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[490] Captain Wilcox on the east and north fronts, covering and reconnoitring.

The reasons for these dispositions flow obviously from the foregoing explanations of our ignorance of the north-westerly approach, and of the possibility that the rebels might threaten us on the Chewalla and attack us by the Smith's Bridge road on our left, or go round and try us with his main force on the Purdy, or even Pittsburgh Landing road.

The general plan which was explained to the division commanders verbally on the morning, was to hold the enemy at arm's length by approaching him strongly in our assumed positions, and when his force became fully developed and he had assumed a position, to take a position which would give us the use of our batteries and the open ground in the vicinity of Corinth, the exact position to be determined by events and the movements of the enemy.

operations of the battle of the Third of October.

Early in the morning the advance under Col. Oliver found strong indications that the pressure under which he had retired on the second came from the advancing foe, and accordingly took a strong position on the hill near the angle of the rebel breastworks, with his three regiments and a section of artillery.

By nine o'clock the enemy began to press them sharply and outflank them. Brigadier-General Arthur, whom I had requested to go to the front, reported widespread but slack skirmishing, and said the hill was of great value to the advancing force. I ordered him to hold it pretty firmly with that view.

About ten o'clock word came that the enemy were pressing the point hotly, and that reenforcements were required, or they must yield the position. Supposing its importance was properly understood, and that it was held in subordination to the general views of its use, which were explained, I directed General Davies to send up from his position two regiments.

But it proved that General McArthur had taken up four more regiments from McKean's division, and was contesting the ground almost as for a battle. It was probably this which induced General Davies to ask permission to rest his right on the rebel intrenchments, and to which I consented, adding the verbal order to Lieutenant-Colonel Ducat, that he might use his judgment about leaving his present for that position, but in no event must he cease to touch the left on McArthur's right.

The advance was made to the breastwork as shown in the drawing, but leaving an interval between McArthur's and Davies's left. The enemy developed his forces along that line as McArthur retired from his position, which gave the rebels an opportunity to advance behind Davies's left, and forced it, after obstinate resistance, to fall back rapidly about a thousand yards, losing two heavy guns.

Our troops fought with the most determined courage, firing very low. At one P. M. Davies having resumed the same position he had occupied in the morning, and McArthur's brigade having fought a heavy force, it became evident that the enemy were in full strength, and meant mischief. McKean with Crocker's brigade had seen only skirmishers, there were no signs of any movements on our left, and only a few cavalry skirmishers on our right. It was pretty clear that we were to expect the weight of the attack to fall on our centre, where hopes had been given of our falling back.

Orders were accordingly given to McKean to fall back to the next ridge beyond our intrenchments, to touch his right on Davies's left, for Stanley to move northward and eastward, to stand in close echelon, but nearer town. Gen. Hamilton was ordered to face toward Chewalla, and move down until his left reached Davies's right. Davies was informed of these dispositions, told to hold his ground obstinately, and then when he had drawn them in strongly, Hamilton would swing in on their front and near and close the day. Hamilton was carefully instructed on this point, and entered into the spirit of it.

Owing to loss of time in conveying orders to Generals McKean and Davies, the orders were less perfectly conformed to, but nothing materially injurious resulted therefrom. But owing to the tremendous force with which the enemy pressed Davies back, Stanley was called with his division, with his batteries, and sent a brigade under Colonel Mower to support Davies, whose right had at last become hotly engaged. Mower came up while Davies was contesting a position near the White House, and Hamilton began to swing in on the enemy's flank, across the Columbia Railroad through a very impracticable thicket, when night closed in and put an end to the operations for the day.

The details of the heroic deeds of the troops of Davies's division, of McArthur's and Oliver's brigades, as well as those of Sullivan's brigade, of Hamilton's division, will be found in the accompanying sub-reports.

the disposition for the battle of October 4.

We had now before us the entire army which the rebels could muster in Northern Mississippi, Van Dorn commanding, (Price's army, Van Dorn's army, Villipigue, and the remnant of Breckinridge's corps.) They were in the angle between the Memphis and the Columbus roads. Our left was comparatively free; our right very assailable. They outnumbered us probably two to one.

The plan was to rest our left on the batteries extending from battery Robinette, our centre on the slight ridge north of the houses, and our right on the high ground, covering both the Pittsburgh and Purdy roads, while it also covered the ridge roads between them leading to their old camps. McKean had the extreme left. Stanley, with his well-tried division batteries, Williams and Robinette, the Memphis Railroad and the Chewalla road extending nearly to the Columbus road.

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