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Map of the Corinth and Iuka Region

Map of the Corinth and Iuka Region


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Map of the Corinth and Iuka Region

Map of the Corinth and Iuka Region

Map taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: III: Retreat from Gettysburg, p.3

Return to: Battle of Corinth - Battle of Iuka



Corinth was founded in 1853 as Cross City, so-called because it served as a junction for the Mobile & Ohio and Memphis & Charleston railroads. It was the town's early newspaper editor, W. E. Gibson, who suggested its current name for the city of Corinth in Greece that also served as a crossroads.

Corinth's location at the junction of two railroads made it strategically important to the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard retreated to Corinth after the Battle of Shiloh (April 1862), pursued by Union Major General Henry W. Halleck. General Beauregard abandoned the town on May 29 when General Halleck approached, letting it fall into the Union's hands. Since Halleck had approached so cautiously, digging entrenchments at every stop for over a month, this action has been known as the Siege of Corinth.

The Union sent Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans to Corinth as well and concentrated its forces in the city. The Second Battle of Corinth took place on October 3−4, 1862, when Confederate Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn attempted to retake the city.

Locales on the National Register of Historic Places Edit

  • Battery Williams (also known as Fort Williams)
  • Coliseum Theatre- built in the early 20th century in the Colonial Revival style
  • Downtown Corinth Historic District
  • Dr. Joseph M. Bynum House—a home in the Late Gothic Revival style built in the late 19th century
  • Federal Siege Trench (also known as Harper Road Trench)
  • Fort Robinette (also known as Battery Robinette)—site of the Civil War Interpretive Center
  • Jacinto Courthouse (also called the Old Tishomingo County Courthouse)—built in the mid-19th century in the Federal style
  • L.C. Steele House
  • Moores Creek site—a prehistoricNative American site from 3000 to 3500 B.C.
  • Old U.S. Post Office
  • Rienzi Commercial Historic District
  • Thomas F. Dilworth House
  • Union Battery F, Battle of Corinth
  • Union Earthworks
  • Veranda House (also known as the Curlee House)—built in 1857, it served as headquarters for Confederate generals during the Battle of Corinth

Corinth is located in northeast Mississippi at the intersection of (north/south) U.S. Route 45 and (east/west) U.S. Route 72. U.S. 45 runs to the west of the city as a bypass, leading north 19 mi (31 km) to Selmer, Tennessee, and south 21 mi (34 km) to Booneville. U.S. 72 runs through the southern part of the city, leading southeast 14 mi (23 km) to Burnsville and west 23 mi (37 km) to Walnut. It is the county seat of Alcorn County, which is the smallest county by area in the state of Mississippi.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.3 square miles (78.4 km 2 ), of which 30.2 square miles (78.1 km 2 ) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km 2 ), or 0.43%, is water. [6]

Communities near Corinth Edit

    , Tennessee, 9.85 miles (15.85 km) , 3.97 miles (6.39 km) , Tennessee, 7.24 miles (11.65 km) , 8.21 miles (13.21 km) , Tennessee, 9.75 miles (15.69 km) , Tennessee, 10.92 miles (17.57 km)

Rivers and streams Edit

Climate Edit

The climate is humid subtropical (Köppen: Cfa) like all of Mississippi but with frequent and regular gusts of snow. [7]

