Friday, October 5, 2012

October 4, 1862

October 4, 1862:

The Battle of Corinth

Day 2: Although the Confederates clearly have enjoyed the advantage on the first day, it does not last into the second. Maury and Green (now commanding the division of the ill Gen. Hebert) resume the assault on the Union right. Davies’ battered division takes the brunt of the assault as the brigades of Green and Gates take the lead: the principal object of the attacking Rebels is a fortified artillery position known as Battery Powell, which they capture after charging into the horrendous hail of canister, shell, and shot. The Federal brigades of Sweeny, Holmes, and DuBois begin to fade back toward the center of town, but Green does not push a pursuit. As Green is trying to recover from the murderous charge, Rosecrans rallies his retreating troops and forms a new line. After some time, Green resumes his attack on the Federal right, but by then Davies is rallied, as is Hamilton, and they throw the Rebel attack back with heavy losses. Meanwhile, Dabney Maury’s Rebel division steps off in the Confederate center, and heads for the roads that lead into the city from the West. Prominent in the Federal defenses there is Stanley’s division, strengthened by Batteries Williams and Robinett. The Southerners sweep across the open ground, Moore’s brigade of Texans, Arkansans, and Mississippians taking the lead. The Rebels move in for the final stretch but then discover that the ground immediately outside of Battery Robinett is very steep, and they lose many men in the assault. 

But they finally take the earthworks, led by a gallant charge by the 2nd Texas, Col. William P. Rogers himself siezing the colors as he jumps up on the parapet, before he is killed. The Yankee counterattack retakes Robinett, so the remaining thrust of the Rebel assault sweeps around to Battery Williams, where a ghastly crossfire of Yankee rifle volleys mows them down. The rest retreat. Then, Phifer’s brigade, from Maury’s division, advances finds a gap or seam in the Union line and marches straight into town. There, they are met by Northern reserves under Sullivan, and desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensues, until the Rebels are driven out. Another attack takes the Confederates into the streets, and more street fighting drives them out again. Lovell’s division, curiously, does not advance at all. As Van Dorn orders a retreat, Lovell is given the task of rear guard. Union Victory.
Texas dead at Battery Robinett, with Col. Rogers on the far left.

Losses:    U.S. 2,520 (355 killed, 1,841 wounded, 324 missing)
    C.S. 4,233 (473 killed, 1,997 wounded, 1,763 captured/missing)

—The Richmond Daily Dispatch offers an editorial on the reception of the Emancipation Proclamation in Europe, particularly England, wherein they "spin" its impact to reassure their readers of English support:
The London Times and other European journals denounce in advance the emancipation policy which it was believed Abraham Lincoln would proclaim. This great card for enlisting the sympathies of Europe in behalf of the Washington despotism has already failed. Europeans are not to be humbugged by any such shallow and selfish simulation of humanity. Even the Abolitionists of the Exeter Hall stamp cannot fail to detect its palpable hypocrisy. For why was it not proclaimed at the beginning by a party which came into power upon an abolition programme? And even now it is put forth not as an end, but as the means to an end, and that end not the freedom of the slave, but the restoration of the Union, or, in other words, the restoration of Northern commerce and trade. That it means dollars and cents, and not philanthropy, that it seeks to deluge the South in the blood of a servile insurrection for the purpose of intimidating Southern customers into the patronage of the old shop, must be as plain as the noses on their faces, even to the craziest Abolitionist in the Old World.

—General Robert E. Lee, in response to the request of Gen. Philip Kearney’s widow, writes this letter asking the Sec. of War permission to send Kearney’s horse, saddle, and sword to her. Kearney was the Union division commander killed at the Battle of Chantilly, on Sept. 1.
Camp near Winchester, Va., October 4, 1862.
(Received October 7, 1862.)

