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Doc. 63.-the battle of Iuka.

Major-General Grant's report.1

headquarters District West Tennessee, Jackson, Tenn., October 22, 1862.
Colonel J. G. Kelton, A. A. G., Washington, D. C.:
Colonel: I have the honor to make the following report of the battle of Iuka, and to submit herewith such reports of subordinates as have been received.

For some ten days or more before the final move of the rebel army under General Price eastward from the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, it was evident that an attack upon Corinth was contemplated, or some change to be made in the location of that army. This caused great vigilance to be necessary on the part of our cavalry, [731] especially that to the southern front, under Colonel Mizner. The labor of watching, with occasional skirmishing, was most satisfactorily performed, and almost every move of the enemy was known as soon as commenced.

About the eleventh of September, Price left the railroad, the infantry and artillery probably moving from Baldwin, and the cavalry from the roads north of Baldwin, towards Bay Springs. At the latter place a halt of a few days seems to have been made; likely for the purpose of collecting stores and reconnoitring on the eastern flank. On the thirteenth of September the enemy's cavalry made their appearance near Iuka, and were repulsed by the small garrison under Colonel Murphy, of the Eighth Wisconsin infantry, still left there to cover the removal of stores not yet brought into Corinth. The enemy appearing again in increased force on the same day, and having cut the railroad and telegraph between there and Burnsville, Colonel Murphy thought it prudent to retire to save his forces.

This caused a considerable amount of commissary stores to fall into the hands of the enemy, which property should have been destroyed. Price's whole force then soon congregated at Iuka.

Information brought in by scouts, as to the intention of the enemy, was conflicting. One report was that Price wanted to cross Beer Creek and the Tennessee River, for the purpose of crossing Tennessee and getting into Kentucky. Another that Van Dorn was to march by way of Ripley and attack us on the southwest, while Price should move on us from the east or north-west. A third that Price would endeavor to cross the Tennessee, and, if pursuit was attempted, Van Dorn was in readiness to attack Corinth.

Having satisfied myself that Van Dorn could not reach Corinth under four days, with an army embracing all arms, I determined to leave Corinth with a force sufficient to resist cavalry, and to attack Price at luka. This I regarded as eminently my duty, let either of the enemy's plans be the correct solution. Accordingly, on the sixteenth, I gave some general directions as to the plan of operations.

General Rosecrans was to move on the south side of the railroad to opposite Iuka, and attack from that side with all his available force, after leaving a sufficient force at Rienzi and Jacinto, to prevent the surprise of Corinth from that direction.

Major-General Ord was to move to Burnsville, and from there take roads north of the railroad, and attack from that side. General Ord having to leave from his two divisions, already very much reduced in numbers, from long-continued service and the number of battles they had been in, the garrison at Corinth; he also had one regiment of infantry and a squadron of cavalry at Kossuth, one regiment of infantry and one company of cavalry at Cheuvall, and one regiment of infantry that moved, under Colonel Mower, and joined General Rosecrans' command, reduced the number of men of his command available to the expedition, to about thirty thousand.

I had previously ordered the infantry of General Ross' command at Bolivar to hold themselves in readiness to move at a moment's warning; had also directed the concentration of cars at Jackson to move these troops.

Within twenty-four hours from the time a despatch left Corinth for those troops to “come on,” they had arrived--three thousand four hundred in number. This, notwithstanding the locomotive was thrown off the track on the Mississippi Central Road, preventing the passage of other trains for several hours. This force was added to General Ord's command, making his entire strength over six thousand to take into the field. From this force two regiments of infantry and one section of artillery were taken, about nine hundred men, for the garrison or rear guard, to be held at Burnsville. Not having General Ord's report, these figures may not be accurate. General Rosecrans was moving from Jacinto eastward, with about nine thousand men, making my total force with which to attack the enemy about fifteen thousand. This was equal to or greater than their number, as I estimated them.

General Rosecrans, at his suggestion, acquiesced in by me, was to move northward from his eastern march in two columns: one, under Hamilton, was to move up the Fulton and Eastport road; the other, under Stanley, on the Jacinto road from Barnett's.

