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Battle of Corinth, Mississippi : 150 years ago

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by east tennessee roots, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Sergeant Major

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    I wonder if a strike at Bolivar would have been more of a threat to the line of communications for both Grant and Rosecrans, causing them to pull back??

    Maybe, or maybe they would have come together and crushed the Confederates between them. It's an interesting period that I'm just starting to delve into, lot of maneuver and scheming by both sides. Grant tried to concentrate Ord and Rosecrans against Price at Iuka, that misfired, the rebs did an end run and united to attack Rosecrans, ironically from the north so the Yanks could use the old Confederate fortifications, then the Yanks tried again at Hatchie's Bridge.

    As I said I'm just getting into it, but it seems that the Union missed a number of opportunities starting in the aftermath of Shiloh. Of course hindsight is 20-20 :wink:
     

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  3. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    I read Cozzen's The Darkest Days of the War: The Battle of Iuka and Corinth a couple years ago and just finished (two days ago) the new Timothy Smith book, Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation. I found the Cozzen book to be very good; a typical operational/tactical study of two oft-overlooked battles. Smith's book, however, has a much wider breadth, covering Corinth's use as a Confederate staging area at the start of the war, it's importance as a logistics center, Halleck's approach on--and "siege" of--the city after Shiloh, and the Union occupation of the city and area, as well as a good battle narrative for Corinth (he describes the battle of Iuka in a page or two, primarily as it relates to actions in Corinth). Cozzen's book is great if you want to read a traditional battle history, while Smith's book provides a very full and compelling picture of the spectrum of war and its effect on a community as it delves into logistics, civil-military concerns, personnel and contraband issues as well as tactical actions. If you're like me, you'll read and enjoy both.
     
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  4. Missouri 1st

    Missouri 1st Sergeant

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    Well, the Confederate Government mismanaged the war in the West, PERIOD.

    Bragg set the stage for the command mess, with no clear directives, orders, command heirarchy, etc., then left for Kentucky. So it was essentially punted to Jefferson Davis to straighten out who would take orders from whom. Van Dorn was supported by Davis, but he was at this point still talking about a drive through Missouri and taking St. Louis. Completely beyond his means and far from reality. Price at least understood Braggs intent and attempted to act on on it, starting a series of requests to Van Dorn to move and join forces before it was too late.

    Van Dorn "got hung up" around Vicksburg and dallyed around. By the time he got moving, Price had to flee from Iuka and the two wings were at great risk until they concentrated on the TN/MS border. They still kept the Union forces off balance as they had not figured out what was Van Dorns intent until the Confederate forces actually attacked and attacked to a point where their commitment was beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    The Union too had it's problems with command, re Halleck/Grant.

    General Bowen leveled the charge of "neglect of duty" against Van Dorn, who in turn requested the court of inquiry. Prices staff instigated/plotted for Van Dorns removal as well. Bowen is one of the great leaders in the Trans-MS as he would continue to prove. Not sure how much he was acting in concert with Price and staff. Great story.

    I have read Cozzens book. Has anyone read the new "Corinth 1862" by Timothy Smith? A little pricey at $40.00 for a new hardcover.
     
  5. AUG351

    AUG351 1st Lieutenant

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    Col. William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas Volunteer Regiment dead with his men infront of battery Robinette at the Battle of Corinth. He is the one on the far left
    [​IMG]
    "William P. Rogers was born in 1819 in Georgia, but grew up in Alabama and later Mississippi. His father wanted him to become a doctor. Rogers graduated medical school and practiced medicine for a short time before becoming an attorney. He joined the army during the Mexican War and was made a captain in the 1st Mississippi Infantry. That regiment was commanded by Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederacy.
    Rogers proved to be an excellent leader, but he had trouble with Davis as his commander. Davis had to control every part of his regiment down to the smallest detail. Although Rogers had performed admirably during two battles, Davis slighted the man in his reports. The war ended with both men having a strong dislike of each other and ironically both would return home a war hero.

    Rogers moved to Texas and worked as an attorney and dabbled in politics until the Civil War began. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Second Texas Infantry and saw his first action at the Battle of Shiloh. There the regiment lost over one-third of its men. General Hardee called the regiment a "bunch of cowards". Rogers took offense to the statement and vowed to prove Hardee wrong.

