« ZurückWeiter »
dashed forward in fine style, crossed the field, (Gen. Logan,) who, during the two days he served drove the enemy across the ridge and field be under me, held the critical ground on my right, yond into another dense and seemingly impene extending down to the railroad. All the time he trable forest. The enemy was evidently surprised, had in his front a large force of the enemy, but and only killed two of our men, and wounded so dense was the foliage that he could not reckon nine. After he had reached the ridge, he opened their strength, save from what he could see in on us with a two-gun battery on the right and the railroad track. He will, doubtless, make his another from the front and left, doing my brigades own report, and give the names of the wounded but little harm, but killing three of Gen. Veatch's among his pickets.
With our artillery we soon silenced his, I had then my whole division in a slightly and by ten A.M. we were masters of the position. curved line, facing south, my right resting on the Generals Grant and Thomas were present during Mobile and Ohio Railroad, near a deep cut known the affair, and witnessed the movement, which as Bowie Hill Cut, and left resting on the main was admirably executed, all the officers and men Corinth road, at the crest of the ridge, there conkeeping their places like real soldiers.
necting with Gen. Hurlbut, who, in turn, on his Immediately throwing forward a line of skir- left, connected with Gen. Davies, and so on down mishers in front of each brigade, we found the the whole line to its extremity. So near was the enemy reënforcing his front skirmishers; but the enemy that we could hear the sound of his drums woods were so dense as to completely mask his and sometimes of voices in command, and the operations. An irregular piece of cleared land railroad cars arriving and departing at Corinth lay immediately in front of Gen. Denver's posi- were easily distinguished. For some days and tion, and extended obliquely to the left, in front nights cars haye been arriving and departing very of and across Morgan Smith's and Veatch's bri- frequently, especially in the night; but last night gades, which were posted on the right and left of (twenty-ninth) more so than usual, and my susthe main Corinth road, leading directly south. picions were aroused. For some time I was in doubt whether the artil. Before daybreak I instructed the brigade comlery fire we had sustained had come from the manders and the field-officer of the day to feel enemy's fixed or field-batteries, and intended to forward as far as possible, but all reported the move forward at great hazard to ascertain the enemy's pickets still in force in the dense woods fact, when, about three P.M., we were startled by to our front. But about six A.M. a curious exthe quick rattle of musketry along our whole plosion, sounding like a volley of large siegepicket-line, followed by the cheers and yells of pieces, followed by others singly, and in twos an attacking column of the enemy.
and threes, arrested our attention, and soon after Our artillery and Mann's battery of Veatch's a large smoke arose from the direction of Corinth, brigade, had been judiciously posted by Major when I telegraphed to Gen. Halleck to ascertain Taylor, and before the yell of the enemy had died the cause. He answered that he could not exaway arose our reply in the cannon's mouth. plain it, but ordered me "to advance my division The firing was very good, rapid, well-directed, and feel the enemy, if still in my front.” I imand the shells burst in the right place. Our mediately put in motion two regiments of each pickets were at first driven in a little, but soon brigade, by different roads, and soon after fol. recovered their ground and held it, and the ene- lowed with the whole division, infantry, artillery, my retreated in utter confusion. On further ex. and cavalry. amination of the ground, with its connection on Somewhat to our surprise, the enemy's chief the left with Gen. Hurlbut, and right resting on redoubt was found within thirteen hundred yards the railroad near Bowie Hill Cut, it was deter- of our line of intrenchments, but completely mined to intrench. The lines were laid out after masked by the dense forest and undergrowth. dark, and the work substantially finished by Instead of having, as we supposed, a continuous morning.
