Doc. 30.-General Beauregard's official report of the evacuation of Corinth, and retreat to Tupelo, Mississippi.
headquarters Western Department, Tupelo, Miss., June 13, 1862.General: In relation to the recent military operations in this quarter, I have to submit the following for the information of the War Department: The purposes and ends for which I had held and occupied Corinth having been mainly accomplished by the last of May, and by the twenty-fifth of that month having ascertained definitely that the enemy had received large accessions to his already superior force, whilst ours had been reduced day by day by disease, resulting from bad water and inferior food, I felt it clearly my duty to evacuate that position without delay. I was further induced to this step by the fact that the enemy had declined my offer of battle, twice made him, outside of my intrenched lines, and sedulously avoided the separation of his corps, which he advanced with uncommon caution, under cover of heavy guns, strong intrenchments, constructed with unusual labor, and with singular delay, considering his strength, and our relative inferiority in numbers. The transparent object of the Federal commander had been to cut off my resources by destroying the Mobile and Ohio, and the Memphis and Charleston railroads. This was substantially foiled by the evacuation and withdrawal along the line of the former road; and, if followed by the enemy, remote from his base, I confidently anticipated opportunity for resumption of the offensive, with chances for signal success. Under these plain conditions, on the twenty-sixth ult., I issued verbally several orders, copies of which are herewith, marked A, B, and C, partially modified subsequently, as will be seen by the papers, &c., herewith, marked D, E, F, and G. These orders were executed, I am happy to say, with singular precision, as will be found fully admitted in the correspondence, from the scene, of the Chicago Tribune, herewith transmitted. At the time finally prescribed, the movement commenced, and was accomplished without the knowledge of the enemy, who only began to suspect the evacuation after broad daylight on the morning of the thirtieth May, when, having opened on our lines from his formidable batteries of heavy and long range guns, erected the night previously, he received no answer from any direction.  But as our cavalry pickets still maintained their positions of the previous day, he was not, apparently, fully satisfied of our movements, until some stores, of little value, in the town were burned, which could not be removed. It was then, to his surprise, the enemy became satisfied that a large army, approached and invested with such extraordinary preparations, expense, labor, and timidity, had disappeared from his front, with all its munitions and heavy guns, leaving him without knowledge, as I am assured, whither it had gone; for his scouts were scattered in all directions, as I have since ascertained, to inquire what directions our forces had taken. Even now, indeed, I have reason to believe, the Federal commander has little knowledge of the position and disposition of my main forces. But for the unfortunate and needless delay, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, of some five trains of box cars, (three miscellaneously freighted, and two empty,) in passing beyond the bridges over the Hatchie River and its branches, which in the plan of evacuation had been directed to be destroyed, at a certain hour, on the morning of the thirtieth ultimo, not an incident would have marred, in the least, the success of the evacuation, in the face of a force so largely superior. It was, however, through a too rigid execution of orders that these bridges were burned, and we were obliged to destroy the trains, as far as practicable, and burn the stores, including some valuable subsistence, to what extent will be more precisely reported as soon as practicable. The troops moved off in good spirits and order, prepared to give battle, if pursued, but no serious pursuit was attempted. Remaining in rear of — the Tuscumbia and its affluents, some six miles from Corinth, long enough to collect stragglers incident to new levies, my main forces resumed the march, and were concentrated on Baldwin, with rear guards left to hold the bridges across the Tuscumbia and tributaries, which were not drawn back until the evening of the second instant. Whilst at Rienzi, half way to Baldwin, I was informed that on the morning of the thirtieth ult. a detachment of the enemy's cavalry had penetrated to Booneville, eight miles south of Rienzi, and had captured and burned a railroad train of ammunition, baggage, and subsistence, delayed there forty-eight hours by some mismanagement. I regret to add that the enemy also burned the railroad depot, in which were, at the moment, a number of dead bodies, and at least four sick soldiers of this army, who were consumed; an act of barbarism scarcely credible, and without a precedent, to my knowledge, in civilized warfare. Upon the opportune appearance in a short time, however, of an inferior force of cavalry, the enemy left in great haste and confusion, after having received one volley. Only one of our men was carried away by him. Quite a considerable number of stragglers, and of our sick and convalescent, en route to Southern hospitals, who for a few moments had fallen into the enemy's hands, were rescued. These are the two thousand men, untruthfully reported by Generals Pope and Halleck to their War Department, as “captured and paroled” on that occasion. I desire to record that one Colonel Elliott, of the Federal army, commanded in this raid, and is responsible for