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The Barrle of Corinth

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The Barrle of Corinth
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The Battle of Corinth

 

According to records from the National Archives, John William Wilson was severely wounded and captured during the Battle of Corinth.  Although Thomas Allen Wilson served in the same unit as John William Wilson (Company E, 4th MO Infantry-CSA), there is no documentation confirming if Thomas Allen Wilson was or was not with his company during this engagement.  During the engagement,  Company E (4th MO Infantry - under the command of Colonel MacFarland) was under the command of Captain Norval Spangler and was assigned to the Third Brigade (General Louis Herbert's Division) under the command of Brigadier General Martin E. Green.

 

Following the battle,  John William Wilson was paroled and exchanged at Iuka, Mississippi on October 19, 1862, and in December of 1862, John William Wilson was forwarded for exchange from Columbus, Kentucky.  As a result of his injuries, John William Wilson suffered partial paralysis and partial loss of motion in his left leg.  Due to his injured leg, John William Wilson was discharged from field service and detailed to the Hospital Department. 

Philip Askins was listed as present on the Muster Roles for Company A (5th MO Infantry-CSA) and presumed to have served with his unit during the Battle of Cornith.  During the engagement, the 5th MO Infantry (CSA) was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Bevier, and was assigned to the First Brigade (General Louis Herbert's Division) under the Command of Colonel Elijah Gates.  

 Battle:
 

Following the Battle of Iuka, General Sterling Price's Confederate command marched  from Baldwyn to Ripley where it joined Major General Earl Van Dorns Army of West Tennessee. The combined Confederate force (approximately 22,000 men) under the Van Dorn consisted of the Division of  Brigadier General Louis Hebert of four brigades led by Colonels Elijah Gates, W. Bruce Colbert, John D. Martin, and Brigadier General Martin E. Green; the Division of Brigadier General Dabney Maury with its cavalry brigade commanded by Brigadier General Frank Armstrong and three infantry brigades led by Brigadier Generals John C. Moore, William L. Cabell and Charles W. Phifer ; and the Division of Major General Mansfield Lovell which included three infantry brigades led by Brigadier Generals Albert Rust, John B. Villepigue and John S. Bowen plus the cavalry brigade of Colonel William H. "Red" Jackson.  

The brigade under the command of Colonel Elijah Gates was designated the First Brigade and included the 2nd Missouri commanded by Colonel Francis M. Cockrell, the 3rd Missouri commanded by Colonel James A Pritchard, the 5th Missouri under commanded of Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Bevier, the 1st Missouri Calvary dismounted commanded by Colonel W.D. Maupin, plus Captain William Wade's Missouri battery and the 16th Arkansas of Colonel J.F. Hill.   The brigade under the commanded of  Colonel W. Bruce Colbert was designated the Second Brigade and included the 27th Texas, 3rd Texas cavalry dismounted, the 14th and 17 Arkansas, the 3rd Louisiana, the 40th Mississippi, Clark's Missouri battery commanded by Lieutinant J.L. Faris, and the St Louis battery of Captain William E. Dawson.  The brigade commanded by Brigadier General Martin E. Green was designated the Third Brigade and included the 4th Missouri led by Colonel Archibald MacFarlane (including both John William Wilson & Thomas Allen Wilson's Company E), the 6th Missouri commanded by Colonel Eugene Erwin, the 3rd Missouri Calvary dismounted of Major T.J. McQuidley, and Missouri batteries of Captain Henry Guibor and John C. Landis.  The brigade under the command of Colonel John D. Martin was designated the Forth Brigade and included the 37th Alabama,  the 36th Mississippi, the 37th Mississippi, the 38th Mississippi, and Schuyler Lowe's Missouri battery. 

 

The brigade under the command of Colonel Charles W. Phifer included the 6th Texas Calvary dismounted (including Benjamin L. Kennedy's Company G).

 

The combined Confederate forces marched to Pocahontas on October 1, and then moved southeast toward Corinth.  With the Confederate approach, Union forces under the command of Major General William S. Rosecran, totaling approximately  23,000, occupied a line of  fortifications at Corinth.  Roscran's Union forces consisted of Division of Brigadier General David S. Stanley  which included two brigades led by Colonels John W. Fuller and Joseph A. Mowrer; the Division of Brigadier General Charles Hamilton which included two brigades commanded by Brigadier Generals Napoleon B. Buford and Jeremiah Sullivan; the Division of Brigadier General Thomas A. Davies which included three brigades commanded by Brigadier Generals Pleasant A. Hackleman, Richard J. Oglesby, and Colonel Silas Baldwin; and the Division of Brigadier General Thomas J. McKean which included the three brigades commanded by Colonels Benjamin Allen, John M. Oliver, and Marcellus M. Crocker.     

Before dawn on October 3, 1862, the Confederate forces under Van Dorn marched toward Corinth.  At approximately 10:00 am, the confederate forces crossed Cane Creek and deployed for the assault of  Union fortifications at Corinth.  Lovell's division was deployed to the extreme right, south of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad (Bowen, Rust & Villepigue).  North of the railroad, Maury's Division was deployed in the center (Moore, Phifer, & Cabell), and Herbert's Division was deployed to the extreme left (Martin, Colbert, Green & Gates). 

 

At approximately 10:00 am, Confederate skirmishers began advancing across the 400 yards of open ground in front of the union fortifications that was commanded by Union artillery and sharpshooter fire.  Lovell's Division was the first to assault the fortified union positions, with the 9th Arkansas and the 22nd Mississippi, (closely followed by the 3rd and 7th Kentucky, the 1st Missouri, and the 33rd Mississippi) quickly capturing Union sharpshooters and a 24-pound cannon on a small hill forcing McKean's Division (Union) to retreat half a mile to an entrenched camp.  After this successful assault however, Lovell halted the advance of his division to reorganize and never resumed the assault.

 

Despite the Union artillery and sharpshooter fire, Maury and Hebert Divisions continued to firmly advance.  Moore's brigade advanced past the left of Lovell's Division and attacked the new position of McKean's Division.  Withstanding a withering fire from McKean's infantry, Moore's brigade over ran the Union positions and captured several prisoners and supplies.   Despite Colonel Martin being killed and the horses shot from under Colonel Colbert and General Green,  Hebert's Division charged forcing the retreat of Davies Division.  A Missourian in the charge wrote: "They ran like hens running from a hawk, hiding behind every log and in every place they could find.  They left several pieces of cannon...We followed them for a quarter of a mile but they outran us, we having marched for the last 2 weeks and marched 10 miles that morning, several of our men gave out."  Lieutenant Colonel Finley L. Hubbell described the 12:30 attack of Hebert's Gates Green and Martin brigades as: "We met with small resistance, the enemy flying from their positions, before our men got close enough to do much damage."  after capturing a battery of artillery and reorganizing our ranks, we again advanced with little resistance until about 4:00 pm at which time Green's brigade suffered heavy losses in a furious two hour fight.  "It being late in the evening, we put into position on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where we lay on our arms for the night, prepared for a desperate battle in the morning."  Davies' Division lost one-forth of its men due to the Confederate assault, including all three  brigade commanders (one killed and two severely wounded).

Go to: The Battle of Iuka

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