Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Second Battle of Corinth Oct. 3rd-4th 1862

After the Battle of Iuka, Charles M.Adams marches back to the town of Corinth, Mississippi to take an active part in the defense the Union Army depot located there. The Second Battle of Corinth is an important chapter in the Civil War in the western theater..........

The 10th Ohio Battery:

"On October 1st, the battery moved toward Corinth. On the 2nd it passed through Corinth and stopped for the night at a fort south-west of town. On the morning of the 3rd it was ordered to take position near where the Chewalla road crosses the Memphis Railroad. From this place the battery was ordered into position just north of Corinth. About 11'o clock on the morning of the 4th, the rebel lines advanced. The battery open with shell and one piece was disabled after the first fire by a shell getting fast half way down. Two shells each was fired by the other three pieces, and then canister(doubled) was used to the direct front. The ground was favorable for canister-practice; and at each fire gaps at twenty, thirty, and forty feet wide were cut in the advancing columns. The battery stopped three columns of Rebels, and each piece was pouring out eighteen to twenty rounds of canister per minute, when the order was given to retire. The Rebels had advanced on the right and the battery was without support of a single musket, right or left. The pintle-key of the third piece had to be tied in place; and the Corporal, while tying it, discovered the sponge-bucket was left. He called out: "Get the bucket, Number Two." George S. Wright, a boy of eighteen, acting as Number One, ran back towards the Rebels, picked up the bucket when he was no more than twenty-five yards from him, and returned with it to the gun. As fast as they were limbered they were off at a gallop. They unlimbered east of town and south of the Decatur Railroad, but only for a moment, when they were returned to a point about one hundred yards in rear of the former position. In a short time the enemy retired. The battery lost only three men wounded.* A number of horses were also wounded, including the ones belonging to Captain H. B. White and bugler William H. Bretney. It pursued the enemy as far as Ripley and then returned to Corinth." (Ohio in the War Vol. II page 853)

*In his next letter dated October 23rd, C.M.A. discusses a leg injury that may cause his discharge.

This is an account of the infantry's actions directly to the left of the 10th Ohio:

"When he heard firing on his left, Maury ordered his division forward down Chewalla Road toward Batteries Robinett and Williams. Defending Battery Robinett was Colonel John Fuller's Ohio Brigade of Stanley's division. Fuller had all four regiments on line, with the 11th Missouri in reserve behind the 63rd Ohio.

About 11 a.m., Fuller saw Confederates approaching in three or four columns. At their appearance, the 30-pound Parrotts of Battery Robinett opened fire, as did a battery of field artillery. Fuller ordered his regiments to lie down and hold their fire unit the Confederates were close. When they were 100 yards away, Fuller's line came to its feet and fired one volley.

Captain Oscar Jackson, commanding Company H of the 63rd Ohio, watched the Confederates fall back. "As the smoke cleared away, there was apparently ten yards square of a mass of struggling bodies and butternut clothes," he said. "Their column appeared to reel like a rope shaken at the end."

A second attack came, this one using a ravine to cover the advance. Emerging into sight at a run, the Confederates smashed into the 27th Ohio. That regiment fired one volley before the fighting became hand-to-hand. Fighting centered on the colors of the 9th Texas. A Confederate officer yelled for his men to protect their flag, but Private Orrin Gould of Company G made off with it, despite being shot in the chest.

During the first two attacks, the company that Colonel John W. Sprague of the 63rd Ohio had placed in front of Battery Robinett was all but wiped out. He turned to Jackson's Company H to replace it. Jackson ordered his men to the left and moved into position. In his diary he recorded, "It was like moving into dead men's shoes, for I had seen one company carried away from there on litters, but without a moment's hesitation we moved up."

A third attack appeared in sight. As it neared the Union line, it divided, one column, the 2nd Texas Legion under Colonel William Rogers, splitting off so it headed directly at Company H. Sprague asked if he could move the rest of his regiment to support Jackson, but Fuller refused.

Rogers, marching to the left of his men, turned about, walking with his back to the Union lines so he could address his men. "Boys, when you charge, give a good yell!" he urged. As the Confederates charged, a volley from Jackson's company dropped the men in the front rank, bringing the attack to a temporary halt. Since most of his men did not have bayonets, Rogers rearranged his ranks, putting those who did in the front rank.

Jackson saw that the Confederates were about to charge before his men were finished reloading. "Don't load, boys; they are too close on you; let them have the bayonet," he shouted.

To check the Confederate momentum, Jackson ordered his handful of men forward. The two forces smashed into one another, with survival depending on the individual soldier's skill with the bayonet.

Jackson continued to fire his pistol point-blank at Confederates until it was knocked from his hand with a musket, and he was thrown to the ground. Meanwhile, carrying the colors of the 2nd Texas Legion, Rogers marched forward to the parapet of Battery Robinett. As he planted the colors there, a Union drummer boy killed him with a pistol." Source

(Click to Enlarge)

From General Mc Arthur's Action Report:
"I would also mention Captain Hickenlooper, Fifth Ohio Battery, chief of artillery of this division, for his very able management and direction of his batteries, conspicuous among which were the Tenth Ohio, Capt. H. B. White, and one section First Minnesota, under Sergeant Clayton, who ought to be promoted. Also the Fifth Ohio Battery was well served."

Rosecrans After Action Report

On the unstained sward of the gentle slope,
Full of valor and nerved by hope,
The infantry sways like a coming sea;
Why lingers the light artillery?
"Action front!"

Whirling the Parrotts like children's toys,
The horses strain to the rushing noise;
To right and to left, so fast and free,
They carry the light artillery.
"Drive on!"

The gunner cries with a tug and a jerk,
The limbers fly, and we bend to our work;
The handspike in, and the implements out--
We wait for the word, and it comes with a shout--

The foes pour on their billowy line;
Can nothing check their bold design?
With yells and oaths of fiendish glee,
They rush for the light artillery.
"Commence firing!"

Hurrah! Hurrah! our bulldogs bark,
And the enemy's line is a glorious mark;
Hundreds fall like grain on the lea,
Mowed down by the light artillery.

"Fire!" and "Load!" are the only cries,
Thundered and rolled to the vaulted skies;
Aha! they falter, they halt, they flee
From the hail of the light artillery.
"Cease firing!"

The battle is over, the victory won,
Ere the dew is dried by the rising sun;
While the shout bursts out, like a full-voiced sea,
"Hurrah for the light artillery!
"Hurrah for the light artillery!"

Poem Source
Map Source


  1. The following day after a march of 23 miles General Ord foolishly attacked Van Dorn at the Battle of Davis Bridge. 500 Union dead for vanglorious folly.

  2. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.