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The hours of the afternoon were given to disposing the various divisions of the army to the best advantage for the defense of the town; but it was no easy task because of the annoying Confederate fire from the surrounding hills. Before either side opened a general engagement it was night, and both armies slept on their arms, confident that a fierce battle was in store for the coming day.

The early hours of the night were spent by Rosecrans in rearranging his battle-lines, and before he went to sleep about 3 A. M., his forces had drawn closer to the town. The Federal left, under McKean, rested near Corona College; next in line was Stanley, in support of Battery Robinett, a small fortification mounting three guns; in the center of the battle-line, was Davies, and Hamilton was assigned to the right wing. Thus stood the weary warriors in blue, who had struggled desperately in the terrific heat of the preceding day and were now exhausted. The line was crescent shaped, and covered the northern and western approaches to Corinth, extended a mile in length and rested on the edge of the town. The Confederate divisions, commanded by Lovell, Maury, and Hebert stood arrayed in another great crescent, conforming to the curve of Rosecrans' battle-line. About four o'clock on the morning of the 4th the sleeping village was awakened by the shells that shrieked over the housetops and fell bursting in the streets.

During the night a Confederate battery had been planted a few hundred yards from the Union lines, opposite Stanley's position, and now opened with several Parrott guns. Little damage was done, except that the teamsters, sutlers, and other non-combatants were kept in a ferment of excitement. No reply was made till near daylight, when a Union battery opened on the Confederate guns, and the latter were silenced and disabled in a few minutes. Indian summer had descended over the land, bringing its enervating heat from which the soldiers of both armies suffered. The sun peeped over the eastern hills, and its rays were soon beating down upon the bivouacs.

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Stanley (4)
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