Climate data for Corinth, Mississippi (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1895–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
(27)
86
(30)
89
(32)
97
(36)
100
(38)
106
(41)
111
(44)
110
(43)
105
(41)
96
(36)
88
(31)
80
(27)
111
(44)
Average high °F (°C) 49.2
(9.6)
54.0
(12.2)
63.0
(17.2)
72.6
(22.6)
80.2
(26.8)
86.9
(30.5)
90.0
(32.2)
89.7
(32.1)
84.5
(29.2)
73.7
(23.2)
61.4
(16.3)
52.1
(11.2)
71.4
(21.9)
Daily mean °F (°C) 39.8
(4.3)
43.7
(6.5)
51.6
(10.9)
60.5
(15.8)
69.2
(20.7)
76.5
(24.7)
79.9
(26.6)
78.9
(26.1)
72.5
(22.5)
61.0
(16.1)
49.6
(9.8)
42.6
(5.9)
60.5
(15.8)
Average low °F (°C) 30.4
(−0.9)
33.5
(0.8)
40.1
(4.5)
48.4
(9.1)
58.2
(14.6)
66.0
(18.9)
69.7
(20.9)
68.0
(20.0)
60.5
(15.8)
48.2
(9.0)
37.7
(3.2)
33.2
(0.7)
49.5
(9.7)
Record low °F (°C) −19
(−28)
−6
(−21)
9
(−13)
25
(−4)
35
(2)
43
(6)
51
(11)
47
(8)
33
(1)
21
(−6)
4
(−16)
−6
(−21)
−19
(−28)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.89
(124)
5.01
(127)
5.42
(138)
5.54
(141)
5.67
(144)
5.02
(128)
4.57
(116)
3.57
(91)
4.12
(105)
4.26
(108)
4.43
(113)
6.32
(161)
58.82
(1,494)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.4
(1.0)
0.3
(0.76)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.7
(1.8)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.8 9.0 10.1 9.2 9.4 8.9 8.9 7.4 5.4 7.0 8.0 10.2 103.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5
Source: NOAA [8] [9]
Historical population
Census Pop.
18701,512
18802,275 50.5%
18902,111 −7.2%
19003,661 73.4%
19105,020 37.1%
19205,498 9.5%
19306,220 13.1%
19407,818 25.7%
19509,785 25.2%
196011,453 17.0%
197011,581 1.1%
198013,180 13.8%
199011,820 −10.3%
200014,054 18.9%
201014,573 3.7%
2019 (est.)14,472 [2] −0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census [10]

As of the census [11] of 2000, there were 14,054 people, 6,220 households, and 3,800 families residing in the city. The population density was 461.5 people per square mile (178.2/km 2 ). There were 7,058 housing units at an average density of 231.8 per square mile (89.5/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 76.28% White, 21.60% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.84% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.73% of the population.

There were 6,220 households, out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. Of all households, 35.6% were made up of individuals, and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.8% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,436, and the median income for a family was $35,232. Males had a median income of $29,027 versus $21,071 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,452. About 18.2% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.2% of those under age 18 and 23.9% of those age 65 or over.


Two Union forces to attack Iuka

Grant decided to attack Iuka from two directions. Part of his army, led by General E. O. C. Ord, moved by railroad toward Iuka the other part, commanded by General William Rosecrans, moved south from Corinth with the intention of going to a town called Jacinto, then marching east by northeast over a road that led to Iuka. Grant’s idea was to catch Price between the two wings of his army. Grant’s risk was that he could have trouble communicating with Rosecrans who would be traveling through rugged, swamp-like country. Grant established his headquarters aboard a train car near Ord’s wing, and he had to depend on messengers sent by men on horseback to keep in touch with Rosecrans. The overall Union plan was for Ord to attack first, and once Ord had starting fighting Price, Rosecrans would attack the rear of Price’s army. Victory would be certain if everything went according to schedule.

The Mobile and Ohio Railroad ran south from Corinth, and Rosecrans could make use of it to transport his troops to Jacinto. Grant planned for Rosecrans to be in position near Iuka by the evening of September 18. Ord, and then Rosecrans, could set Grant’s plan in motion early on September 19.


Battle of Corinth: October 3-4, 1862

Van Dorn hurled his army at the outer defenses of Corinth on the morning of October 3. Over the course of the spring and summer, both Union and Confederate occupiers of Corinth had constructed concentric rings of trenches around the city. The Confederates were initially successful at capturing the outer defenses, driving the 23,000 defenders back nearly two miles. The battle lasted all day, and only nightfall brought relief to the battered Yankees.

