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[182] a serious danger for the Confederates, because, east of Corinth, no railway line runs southward. There is at that place, as we have shown in a previous chapter, a zone, alike destitute of railroads and navigable rivers, which, extending from Corinth to Chattanooga, effectually covered the Confederacy between these two extreme points. It was upon one or other of these points that the Federals, masters of the Tennessee, were to direct their efforts, and the necessity of first conquering the valley of the Mississippi rendered it necessary for them to begin by a campaign against Corinth. The defence of this position was easy. The zone, which was impassable to the armies, protected it sufficiently to the east, and it communicated directly with the south by the Mobile Railway, without depending upon that of Chattanooga. Westward, below Memphis, the Mississippi presented much greater difficulties to an attack by the Federals. In fact, it will be remembered that their successes in Kentucky and Tennessee had been due to the facilities which three parallel rivers offered to invasion. By ascending the Tennessee, Grant had succeeded in taking Fort Donelson in the rear, and the fall of the defences of the Cumberland and Tennessee had led to that of all the works erected on the Mississippi. But below Memphis the Federals could no longer turn the works erected on the great river, and place them between two fires. It was therefore necessary to approach them in front, and boldly brave the batteries erected on both banks, without being able to occupy both with a sufficient force.

One month had elapsed since the battle of Shiloh, and Beauregard had employed this time in forming around Corinth a vast entrenched camp capable of sustaining a regular siege. The few houses composing this modest village near the intersection of the two great lines from Memphis to Charleston, and from Mobile to the Ohio, are situated on a piece of low, clayey and humid ground. But at a distance of a few hundred metres east and north the ground rises, forming a marked undulation. Beyond this undulation there are two streams running parallel, which finally form a junction under the name of Philips Creek. Surrounded by almost impassable swamps, they cover Corinth to the east and south, and empty at the south-west into the Tuscumbia River, one of the tributaries of the Tombigbee. Northward, an

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