present in the field without a common superior; for had Price
been justified in placing his forces under Van Dorn
's command at this time, there is scarcely a doubt that the enemy would have been driven in a few days entirely beyond the Tennessee river
Then would have followed the reinforcement of Bragg
's army by the corps of Van Dorn
, and without extraordinary misconduct or misfortunes, the Confederate Army of Tennessee
might have crossed the Ohio
But such speculations are vain and sad enough now; my present business is to tell the sorrowful story as it was, not to dream about what it might have been.
Within a few days after Price
declined Van Dorn
's invitation, he learned from spies in Corinth
had commenced his evacuation of that line, was then actually throwing his supplies across the Tennessee
, and would soon be on his way to reinforce Buell
Therefore to intercept him, or that failing, to join Bragg
marched from Tupelo
is on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, fifty miles south of Corinth
is on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, seventeen miles east of Corinth
Our army consisted of Maury
's First Division, and Little
's Second Division of Infantry, and Armstrong
's Cavalry brigade.
We numbered in all near 16,000 effectives, viz: about 14,000 infantry and near 2,000 cavalry.
On the 19th of September we entered Iuka
's cavalry advanced, found the place occupied by a force of the enemy, who retreated toward Corinth
, abandoning to us a considerable amount of stores.
On the 21st of September I placed the First division on the march, intending to move close up to Burnsville
, the station on the Memphis and Charleston railroad between Iuka
, where we now ascertained the enemy was in strong force.
At about 3 P. M. the enemy advanced upon me from Burnsville
with so much boldness that I believed it to be an attack in force; but deploying three battalions of sharpshooters, forced him back by them alone, and proved him to be merely a reconnoissance in force.
It was handsomely conducted, and was pushed with a boldness not usual in my experience with the Federal
troops, so that I formed line of battle and awaited with confident expectation the attack of Grant
's whole army.
From this time we began to receive such information about Grant
's position as indicated that he had moved none of his forces over the Tennessee
, but that he still held the line of Corinth
; and this conviction was much strengthened in the mind of General Price
, when, on the 24th of September, he received by flag of truce a summons from