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 brigade, Pope, who formed the advance of the Union forces, was enabled to cut the railroad track east of Corinth. He had planted himself in the rear of this place, while the rest of the army, deploying on his right, took position in front of Beauregard, along Philips Creek. In the centre, Buell had arrived by two roads, while Grant, on the right wing, had led the three columns composed of his old troops then commanded by Thomas and McClernand. If this movement had been executed with promptness, if at least a portion of this numerous army had taken advantage of the weak defence of Farmington to enclose the Confederates within their lines, and turn the ravine of Philips Creek on the right, much precious time would have been gained, and Beauregard would have had only the choice between an unequal combat and an immediate retreat. He was left at liberty to resume the offensive, and on the 9th of May he availed himself of this advantage to attempt a dash against Farmington. A portion of Van Dorn's army had the day before drawn near the Federal advanced posts in crossing Philips Creek; it was to attack them in front, whilst Price, extending more to the right, should endeavor to surround the small garrison of Farmington. The latter, placed under the orders of General Palmer, was composed of Payne's brigade, a regiment of cavalry and a battery of artillery. Van Dorn commenced the attack at nine o'clock in the morning, with ten or twelve regiments and five batteries.1 Palmer made the best resistance he could; but Halleck having given positive orders not to bring on a general engagement, Pope did not dare to assist him, but remained a mere spectator of his efforts. After a fight of five hours, the Federals were obliged to fall back upon the positions where their comrades were awaiting them, indignant at the inaction imposed upon them. They had sustained considerable losses in this fruitless encounter, which the cavalry had vainly endeavored to repair by an unfortunate charge. But Price, on his side, had failed to appear at the rendezvous; and
1 The Federals assert that he had twenty thousand men; the Confederates say two thousand; but the record of losses proves that there were men killed belonging to ten regiments and five batteries, which makes a total of from five to six thousand men engaged: the forces put in motion both by Van Dorn and Price may well have reached the figure of twenty thousand men.
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