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[463] had formed, for the sake of his views of the best interests of their common country, and became a subordinate commander of an army corps instead of the commander-in-chief of an army. He hoped to reach Johnston in time for the battle of Shiloh, and had he done so, would have given a very different result to that critical battle. But Shiloh had been fought, and our army, under Beauregard, was occupying the works of Corinth when Van Dorn, with the Army of the West, sixteen thousand effectives, reached that point. We lay near Corinth more than six weeks, and three times offered battle to Halleck, who, with one hundred thousand men, was cautiously advancing as if to attack us. Three times our army, forty thousand strong, marched out of its intrenchments and advanced to meet Halleck and give him battle, but every time he drew back and declined it. In every council Van Dorn's voice was for war. May 30th, 1862, Beauregard evacuated his works in a masterly manner, and marched south, unmolested, to Tupelo, when he halted the army and held it ready for battle. In June, Van Dorn was ordered to go to Vicksburg, which was threatened with attack, and was in poor condition for defense. He evinced here great energy and ability. He repulsed the enemy's fleet, put the place in a good condition of defense, occupied Port Hudson, and there erected such works as enabled us for a year longer to control the Mississippi river and its tributaries, so as to keep open free intercourse with the trans- Mississippi, whence large supplies for the armies 6n this side were drawn. He organized an expedition against Baton Rouge during this time, which, but for the cholera, which swept off half of the force, and the untimely breaking down of the ram “Arkansas” engine, when almost within range of the town, would have been a brilliant and complete success.

After this, Van Dorn urged General Price, who had been left at Tupelo with the Army of the West, when Bragg moved to Chattanooga, to unite all their available forces in Mississippi, carry Corinth by assault, and sweep the enemy out of West Tennessee. This, unfortunately, Price, under his instructions, could not then do. Our combined forces would then have exceeded twenty-five thousand effectives, and there is no doubt as to the results of the movement. Later, after Breckenridge had been detached with six thousand men, and Price had lost about four thousand on the Iuka expedition (mainly stragglers), the attempt on Corinth was made. Its works had been greatly strengthened, and its garrison greatly increased. Van Dorn attacked with his usual vigor and dash. His left and centre stormed the town, captured all the guns in their front, and

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Earl Van Dorn (5)
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