The next day, the Confederates made a series of desperate assaults on the inner trenches. They suffered heavy losses and began to withdraw from Corinth by early afternoon. The Confederate defeat was devastating. The Union losses included more than 2,300 dead, wounded or captured, while the Confederates suffered more than 4,200 casualties. The Confederate defeat at Corinth allowed the Union to focus attention on capturing Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last major Rebel stronghold on the Mississippi River.


Contents

After the Siege of Corinth in May 1862, Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck was promoted to be general in chief of the Union Army and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant replaced him in command at Corinth, Mississippi. This command was smaller than Halleck's, however, because the Army of the Ohio under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell now operated as a separate command, leaving Grant command of only his own Army of the Tennessee and Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans's Army of the Mississippi, together about 100,000 men. Since the Confederates had evacuated Corinth that summer, Grant's forces had been engaged in protecting supply lines in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi, with Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's division in Memphis, Maj. Gen. Edward O. C. Ord's division guarding the Union supply line at Corinth, and Rosecrans's army holding the railroad from Corinth east to Iuka. As Confederate General Braxton Bragg moved north from Tennessee into Kentucky in September 1862, Buell pursued him from Nashville. The Confederates needed to prevent Buell from being reinforced by Grant's command. [3]

Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price had been ordered by Bragg to move his Army of the West from Tupelo toward Nashville, Tennessee, in conjunction with Bragg's Kentucky offensive. On September 13, his army reached the town of Iuka in northeastern Mississippi, about 20 miles east of Corinth. It was a small Union supply depot, the easternmost outpost that Grant had established on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Price's cavalry skirmished with pickets posted by the small Union garrison stationed there. On September 14, before dawn, the Union commander, Col. Robert C. Murphy of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry, set fire to the supplies of the depot and marched his 2,000-man brigade back to Corinth. The Confederates dashed in and doused the flames, reaping a large collection of valuable supplies. Rosecrans relieved Murphy and ordered him to be court-martialed. [4]

Price's army settled in Iuka and awaited the arrival of Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn's Army of West Tennessee, approximately 7,000 men. The two generals intended to unite and attack Grant's lines of communication in western Tennessee, which would prevent Buell's reinforcement if Grant reacted the way they expected, or might allow them to follow Bragg and support his Northern invasion if Grant acted more passively. [5]

Grant did not wait to be attacked, approving a plan to converge on Price with two columns before Van Dorn, four days march to the southwest, could reinforce him. Grant sent Ord with three Army of the Tennessee divisions (about 8,000 men) along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to move to Burnsville, take the roads to the north of the railroad and move upon Iuka from the northwest. He also ordered Rosecrans's army on a coordinated move along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad that would bring two divisions (9,000 men) swinging into Iuka from the southwest, closing the escape route for Price's army, while the remainder of that army protected Corinth against any threat from Van Dorn. The relatively complex plan for the two-pronged assault was actually Rosecrans's, who had previously been stationed in Iuka and felt familiar with the area. Grant moved with Ord's headquarters and had little tactical control over Rosecrans during the battle. [6]

Union Edit

Rosecrans's Union Army of the Mississippi fielded approximately 4,500 men, organized as follows: [7]

  • Division of Brig. Gen. David S. Stanley included the brigades of Cols. John W. Fuller and Joseph A. Mower.
  • Division of Brig. Gen. Charles S. Hamilton included the brigades of Col. John B. Sanborn and Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan.
  • Cavalry division of Col. John K. Mizner.

Edward Ord's two divisions did not participate in the main fighting at Iuka.

Confederate Edit

Price's Confederate Army of the West engaged at Iuka amounted to 3,179 men. It was organized as follows: [1]

  • Division of Brig. Gen.Lewis Henry Little included the brigades of Cols. Elijah Gates and John D. Martin, and Brig. Gens. Louis Hébert and Martin E. Green).
  • Cavalry brigade of Brig. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong.