    Rogers would be promoted to colonel and over the next few months the commanders of over twenty regiments petitioned President Davis to make Rogers a general. Rogers was pleased with the recommendation, but deep down he knew Davis would never make him a general.
    "William Rogers most glorious moment would occur at the Battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862. He was given the task of leading the assault on Battery Robinette. Riding in front of his regiment, he shouted, "Forward, Texans!"
    He led the regiment from the tree line and across the field at a slow steady march. The Federals described the sight of the Confederates slowly moving toward them as nerve grating. Colonel Rogers rode in front of his line as cool as if he were leading his men to dress parade. Within a hundred yards of the earthen fort the Federals opened fire. Men went down by scores. Rogers ordered his regiment to charge. They were forced to fight through abatis and over the dirt walls.

    Four of his color-bearers had been killed, so Rogers dismounted and picked up the flag. With his pistol in one hand and the flag in the other, he climbed the wall and planted his regiments colors on the parapet. Over half of his men were shot down within minutes. William Rogers realized there was no way he could hold the position. He shouted, "Men, save yourselves or sell your lives as dearly as possible!"
    Those would be his last words. Despite wearing a bullet proof vest, Rogers would be killed. One of the bullets penetrated his body near the arm where the vest didn't cover. He was killed instantly.
    Following the battle, General Rosecrans, the Federal commander would come to Battery Robinette to see the brave colonel. Rosecrans would become known for denying Confederates a burial with military honors, but not Colonel Rogers. Rosecrans said, "He was one of the bravest men that ever led a charge. Bury him with military honors and mark his grave, so his friends can claim him. The time will come when there will be a monument here to commemorate his bravery.”
    http://trrcobb.blogspot.com/2011/07/bravest-man-colonel-william-p-rogers.html
     
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  6. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    I'm reading Cozzens book and am having a hard time with it. He describes details related to one brigade or front and then for the other brigade/front, he jumps around and doesn't lay out the flow of the events as well.
    Does Smith's book cover any details of the recruitment of black soldiers around Corinth?

    I also have a question about the Weather. Cozzens describes the weather as hot with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. I have lived in Mississippi and find that hard to believe for an early October. How accurate is this?
     
  7. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    Smith's book covers the flow of events okay, but due to the nature of the battle I think both authors found it necessary to narrate it by location along the line, and thus there is a bit of bouncing around. Smith also describes the hot conditions; many soldiers were hit with heat exhaustion in the marches to the battle field and the water around Corinth was notoriously bad so the hot, dry conditions caused problems for both sides. I think the temps were mentioned to be in the mid-90's.
    The Smith book does discuss the issues of contrabands and the recruitment of black soldiers.

    I had a hard time with patience waiting on a cheaper softcover issue so I ended up buying this hardcover via Amazon, but I got it used for $24. Still pricey but better than the $40 new price.
     
  8. Roland

    Roland Sergeant

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    You are correct to say that the Union missed opportunities, but the same can certianly be said for the Confederacy.
     
  9. lakertaker

    lakertaker First Sergeant

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    Following letter (sent back home) describes battle form perspective of 1st Minnesota Battery soldier.