On the eighteenth General Ord's command was pushed forward, driving in the enemy's pickets and capturing a few prisoners, taking position within six miles of luka. I expected, from the following despatch, that General Rosecrans would be near enough by the night of the eighteenth to make it safe for Ord to press forward on the morning of the nineteenth, and bring on an. engagement:

September 18, 1862.
General Grant: One of my spies, in from Reardon's, on the Bay Spring road, tells of a continuous movement, since last Friday, of forces eastward. They say Van Dorn is to defend Vicksburg, Breckinridge to make his way to Kentucky, Price to attack Iuka, or go to Tennessee. If Price's forces are at Iuka, the plan I propose is, to move up as close as we can tonight and conceal our movements; Ord to advance from Burnsville, commence the attack, and draw their attention that way while I move in on the Jacinto and Fulton road, and crushing in their left, cut off their retreat eastward.

I propose to leave, in ten minutes, for Jacinto, whence I will despatch you by line of vedettes to Burnsville. Will wait a few minutes to hear from you before I start. What news from Burnsville?

W. S. Rosecrans, Brigadier-General.

To which I sent the following reply. [732]

headquarters District West Tennessee, Burnsville, Miss., September 18, 1862.
General Rosecrans: General Ross' command is at this place, McArthur's division is north of the road, two miles to the rear, and Davis' division south of the road, north. I sent forward two regiments of infantry, with cavalry, by the road north of the railroad toward Iuka, with instructions for them to bivouac for the night at a point which was designated, about four miles from here, if not interrupted, and have the cavalry feel where the enemy are. Before they reached the point on the road (you will see it on the map — the road north of the railroad) they met what was supposed to be Armstrong's cavalry. The rebel cavalry were forced back, and I sent instructions there to have them stop for the nightwhere they thought they could safely hold.

In the morning troops will advance from here at 4 1/2 A. M. An anonymous despatch, just received, states that Price, Magruder, and Breckinridge have a force of sixty thousand between luka and Tupelo. This, I have no doubt, is the understanding of citizens, but I very much doubt this information being correct. Your reconnoissances prove that there is but little force south of Corinth for a long distance, and no great force between Bay Spring and the railroad. Make as rapid an advance as you can, and let us do to-morrow all we can. It may be necessary to fall back the day following. I look upon the showing of a cavalry force so near us as an indication of a retreat, and they a force to cover it.

U. S. Grant, Major-General.

After midnight the following despatch was received:

Headquarters encampment, September 18, 1862.
General: Your despatch received. General Stanley's division arrived after dark, having been detained by falling in the rear of Ross through fault of guide. Our cavalry six miles this side of Barnett's; Hamilton's First brigade eight, Second brigade nine miles this side; Stanley's near Davenport's Mills. We shall move as early as practicable — say 4 1/2 A. M. This will give twenty miles march for Stanley to Iuka. Shall not, therefore, be in before one or two o'clock, but when we come in will endeavor to do it strongly.

W. S. Rosecrans, Brigadier-General, U. S. A.

Receiving this despatch, as I did, late at night, and when I supposed these troops were far on their way toward Iuka, and had made my plans accordingly, caused some disappointment, and made a change of plans necessary. I immediately despatched General Ord, giving him the substance of the above, and directions not to move on the enemy until Rosecrans arrived, or he should hear firing to the south of Iuka. Of this change General Rosecrans was promptly informed by despatch, sent with his return messenger. During the day General Ord returned to my headquarters at Iuka, and in consultation we both agreed that it would be impossible for General Rosecrans to get his troops up in time to make an attack that day. The General was instructed, however, to move forward, driving in the enemy's advance guards, but not to bring on an engagement unless he should hear firing. At night another despatch was received from General Rosecrans, dated from Barnett's, about eight miles from Iuka, written at 12:40 P. M., stating that the head of the column had arrived there at 12 M. Owing to the density of the forests, and the difficulties of passing the small streams and bottoms, all communications between General Rosecrans and myself had to pass far around-near Jacinto-even after he had got on the road leading north. For this reason his communication was not received until after the engagement. I did not hear of the engagement, however, until the next day, although the following despatch had been promptly forwarded:

headquarters army of the Mississippi, Two miles South of Iuka, Sept. 19, 1862, 10 1/2 P. M.
General: We met the enemy in just about this point. The engagement lasted several hours. We have lost two or three pieces of artillery. Firing was very heavy. You must attack in the morning, and in force. The ground is horrid-unknown to us, and no room for development; couldn't use our artillery at all; fired but few shots. Push in on to them until we can have time to do something. We will try to get a position on our right which will take Iuka.

W. S. Rosecrans, Brigadier-General, U. S. A.

This despatch was received at 8:35 A. M., on the twentieth, and the following immediately sent:

Burnsville, Sept. 20, 1862, 8:35 A. M.
General Ord: Get your troops up and attack as soon as possible. Rosecrans had two hours fighting last night, and now this morning again, and unless you can create a diversion in his favor he may find his hands full.