the cruel death of our sick. As for the ten thousand stand of small arms, also reported by these officers as destroyed, the truth is, that not to exceed one thousand five hundred, mostly inferior muskets, were lost on that occasion. I had intimations of this expedition the day before the evacuation, and had detached immediately suitable commands of infantry and cavalry to foil its purposes, and to protect the bridges on the line of my march. Unfortunately the infantry passed through and south of Booneville but a little while before the enemy made his descent; the cavalry, as before said, reached there in time only to rescue our men who had been captured. Equally inaccurate, reckless, and unworthy are the statements of these Federal commanders, in their several official reports by telegraph, bearing dates of the thirtieth and thirty-first of May, and of first, second, and fourth of June, as published in Cincinnati and Chicago journals, touching the amount of property and stores destroyed by us at Corinth, and General Pope's alleged pressing pursuit. Major-General Halleck's despatch of fourth June may particularly be characterized as disgracefully untrue; possibly, however, he was duped by his subordinate. Nothing, for example, can be wider from the truth than that ten thousand men and fifteen thousand small arms of this army were captured or lost. In addition to those destroyed at Booneville, some five hundred inferior small arms were accidentally left by convalescents in a camp four miles south of Corinth. No artillery of any description was lost; no clothing. No tents worth removal were left standing. In fine, the letters of newspaper correspondents, enclosed, give a correct statement, both as to the conduct of the retreat, the scanty spoils of war left behind, the actual barrenness of substantial results to the enemy, and exhibit his doubt, perplexity, and ignorance concerning the movements of this army. Baldwin was found to offer no advantages of a defensive character, and being badly provided with water, I determined to fall back upon this point, some twenty miles south, fifty-two miles from Corinth, and here to await the developments of the enemy's plans and movements. Accordingly, leaving Baldwin on the seventh, (see papers appended, marked H,) the main body of my forces was assembled here on the ninth instant, leaving all the approaches from Corinth carefully guarded by a competent force of cavalry under an efficient officer, who occupied a line fifteen miles north of this place. Supported by my general officers, I am doing all practicable to organize for defensive operations, whensoever any movement of the enemy may give the opportunity, which I anticipate as not remote. I feel authorized to say, by the evacuation, the  plan of campaign of the enemy was utterly foiled, his delay of seven weeks, and vast expenditures, were of little value, and he has reached Corinth to find it a barren locality, which he must abandon as wholly worthless for his purposes. I have the honor to be, respectfully, Your obedient servant,
G. T. Beauregard, General, commanding. To General Samuel Cooper, Adjutant-General and Inspector-General, C. S. A., Richmond, Va.P. S.--My effective force on the morning of the evacuation, thirtieth May, 1862, did not exceed forty-seven thousand men of all arms; that of the enemy, obtained from the best source of information, could not have been less than ninety thousand men of all arms.
(A.) Strictly Confidential.
Headquarters cavalry, W. D., Corinth, Miss., May 26, 1862.Special Orders, No. 30. I. Captain Mauldin, commanding company cavalry at Bear Creek bridge, will hold his command in readiness to move at a moment's notice towards Baldwin or Guntown on the M. and O. R. R. He will, when orders to remove are received, thoroughly destroy all bridges, both of railroads and ordinary roads, on Bear Creek and its tributaries, and all bridges on his line of march. Should the enemy force him to fall back, before orders to do so have been received, he will burn all bridges as above instructed. II. The commanding officer of the cavalry on and near the Tennessee River, will, if compelled by the enemy to fall back, move in the direction of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or Columbus, Mississippi. II. The commanding officer of cavalry, at or near Rienzi, will follow the movements of the army when they pass Rienzi, with his entire force. IV. The commanding officer of the cavalry forces at or near Jacinto will report at once, in person to General Van Dorn, for orders, and will, until further orders, receive all of his orders from General Van Dorn. V. The commanding officer of the troops at Chewalla and Cypress will hold their commands in readiness to move on short notice, by the most direct route, to Kossuth. When commencing this movement, they will thoroughly destroy the Cypress bridge, and all the railroad and mud road bridges in their rear, and all bridges that might be of service to the enemy; they will take their artillery with them, and on reaching Kossuth, will follow up the general movement of the army and protect its rear. VI. The commanding officer of the cavalry at Pocahontas will hold his command in readiness to move on short notice to Ripley. On commencing the move, he will destroy all the railroad and mud road bridges in his rear, and all other bridges that may be of service to the enemy will be destroyed. He will take all of his artillery with him, and move from Ripley to Pontotoc, and will protect the rear of the forces moving in that direction. When at Ripley, he will communicate with general headquarters at Baldwin, for orders. By order of Brigadier-General W. N. R. Beall.
