Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/297

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


296 Southern Historical Society Papers.

range and with good effect cannonaded the place for near two hours before light. The guns of the other divisions did not open. At daylight I withdrew my guns and prepared to assault the town. My line, Moore's and Phiffer's brigade, with Cabell's in reserve, was formed close up to the Mobile and Ohio railroad, just on the out- skirts of Corinth, and concealed from view of the enemy by the timber which then covered the bottom along the creek. The orders given me were to charge the town as soon as I should observe the fire of the Missourians, who were on my left, change from picket - firing to rolling fire of musketry. For hours we listened and awaited our signal. Half- past ten o'clock had come before the signal to ad- vance was given. I have never understood the reason for so much delay ; but as soon as we began to hear the rolling fire of musketry on the left, Maury's division broke through the screen of timber and into the town, and into the enemy^t works. We broke his centre; the Missourians moved in line with us. Gates' s brigade of Mis- sourians took all of the enemy's artillery to our left, and all along in front of Pi ice's corps the enemy was driven from his guns, and his guns were captured by us. Within about twenty minutes from the time we began our movement our colors were planted in triumph upon the ramparts of Corinth. But it was a brief triumph, and won at a bloody cost. No charge in the history of the war was more daring or more bloody. From the first moment after leaving the timber the troops were exposed to a most deadly cross-fire ; they fell by hundreds, but the line moved on never faltered for one mo- ment until our colors were placed upon the works. Every State of the Confederacy had representatives in this charge, and well did they illustrate the valor of Confederate troops. From General to drummer-boy no one faltered. A color-bearer of an Arkansas regi- ment was shot down ; young Robert Sloan, a boy of the same regi- ment, scarce eighteen years old, seized the colors and sprang upon the ramparts, waving them over it, and fell pierced with balls while cheering on his comrades. Field-officers fell by scores; more than 3,000 of the rank and file were killed, wounded and captured during this fierce assault.

The whole of Price's corps penetrated to the centre of the town of Corinth, and was in position to swing around and take the enemy's left wing in flank and rear, for we were twelve hundred yards in rear of the lines on College Hill, which formed the enemy's left wing, and against which our right wing south of the Memphis and Charleston railroad had been arrayed. But since 10 A. M. of the previous morn-