Hurry up your troops — all possible.

U. S. Grant, Major-General,

The statement that the engagement had commenced again in the morning was on the strength of hearing artillery. General Ord, hearing the same, however, pushed on with all possible despatch, without awaiting orders.

Two of my staff--Colonels Dickey and Logan--had gone around to where General Rosecrans was, and were with him during the early part of the engagement. Returning in the dark, and endeavoring to cut off some of the distance, they became lost and entangled in the woods, and remained out over night, arriving at headquarters [733] next morning about the same hour that General Rosecrans' messenger arrived. For the particular troops engaged, and the part taken by each regiment, I will have to refer you entirely to the accompanying reports of those officers who were present..

Not occupying Iuka afterward for any length of time, and then not until a force sufficient to give protection for any great distance arrived the battle was fought about two miles out), I cannot accompany this with a topographical map. I send, however, a map showing all the roads and plans named in this report. The country between the road travelled by General Ord's command, to some distance south of the railroad, is impassable for cavalry, and almost so for infantry. It is impossible for artillery to move southward to the road travelled by General Rosecrans' command. Soon after despatching General Ord, word was brought by one of my staff, Colonel Hillyer, that the enemy were in full retreat. I immediately proceeded to Iuka and found that the enemy had left during the night, taking every thing with them except their wounded and the artillery taken by them the evening before. Going south by the Fulton road, Generals Stanley and Hamilton were in pursuit.

This was the first I knew of the Fulton road; with it occupied, no route would have been left them except east, with the difficult bottom of Bear Creek to cross, or north-east, with the Tennessee River in their front, or to conquer their way out. A partial examination of the country afterwards convinced me, however, that troops moving in separate columns by the route suggested, could not support each other until they arrived near luka. On the other hand an attempt to retreat, according to the programme, would have brought General Ord, with his force, on the rear of the retreating column.

For casualties and captures, see accompanying reports.

The battle of Iuka foots up as follows:

On the sixteenth of September we commenced to collect our strength to move upon Price, at Iuka, in two columns; the one to the right of the railroad, commanded by Brigadier-General (now Major-General) W. S. Rosecrans; the one to the left commanded by Major-General E. O. C. Ord. On the night of the eighteenth the latter was in position to bring on an engagement in one hour's march. The former, from having a greater distance to march, and through the fault of a guide, was twenty miles back. On the nineteenth, by making a rapid march, hardy, welldisciplined, and tried troops arrived within two miles of the place to be attacked. Unexpectedly the enemy took the initiative and became the attacking party. The ground chosen was such that a large force. on our side could not be brought into action; but the bravery and endurance of those brought in was such that, with the skill and presence of mind of the officer commanding, they were able to hold their ground till night closed the conflict. During the night the enemy fled, leaving our troops in possession of the field, with their dead to bury and wounded to care for. If it was the object of the enemy to make their way into Kentucky, they were defeated in that; if to hold their position until Van Dorn could come up on the south-west of Corinth, and make a simultaneous attack, they were defeated in that. Our only defeat was in not capturing the entire army, or in destroying it, as I had hoped to do.

It was a part of General Hamilton's command that did the fighting, directed entirely by that cool and deserving officer. I commend him to the President for acknowledgment of his services.

During the absence of these forces from Corinth, that post was left in charge of Brigadier-General T. J. McKean. The southern front from Jacinto to Rienzi was under the charge of Colonel DuBois, with a small infantry and cavalry force. The service was most satisfactorily performed, Colonel DuBois showing great vigilance and efficiency. I was kept constantly advised of the movements of flying bodies of cavalry that were hovering in our front.

The wounded, both friend and enemy, are much indebted to Surgeon J. G. F. Holbrook, Medical Director, for his untiring labor in organizing hospitals and providing for their every want.

I cannot close this report without paying a tribute to all the officers and soldiers comprising this command. Their conduct on the march was exemplary, and all were eager to meet the enemy. The possibility of defeat I do not think entered the mind of a single individual, and I believe this same feeling now pervades the entire army which I have the honor to command.

I neglected tomention in the proper connection that to cover our movement from Corinth, and to attract the attention of the enemy in another direction, I ordered a movement from Bolivar towards Holly Springs. This was conducted by Brigadier-General Lauman.

Before completing this report the report of Major-General Ord was received, and accompanies this:

I am, Colonel, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant, Major-General.

1 see Bebellion Becord, vol. 5, page 480, documents.

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