line of intrenchments encircling Corinth, his deAll this time we were within one thousand fences consisted of separate redoubts, connected three hundred yards of the enemy's main in- in part by a parapet and ditch, and in part by trenchments, which were absolutely concealed shallow rifle-pits, the trees being felled so as to from us by the dense foliage of the oak forest, give a good field of fire to and beyond the main and without a real battle, which at that time was road. to be avoided, we could not push out our skir- General M. L. Smith's brigade moved rapidly mishers more than two hundred yards to the down the main road, entering the first redoubt front. For our own security I had to destroy of the enemy at seven A.M. It was completely two farmhouses, both of which had been loop- evacuated, and he pushed on into Corinth and holed and occupied by the enemy. By nine a.s. beyond, to College Hill
, there awaiting my orders of yesterday, (twenty-ninth,) our works were and arrival. Gen. Denver entered the enemy's substantially done, and our artillery in position, lines at the same time, seven A.M., at a point and at four P. M. the siege-train was brought for- midway between the wagon and railroads, and ward, and Col. McDowell's brigade, (second) of proceeded on to Corinth, about three miles from my division, had come from our former lines at our camp, and Col. McDowell kept further to the Russell's, and had relieved Gen. John A. Logan's right, near the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. brigade.
eight A.M. all my division was at Corinth, and I feel under special obligations to this officer, beyond.
On the whole ridge extending from my camp ments and provisions,-how can they attempt it into Corinth, and to the right and left, could be in this poor, arid, and exhausted part of the seen the remains of the abandoned camps of the country? enemy, flour and provisions scattered about, and I have experienced much difficulty in giving an every thing indicating a speedy and confused re- intelligent account of the events of the past three treat. In the town itself inany houses were still days, because of the many little events, unimportburning, and the ruins of warehouses and build- ant in themselves, but which in the aggregate ings containing commissary and other confeder- form material data to account for results. ate stores were still smouldering; but there still My division bas constructed seven distinct inremained piles of cannon-balls, shells and shot, trenched camps since leaving Shiloh, the men sugar, molasses, beans, rice, and other property, working cheerfully and well all the time, night which the enemy had failed to carry off or de- and day. Hardly had we finished one camp bestroy. Major Fisher, of the Ohio Fifty-fourth, fore we were called on to move forward and build was left in Corinth with a provost-guard, to pre- another. But I have been delighted at this feaFent pillage and protect the public stores stillture in the character of my division, and take left.
this method of making it known. Our intrenchFrom the best information picked up from the ments here and at Russell's, each built substanfew citizens who remained in Corinth, it appeared tially in one night, are stronger works of art than that the enemy had for some days been removing the much boasted forts of the enemy at Corinth. their sick and valuable stores, and had sent away I must, also, in justice to my men, remark their on railroad-cars a part of their effective force, on great improvement on the march—the absence of the night of the twenty-eighth. But, of course, that straggling which is too common in the voleven the vast amount of their rolling stock could unteer service; and still more, their improved not carry away an army of a hundred thousand character on picket and as skirmishers. Our line
of march has been along a strongly marked ridge, The enemy was, therefore, compelled to march followed by the Purdy and Corinth road, and away, and began the march by ten o'clock on the ever since leaving the “Locusts" our pickets night of the twenty-ninth — the columns filling have been fighting. Hardly an hour, night or all the roads leading south and west all night- day, for two weeks, without the exchange of hosthe rear-guard firing the train which led to the tile shots. But we have steadily and surely explosions and conflagration, which gave us the gained ground-slowly, to be sure, but with that first real notice that Corinth was to be evacuated. steady certainty which presaged the inevitable The enemy did not relieve his pickets that morn- result. In these picket skirmishes we have ining, and many of them have been captured, who flicted and sustained losses, but it is impossible did not have the slightest intimation of their pur- for me to recapitulate them. pose.
