Second Battle of Corinth
Alcorn County, MS | Oct 3 - 4, 1862
Union forces had captured the railroad junction and important transportation center at Corinth, Mississippi in the spring of 1862 after their victory at Shiloh. After the Battle of Iuka in September, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Confederate Army of the West marched to Ripley, Mississippi where it joined Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Army of West Tennessee. Van Dorn took command of the combined force numbering about 22,000 men. The Rebels marched southeast toward Corinth, hoping to recapture it and then sweep into Middle Tennessee. About 23,000 Union forces under Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans had erected strong fortifications around the town. Van Dorn arrived on October 3rd, and began to encircle the Union forces. The fighting began, and the Confederates steadily pushed the Yankees back. By evening, Van Dorn was sure that he could finish the Federals off the next day. This confidence--combined with the heat, fatigue, and water shortages--persuaded him to cancel any further operations that day. Rosecrans regrouped his men for the attack to come. As the Confederates moved forward the next morning, Union artillery swept the field causing heavy casualties, but the Rebels continued on. They stormed Battery Powell and closed on Battery Robinett, where desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensued. A few Rebels fought their way into Corinth but the Federals quickly drove them out. The Federals continued on, recapturing Battery Powell, and forcing Van Dorn into a retreat. Rosecrans postponed any pursuit. As a result, Van Dorn was defeated, but not destroyed or captured, at nearby Hatchie Bridge, Tennessee, on October 5th.