Battle of Corinth
Among the sites preserved at
Corinth is the scene of the
Confederate attack on Battery
F, a Union held fortification on
the outskirts of town.
Battle of Corinth - Corinth, Mississippi - Battle of Corinth, Mississippi - Battle of Corinth, Mississippi
Battle of Corinth, Mississippi
The National Park Service has recreated a Union
fortification at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive
Center at the site of Battery Robinett.
Earl Van Dorn's Bloody Defeat
Following the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee,
Union troops moved south and besieged the
critical North Mississippi town and rail
junction of Corinth. Confederates under
General P.G.T. Beauregard defended the city
in days of fighting, but ultimately were forced
to evacuate their works in the face of
overwhelming Union forces.

The Federals then occupied Corinth and
expanded the line of fortifications
surrounding the city to include numerous
earthwork batteries. Despite these efforts,
Southern commanders believed they could
retake Corinth.

The long-awaited attack finally came on
October 3, 1862, when the combined forces
of Confederate generals Earl Van Dorn and
Sterling Price (commanded by Van Dorn)
attacked the outer fortifications of Corinth.  
Estimated at 22,000 in number, the Southern
troops pushed slowly forward, capturing
fortified positions. The advanced in the
direction of the center of town, but sustained
heavy casualties in the process.

The Federals, 23,000 in number and
commanded by Major General William
Rosecrans, fell back from their outer lines
and assumed new positions anchored by a
series of strong earthen forts or batteries  
built around the fringes of Corinth. Darkness
fell before Van Dorn could launch a
coordinated attack on this line and the men
of both sides slept on their arms.

The next morning, the Confederate general
ordered his men forward into the face of
devastating artillery and musket fire from the
Union army.

The attacks were delayed and improperly
coordinated. As a result, the attacking
Confederates were caught in a terrible
bloodbath. Although they were able to storm
Batteries Robinett and Powell, two critical
forts along Rosecran's inner line, they
suffered such severe casualties that they
were unable to hold the position. A few of Van
Dorn's men reached the vital railroad junction
in Corinth, but were soon driven away.

Rosecrans took the offensive against the
battered Southern forces on the afternoon of
October 4, 1862. Retaking Batteries Powell
and Robinett, he forced the Confederate
army into a general retreat. Although Earl Van
Dorn was able to withdraw his troops from
the battlefield, his casualties were severe.
The losses at the Battle of Corinth were
lopsided. In launching his troops against
strongly fortified positions, Van Dorn lost
4,838 men killed and wounded. Union
losses in the battle were estimated at 2,359.

The vital rail junction at Corinth remained in
Union hands and Van Dorn was unable to
move in support of Braxton Bragg's Kentucky
invasion. Even though he had not been
defeated in a major battle, General Bragg
was forced to withdraw from Kentucy when
the anticipated help from Van Dorn failed to

A highly significant battle fought to reverse
the tide created by the Battle of Shiloh, the
Battle of Corinth ended Confederate dreams
of retaking Kentucky and western Tennessee.

Much of the scene is now a unit of Shiloh
National Battlefield. The park service had
built a magnificent
Civil War Interpretive
Center on the slope of the hill once crowned
by Battery Robinett. A guide to other sites
associated with the battle is available at the
Cannon at Corinth
Union guns, like this piece at
Battery Robinett, devastated
Van Dorn's Confederates.
Site of Battery Robinett
Confederate troops stormed
a Union fort on this hill, but
lost so many men they were
unable to hold the ground.
Unknown Southern Dead
A monument at the site of
Battery Robinett pays tribute
to the unknown Confederates
buried there.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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