These must be accounted for on the company Finding Corinth abandoned by the enemy, I muster-rolls. We have taken many prisoners, ordered Gen. M. L. Smith to pursue on the Rip- which have been sent to the Provost-Marshal ley road, by which it appeared they had taken General; and with this report I will send some the bulk of their artillery.
forty or fifty picked up in the course of the past Capt. Hammond, my chief of staff, had been two days. Indeed, I think, if disarmed, very and continued with Gen. Smith's brigade, and many of these prisoners would never give trouble pushed the pursuit up to the bridges and narrow again ; whilst, on the other hand, the real secescauseway by which the bottom of Tuscumbia sionists seem more bitter than ever. Creek is passed. The enemy opened with canis- I will send the reports of Brigadiers and Colo ter on the small party of cavalry, and burned nels as soon as completed and handed in. every bridge, leaving the woods full of straggling Enclosed is a sketch made by Capt. Kossak, soldiers. Many of these were gathered up and without which I fear my descriptions and history sent to the rear, but the main army had escaped of movements would not be understood. across Tuscumbia Creek, and further pursuit by I
am, with much respect, your obedient serva small party would have been absurd, and I ant,
W. T. SHERMAN, kept my division at College Hill until I received
Major-General Commanding Division. Gen. Thomas's orders to return and resume our
J. H. HAMMOND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, camps of the night before, which we did, slowly and quietly, in the cool of the evening. The evacuation of Corinth at the time and in
CONGRATULATORY ORDER OF GEN. SHERMAN. the manner in which it was done, was a clear HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, back-down from the high and arrogant tone here
CAMP BEFORE CORINTU, May 31, 1862. tofore assumed by the rebels. The ground was ORDERS No. 30. of their own choice. The fortifications, though The General Commanding Fifth division, right poor and indifferent, were all they supposed wing, takes this occasion to express to the officers necessary to our defeat, as they had had two and men of his command his great satisfaction months to make them, with an immense force to with them for the courage, steadiness and great work at their disposal.
industry displayed by them during the past If, with two such railroads as they possessed, month. they could not supply their army with reënforce- Since leaving our memorable camp at Shiloh we have occupied and strongly intrenched seven The General Commanding, while thus claimdistinct camps in manner to excite the admira- ing for his division their just share in this glorious tion and high commendation of General Halleck. result, must, at the same time, remind them that The division has occupied the right flank of the much yet remains to be done, and that all must grand army, thereby being more exposed and still continue the same vigilance and patience, incalling for more hard work and larger guard de dustry and obedience, till the enemy lays down tails than from any other single division—and his arms and publicly acknowledges, for their the Commanding General reports that his officers supposed grievances, they must obey the laws of and men have promptly and cheerfully performed their country, and not attempt its overthrow by their duty, and have sprung to the musket or threats, by cruelty, and by war. They must be spade, according to the occasion, and have just made to feel and acknowledge the power of a just reason to claim a large share in the honors that and mighty nation. This result can only be acare due the whole army for the glorious victory complished by a cheerful and ready obedience to terminating at Corinth on yesterday, and it affords the orders and authority of our leaders, in whom him great pleasure to bear full and willing testi- we now have just reason to feel the most implicit. mony to the qualities of his command that have confidence. That the Fifth division of the right achieved this victory-a victory none the less de- wing will do this, and that in due time we will cisive because attended with comparatively little go to our families and friends at home is the loss of life.
earnest prayer and wish of your immediate Com. But a few days ago a large and powerful rebel mander. army lay at Corinth, with outposts extending to
W. T. SHERMAN, our very camp at Shiloh. They held two rail- J. H. HAMMOND,
Major-General. roads extending north and south, east and west A. Adj.-Gen., Chief of Staff. across the whole extent of their country, with a vast number of locomotives and cars to bring to
CINCINNATI “GAZETTE" ACCOUNT. them speedily and certainly their reënforcements
IN CAMP, THREE MILES and supplies. They called to their aid all their
SOUTH OF CORINTH, June 1st, 1862.