Ord advanced toward Iuka on the night of September 18 and skirmishing ensued between his reconnaissance patrol and Confederate pickets, about six miles (10 km) from Iuka, before nightfall. Rosecrans was late, having farther to march over roads mired in mud furthermore, one of his divisions took a wrong turn and had to countermarch to the correct road. On the night of September 18, he notified Grant that he was 20 miles away, but planned to start marching again at 4:30 a.m. and should reach Iuka by midafternoon on September 19. Considering this delay, Grant ordered Ord to move within 4 miles of the town, but to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans and Price before engaging the Confederates. Ord demanded that the Confederates surrender, but Price refused. Price received dispatches from Van Dorn suggesting that their two armies rendezvous at Rienzi for attacks on the Union Army forces in the area, so Price ordered his men to prepare for a march the next day. Rosecrans's army marched early on September 19, but instead of using two roads as originally planned—the Jacinto and Fulton Roads, approaching Iuka from the southwest and southeast—it followed only the Jacinto Road. Rosecrans was concerned that if he used both roads, the halves of his divided force could not realistically support each other if the Confederates attacked. [8]

Rosecrans was within two miles (3 km) of the town on September 19, pushing back Confederate pickets, when his lead element, Sanborn's brigade, was struck suddenly by Little's Confederate division at 4:30 p.m., on the Mill Road, near the forks of the Jacinto Road and the crossroads leading from it to Fulton (sometimes referred to as the Bay Springs Road). Hamilton deployed his force to the best advantage, his artillery being posted on the only suitable ground. Col. Mizner with a battalion of the 3rd Michigan Cavalry was sent out on the right and the 10th Iowa Infantry and a section of the 11th Ohio Battery formed the left. [9]

Hébert's brigade (five infantry regiments, supported by cavalry) moved forward on the Ohio battery around 5:15 p.m., and although met by a volley from the entire Federal line at 100 yards (91 m), it succeeded in reaching the battery before being repulsed twice. On the third attempt the Confederates drove off the gunners and compelled the 48th Indiana to fall back upon the 4th Minnesota. (The 11th Ohio lost 46 of their 54 gunners and three of their four officers. Although the Confederates had captured all six guns of the battery, they were unable to take advantage of them, because all of the horses had been killed in the fighting.) At this time Stanley's division was brought into the action. The 11th Missouri was placed to the right and rear of the 5th Iowa, where it repulsed a last desperate attack of two Mississippi brigades. Fighting, which Price later stated he had "never seen surpassed," continued until after dark. A fresh north wind, blowing from Ord's position in the direction of Iuka, caused an acoustic shadow that prevented the sound of the guns from reaching him, and he and Grant knew nothing of the engagement until after it was over. Ord's troops stood idly while the fighting raged only a few miles away. [10]

Grant's first report of the battle, September 20, 1862. [11]

Grant's second report of the battle, October 22, 1862. [12]

During the night both Rosecrans and Ord deployed their forces in the expectation of a renewal of the engagement at daylight, but the Confederate forces had withdrawn. Price had been planning this move since September 18 and Rosecrans's attack merely delayed his departure. The Confederates used the Fulton Road, which the Union army had not blocked, protecting its rear with a heavy rearguard and meeting up with Van Dorn's army in Ripley five days later. The Confederates combined with Van Dorn for the Second Battle of Corinth, October 3–4. Stanley shelled the town, driving out a number of stragglers. He and Rosecrans's cavalry pushed on in pursuit of Price for 15 miles, but owing to the exhausted condition of his troops, his column was outrun and he gave up the pursuit. [13]

The Union casualties at Iuka were 790 (144 killed, 598 wounded, 40 captured or missing) the Confederates lost 1,516 (263 killed, 692 wounded, 561 captured or missing). [2] The most senior casualty was Confederate General Little, who was struck in the eye by a bullet while accompanying Price. [14] Among the ordnance stores abandoned by the Confederates were 1,629 stand of arms, a large stock of quartermaster and commissary stores, and 13,000 rounds of ammunition. [15] Grant had partially accomplished his objective—Price was not able to link up with Bragg in Kentucky, but Rosecrans had not been able to destroy the Confederate army or prevent it from linking up with Van Dorn and threatening the critical railroad junction at Corinth. [16]