Beall Hampstead, Captain, and Assistant Adjutant General.
(B.) memorandum of orders.
headquarters Western Department, Corinth, Miss., May 27, 1862.the following memorandum is furnished to General Bragg, for the intended movement of his army from this place to Baldwin, at the time hereinafter indicated: 1. Hardee's corps will move on the direct road from his position to Danville, by Cleburn's camp, which lies on the east of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, part of the way, thence to Rienzi and to Baldwin. 2. Bragg's corps, via the turnpike to Kossuth, until it reaches the south side of the Tuscumbia, thence by the Rienzi and Black Land road to Carrollsville and Baldwin. 3. Breckinridge's corps, (or reserve,) via the turnpike to Kossuth, thence to Black Land, Carrollsville, and Baldwin. 4. Polk's corps, via the turnpike to Kossuth, thence by the Western road to Black Land, Carrollsville, and Baldwin. 5. The baggage train of these corps must leave their position at twelve M., precisely, on the twenty-eighth instant, and stop for the night on the south side of the Tuscumbia, on the best available ground. The provision trains will follow the baggage trains. 6. The ammunition and ambulance trains must be parked at the most convenient point to their brigades, and moved in rear of the provision trains to the south side of the Tuscumbia, where they will await further orders. All of these trains are to be accompanied by one pioneer company and two infantry companies, properly distributed per brigade. The brigade and regimental quartermaster must accompany and be responsible for their trains. 7. The officers in charge of the baggage trains will receive sealed orders as to their point of destination, which they will open at the first-mentioned stopping-place. 8. As it may become necessary to take the offensive, the troops will take their position in the trenches, as soon as practicable, after disposing of their baggage in the wagon trains. One brigade per corps will be put in line of battle, in the best position for the offensive, in front of the trenches. The reserve will remain in position as already indicated to its General commanding. These troops will all bivouac in position, and at three o'clock A. M., on the twenty-ninth instant, if not attacked by the enemy, will take up their line of march to Baldwin by the routes indicated in Article I., leaving properly distributed cavalry pickets in front of their lines to guard and protect this retrograde movement. These pickets  will remain in position until recalled by the chief of cavalry, who will remain in Corinth for the purpose of directing the retrograde movement of cavalry, when each regiment must follow the route taken by the corps to which it shall have been temporarily assigned, for the protection of its rear and flanks. 9. Under no circumstances will these cavalry regiments abandon their position in front of the line, (unless compelled by overpowering numbers,) until the rear of the columns of the Army of the Mississippi shall have crossed the Tuscumbia; when the General commanding each corps will communicate that fact to the chief of cavalry, for his information and guidance. 10. The cavalry pickets will continue the usual skirmishing with the enemy in front of the lines, and, when retiring, they will destroy the roads and bridges in their rear, as far as practicable: and after having crossed the Tuscumbia, they will guard the crossings until recalled by the General commanding. 11. The chief of cavalry will order, if practicable, one regiment to report to Major-General Polk, one to Major-General Hardee, one to General Bragg, and one to Major-General Van Dorn, independently of the regiment now at Jacinto, already ordered to report to the latter officer. 12. After the departure of the troops from the intrenched line, a sufficient number of drums from each brigade must be left to beat at “reveille” at the usual hour; after which they can rejoin their commands. 13. The commanding officer of corps of the army of the Mississippi will leave, on the south side of the Tuscumbia, five hundred infantry and two pieces of artillery, to guard the four crossings of that stream, and to effectually destroy the bridges, and obstruct the roads, after the passage of the cavalry. 14. On arriving at Baldwin, the best defensive position will be taken by the army of the Mississippi, due regard being had to a proper and sufficient supply of wood and water for the troops and horses of the different commands.