} armies from every quarter, abandoning the sea- The army had established itself on a line whose coast and the great river Mississippi, that they average distance from Corinth was four miles, might overwhelm us with numbers in the place of about the sixteenth of May. Here the right and their own choosing. They had their chosen lead-left wings intrenched themselves, while the cen. ers, men of high reputation and courage, and tre advanced a mile further and there opened its they dared us to leave the cover of our iron-clad first line of trenches. From this date the adgunboats to come to fight them in their trenches vance was marked by continual skirmishing along and still more dangerous swamps and ambuscades the whole line, and every reconnoissance was of their southern forests. Their whole country equal in many respects to what were termed batfrom Richmond to Memphis and Nashville to Mo- tles in the earlier part of the war. Gen. Pope on bile rung with their taunts and boastings, as to the left and Gen. W. T. Sherman on the right how they would immolate the Yankees if they could only carry forward their lines by heavy dared to leave the Tennessee River. They boldly fighting, and thus for nearly a fortnight the noise and defiantly challenged us to meet them at Cor- of battle has scarcely ceas along our front. inth. We accepted the challenge and came slow- On the seventeenth of May the centre began ly and without attempt at concealment to the its advance, and now I must confine myself to very ground of their selection; and they have the operations of the division formerly commandfled away. We yesterday marched unopposed ed by Gen. Thomas, and now in his corps d'armée, through the burning embers of their destroyed and under Gen. (Port Royal) Sherman, and more camps and property, and pursued them to their particularly the brigade of Gen. Robert L. Mcswamps until burning bridges plainly confessed Cook, whose every movement has fallen under they had fled and not marched away for better my observation. ground. It is a victory as brilliant and import- On Saturday, the seventeenth of May, this ant as any recorded in history, and every officer brigade, as a part of Gen. Thomas's army, adand soldier who lent his aid has just reason to be vanced and drove in the enemy's pickets on the proud of his part.
main Corinth road. The Thirty-fifth Ohio, under No amount of sophistry or words from the Col. Van Derveer, was engaged during the whole leaders of the rebellion can succeed in giving the day in a sharp skirmish with the rebel pickets. evacuation of Corinth, under the circumstances, But at night we held our ground, and in the any other title than that of a signal defeat, more mean time the rest of the brigade, consisting of humiliating to them and their cause than if we the Ninth Ohio, Col. Kammerlung, the Second had entered the place over the dead and mangled Minnesota, Col. George, and the Eighteenth regubodies of their soldiers. We are not here to kill lar, Col. Shepherd, had intrenched themselves and slay, but to vindicate the honor and just au- within range of the enemy's guns. The next thority of that government which has been be- morning, our baggage having arrived, we were queathed to us by our honored fathers, and to firmly established near the rebels' works. It whom we would be recreant if we permitted their required several days of severe fighting along work to pass to our children, marred and spoiled the picket-lines to drive the enemy far enough to by ambitious and wicked rebels.
prevent their bullets from whistling through the camps, and several times while this was going on advanced from their lines, there was little firing their shells and shot fell around our tents. on either side, but wherever the line which sepa
In several instances we were greatly annoyed rated the armies was crossed, our forces were by rebel sharp-shooters, who, from the trees in greeted with whistling balls. During the whole front, sent their bullets with deadly aim. One period of our advance the rebels had been most of this class, after thus troubling us for two days, active. The railroads around Corinth seemed was at last discovered, and three half-breed In- worked to their utmost capacity, and there was dians, from Col. George's regiment, crept silently no attempt made to conceal either their position through the grass and low shrubs that separated or the length of their lines. Suddenly all this the lines, to within short range, when, firing in activity ceased, and over the whole region around concert, they had the satisfaction of tumbling the Corinth the silence of death appeared to reign. sharp-shooter from his high position. Though There was no random firing, no note of drum, of greeted by a volley from the pickets, the half- bugle, or horn, no locomotives or rockets – the breeds escaped, and few rebels occupied the trees smoke of the camp-fires had died away, the hum for several days. In another instance, during an of their vast army had ceased, and the buzzards attack on one of our batteries, the gunners were sailed slowly over the position as if it were introubled by another gentleman of this class, who deed deserted. But this ruse to draw us on to was at last discovered near the top of a large oak. an attack did not succeed ; and the moment the The Captain carefully trained one of his rifled rebels perceived that their scheme had failed, guns upon the trunk of the tree, and as the smoke they suddenly became more noisy and active than of the explosion cleared away, the tree and its ever, and were immediately prepared to attack occupant came down with a crash.