The Battle of Iuka marked the beginning of a long professional enmity between Rosecrans and Grant. The Northern press gave accounts very favorable to Rosecrans at Grant's expense. Some rumors circulated that the reason Ord's column did not attack in conjunction with Rosecrans was not that the battle was inaudible, but that Grant was drunk and incompetent. Grant's first report of the battle was highly complimentary of Rosecrans, but his second, written after Rosecrans had published his own report, took a markedly negative turn. His third statement was in his Personal Memoirs, where he wrote "I was disappointed at the result of the battle of Iuka—but I had so high an opinion of General Rosecrans but I found no fault at the time." [17]

Historic site Edit

The battlefield site was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 14, 2007. The site was open forest and cleared farm land in 1862, but is now largely covered by thick woods and undergrowth. There are no remaining buildings from the time of the battle. The Goyer Cemetery still exists and was near the center of the Union line, though most of the grave markers are gone. The present-day Highway 25 approximates the location of the Jacinto Road used by Rosecrans's Union forces to move north into a defensive position southwest of Iuka. [19]

Land acquisition Edit

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners have acquired and preserved 58 acres (0.23 km 2 ) of the Iuka battlefield. [20]


Map of the Corinth and Iuka Region - History

(April 29th- May 30th, 1862) AND (October 3- 4th, 1862)

Two major battles of the Civil War are associated with the small town of Corinth, in north-eastern Mississippi. The first battle was actually a siege, commenced shortly after the great battle of Shiloh, in early April of 1862. After the bitter defeat of the Confederates at that battle, C.S. General P.G.T. Beauregard led his 70,000 strong army to Corinth, the base for the Confederate army in the region. Outraged at the heavy Union losses at the Battle of Shiloh, U.S. General Henry Halleck, commander-in-chief of the armed forces in the west, removed General Ulysses S. Grant from command and traveled to Pittsburgh Landing, the Union base of operations in the area, determined to led his men himself. Under Halleck were U.S. Generals George Thomas, Don Carlos Buell, and John Pope, all three leading massive Federal armies.
Beauregard, realizing the importance of the rail lines at Corinth, was determined to defend the town from Union attacks for as long as his lines held. By May 3rd, 1862, General Halleck had led his massive, 120,000 strong army to the outskirts of Corinth, and began to initiate siege procedures. Although Beauregard and his generals attempted to slow the Union armies arrival through skirmishes, Halleck soon surrounded nearly all of Corinth. Beauregard realized that soon his communications and supply lines would be cut off, and decided in late May to abandon the city.
After nearly a month of conducting and defending from a siege, soldiers on either side began to feel the effects of prolonged camp life. Water pollution and rampant diseases had killed nearly as many soldiers who had died in the battle of Shiloh. Beauregard, realizing that he had to evacuate Corinth in order to save his army, ordered a very effective ploy on the night of May 30th that allowed the Confederates to escape from Corinth, and made the Union soldiers believe the Confederates were being reinforced. After several days march, Beauregard and his army had reached the safety of Tupelo, while the surprised Halleck was left with an empty town. Although the largest Confederate army in the west has been saved, the fall of Corinth led to the fall of the Mississippi Valley, which in turn eventually led to the fall of Vicksburg.

The second battle fought at Corinth occurred after the battle of Iuka, in late 1862. For the past six months, the Federal armies had occupied the town of Corinth, after the Confederates pulled out in late May. During the summer of 1862, the Confederacy began a campaign to reclaim the state of Kentucky for the South. Although C.S. General Braxton Bragg and his Army of the Mississippi had invaded Kentucky by the late summer, his reinforcements, led by C.S. General Sterling Price, had nearly been captured by the Federal army of U.S. General Rosecrans at the battle of Iuka, in September. After the battle, C.S. General Earl Van Dorn decided to attack and attempt to reclaim the town of Corinth. The town was defended by Rosecrans and 23,000 troops, who were stationed in small forts and Artillery batteries around the town.
The second battle of Corinth began early on the morning of October 3rd as Federal troops intercepted the Confederates north and northwest of Corinth. By the evening of the 3rd, Van Dorn had pushed the Federals back towards the defenses of the city. During the morning of the 4th, the Confederates began to push through the city defenses, although they were stopped at Battery Robinett, where the heaviest fighting occurred during the battle. After several hours of fighting, the Federal defenses held, and Van Dorn decided to retreat from the battle. The Federal troops retained Corinth, and would hold the important rail center for most of the remainder of the war.