(C.) memorandum of movements on Baldwin for General Van Dorn.
headquarters Western Department, Corinth, Miss., May 27, 1862.1. The baggage trains of his army must leave their position at daybreak on the twenty-eighth instant, by the road on the east of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, to stop temporarily at about six miles from his headquarters, but with secret orders to the officers in charge of them to continue rapidly on the direct road to the vicinity of Baldwin. The provision trains will follow the baggage trains. 2. The ammunition and ambulance trains must be parked at the most convenient point to their brigades, or near the general headquarters, where they will remain until the troops shall have been moved to the front to take up their line of battle, when these trains will be ordered to follow the provision trains. All of these trains must be accompanied by one pioneer company and two infantry companies (properly distributed) per brigade. The brigade and regimental quartermasters must accompany, and be responsible for their trains. The officers in charge of the baggage trains will receive sealed orders as to their point of destination, which they will open at the already mentioned stopping-place. 3. As it may become necessary to take the offensive, the troops will take their position in line of battle as soon as practicable after disposing of their baggage in the wagon trains. These troops will bivouac in position, and at three o'clock A. M., on the twenty-ninth instant, if not attacked by the enemy, will take up their line of march to Baldwin, by the route indicated, (Article I.,) leaving properly distributed cavalry pickets in front of their lines, to guard and protect this retrograde movement. These pickets shall remain in position until recalled by the chief of cavalry, who will remain in Corinth for the purpose of directing the retrograde movement of the cavalry, when each regiment will follow the route taken by the corps to which it shall have been temporarily assigned, for the protection of its rear and flanks. 4. Under no circumstances will the cavalry regiments abandon their position in front of the lines, (unless compelled by overpowering numbers,) until the rear of the column of the Army of the West shall have crossed Clear Creek, when the Generals commanding shall communicate the fact to the chief of cavalry, for his information and guidance. 5. The cavalry pickets will continue the usual skirmishing with the enemy in front of the lines, and, when retiring, will destroy, as far as practicable, the roads and bridges in their rear, and, after having crossed Clear Creek, they will guard the crossing until recalled by the General commanding. 6. The chief of cavalry will order, if practicable, one regiment to report to Major-General Polk and one to Major-General Hardee, one to General Bragg and one to Major-General Van Dorn, independently of the regiment now at Jacinto, already ordered to report to the latter officer. 7. After the departure of the troops from the intrenched lines, a sufficient number of drums from each brigade must be left to beat “reveille” at the usual hour, after which they can join their commands. 8. The commanding officer of the Army of the West will leave, if necessary, on the south side of Clear Creek, about five hundred infantry and two pieces of artillery, to defend the crossing of said stream, and to effectually destroy the bridges and obstruct the road after the passage of the cavalry. 9. On arriving in the vicinity of Guntown, the best defensive position will be taken in rear of Twenty-mile Creek, due regard being had to a  proper and sufficient supply of wood and water for the troops.
Bragg's rear guard will not leave until three h, A. M., yours ought not to leave before 2 1/2 for Hardee's left would then be uncovered whilst moving in rear of your present position and before crossing the railroad. Hardee will destroy the bridges (dirt and railroad) on Tuscumbia, provided he is guarding them. But have the matter clearly understood with him, so as to admit of no error. I referred in my note to the small bridge on Clear Creek, one which you must pass. You must, of course, have out as few details as possible. You must be the sole judge of that. The telegraph operator must remain at his post as long as possible, say until your main forces move to the rear, for at any moment we may be called upon to move forward. I am glad to hear of the sham balloon. I hope it is so, for I fear that more than their artillery at this moment. Your obedient servant, Clear Creek, near General Jones's lines. You or Hardee must keep a strong guard of infantry and two pieces of artillery at the Clear Creek railroad bridge, until the last cars shall have left the depot here. Please arrange this matter distinctly with him. Would it not be prudent to send one regiment, two pieces of artillery, and some cavalry to protect your train? I think I would keep Price back in best position to move either to the rear to protect the train, if necessary, or to the front, in case of battle.
George W. Brent, Acting Chief of Staff.
