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Iuka and Corinth Campaign

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In the late summer of 1862, all Confederate armies commenced offensive operations. In the west, General Braxton Bragg launched an incursion into the border state of Kentucky leaving two forces in Mississippi. One of these, under General Earl Van Dorn, was to hold the strategic city of Vicksburg, which had been threatened by Union naval forces. The second remained in northern Mississippi under General Sterling Price, who had orders either to support Van Dorn if needed or move north to join Bragg. With no imminent threat to Vicksburg, Price moved north towards the Tennessee River. General Ulysses S. Grant, stationed in Memphis, saw an opportunity to crush Price’s army before it reinforced Bragg.

 

Grant ordered two columns under General William S. Rosecrans and General Edward O. C. Ord to converge on Price’s army. The forces met at Iuka on September 19. Rosecrans and Ord failed to unite against Price, who slipped away and joined Van Dorn’s men, who had moved north from Vicksburg. Van Dorn and Price moved on the Union held rail junction at Corinth, 20 miles west of Iuka. Van Dorn took command of the combined army numbering 22,000 men, against a force of similar size in Corinth under Rosecrans. After two days of fighting on October 3 and 4, the Confederates were unable to capture Corinth and withdrew into Tennessee. The Union column under Ord met the retreating Rebels near the Hatchie River. On October 5, Price and Van Dorn put up a strong defense at Davis Bridge. Ord’s men pushed the Confederates across the river, but failed to capture them as they retreated south. Although the Confederates failed to unite with Bragg, the army that had escaped from Ord and Rosecrans would constitute the core of the army that defended Vicksburg in 1863.

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Corinth Square Image
Battle Map
BATTLE MAP | Civil War Trust’s map of the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi on October 4, 1862
The Battle of Iuka
Battle Map
BATTLE MAP | Civil War Trust’s map of the Battle of Iuka, Mississippi on September 19, 1862
Davis Bridge Square.jpg
Battle Map
BATTLE MAP | Civil War Trust’s map of the Battle of Davis Bridge, Tennessee on October 5, 1862