October, 1862: Battle of Corinth Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Although the major fighting of the Battle of Corinth took place on October 3–4, 1862, there had been skirmishes dating back to the Battle of Shiloh on April 6–7. In fact, Shiloh was an attempt by the Confederates to keep the Union forces away from the city of Corinth, where two major railroads intersected. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad (M&O) and the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which crossed at Corinth, connected the Confederate States from the Mississippi River at Memphis to the Atlantic Ocean at Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah, and to the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile. If the Confederacy was to win the war, it had to keep these rail lines open.

Although the major fighting of the Battle of Corinth took place on October 3–4, 1862, there had been skirmishes dating back to the Battle of Shiloh on April 6–7. In fact, Shiloh was an attempt by the Confederates to keep the Union forces away from the city of Corinth, where two major railroads intersected. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad (M&O) and the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which crossed at Corinth, connected the Confederate States from the Mississippi River at Memphis to the Atlantic Ocean at Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah, and to the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile. If the Confederacy was to win the war, it had to keep these rail lines open.

After Shiloh, the Confederates retreated to Corinth awaiting the Union attack. On May 29, more than 128,000 Union troops, under General William S. Rosecrans, invaded Corinth in what the Union generals thought would be the last battle of the war. However, although the Union forces took the city, the Confederates, led by Generals Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price, had evacuated Corinth in the dark of night and retreated to Tupelo. The Confederates tried to retake the city on October 3, but following two days of heavy fighting, the assault failed and the Confederates retreated to Ripley.

The Union controlled the railroads until 1865. Altogether during the war, more than 300,000 troops were stationed in Corinth, including 200 generals. There were more than one hundred skirmishes in the area.

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