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[148] where there were immense military stores, under the command of General William S. Rosecrans. After inflicting a defeat on Sterling Price, September 19th, in a severe combat at Iuka, Mississippi, Rosecrans was settled snugly at Corinth with two divisions and cavalry of his army, and two divisions of the Federal Army of West Tennessee, in all about twenty-three thousand men. Van Dorn then joined his Army of West Tennessee with Price's Corps, or Army of the West, and decided to make a desperate attempt to capture Corinth. It was a daring venture, for Corinth was well fortified and Rosecrans' army was slightly larger than his own.

The battle of Corinth, October 3-4, 1862, does not compare in magnitude with the greatest battles of the war; but for ferocity of fighting, it was not surpassed by any. Rosecrans did not believe that Van Dorn would attack him, and when the latter appeared in force in the neighborhood on October 3rd he supposed that it was only a feint and that the real object of the Confederate attack was to be Jackson, about sixty miles north, in Tennessee, where Grant's headquarters were, or Bolivar, Tennessee, about forty miles northwest, where Hurlbut's division of Grant's Army of West Tennessee was at that time located.

However, Rosecrans was prepared for any emergency. He sent Colonel Oliver with three regiments to take an advanced position on a hill, near the Chewalla road, to watch the movements of the Confederates. A desultory cannonade was begun and soon Rosecrans sent General McArthur to the front with his brigade. In a short time a sharp battle was raging. Then came a sudden determined Confederate charge by which the Union forces were driven from the hill and two of their heavy guns captured. The Union commander was now convinced that the attack was no feint, but that the purpose of the Southern general was to make a grand assault on Corinth with a view of defeating its defenders and capturing the great stores within its fortifications.

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