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[328] under Ord, about 8,000; at Jackson, Tennessee, under Grant, about 3,000; at bridges and less important points, 2,000 or 3,000—making an aggregate of 42,000 in west Tennessee and north Mississippi.

Corinth, though the strongest, was from its salient position the point it was most feasible to attack, and, under the circumstances, the most important to gain. Van Dorn, therefore, decided to move so rapidly upon it as to take it by surprise, and endeavor to capture it before reenforcements could arrive. In a previous chapter notice has been taken of the character and conduct of General Price; here it is proposed in like manner to say something of General Van Dorn, rendered the more appropriate because of the criticism to which his attack upon Corinth has been subjected. He was an educated soldier, had served with marked distinction in the war with Mexico; indeed, had been quite as often noticed in official reports for gallantry and good conduct as any officer who served in that war. After its close he had served on the Western frontier, and in Indian warfare exhibited a like activity and daring as that shown in the greater battles with Mexico. Immediately on the secession of his native state, Mississippi, he resigned from the United States Army, and, together with his veteran commander in Texas, General Twiggs, commenced recruiting men for the anticipated war. He was among the first to leave the service of the United States, and came to offer his sword to Mississippi. In the military organization there authorized, he was appointed a brigadier general, and, when the state troops were transferred to the Confederacy, he entered its service. Gentle as he was brave, and generous, freely sharing all the dangers and privations to which his troops were subjected, he possessed, like his associate Price, both the confidence and affection of his men. Without entering into details of the disposition of his troops in the attack on the works at Corinth, the result shows that they were skillfully made, and though final success did not crown the effort, the failure was due to other causes than the defect of plan or want of energy and personal effort on the part of Van Dorn. His opponent, Rosecrans, was an engineer of high ability, and proved himself one of the best generals in the United States Army. He had materially strengthened the works around Corinth, and had interposed every possible obstacle to an assault. Our army had moved rapidly from Ripley, its point of junction, had cut the railroad between Corinth and Jackson, Tennessee, and at daybreak on March 3d was deployed for attack. By ten o'clock our force confronted the enemy inside his entrenchments. In half an hour the whole line of outer works was carried, the obstructions passed, and the battle opened in earnest; the foe, obstinately

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