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[502] from several points, and our guns directed their shots on the line of fire. A shell whistled over the town and crashed through the Tishomingo hotel, tearing to pieces a poor wounded soldier, who was striving to go to the rear. Another perforated a grocery, and scattered the stores; others exploded in the streets, and frightened fugitives into a panic, while our own fierce missiles ripped up the forests.

It was perhaps half-past 9 o'clock when the bitter tragedy began to develop in earnest. A prodigious mass, with gleaming bayonets, suddenly loomed out dark and threatening on the east of the railroad, moving sternly up the Bolivar road in column by divisions. Directly it opened out in the shape of a monstrous wedge, and drove forward impetuously toward the heart of Corinth. It was a splendid target for our batteries, and it was soon perforated. Hideous gaps were rent in it, but those massive lines were closed almost as soon as they were torn open. At this period the skilful management of Gen. Rosecrans began to develop. It was discovered that the enemy had been enticed to attack precisely at the point where the artillery could sweep them with direct, cross and enfilading fire. He had prepared for such an occasion. Our shell swept through the mass with awful effect, but the brave rebels pressed onward inflexibly. Directly the wedge opened and spread out magnificently, right and left, like great wings, seeming to swoop over the whole field before them. But there was a fearful march in front. A broad turfy glacis, sloping upward at an angle of thirty degrees to a crest fringed with determined, disciplined soldiers, and clad with terrible batteries, frowned upon them. There were a few obstructions — fallen timber — which disordered their lines a little. But every break was instantly welded. Our whole line opened fire, but the enemy, seemingly insensible to fear, or infuriated by passion, bent their necks downward and marched steadily to death, with their faces averted like men striving to protect themselves against a driving storm of hail. The Yates and Burgess sharp-shooters, lying snugly behind their rude breastworks, poured in a destructive fire, but it seemed no more effectual than if they had been firing potatoballs, excepting that somebody was killed. The enemy still pressed onward undismayed. At last they reached the crest of the hill in front and to the right of Fort Richardson, and Gen. Davies's division gave way. It begun to fall back in disorder. Gen. Rosecrans, who had been watching the conflict with eagle eye, and who is described as having expressed his delight at the trap into which Gen. Price was blindly plunging, discovered the break and dashed to the front, inflamed with indignation. He rallied the men by his splendid example in the thickest of the fight. Before the line was demoralized he succeeded in restoring it, and the men, brave when bravely led, fought again. But it had yielded much space, and the loss of Fort Richardson was certain. Price's right moved swiftly to the headquarters of Gen. Rosecrans, took possession of it, and posted themselves under cover of the portico of the house, and behind its corners, whence they opened fire upon our troops on the opposite side of the public square. Seven rebels were killed within the little enclosure in front of the General's cottage. The structure is a sort of sieve now — bullets have punctured it so well. But the desperadoes got no further into town.

Battle was raging about Fort Richardson. Gallant Richardson, for whom it was named, fought his battery well. Had his supports fought as his artillerymen did, the record would have been different. The rebels gained the crest of the hill, swarmed around the little redoubt, and were swept away from it as a breath will dissipate smoke. Again they swarmed like infuriated tigers. At last a desperate dash with a yell. Richardson goes down to rise no more. His supports are not at hand. The foe shouts triumphantly and seizes the guns. The horses are fifty yards down the hill toward Corinth. A score of rebels seize them. The Fifty-sixth Illinois suddenly rises from cover in the ravine. One terrible volley, and there are sixteen dead artillery horses, a dozen dead rebels. Illinois shouts, charges up the hill, across the plateau into the battery. The rebels fly out through embrasures and around the wings. The Fifty-sixth yells again and pursues.

The rebels do not stop. Hamilton's veterans, meantime, have been working quietly — no lung-work, but gun-work enough. A steady stream of fire tore the rebel ranks to pieces. When Davies broke it was necessary for all to fall back. Gen. Rosecrans thought it well enough to get Price in deeply. A rebel soldier says Van Dorn sat on his horse grimly and saw it all. “That's Rosecrans's trick,” said he, “he's got Price where he must suffer.” Maybe this is one of the apocrypha of battle. A rebel soldier says it's truth. But Hamilton's division receded under orders — at backward step, slowly, grimly, face to the foe, and firing. But when the Fifty-sixth Illinois charged, this was changed. Davies's misfortune had been remedied. The whole line advanced. The rebel host was broken. A destroying Nemesis pursued them. Arms were flung away wildly. They ran to the woods. They fled into the forests. Oh! what a shout of triumph and what a gleaming line of steel followed them. It is strange, but true. Our men do not often shout before battle. Heavens! what thunder there is in their throats after victory. “They” report that such a shout was never before heard in Corinth. Price's once “invincible” now invisible legions were broken, demoralized, fugitive, and remorselessly pursued down the hill, into the swamps, through the thickets, into the forests. Newly disturbed earth shows where they fell and how very often.

Gen. Van Dorn's attack was to have been simultaneous with that of Price. The generals had arranged to carry Corinth by one grand assault. In their reconnoissance Friday evening they found no fort where Fort Richardson was, and they overlooked Fort Robinette. Ugly obstacles.


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