The town of Corinth is located in north-eastern Mississippi, not far from the battlefield of Shiloh. The Civil War Visitors Center is located in downtown Corinth, at Jackson and Childs Streets. At the center, visitors can obtain a driving tour of the Corinth Campaign, including sites associated with both battles of Corinth. Actual sites open to visitors in the town are Battery Robinett and Battery F.

Corinth is the best example of a small, but historic rural Mississippi town, and much of the town has several Civil War-era connections. At the center of the city is the Civil War Visitors Center, located in a restored Civil War manor. A short video is shown at the center, and the expansive and extremely useful Civil War Campaign Map can be bought here also. Using the map, drivers can visit nearly all the sites in the town even remotely associated with the battles. If your short on time, though, or are eager to visit the much greater battlefield of Shiloh, only two sites in the town shouldn't be missed.
Battery Robinett is located north of the visitor's center, and was the site of the most brutal fighting of the second battle of Corinth. The restored artillery battery is excellent, and the many informatory plaques found throughout the site make it easy to find your may around. Near the battery is located a large monument, along with a cannon and several smaller monuments, including several unknown Confederate Burial markers. Besides Battery Robinett, a short visit to Battery F- a five minute drive west of the city center- is recommended in order to see how one of these batteries would look without heavy restoration. Along with a visit to Shiloh, Corinth makes an excellent day trip from anywhere in the Mississippi/Tennessee area.


Darkest Days of the War?

The Battles of Iuka and Corinth–that’s the answer, at least according to historian Peter Cozzens. Do you agree? Disagree?

When I started the book, I was sketpical that Cozzens could convince me that this was truly the “Darkest Days of the War.” By the end of the book, I could see he had a valid point.

Corinth was, has, and is an obscure campaign in the American Civil War–that’s why Cozzens decided to write about it (xi). Yet, Corinth was a junction of numerous railroads that criss-crossed the South. Furthemore, Corinth sat between two strategic invasion routes of the Deep South (xi).

Also, the personas involved both played major roles in this campaign: the “ludicrous character” of Confederate General Earl Van Dorn and the still-“under a shadow”-because-of-Shiloh Union General Ulysses S. Grant (xii-xiii).

However, Cozzens was not the first to argue how important the Battle of Corinth was. Union General William T. Sherman wrote, “The effect at the Battle of Corinth was very great. It was, indeed, a decisive blow to the Confederate cause in our quarter, and changed the whole aspect of affairs in West Tennessee” (315).

Fellow General David Stanley agreed that the loss at Corinth was a disaster that the Confederacy never recovered from (315).

Confederate General Earl Van Dorn, whose suspect leadership during the disastrous campaign that culminated at the Battle of Corinth almost annihilated his entire command

From the Confederate perspective, the result at Corinth “compromised Braxton Bragg’s position in Kentucky at the climax of his campaign” (317). If General s Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price had defeated General William S. Rosecran’s Union force at Corinth, they could have advanced into Middle Tennessee and into the vulnerable flank of Union General Don C. Buell’s army. Who knows what would have happened next? It would not have been far-fetched to think Bragg might have assaulted the inexperienced forces holding Louisville and brought about the capture of the city.

Those “ifs” will always remain “ifs” but what the victory at Corinth granted for the North was control of northern Mississippi and the opening for General Ulysses S. Grant to strike at Vicksburg.

All that is important when proving his point, yet Cozzens digs deeper and allows the primary sources to build support for his theory. What better way to find that support than to use the primary sources available–the remembrances of the soldiers who survived “the darkest days of the war.”

