“You must engage the enemy as early as possible in the morning”

Sept 20 1862.  I received a telegram late last night from Gen. Rosecrans informing me of the results of his attack on Price.

GENERAL: We met the enemy in force just above this point. The engagement lasted several hours. We have lost two or three pieces of artillery. Firing was very heavy. You must attack in the morning and in force. The ground is horrid, unknown to us, and no room for development. Could not use our artillery at all. Fired but few shots. Push in onto them until we can have time to do something. We will try to get a position on our right which will take Iuka.

W. S. ROSECRANS,

Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

 

I sent orders to Gen. Ord,

Dispatch just received from Rosecrans.  He is two miles south of Iuka where he met the enemy in force last evening and was engaged two hours with a loss on our side of some men and two or three pieces of Artillery.

You must engage the enemy as early as possible in the morning bringing your forces as well together as possible, being careful however to leave sufficient guard in the hills up North to prevent the rebel Cavalry getting on our flank.

U. S. Grant

Maj. Gen.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 68-9

O.R., I, xvii, part 1, 67

“General Rosecrans is south of the enemy moving on him, while Ord attacks from the west.”

Sept 19 1862.  Sent telegram to Gen. Halleck,

Your dispatch directing that Price should not be permitted to get into Tennessee is just received. My forces are now here. Enemy’s pickets and ours within a few hundred yards. General Rosecrans is south of the enemy moving on him, while Ord attacks from the west. Corinth is well watched at a long distance out, and unless the approach of a large force on that place should call us back I think it will be impossible for Price to get into Tennessee. I will do all in my power to prevent such a catastrophe.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 67

O.R., I, xvii, part 2, p 227-28

“Make as rapid an advance as you can and let us do to-morrow all we can.”

Sept 18 1862, Sent telegram to Gen. Rosecrans,

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Burnsville, Miss., September 18, 1862-6.45 p. m.

General ROSECRANS:

General Ross’ command is at this place. McArthur’s division is north of the road, 2 miles to the rear, and Davies’ division south of the road near by. I sent forward two regiments of infantry, with cavalry, by the road north of the railroad, toward Iuka, with instructions for them to bivouac for the night at a point which was designated about 4 miles from here if not interrupted, and have the cavalry feel where the enemy are. Before they reached the point of the road (you will see it on the map, the road north of the railroad) they met what is supposed to be Armstrong’s cavalry. The rebel cavalry was forced back, and I sent instructions then to have them stop for the night where they thought they could safely hod. In the morning troops will advance from here they thought they could safely hold. In the morning troops will advance from here at 4.30 a. m. An anonymous dispatch, just received, states that Price, Magruder, and Breckinridge have a force of 60,000 between Iuka and Tupelo. This I have no doubt is the understanding of citizens, but I very much doubt their information being correct. Your reconnaissances prove that there is but little force south of Corinth for a long distance and no great force between Bay Springs and the railroad. Make as rapid an advance as you can and let us do to-morrow all we can. It may be necessary to fall back the day following. I look upon the showing of a cavalry force so near us as an indication of a retreat and they a force to cover it.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Vol 6, p 64-5

O.R., I, xvii, part 1, 66

“if Price would remain in Iuka until we could get there, his annihilation was inevitable.”

Sept 17 1862:

My desire was to attack Price before Van Dorn could reach Corinth or go to his relief.

General Rosecrans had previously had his headquarters at Iuka, where his command was spread out along the Memphis and Charleston railroad eastward. While there he had a most excellent map prepared showing all the roads and streams in the surrounding country. He was also personally familiar with the ground, so that I deferred very much to him in my plans for the approach. We had cars enough to transport all of General Ord’s command, which was to go by rail to Burnsville, a point on the road about seven miles west of Iuka. From there his troops were to march by the north side of the railroad and attack Price from the north-west, while Rosecrans was to move eastward from his position south of Corinth by way of the Jacinto road. A small force was to hold the Jacinto road where it turns to the north-east, while the main force moved on the Fulton road which comes into Iuka further east. This plan was suggested by Rosecrans.

Bear Creek, a few miles to the east of the Fulton road, is a formidable obstacle to the movement of troops in the absence of bridges, all of which, in September, 1862, had been destroyed in that vicinity. The Tennessee, to the north-east, not many miles away, was also a formidable obstacle for an army followed by a pursuing force. Ord was on the north-west, and even if a rebel movement had been possible in that direction it could have brought only temporary relief, for it would have carried Price’s army to the rear of the National forces and isolated it from all support. It looked to me that, if Price would remain in Iuka until we could get there, his annihilation was inevitable.

The Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chapter XXVII, p 272-5

Col Mower: “people in the vicinity say Price is at Iuka with a strong force.”

I have received the following telegram from Gen. Rosecrans with a report that Rebel Gen. Price is at Iuka with his army.

The following just been received from Colonel Mower, and is the latest information we have, dated Burnsville:

I have already reported that the people in the vicinity say Price is at Iuka with a strong force. I don’t know whether it is reliable or not; I am going to see.

J. A. MOWER,

Colonel Eleventh Missouri Volunteers.

Hamilton report nothing new; all quiet in his vicinity. Cavalry officers think Price is on the Fulton and Iuka road. Scouts are out to ascertain the facts; are expected in soon. Du Bois reports all quiet in his vicinity.

W. S. ROSECRANS.

“For ten days or more the enemy have been hovering in our front in reported large force.”