    Camp near Corinth, Oct. 18th /62
    Dear Father,
    I begin to despair of ever getting another word from any of you. Since I came back from Iuka not a letter have I recieved [sic]. There must be a screw loose some where for this long silence is unprecedented in the annals of our Correspondence.
    I wrote you from Ripley acquainting you with our participation in the Battle of Corinth, but whether you have got the letter or not I could not say, for mail regulations here are in a very uncertain state. You probably have seen accounts of the great victory and perhaps have seen our Battery mentioned so you will know the [share?] that we took in the first day's conflict.
    Nearly all the correspondence that I have seen slights our Division most shamefully and seems to give the impression that the first days fighting did not amount to much. The number of troops engaged was not very great, to be sure, but what there was fought desperately, witness the losses of the 15th Michigan and 14th and 16th Wis. who supported the First Minn. Battery. As at Shiloh, our guns were the first to open on the advancing enemy, and unlike some batteries who have paid reporters and get praised accordingly we never limbered to the rear without the General's orders.
    Let the Newspapers go, the official report will set us all right. And now I suppose you would like to hear an account of my second battle.
    My remembrance of it extends to these items. Country heavily wooded, and intersected by chains of hills, every one of which we defended as long as possible and then fell back to the next, the booming of the guns and bursting of shell, the roar of the rifles and “spat,” “spat,” of the bullets around us, men limping to the rear or carried by comrades, with here and there a skulker hurrying out of the reach of the musical lead. All this I remember and also that when our gun was heated it was mighty hard work to ram down the charge, which was my duty as I was No. 1. Nothing is so exciting as working a gun in real action. The sound of the discharge almost raises us off our feet with delight. Before the smoke lifts from the muzzle I dash in, dip the brush in the sponge bucket and brush out the bore using plenty of water, then seize the sponge stuff and sponge it out dry. No. 2 then inserts the cartridge which I ram home, then the shot, shell or canister, whichever it may be and it is sent home, then I spring out beside the wheel and fall flat, “Ready” shouts the Gunner, No. 3 (who has been serving vent while I loaded) now pricks the cartridge, No. 4 jumps in and inserts a friction primer, to which his lanyard is attached, in the vent, springs outside the wheel and straightens his lanyard. The Gunner gives a turn or two to the elevating screw, taps on the trail and has it carried round a little, and then, “Fire” “Take that,–––– you” says No. 4 as the gun rushes back with the recoil. The other numbers run her forward at the command “By hand to the front” while I load. While you have been reading this description we would fire 3 or 4 shots, so rapidly do we work.
    The sound of the gun is most exhilerating [sic], it fills us with enthusiasm, and we would die rather than desert her. However, you probably do not understand these feelings, and so think it all foolishness.
    I saw James Dempsey on the morning of the battle, and we had quite a talk about the expected conflict. He was quite cheerfull [sic] and courageous. Little did I think when we passed the 17th drawn up in Battle line as we went out on the field, that it was the last time I should ever see him. As we passed over the Battlefield early on Sunday morning in pursuit of the Rebels, I looked at all the bodies I could find, but, although there was many a one of our brave fellows stretched out, I could see nothing of him. Two of his comrades buried him that forenoon and put up a neat headboard.
    The enclosed relick [sic] I picked up beside the grave of one of those who fell in the attack on the fort. They were in a bloody haversack that he had worn. This storming of the redoubt was the most desperate and murderous charge that has been made during the war, this is shown by the rebel graves that cover the space before the fort. Gen. Rogers is buried within 10 steps of the ditch, and his men lie in long trenches close by.
    Hoping that illhealth [sic] is not the cause of your long silence, I remain your affectionate son, Tom [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    This quote sounds very familiar. I think Smith uses it in his book.
     
  11. lakertaker

    lakertaker First Sergeant

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  12. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    It's a great letter. Smith uses only a portion of it in his book. Glad you were able to give us the whole thing. :thumbsup:
     
  13. 63rdOVI

    63rdOVI Private

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    I actually visited Corinth back around 1997 and the area was not very well developed for visitors. The earthwork Battery Robinett was just that, and it was located in the middle of a little city park (we were informed later that it was a rebuilt structure). There were Mississippi state historical markers there but no visitors' center. In the middle of town there was a small air-conditioned double-wide trailer hosting a "museum" of sorts and which was, of course, run by a very sweet older lady. She saw my Texas license plates and directed me to the Texas section in the display to which she commented on the bravery of the 2nd Texas (and to which I wholeheartedly agreed, then and now!), but I had to admit to her that my ancestor was in the 63rd Ohio. Her response was a very kindly smile and a "Well, we're glad y'all came by to visit!"
     
  14. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    Here is a brief article that was highlighted in one of the Forum member's blog: Mississippians in the Confederate Army.


    The Vicksburg Herald, April 26, 1868

    Bvt. Major Henry C. Robinett, Captain 1st U.S. Infantry, stationed at Jackson Barracks, below New Orleans, while laboring, it is supposed, under a temporary fit of insanity, committed suicide on the morning of the 22d inst., by shooting himself through the head with a pistol. From the position in which he was found lying it is supposed he was standing, looking into his mirror when he fired the fatal shot. He was a first lieutenant from civil life on the 5th of August, 1861. He was born in Virginia, and appointed from Delaware. He commanded the Robinette Battery at Corinth, in the action at that point on the 4th of October, 1862.



     
  15. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    Another casualty of the war, no doubt.
     
  16. Robert Gray

    Robert Gray First Sergeant

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    Another view of the carnage at Battery Robinette. This one is not as well known as the one posted above. 23888_431049193624993_729665470_n.jpg
     

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