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eastern communication, Halleck was busily engaged in making his preparations for an advance on Beauregard at Corinth. The troops were not in the l,est condition, many of them being sick and suffering from exposure in the late series of battles. Halleck, therefore, sent for Pope and his men at New Madrid (p. 143), and summoned available forces from every portion of his wide department. The army being thus strengthened and re-organized, Halleck gave orders, April 27th, that it should hold itself in readiness for immediate movement. Pope, with his division, was on the left, Buell .held the centre, and Grant, with his force, was on the right. Besides these, there were other distinguished officers, holding different positions under Halleck, such as Gens. W. T. Sherman, Thomas, McClernand, Lewis Wallace, J. C. Davis, etc. The entire army occupied a semi-circular line of six miles, and numbered over 100,000 men. The force of the rebels was estimated to be about the same in number.*
On the 29th of April, the army began its advance, gradually but steadily. Day after day, a division or brigade moved forward, and our outposts were extended. Gen. Sherman took possession of Monterey, May 1st, a place about midway between Pittsburg
* Beauregard's real anxiety at the state of things in Uic South was shown in a brief address to the planters, published in the Memphis papers, April 27th: "The casualties of war have opened the Mississippi to our enemies. The time has therefore come to test the earnestness oi all classes, and I call on all patriotic planters owning cotton in the possible reach of our enemies to apply the torch to it without delay or hesitation."
Landing and Corinth. A few days previously, the rebels at Purdy, some twenty miles west of Pittsburg Landing were dislodged, and the railroad bridge connecting Corinth with Jackson was destroyed.
Halleck continued his advance steadily toward Corinth, and on the 3d of May was within about eight miles of the beleaguered city. His army now amounted to 108,000 men; the forces in the field were newly organized; the command of the army corps on the right was given to Thomas; Buell continued to hold the centre, Pope the left, while the reserve was assigned to McClernand. Grant was second in command under Halleck. From the nature of the ground, the roads were in a wretched condition; progress was slow and toilsome; and Halleck moved cautiously. His plan was to approach the works on the front by regular siege, securing, as he advanced, all available points, and send out movable forces to cut the railroads on the enemy's flank and rear.
Pope advanced his forces on the left, some ten miles, by extraordinary exertions, and ordered, May 3d, a reconnaissance towards Farmington, a commanding position, four miles to the east of Corinth, on the edge of the swamp. The rebels were found to be between four and five thousand in numbers, with artillery and cavalry, occupying a strong position near the town. They were driven out by assault; on the 0th, the rebels retook the town; but a few days afterwards they were again expelled.
Halleck commenced regular siege
operations, on the 20th May,* investing Corinth on the north and east at about four miles distant, the interval being gradually narrowed by second and third parallels, until our forces, on the 27th, well protected with batteries and heavy guns were within 1,300 yards of the rebel works. On the 28th, a gene, ral reconnaissance was made, feeling the enemy's position, and unmasking his batteries.
The next morning, Pope opened his heavy batteries upon the enemy's entrenchments, and soon drove them from their advanced battery. Sherman established another battery in the afternoon of the same day, within 1,000 yards of the rebel works, f and skirmishing parties were sent out at daybreak the next morning. On the 30th i>f May, Halleck communicated several times, by dispatch, with Washington, stating that the rebels had fallen back to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad; that our advanced guard was in Corinth; that the enemy's works were very strong in front of the town; that they had destroyed an immense amount of public and private property, stores, provisions, etc.; and that some 2,000 prijoners and deserters had been captured.
On the same day that Corinth was evacuated, an expedition, under Col. Elliott, was sent by Pope to Boonesville,
* On the 13th of May, Halleck issued an order, enjoining commanders of army corps and divisions " to ■ee that their camps are cleared of all unauthorized hangers on," under the severest of penalties. The newspaper correspondents protested publicly against this, but Hall jck was not to be moved; he had suffered from spies, and he would have no civilians of any sort in the camp.
\ For various interesting and valuable details, see Gen Sherman's official report, quoted in Duyckinck's "War for the Union," vol. ii., pp. 440-442.
on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. By forced marches, he reached the place, and destroyed the track both south and north of the town, together with the depot, locomotives, cars, supplies, etc. The enemy's attempts to prevent his movement were wholly unsuccessful.* On the 30th of May, Sherman issued a congratulatory order to his troops, which, which among other things, point ed out unsparingly how far short the enemy had fallen of their boastful and defiant proclamations, in hastily leaving Corinth, as they did. "The whole country from Richmond to Memphis, and Nashville to Mobile, rung with their taunts and boasting as to how they would immolate the Yankees if they dared to leave the Tennessee River. . . . . . We yesterday marched unopposed through the burning embers of their destroyed camps and property, and pur sued them to their swamps, until burn ing bridges plainly confessed that they had fled and not marched away for better ground."