Sept 16 1862, I sent a telegram to Gen. Halleck informing him of what we are facing,

For ten days or more the enemy have been hovering in our front in reported large force. I have watched their moves closely until I could concentrate my forces. All are now in good shape. Hurlbut’s division has come from Memphis to Bolivar and about 6,000 troops from Bolivar brought here. General Price is southeast from us, near Bay Springs, moving northeast. It is reported that Van Dorn and Breckinridge are to join and attack. From the best information they cannot reach here under four days. My views is they are covering a move to get General Price into East Tennessee. If I can I will attack Price before he crosses Bear Creek. If he can be beaten there it will prevent either the design to go north or to unite forces and attack here.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 52

O.R., I, xvii, part 2, 220

“Will give the rebels a tremendous thrashing if they come.”

Sept 15 1862, Wrote Julia,

I have not written to you for more than a week because I had written twice for you to go either to La Fayette or Detroit and did not know but you would be off before the next Tuesday, mail day, would come round when you could receive a letter.  But not has yet come from you in response.  I hope you have gone, or if not, will go soon.  I would rather advise Detroit as the most preferable place.  You have more acquaintances there, a good healthy place, and good schools for the children.

We have been very much threatened here for a week or more back and if the rebels had come in when they first threatened they would have found us very weak in consequence of the heavy drafts that had been made on me at other points for troops, and the extended line I was then protecting.  Now however it is different.  I am concentrated and strong.  Will give the rebels a tremendous thrashing if they come.  If they do not come will not say what I intend doing.

I shall move my headquarters to Jackson soon in all probability.  It is a much more central position to my command.  Maj. Rawlins has returned in general good health, but not able to ride on horseback.  Rowley is absent, in bad health.  Hillyer has not yet returned.  The remainder of my staff are well.  Have you heard anything from Covington?  I do not hear a word from home.  They must be badly frightened.  I do not think really there is the least danger either there or at Louisville. — You will see the greatest fall in a few weeks of rebel hopes that was ever known.  They have made a bold effort, and with wonderful success, but it is a spasmodic effort without anything behind to fall back on.  When they do begin to fall all resources are at an end and rebellion will soon show a rapid decline.  If I should see any signs of a short quiet I will try to get off for a few days and will go wherever you may be.

My general health is good but still like it was when you left: a short appetite and a loss of flesh.  From being some fifteen or twenty pounds above my usual weight I am now probably below it.  I am beginning to have those cold night sweats again which I had a few years ago. — Kisses for yourself and children. — I got those articles you sent me.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 44

Library of Congress, USG

“Murphy’s command should push out as far towards Iuka as possible without delay.”

Sept 14 1862.  Sent telegram to Gen. Rosecrans,

Your dispatch just received.  I was disgusted when news came of Col. Murphy having retreated to Farmington or near there.  Gave orders at once for Ord to watch well in that direction.  Col. Crocker has arrived with his Brigade about 2500 effective.  Gen. Ross will be here tomorrow evening with about 4000 more.  I gave orders this afternoon for the cars to go after them and McPherson says they will be at Bolivar in the morning. — The troops were duly notified before to be in readiness to move at a moments notice if called for.  This afternoon a reply came, before the cars were ordered, that they were all ready.

This will give us a force that I think we can push the enemy if he does not push us.

The testimony of young Jake I do not take as throwing much light upon the enemies movements altho’ reliable as far as he could obtain information.

Murphy’s command should push out as far towards Iuka as possible without delay.  The enemy should be made to abandon that place before getting benefit from the stores left there.  Since writing the above, the enclosed dispatch has been received from Hamilton.  I have no map that shows Barnetts or Peytons Mills, but judge from the general tenor of the dispatch that the former is about East from Jacinto and the latter Southeast.

I do not see that the whole should change the plan for sending Murphy’s forces back towards Iuka.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p38-9

National Archives, RG 393, Army of the Miss., Letters Received

Gen. Rosecrans: “The rebels, supposing we had evacuated, were much surprised and badly scared.”

Sept 13 1862 Received a report from Gen. Rosecrans,

The little fight at Iuka was a cavalry attack. The rebels, supposing we had evacuated, were much surprised and badly scared. A Tennessee captain taken says Price with his staff was at Bay Springs, but the infantry were two days behind. The scout from Ripley went all the way down to 4 miles of Guntown. There was no force or movement in that direction. Report at Guntown, Baldwyn, and up to Booneville water so scarce that it seems strange to me if they have a large force. I go up to Ord’s to consult with Prime about cavalry defense works here.

W. S. ROSECRANS.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 39

O.R., I, xvii, part 2, 217

Gen. Hamilton: “Pickets on Maratta road attacked this morning at daylight”

Sept 12 1862.  I have received reports of fighting near Jacinto, MS, a few miles south of Corinth.  I received the following telegrams from Brig. Gen. Charles S Hamilton in Jacinto MS,

Pickets on Maratta road attacked this morning at daylight — have sent out a battalion of infantry to sound the enemy.  Preparations all complete.  I don’t think enemy in force in immediate front.

Brig. Gen. Hamilton

 

Since the attack on my pickets this morning the rebel cavalry has retreated and there is no force within 6 miles.  The roads from the south have been obstructed and we are ready for the fray.  At present all quiet here and at Rienzi.

Brig. Gen. Hamilton

 

I also received the following telegram from Col. John V. D. Du Bois in Rienzi MS, two miles to the west of Jacinto,

Two companies of Infantry on special duty three miles on the Boonville road were driven in by about 300 cavalry and 200 infantry.  They reformed on the Cavalry grand guard — drove the Rebels back — the Rebel Infantry threw away some clothing in their retreat.  I have been beyond all the pickets on our front and just returned.  The people show no alarm — I will keep you informed of everything.  The enemy are very bold.

Col. Du Bois

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 40

National Archives, RG 393, Dept. of the Mo., Telegrams Received