us; and their lines were actually formed for the In another portion of the field our forces were attack, as we afterwards learned, but the order exposed to a constant fire, the exact locality of was suddenly countermanded, for some reason which could not be at first dctermined. After unknown to us, and matters relapsed again into careful survey, the place was found at length, their usual state. and appeared to conceal a very considerable force. From Tuesday, the twenty-seventh, until our Gen. Davies ordered out a battery of eighteen army occupied Corinth, on Friday, was a period heavy field-guns, which were hidden in the edge of intense excitement and activity. At three of the banks overlooking the spot. Our skir-points along our lines reconnoissances on the mishers then advanced rapidly, with orders to greatest scale were made, lasting, in one case, a retreat quickly, as if routed, at the enemy's fire part of three days, and resulting in the establishThe scheme was successful. The rebels left their ing of a great portion of our line within a thoucover sufficiently to expose their position, when sand yards of the rebel works. This latter was all the guns which had been previously loaded carried on by Gen. Alexander McCook, and con. opened upon them, and for several minutes the ducted in a masterly manner. Involving long-condischarges of the guns were as rapid as the rat- tinued fighting, and much military address, ener. tling fire of musketry. If there be music in can-ey, and knowledge, it was successful at every nonading, it was then developed, and its melody point. Gen. McCook was supported by his browill long linger in our memories. Thus was one ther Robert, with his brigade, and, covered by point of our lines cleared. The whole line was the advance troops, the lines of this brigade were similarly employed for more than a week, and advanced still further; and after the advanced thus the advance towards Corinth was a con- brigades of Gen. Johnson on our left, and Gen. stant succession of battles on a small scale. In Rousseau on our right had intrenched themselves, every division reconnoissances were of daily oc- Gen. R. L. McCook's brigade moved upon their currence, and the continued roar of artillery and line. rattling of musketry almost ceased to attract at- Though the task be a most difficult one, yet I tention, except when the scene of action was close will try to give your readers a faint idea of the at hand. Thus every portion of the army has scenes which an advance presents. seen a battle going on by its side, where often First the enemy must be driven back. Regiten thousand Union troops were engaged, and, ments and artillery are placed in position, and in some cases, where the enemy were much generally the cavalry is in advance, but when the stronger. These facts serve to convey an idea opposing forces are in close proximity, the infantof the immense size of an army, and the extent ry does the work. The whole front is covered of its lines.
by a cloud of skirmishers, and then reserves This state of things continued until the twenty-formed, and then, in connection with the main fourth, with all its varied scenes, its hours of sus- line, they advance. For a moment all is still as pense, its days and nights of watchfulness and the grave to those in the background; as the line labor, its moments of victory, shaded, as such moves on, the eye is strained in vain to follow moments ever are, by its death-scenes, and the the skirmishers as they creep silently forward; pall which everywhere hangs over new-made then from some point of the line a single rifle graves.
