Tishomingo County, MS | Sep 19, 1862
Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Army of the West main column marched into Iuka, Mississippi, on September 14th. Price’s superior, Gen. Braxton Bragg, had ordered Price to prevent Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Mississippi from moving into Tennessee and reinforcing Nashville. Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, feared that Price intended to go north to join Bragg. Grant devised a plan for his left wing commander, Maj. Gen. E.O.C. Ord, to advance on Iuka from the west; Rosecrans’s forces were to march from the southwest, arrive at Iuka on the 18th, and make a coordinated attack with Ord the next day. After considering the amount of time that Rosecrans required to reach Iuka, Grant determined that he probably would not arrive on the 19th, so he ordered Ord to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans and Price before engaging the Confederates. As Rosecrans advanced, his men fought actions with Confederate troops at points along the way. About 4:00 pm, fighting began, which Price later stated he had “never seen surpassed,” and continued until after dark. Ord did nothing, later proclaiming that he never heard any fighting and, therefore, never engaged the enemy; Grant also remarked that he had heard no sounds of battle. The next day, Price’s army retreated and Rosecrans’s army occupied Iuka. The Confederate rearguard and overgrown terrain prevented the Union pursuit from accomplishing much. The Federals should have destroyed or captured Price’s army, but instead the Rebels were able to join with Confederate Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, with whom they would soon fight the Second Battle of Corinth against Rosecrans.