For the soldiers who marched, fought, and died, the campaign that culminated with the Battle of Corinth on October 3-4, 1862 was long, arduous, and taxed both their physical and mental endurance to the brink. Temperatures were constantly near the triple-digit mark days were long, hot, sweaty, and supplies were lacking. Countless soldiers’ accounts try to explain how intense the fighting was during the campaign–“the fire from the Confederate lines became so fierce that it seemed as though a magazine had exploded in their very faces” (211). Survivors describe “lack of water” and “desperate for water” as a trademark of the entire campaign. That in itself for a soldier could easily mark this as the “darkest days of the war.”

Scene in front of Battery Robinett
(courtesy of Ohio Historical Society/Ohio Civil War 150
http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/omeka/items/show/1858)

On many levels Corinth was a desperate campaign and a severe gamble by Van Dorn. He came very close to wrecking his and Price’s forces and in the process opened the way for the successful Union campaign against Vicksburg. The defeat at Corinth was, according to Bragg, a deciding factor in his retreat from Kentucky (granted what you may believe in Bragg’s insistence, as he might have been looking for a scapegoat).

Have you started to doubt that first inkling you had that “there is no way that the Iuka/Corinth campaign was the darkest days of the war?” That was me, until I picked up Cozzen’s book and he shed light on why this truly was “the darkest days of the war.”


Things to Do

Whether you&rsquore shopping, eating out, or hitting the trails, we can guarantee you&rsquoll find a great time in our city. Explore the following opportunities:

From big-name chains and classy clothing boutiques to something much more eclectic, you can find it in Corinth. We are home to both national retailers and locally-owned stores. There&rsquos something to catch the eye of everyone in the family, so get shopping!

Eating local is one of our favorite pastimes in Corinth. The town offers a plethora of fun and delicious dining experiences, from upscale Italian cuisine and Southern classics to Thai options and the state&rsquos oldest running soda fountain. Don&rsquot leave our town without visiting at least one of our mouthwatering establishments.

No matter what kind of activity you&rsquore looking for &ndash whether it&rsquos historical education, a round of golf, or hiking in a gorgeous park &ndash Corinth has you covered. With everything from interactive museums and trails to musical theater and drama, something is happening every day for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

After a long day of shopping, eating, and playing, you&rsquoll need a comfortable place to rest and get ready for the next adventure. In addition to well-known hotels and motels, there are plenty of places to stay in Corinth. Park your RV, book a room at a bed and breakfast, or even rent a comfy cabin for yourself and the whole family.


Siege Of Corinth By Henry Halleck in 1862

Those who saw Henry W. Halleck for the first time during the Corinth campaign in April and May 1862 were not sure what to make of him. One newsman said he was’straight, active and well formed’ and had ‘a brisk, energetic gait significant of his firm and decisive character.’ An Ohio volunteer was not nearly as impressed when he watched the general on horseback ‘jogging along the lines with a tall army hat on.’ The soldier decided that ‘if he had only had a pair of saddle bags, [he] would have been the beau ideal of a country doctor.’

Yet physical appearance was not the only way the Army measured a general. He had a vast reputation because he was the author of the most important American book on military theory, and because knowledge of his skill as a land lawyer and businessman in prewar California had preceded him. In 1861 he had been Winfield Scott’s choice to become commanding general, and some people believed that the only reason George B. McClellan had received the post instead was because of the long time it took Halleck to reach Washington from the Pacific coast.

Soldiers and civilians knew that he was the only general in the Federal Army who had consistently brought victory to Union arms. Under his command in St. Louis, his subordinates in the field had won important battles. Ulysses S. Grant had captured Forts Henry and Donelson (with naval support), John Pope had taken Island No. 10 and Samuel R. Curtis had defeated Confederates at Pea Ridge, Ark. Armies under Halleck’s command had not only driven Confederates out of Missouri but also broken Albert Sidney Johnston’s long defensive line between the Cumberland Gap in the East and the Mississippi River in the West. While preparing his army to launch an attack on the Confederates in their new defensive line at Corinth, Miss., Grant had suffered a one-day setback at Shiloh, but on the following day he had sent them limping back to their Corinth base.

