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[292] Grant's forces in Mississippi from a junction with Buell's in Tennessee; how at Iuka we had been attacked by Rosecrantz; how we had repulsed him, capturing nine cannon and many prisoners, and had next morning returned to our proper base upon the railroad with the purpose to join our forces to Van Dorn's and make a combined attack on Corinth.

This attack had for some time occupied Van Dorn's mind. Several weeks before General Price moved upon Iuka, General Van Dorn had sent a staff-officer, Colonel Lomax of Virginia (since Major-General Lomax), to invite and urge General Price that they should combine their forces in an attack upon Corinth. The plan was wise while it was bold, and characteristic of Van Dorn's aggressive temper. The enemy occupied West Tennessee and the Memphis and Charleston railroad at Memphis, Bolivar, Jackson, Corinth, Rienzi, Jacinto, Iuka and Bethel with garrisons aggregating 42,000 men, and was preparing with extraordinary energy to reduce Vicksburg by a combined attack of land and naval forces. To prevent this, his expulsion from West Tennessee was a military necessity, while it was our obvious defensive policy to force him across the Ohio, occupy Columbus, and fortify the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. This policy induced General Bragg to move his army into Kentucky, and Van Dorn felt that he could force the enemy out of West Tennessee and contribute to its success. Corinth was the enemy's strongest and most salient point. Its capture would decide the fate of West Tennessee; and the combined forces of Price and Van Dorn in the month of August could have captured Corinth, and have cleared West Tennessee of all hostile forces.

When Van Dorn first invited General Price's co-operation in this enterprise, his command embraced two large divisions under Breckenridge and Lovell, numbering about 12,000 infantry, with over 1,000 cavalry under Jackson; and he expected to receive about 5,000 veteran infantry, just exchanged from the Fort Donelson prisoners, in time for the movement. This force, added to General Price's army, would have given an effective active force of over 30,000 veteran troops; and it is most unfortunate that General Price could not then have consented to unite with General Van Dorn in a movement so auspicious of great results. But as I have told you, Price was constrained to decline all part in that enterprise until he had made his movement to luka, after which Price's forces were greatly reduced by the results of the battle, while Van Dorn's were diminished by the detachment of Breckenridge with 6,000 men, and by

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