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[636] Gates and Martin's brigade in line; Colbert's in reserve. Armstrong's cavalry brigade on the extreme left, somewhat detached and out of view. Hebert's left was masked behind a timbered bridge, with orders not to bring it into action until the last moment. This was done in hopes of inducing the enemy to weaken his right by reinforcing his centre and left, where the attack was first to be made, that his right might be forced.

At ten o'clock all skirmishers were driven into the intrenchments, and the two armies were in line of battle, confronting each other in force. A belt of fallen timber, or abatis, about four hundred yards in width, extended along the whole line of intrenchments. This was to be crossed. The attacked commenced on the right by Lovell's division, and extended gradually to the left, and by half-past 10 o'clock the whole line of outer works was carried, several pieces of artillery being taken. The enemy made several ineffectual efforts to hold their ground, forming line of battle at advantageous points, and resisting obstinately our advance to the second line of detached works. I had been in hopes that one day's operations would end the contest, and decide who should be the victors on this bloody field; but a ten miles' march over a parched country, on dusty roads, without water, getting into line of battle in forests with undergrowth, and the more than usual activity and determined courage displayed by the enemy, commanded by one of the ablest Generals of the United States army, who threw all possible obstacles in our way that an active mind could suggest, prolonged the battle until I saw with regret the sun sink behind the horizon as the last shot of our sharpshooters followed the retreating foe into their innermost lines. One hour more of daylight, and victory would have soothed our grief for the loss of the gallant dead who sleep on that lost but not dishonored field. The army slept on their arms within six hundred yards of Corinth, victorious so far.

During the night three batteries were ordered to take position on the ridge overlooking the town from the west, just where the hills dip into the flat extending into the railroad depot, with instructions to open on the town at four o'clock A. M. Hebert on the left was ordered to mass part of his division on his left; to put Cabell's brigade in echelon on the left also (Cabell's brigade being detached from Murray's division for this purpose); to move Armstrong's cavalry brigade across the Mobile and Ohio railroad, and, if possible, to get some of his artillery in position across the road. In this order of battle he was directed to attack at day-break with his whole force, swinging his left flank in towards Corinth, and advance down the Purdy ridge. Lovell on the extreme right with two of his brigades in line of battle, and one in reserve, with Jackson's cavalry on the extreme right on. College Hill, his left flank resting on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, was ordered to await in this order, or to feel iris way along slowly with his sharpshooters until Hebert was heavily engaged with the enemy on the left. He was then to move rapidly to the assault, and force his right inwards across the low grounds south-west of the town. The centre, under Maury, was to move at the same time quickly to the front, and directly at Corinth. Jackson was directed to burn the railroad bridge over the Tuscumbia, during the night. Daylight came, and there was no attack on the left. A staff officer was sent to Hebert to inquire the cause. That officer could not be found.

Another messenger was sent, and a third; and about seven o'clock General Hebert came to my headquarters and reported sick. General Price then put Brigadier-General Green in command of the left wing; and it was eight o'clock before the proper dispositions for the attack at this point were made. In the mean time the troops of Maury's left became engaged with the enemy's sharpshoooters, and the battle was brought on, and extended along the whole centre and left wing, and I regretted to observe that my whole plan of attack was, by this unfortunate delay, disarranged. One brigade after another went gallantly into the action, and pushing forward through direct and cross-fire, over every obstacle, reached Corinth, and planted their colors on the last stronghold of the enemy. A hand to hand contest was being enacted in the very yard of General Rosecrans' headquarters, and in the streets of the town. The heavy guns were silenced, and all seemed about to be ended when a heavy fire from fresh troops from Iuka, Burnsville, and Rienzi, that had succeeded in reaching Corinth in time, poured into our thinned ranks. Exhausted from loss of sleep, wearied from hard marching and fighting, companies in regiments without officers, our troops (let no one censure them) gave way. The day was lost! Lovell's division was at this time advancing pursuant to orders, and was on the point of assaulting the works when he received my orders to throw one of his brigades (Villepigue's) rapidly to the centre to cover the broken ranks thrown back from Corinth, and to prevent a sortie. He then moved his whole division to the left and was soon afterwards ordered to move slowly back, and take position on Indian Creek, and prevent the enemy from turning our flank. The centre and left were withdrawn on the same road on which they approached, and being somewhat in confusion on account of loss of officers, fatigue, thirst, want of sleep, thinned ranks, and the nature of the ground, Villepigue's brigade was brought in opportunely and covered the road to Chewalla. Lovell came in the rear of the whole army, and all bivouacked again at Chewalla. No enemy disturbed the sleep of the weary troops. During the night I had a bridge constructed over the Tuscumbia, and sent Armstrong's and Jackson's cavalry, with a battery of artillery, to seize and hold Rienzi until the army came up, intending to march to and hold that point, but after consultation with General Price, who represented

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