Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Corinth, Mississippi

First thing Monday morning we packed up and headed out of Memphis towards Corinth, Mississippi.  Corinth is located right in the northeast corner of Mississippi.

In 1862 / 1863 the Union was carefully focused on eliminating the South's rail transportation capabilities.  That meant taking control of key southern transportation hubs like Corinth and Chattanooga.  Corinth was key in that it marked the junction of the Mobile & Ohio and Memphis & Charleston railroads.  The Union knew that if they could control this town, they could greatly reduce the Confederacy's ability to move soldiers and supplies to where they would be needed most.  This is why the Union ferried troops up the Tennessee River and attacked Shiloh and it's why they continued on south to Corinth.  Here are a couple shots of the junction point:

The battles for Corinth happened shortly after the battle of Shiloh.  After losing at Shiloh (more on that in another post), Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard retreated south to Corinth establishing a series of gun batteries around the town.  Meanwhile Union General Halleck approached from the north, much like Ninja Cat.  This battle was known as the Siege of Corinth.  Halleck slowly and methodically advanced, dug trenches, then repeated over and over.  Meanwhile Beauregard was engaged in a "secret" retreat from the city, taking his men and equipment south to Tupelo.  When Halleck finally arrived in town, it had been abandoned.

Subsequently, the Union established a large operation in Corinth.  This included a large farm operated mainly by escaped slaves.  The Union also employed (i.e. dollar paying jobs) these same slaves in building a new set of gun batteries closer to the town, such that they were in a better position to defend the South's expected return.

In October 1862 the Confederates tried to retake Corinth.  General Earl van Dorn, who was earlier involved in the battles for Missouri, led the Confederate attack.  Van Dorn's men made a giant push in to Corinth, even taking a couple of the Union's gun batteries and getting in to the town itself; however, the Union was able to push back with reinforcements and what remained of their well placed artillery, crushing the Confederates and holding the town.  Here's a shot taken at the US Park Service's interpretive center, which is located on the site of the Robinett Battery, one of the batteries that were taken by the Confederates when they attempted to retake the town:

In an effort to consolidate their forces at Memphis, the Union would eventually walk away from Corinth themselves.

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