late in April, the Union armies, numbering 128,315
effectives, began inching and entrenching their way toward
Corinth. By late May they were outside the new fortifications.
In Corinth, Beauregard, without siege guns, outnumbered and
facing shortages of food and water, called a conference with his
generals. Their decision was to fall back down the Mobile and
Ohio Railroad to Tupelo, Mississippi. The evacuation of Corinth
was conducted with such secrecy that the Federals were completely
fooled. When they moved into Corinth on May 30th, they found an
empty town.

Gen. Halleck began dispersing his army and building
additional fortifications. Batteries A through F were
constructed on the southern and western sides of town. Later in
the summer an inner line of five batteries was erected.

In July CSA Gen. Braxton Bragg, who had replaced Beauregard
as commander, moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, leaving Generals
Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price in Mississippi. Van Dorn moved
southward; Price remained in the northern section to keep an eye
on Gen. U. S. Grant.

Following the Battle of Iuka, Mississippi, in September,
Grant moved to Jackson, Tennessee, leaving Gen. Wm.S.Rosecrans
with four divisions in Corinth. Rosecrans ordered the inner
batteries connected by breastworks and covered with abatis. Work
continued on Battery Powell, the only inner battery on the north.

Late in September, Van Dorn and Price met at Ripley,
Mississippi, and decided to retake Corinth. Van Dorn's division
under Gen. Mansfield Lovell led the way northward followed by
Price's two divisions under Dabney Maury and Louis Hebert. Just
south of Pocahontas, Tennessee, they turned eastward, repaired
bridges over the Hatchie and Tuscumbia Rivers and continued to
Chewalla, Tennessee where they camped for the night of October

Next morning Lovell's Division crossed the Memphis and
Charleston Railroad and advanced against a hill honey-combed with
rifle pits containing sharp shooters and crowned with artillery.
The division took the hill. Union forces retreated to Battery F
only to be routed by two of Maury's brigades. Price's two
divisions advanced against the Union troops behind the old CSA
fortifications and forced them back. When night came, the
Confederates were within 700 yards of the inner line of

The fighting on October 4th, was fierce and vicious.
Brigades from Hebert's and Maury's Divisions broke through the
Federal line east of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Their assault
carried them to the intersection of the railroads. There they
were met by Union reserves and were forced to withdraw.

In front of Robinett, Maury's brigades advanced through the
abatis into withering fire from the battery's cannon. Col.
William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas led their third assault. As
he reached the parapet, he was killed and the Confederates began

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South of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Lovell had
skirmished but never advanced. He was ordered to cover the CSA
retreat. By 2:00 p.m. the battle was over.

Rosecrans reported Federal losses 315 killed, 1,812 wounded
, and 232 prisoners or missing; Confederate losses 1,423 killed,
5,692 wounded and 2,268 prisoners.

Federal forces continued to garrison Corinth until January
24th, 1864. When they left, they burned the college and
destroyed other public buildings.

During the ensuing months CSA Gen. N.B. Forrest repaired the
Mobile and Ohio tracks to Corinth and the Memphis and Charleston
tracks to Tuscumbia, Alabama. CSA Hood's army came from
Tuscumbia to Corinth in January 1865. Before they moved on to
Tupelo, they burned the Tishomingo Hotel in Corinth.

A conservative estimate of troops stationed in or around
Corinth during the war years numbers over 300,000. At least 200
Confederate or Federal generals were in Corinth and over 100
skirmishes and/or raids occurred in the area.

Northeast Mississippi Museum Association
Corinth, Mississippi 38834
Publication No. A-0002
Rev. May 4, 1990

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