Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/300

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


Campaign Against Grant in North Mississippi. 299

division ; Colonel Moore of Mississippi, commanding Third brigade, Green's division.

When after all was over and the whole of the Army of the West, now reduced to about 6,000 men, came out of the town and into the woods through which we had so confidently charged an hour before, generals, colonels and staff-officers in vain endeavored to rally the men. They plodded doggedly along toward the road by which we had marched on the day before, and it was not in any man's power then to form them into line. We found Generals Van Dorn and Price within a few hundred yards of the place, sitting on their horses near each other. Van Dorn looked upon the thousands of men streaming past him with a mingled expression of sorrow and pity. Old General Price looked on the disorder of his darling troops with unmitigated anguish. The big tears coursed down the old man's bronzed face, and I have never witnessed such a picture of mute despair and grief as his countenance wore when he looked upon the utter defeat of those magnificent troops. He had never before known them to fail, and they never had failed to carry the lines of any enemy in their front ; nor did they ever, to the close of their noble career at Blakely on the 9th of April, 1865, fail to defeat the troops before them. I mean no disparagement to any troops of the Southern Confederacy when I say the Missouri troops of the Army of the West were not surpassed by any troops in the world.

In the month of November, 1862, a court of inquiry was convened at Abbeville, Mississippi, to examine into certain allegations made by General John S. Bowen about the conduct of General Van Dorn during the expedition against Corinth. General Van Dorn was fully acquitted. A very intelligent battery commander, Captain Thomas F. Tobin, now the proprietor of a cotton- press in Memphis, was an important witness on this trial, and we quote from his testimony to show how complete was the first success of the assault on Corinth, and had it been supported, how great and complete would have been the victory.

" Question by the defendant. ist. After you were taken prisoner state if you know if any portion of our army carried the interior works around Corinth; 2d, and what troops, if you know them; 3d, and also state whether they entered the town; 4th, and how far they

penetrated into it.

"Answer ist. Yes. 2d. General Maury's division, nearly all it, I think, and the First brigade of General Green'* division, com- manded by Colonel Gates, carried everything before them; 3d, and