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[329] disputing every point, was finally driven from his second line of detached works, and at sunset had retreated to the innermost lines.

The battle had been fought mainly by Price's division on our left. The troops had made a quick march of ten miles over dusty roads without water; the line of battle had been formed in forests with undergrowth; the combats of the day had been so severe that General Price thought his troops unequal to further exertion on that day, and it was decided to wait until morning. Of this, General Van Dorn says:

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.

During the night batteries were put in position to open on the town at 4 A. M. At daybreak the action was to begin on the left, to be immediately followed by an advance on the extreme right. The order was not executed, the commander of the wing which was to make the attack failed to do so, and another officer was sent to take his place. In the meantime the center became engaged, and the action extended to the left. The plan had been disarranged; nevertheless, the center and left pushed forward and planted their colors on the last stronghold of the enemy; his ‘heavy guns were silenced, and all seemed about to be ended, when a heavy fire from fresh troops that had succeeded in reaching Corinth was poured into our thin ranks,’ and with this combined assault on Price's exhausted corps, which had sustained the whole conflict, those gallant troops were driven back. The day was lost. The enemy, reenforced, was concentrated against our left, and Lovell's division, which was at this time advancing, pursuant to orders, and was on the point of assaulting the works, was ordered to move to the left to prevent a sortie, and cover their retreat. Our army retired during the day to Chewalla without pursuit, and rested for the night free from molestation.

Our loss was very heavy of gallant men and officers. In the fierce conflicts the officers displayed not only daring, but high military skill, their impetuous charges being marked by judicious selection of time and place. Colonel William S. Barry, who, as commander of the burial party, visited General Rosecrans, was courteously received by that officer, who, while declining to admit the command within his lines, sent assurance to General Van Dorn that ‘every becoming respect should be shown to his dead and wounded. . . . He had the grave of Colonel Rodgers, who led the Second Texas sharpshooters, inclosed and marked with a slab, in respect to the gallantry of his charge. ’

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Sterling Price (3)
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