The pursuit of the enemy was imme diate and active. The cavalry were especially diligent. Gen. Granger left Farmington, May 30th, on the Booneville road, and the same day came up with the rebel rearguard at Tuscumbia
* Col. Elliott was charged by Beauregard with cruelly destroying four sick persons in a building he fired at Boonesville. Gen. Granger, who led the pursuit from Corinth with a body of cavalry, pronounced the charge an infamous falsehood. He stated that Col. Elliott found 2,000 sick and convalescent, who were in a most shocking condition; the dead and the dying lying side by side ; neither surgeons nor nurses, and without water or food for more than a day. CoL Elliott had them all removed to places of safety, by his own men, and then set fire to the depot and cars (20 in all), as, said Gen. Granger, can be proved by hundreds of witne
Creek, eight miles south of Corinth. The retreat and pursuit were continued for several days, with sharp skirmishing at various points. Halleck wrote to the secretary of war, June 4th, that Pope, with 40,000 men, was thirty miles south of Corinth, pushing the enemy hard, and that he reported already 10,000 prisoners and deserters from the enemy, and 15,000 stand of arms captured.*
On the 10th of June, Baldwin and Guntown were occupied by our troops, and further pursuit was given up. The rebels fell back to Tupello, some fifty miles by railroad from Corinth. Buell remained in Corinth till the 10th of June, when he moved along the line of railroad towards Chattanooga. Soon after, he found it necessary to move on Louisville, in order to counteract Bragg's designs in Kentucky. Grant with his army occupied the line of West Tennessee and Mississippi, from Memphis to Iuka, protecting the railroads from Columbus south, which were at that time their only channels of supply. Toward the close of June, Pope left the West to take command in Virginia. Halleck also resigned command of his department in July, and on the 23d, by order of the president, assumed the duties of general-in-chief of the army of the United States. Cumberland Gap
* Beauregard calls Pope a lying braggart, and affirms that ho must have dreamed, or worse, when he said he had taken 10,000 prisoners and 15,000 stand of inns. Beauregard declares that less than 200 prisoners or stragglers, and some 500 damaged muskets were all that Pope got. The arithmetic of the generals is curiously at fault in this; 10,000 versus 200; 15,000 versus 500.
was occupied by Gen. G. W. Morgan, on the 18th of June, and held by him until the autumn, when, Kentucky being invaded, he was compelled to retire.
Commodore Foote, who had done excellent service at Island No. 10 (p. 143), left New Madrid, April 12th, and proceeded down the Mississippi with his mortar boats and transports following. His purpose was to attack Fort Pillow, or Wright, which was situated at the Chickasaw Bluff, near Islands Nos. 33 and 34, and about seventy miles above Memphis. A combined attack was purposed to be made by Foote with Pope's aid, but the latter was called away, as we have seen (p. 178) to assist in operations against Corinth. The fleet remained, however, watching the enemy, with almost daily firing on and from the fort; Commodore Foote, who was suffering from a severe wound received at Donelson, was relieved of his command, May 9th, by Captain C. H. Davis.
On the following morning, the rebel gun boats and ram made an attack upon our flotilla, lying at the time tied up to the bank, three on the eastern and four on the western side of the river. The ram advanced to run down the gun boat Cincinnati, Capt. R. N. Stembel, giving her a severe blow on the starboard quarter, and apparently uninjured by the broadsides of the gun boat. The engagement became general. The ram succeeded in damaging the Cincinnati so greatly that she soon after sunk. The other vessels did excellent service. After an hour at close quarters, one of the rebel boats being sunk
and two being blown np, the enemy retired hastily and in bad condition under the guns of the fort. Capt. Stembel was dangerously wounded, our total loss consisting in four wounded.
The fleet now took a nearer position, and were preparing to make a vigorous attack upon Fort Pillow, when it was found that, on the night of the 4th of June, the fort was evacuated. The operations of Halleck before Corinth, and the evacuation of that place, had compelled the withdrawal of the rebel forces from their advantageous position at Fort Pillow. The works here were of the most formidable and extensive character; but the rebels had left nothing which they could destroy, when they fled down the river towards Memphis.