rings through the forest, sharp and clear, and, as We had thus gained a strongly intrenched po- if in echo, another answers it. In a moment sition within long-range of the rebel pickets and more the whole line resounds with the din of their cannon. Then succeeded two days of al- arms. Here the fire is slow and steady, there it most perfect quiet, and except where our pickets ! rattles with fearful rapidity, and this mingled
with the great roar of the reserves as the skir- and rested there on Thursday night, the twentymishers chance at any point to be driven in; and eighth, expecting a general engagement at any if, by reason of superior force, these reserves fall moment. back to the main force, then every nook and Soon after daylight on Friday morning, the corner seems full of sound. The batteries open army was startled by rapid and long-continued their terrible voices, and their shells sing horribly explosions, similar to musketry, but much louder, while winging their flight, and their dull explo- The conviction fashed across my mind that the sion speaks plainly of death ; their canister and rebels were blowing up their loose ammunition grape go crashing through the trees, rifles ring, and leaving: The dense smoke arising in the dithe muskets roar, and the din is terrific. Then rection of Corinth strengthened this belief, and the slackening of the fire denotes the withdraw- soon the whole army was advancing on a grand ing of the one party, and the more distant picket- reconnoissance. The distance through the woods firing that the work is accomplished. The silence was short, and in a few minutes shouts arose becomes almost painful after such a scene as this, from the rebel lines, which told that our army and no one can conceive of the effect who has not was in the enemy's trenches. Regiment after experienced it; it cannot be described. The oc- regiment pressed on, and passing through extencasional firing of the pickets, which shows that sive camps just vacated, soon reached Corinth the new lines are established, actually occasions and found half of it in flames. Beauregard and a sense of relief. The movements of the mind Bragg had left the afternoon before, and the rearunder such circumstances are sudden and strong. guard had passed out of the town before daylight, It awaits with intense anxiety the opening of the leaving enough stragglers to commit many acts contest, it rises with the din of battle, it sinks of vandalism, at the expense of private property. with the lull which follows it, and finds itself in They burned churches and other public buildfit condition to sympathize most deeply with the ings, private goods, and stores and dwellings, torn and bleeding ones that are fast being borne and choked up half the wells in town. In the to the rear. When the cursed nature of this re- camps immediately around the town, there were bellion flashes on the mind, and the case of those few evidences of hasty retreat, but on the rightwhose homes are thus made desolate becomes flank where Price and Van Dorn were encamped, our own, and the instinctive utterance of the soil the destruction of baggage and stores was very is for vengeance, the mind works most rapidly great, showing precipitate flight. Portions of the under the influence of such scenes as these, and army were immediately put in pursuit, but the one has time for such reflections even on the results are not yet generally known. Gen. Pope battle-field.
is in advance, and has crossed Tennessee River. When the ground is clear, then the time for Gen. Thomas's army moved by way of Farmingthe working parties has arrived, and as this is ton, and is to-day encamped in Price and Van the description of a real scene, let me premise Dorn's late positions. that the works were to reach through the centre It seems that it was the slow and careful apof a large open farm of at least three hundred proach of Gen. Halleck wbich caused the retreat. acres, surrounded by woods, one side of it being They would doubtless have remained had we atoccupied by rebel pickets. These had been tacked their positions without first securing our driven back as I have described.
rear, but they could not stand a siege. Their The line of the works was selected, and at the position was a most commanding one and well word of command three thousand men, with protected. axes, spades, and picks, stepped out into the It would have cost us dear to take the place, open field from their cover in the woods ; in al- and thousands of Northern homes would have most as short a time as it takes to tell it, the been desolate to-day, had the enemy remained. fence-rails which surrounded and divided three Most who have had an opportunity of studying hundred acres into convenient farm-lots were on the whole movement, agree that the retreat of the the shoulders of the men, and on the way to the rebels will prove nearly as disastrous to their intended line of works. In a few moments more cause as a defeat would have been, and though it a long line of crib-work stretches over the slopes appears from papers found in the deserted camp, of the hill, as if another anaconda fold had been that the rebels have depots of supplies at Okolotwisted around the rebels. Then, as for a time, na, Columbus and Grenada, still it seems imposthe ditches deepen, the crib fills up, the dirt is sible for them to long subsist a large force any. packed on the outer side, the bushes and all where in the State, when once Mobile is in our points of concealment are cleared from the front, possession, and the Mississippi is opened. Both and the centre divisions of our army had taken of these events must happen soon. a long stride towards the rebel works. The Divided into small bodies, they may trouble siege-guns are brought up and placed in com- us for some time, but the rebel cause seems fast manding positions. A log house furnishes the failing in the West and South, and this forced hewn and seasoned timber for the platforms, and retreat will scarcely help their failing fortunes. the plantation of a Southern lord has been thus The daylight of peace seems breaking through speedily transferred into one of Uncle Sam's the clouds of war. strongholds, where the Stars and Stripes float As Cincinnatians are interested in those who proudly. Thus had the whole army worked it- represent her in the field, I cannot close without self up into the very tecth of the rebel works, speaking a word in praise of our Brigade-Gene