Guntown, four miles and a half below Baldwin, is considered a better position for the defensive; hence we will go there. Please give the necessary orders. Small details must be kept in or about old camps, to keep up usual fires, on account of balloon, with orders to join their commands at ten hour, on the march to the rear, or in front, in case of battle. Not too many fires must be kept on the lines to-night, so as not to reveal too clearly our position. A brigade (the best one) from each corps will be selected to guard and bring up the rear of each column, to move off about two hours after the rest of the column, and from which a small detail will be left at each bridge to destroy it after passage of cavalry. Detail to be in proportion to importance of bridge. Would it not be advisable for the main forces to start at the one h, and the rear guards at three h A. M.? No rockets must be fired to-night. Your obedient servant,
headquarters Western Department, Corinth, May, 1862.Generals: The following modifications have been made in the order relative to the retrograde movement from this place: 1. At sundown the light batteries must be sent to about one mile from the intrenched lines, in order to avoid communicating to the enemy any information of the movement. These batteries must be so placed outside of the road as to follow their brigades at night without any difficulty. 2. At eight o'clock P. M., the heavy batteries of the lines must be removed, without noise, to the cars, and sent to the Central depot. 3. At ten o'clock P. M., the retrograde movement of the forces is to commence, as already instructed. 4. At twelve o'clock P. M., or as soon thereafter as possible, the rear guard is to follow the movement. 5. As soon as the Army of the Mississippi shall have got beyond the Tuscumbia, and the Army of the West beyond Ridge Creek, General Beall, at Corinth, (chief of cavalry,) shall be informed of the facts, and the position in the rear of said stream shall be held until the train shall be considered beyond the reach of the enemy. 6. Camp-fires must be kept up all night by the troops in position, and then by the cavalry.  7. Three signal rockets shall be sent up at three o'clock in the morning by the cavalry pickets of Generals Van Dorn, Bragg, and Polk. 8. All Artesian and other wells must be destroyed this evening, by a detachment from each brigade. All Artesian well machinery must be sent, forthwith, to the depot for transportation to Saltillo. 9. Whenever the railroad engine shall whistle through the night, near the intrenched line, the troops in the vicinity shall cheer repeatedly, as though reenforcements had been received.
(G.) To General B. Bragg and Major-Generals E. Van Dorn, L. Polk, W. J. Hardee, J. C. Breckinridge:
(G.) To General B. Bragg and Major-Generals E. Van Dorn, L. Polk, W. J. Hardee, J. C. Breckinridge:
(H.) memorandum of orders.
headquarters Western Department, Baldwin, June 6, 1862, 5 P. M.I. General Van Dorn's army will start at three h. A. M., on the seventh instant, on its way to Tupelo, via the road from Baldwin to Priceville. It will halt for the night at Sand Creek, a distance of about (17) seventeen miles from Baldwin. It will resume the line of march the next morning at three h. A. M., and will take position, for the present, at Priceville, leaving a brigade at the cross of the road, with the Ripley and the Cotton Gin road, near Smith or Brooks's house, and a cavalry force at or about the steam saw-mill. One brigade will be sent to Morrisville or vicinity, and a force of cavalry to guard the (20) mile creek ferry, on the road from Fulton, with a strong picket at the latter place. The cavalry regiment at Marietta will not leave that position until the eighth instant, at four A. M. II. General Hardee's corps will start for Tupelo, at four h. P. M., on the seventh instant, via the same road as General Van Dorn's army, stopping for the night at a creek, about nine miles from its present position. He will send at four h. A. M., on that day, one regiment and two pieces of artillery, to the cross-road with the Natchez railroad, to guard the Twenty-mile creek crossing. His corps will resume its line of march at four h. A. M., on the eighth instant, and will get to Tupelo that night if practicable. His rear guard of cavalry will remain in its present position until twelve P. M., on the seventh instant, and afterwards in the vicinity of Baldwin (guarding the rear of Hardee's corps) until about four h. A. M., on the eighth instant. III. General Breckinridge's corps of reserve will leave for Tupelo, via Carrollsville and Birmingham, at three h. A. M., on the seventh instant, stopping for the night at Yanoby Creek, a few miles beyond the latter town, and will resume its line of march at three h. A. M., on the eighth instant. IV. General Bragg's corps will leave by the same road as General Breckinridge's, (passing to the westward of Carrollsville,) at two h. P. M., on the seventh instant, stopping for the night at or near Birmingham; leaving there at three h. A. M., for Tupelo. His cavalry will follow on the same road, the movement from where it is now posted, at two h. A. M., on the eighth instant. The regiment at Ripley will move on the road from that place to Tupelo, and all said cavalry will be posted as already indicated to General B. on the map. V. General Polk's corps will conform its movements to that of General Bragg, starting at two h. P. M., on the eighth instant, on the direct road to Saltillo, west of the railroad, halting at that place until further orders. His cavalry will remain where at present posted, and will follow his movements along the same road, (guarding his rear,) at three h. A. M., on the eighth instant. VI. All infantry outposts should be recalled in time to join their command. VII. All finger boards and mile posts should be taken down by the cavalry of the rear guards.