Lieut-Col. Ellet, with a fleet of rams, led the advance, in pursuit of the enemy. At Fort Randolph, twelve miles below, he caused the Union flag to be raised, the place being entirely abandoned, guns dismantled, etc. Everywhere cotton was seen floating on the water, it having been thrown into the river to prevent its capture. On the 5th of June, the squadron arrived within two miles of Memphis, and anchored for the night, awaiting the decisive engagement which was to take place with the rebel gun boats the next day.
Soon after daylight, on the 6th of June, the battle began. Our fleet consisted of five gun boats, Capt. Davis in command, together with two of the ram fleet, under Col. Ellet's command. The rebels had more vessels, but a less number of guns; all of their gun boats were fitted to be used as rams as well
as for other purposes. In an hour's time, however, it was plain that the rebels were defeated, and that Memphis must be given up to the control of the United States authorities.*
Captain Davis demanded the surrender of the city, which was ungraciously made by Mayor Park. Col. Fitch took military possession, a provost marshal was appointed, and the city was as quiet and orderly as could be expected, under the circumstances.
This was the third stage in the pro gross down the Mississippi, Memphis having followed the fortunes of New Madrid, Columbus and Fort Pillow. Having now the control of the Mississippi, as far down as Vicksburg, the way was open for our forces to attack the enemy in Arkansas, by means of the principal rivers, viz., the White River, descending in a south-easterly course from Missouri, and the Arkansas, penetrating its central portions. The battle at Pea Ridge in March (see p. 119), had given the Union troops under Curtis a firm footing in the north-western quarter. The army, some 14,000 strong, left Batesville, on the upper waters of White River, on the 24th of June, with twenty days' rations, and passing through Jacksonport, Augusta and Clarendon, by a series of adventurous forced mar
• Col. EUet was the only one wounded or injured in anyway, in the portion of the fleet under his command. He was shot by a musket ball above the knee, which was not at first considered alarming, but proved fatal. He was carried to Cairo, where he died on the 21st of June. Eminent for scientific attainments, and one who had successfully carried to a completion his long cherished views as to the value and importance of steam battering rams, his death was a public loss, deeply to be lamented.
ches, arrived at Helena, on the Missis, sippi River on the 11th of July.
About the 10th of June, an expedition was fitted out at Memphis to descend the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas, and thence up to the White River, clearing it of obstructions, to Batesville. The expedition consisted of the gun boats St. Louis, Lexington, Conestoga and Mound City, under Capt. Kilty's command, and an Indiana regiment under command of Colonel Fitch. The fleet reached the mouth of White River, 170 miles below Memphis, on the 14th of June, and, cautiously ascending the stream, on the morning of the 17th, came upon the rebel works, on a high bluff on the south side of the river, in the vicinity of St. Charles, about 85 miles from the Mississippi. The Mound City and St. Louis received the fire of the first battery without injury; when, passing on to another bend of the stream, they encountered a second battery, which proved of a more formidable character. Col. Fitch landed two miles below, so as to take the batteries in the rear. At this juncture a shot from the battery struck the Mound City on the port side, and passing through the iron-lined casemate, entered the steam drum.
The explosion and its effects were fearful, large numbers being scalded to
death, and but few escaping by plung ing into the river through the portholes. Meantime, Col. Fitch reached the rear of the upper battery, and carried the works at the point of the bayonet. Six field pieces and three heavy siege guns were taken, together with a number of prisoners. After the action a part of the fleet proceeded up the river, but was soon obliged to return by the low state of the water. Thus the expedition was unsuccessful, and failed to open communication with Curtis.
We may mention in this connection, that Curtis, towards the close of July, started with a body of troops on transports to look after a rebel force under Price, which it was reported were crossing the Mississippi between Napoleon and Vicksburg. On the 27th, he destroyed the steam ferryboat at Napoleon, at the mouth of the Arkansas River, together with 16 other ferry and flat boats which had been withdrawn up the White River. The expedition returned soon after to Helena. In September, Curtis was appointed to the command of the Department of Missouri, containing the states of Missouri and Arkansas and the adjacent Indian Territory. Helena continued to be occupied by our troops, but active military operations were suspended. This closed the campaign of Gen. Curtis.