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
   SIR: Mrs. Phil. Kearny has applied for the sword and horse of Major General Phil. Kearny, which was captured at the time that officer was killed, near Chantilly. The horse and saddle have been turned over to the quartermaster of the army, and the sword to the Chief of Ordnance. I would send them at once, as an evidence of the sympathy felt for her bereavement, and as a testimony of the appreciation of a gallant soldier, but I have looked upon such articles as public property, and that I had no right to dispose of them, except for the benefit of the service. In this case, however, I should like to depart from this rule, provided it is not considered improper by the Department, and I therefore refer the matter for your decision. An early reply is requested.
   I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

  R. E. LEE,

—Pres. Lincoln accompanies Gen. McClellan to the South Mountain battlefield for an inspection. Then, the general and the president part ways, Lincoln traveling to nearby Frederick where a train to Washington awaits him. Called upon for a speech at the train station, Lincoln finally offers this, as reported in the New York Times:
FELLOW-CITIZENS: I see myself surrounded by soldiers, and a little further off I note the citizens of this good city of Frederick, anxious to hear something from me. I can only say, as I did five minutes ago, it is not proper for me to make speeches in my present position. I return thanks to our soldiers for the good service they have rendered, for the energies they have shown, the hardships they have endured, and the blood they have so nobly shed for this dear Union of ours; and I also return thanks not only to the soldiers, but to the good citizens of Maryland, and to all the good men and women in this land, for their devotion to our glorious cause. I say this without any malice in my heart, to those who may have done otherwise. May our children and our children’s children to a thousand generations continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by WASHINGTON and his compeers. Now my friends, soldiers and citizens, I can only say once more, farewell.

—Sarah Morgan of Louisiana writes in her journal about the long-looked-for return of her brother Gibbes to them, after his wound in battle:
"O Gibbes, where is it?" "Left shoulder; mere scratch," he answered. The carriage stopped, "Gibbes! Gibbes!" I cried. "My darling!" and he had his great strong arm around me; the left was hanging in a sling. Slowly the others moved down the steps towards him. What a meeting! My heart was in my throat, I was so happy. Every one caught the well hand and kissed him again and again, and every one shrunk from that left side. I had almost forgotten my "gear Lygia" in my excitement. We followed him on the balcony and put him in a chair near the steps. I pulled off his hat and coat, and knelt in front of him with my arm across his lap, to get near enough. Miriam stood on the steps with his arm around her shoulder, and Lydia near. The others stood around; altogether, it was a happy group that performed in the tableau of "The Soldier’s Return." Presently the negroes gathered too. "How is you, Mass’ Gibbes?" in all imaginable keys and accents was heard, while the Captain shook hands with each and inquired into their own state of health.
But even wounded soldiers can eat; so supper was again prepared. I am afraid it gave me too much pleasure to cut up his food. It was very agreeable to butter his cornbread, carve his mutton, and spread his preserves; but I doubt whether it could be so pleasant to a strong man, accustomed to do such small services for himself. . . . He was wounded at Sharpsburg on the 17th September, at nine in the morning. That is all the information I got concerning himself. . . . Concerning others, he was quite communicative. Father Hubert told him he had seen [brother] George in the battle, and he had come out safe. Gibbes did not even know that he was in it, until then. Our army, having accomplished its object, recrossed the Potomac, after what was decidedly a drawn battle. Both sides suffered severely.
. . . Just above, in the fleshy part, it [the bullet] tore the flesh off in a strip three inches and a half by two. Such a great raw, green, pulpy wound, bound around by a heavy red ridge of flesh! Mrs. Badger, who dressed it, turned sick; Miriam turned away groaning; servants exclaimed with horror; it was the first experience of any, except Mrs. Badger, in wounds. . . .

—Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, of the 11th Iowa Infantry Regiment, wrote in his journal of his experience on the second day of the Battle of Corinth:
Saturday, 4th—During the night all was quiet and our brigade fell back to the last line of fortifications which, extending almost around the town, had been built in the last few days. Here we lay in line of battle all night. The rebels commenced to throw shells into town this morning at daylight. I was still on guard with the teams and we had to get out of that place in double quick. The rebels threw some ten or twelve shells before our battery in Fort Robinet could get the range of them, but when they did, they opened on them some sixty-four-pounders and soon put the rebel’s battery out of commission. I was relieved and went to join the regiment, which had been advanced to support a battery. About 10 o’clock the rebels made a charge upon Fort Robinet, to our right, and tried to break our lines at that point but failed. This charge was made by a Texas cavalry, dismounted; they came clear over into the fort, driving some of our artillerymen from their guns, but they were soon overpowered, some being killed and some taken prisoner. The colonel of the regiment planted their flag on our fort, but he was almost immediately killed. The rebels’ dead just outside of the fort lay three or four deep and the blood ran in streams down the trenches. The rebels finally withdrew about 4 p. m., leaving their dead and wounded.

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