Still, it was not easy for Halleck’s soldiers to feel optimistic after the bloody Shiloh victory. It had been a wet spring, and the constant rains had turned the Pittsburg Landing battlefield into a muddy quagmire of horror. The wounded, sick and dead lay mingled in the mud the sights, smells and sounds were sickening. Burial parties were everywhere wagons and open pits were full of corpses. ‘War is hell broke loose,’ one soldier said in the days immediately after Shiloh.

Halleck’s arrival at Pittsburg Landing signaled a new beginning. A soldier remembered seeing him, confidently dressed in impeccable civilian clothes, pacing in front of a mud-spattered and embarrassed Grant. Halleck was scolding Grant in what the soldier said was ‘a loud and haughty manner.’ Grant might have won the recent victory at Shiloh, but Halleck was clearly lambasting him for the surprise of the first day and the awful condition of his army at that juncture.

Halleck saw his task as similar to the situation in Missouri after he had taken over from John C. Frémont: cleaning up a mess. This time, however, it was Grant’s mess. He evaluated Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio, which had joined Grant’s Army of the Tennessee on the second day at Shiloh, as being in ‘good condition,’ but he castigated Grant’s force as ‘without discipline and order.’ ‘Immediate and active measures must be taken to put your command in condition to resist another attack by the enemy,’ he berated Grant. He also ordered Pope, the victor at Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River, to bring his Army of the Mississippi immediately to Shiloh.

Something amazing was happening at Pittsburg Landing. Halleck, whose military department was geographically the largest under Federal jurisdiction, was now organizing what would become the young war’s largest military force. He took three armies and merged them into a single unit of more than 100,000 men. The collection of officer talent that led these troops was similarly impressive: In addition to Halleck, Grant, Buell and Pope, there were George H. Thomas, William T. Sherman, William Rosecrans, Phil Sheridan, James B. McPherson, John McClernand, John A. Logan, James A. Garfield, William ‘Bull’ Nelson, Jefferson C. Davis and Lew Wallace.

On April 30, Halleck established three wings of his new army: the Right Wing, under Thomas, consisting of four divisions from the Army of the Tennessee and one division from the Army of the Ohio the Center Wing, under Buell, consisting of four divisions from the Army of the Ohio and the Left Wing, under Pope, made up of four divisions from the Army of the Mississippi. The reserve, under McClernand, consisted of two Army of the Tennessee divisions and one from the Army of the Ohio.

Grant became second in overall command. Halleck always insisted that he made this assignment because Grant’s rank required it, but in fact he did not trust Grant and wanted to keep a close eye on him. ‘I never saw a man more deficient in the business of organization,’ Halleck said of Grant. ‘Brave & able in the field, he has no idea of how to regulate & organize his forces before a battle or to conduct the operations of a campaign.’

Facing this massive Union army was P.G.T. Beauregard’s still-recovering Army of Mississippi. After the loss at Shiloh on April 7, it had staggered back to Corinth, leaving scattered along the roads everything from blankets to tent poles, muskets to broken wagons. The original commander, Albert Sidney Johnston, had died in battle, and Beauregard, who had replaced him, had not inspired immediate confidence by ordering an end to the first day’s attack. During that evening Buell had arrived and Grant had reorganized, and the revitalized Union army had swept the Confederates off the field on the second day.

Beauregard recognized how shattered his troops were and called for reinforcements. When the long-awaited Earl Van Dorn with his Army of the West arrived from across the Mississippi River in mid-April, his command consisted of only about 14,000 men. Beauregard added those soldiers to his own 30,000 and scraped together others from all over the Confederacy to create a respectable force of 70,000 with which to face Halleck’s 100,000. Unfortunately for him, nearly 20,000 Confederates were suffering from wounds or disease. Beauregard did, however, have many well-known generals in his officer corps, including Van Dorn, Leonidas Polk, William Hardee, Braxton Bragg, John C. Breckinridge, Mansfield Lovell and Sterling Price.

Corinth, where the Confederate army was entrenched, was not a large city. Incorporated in 1856, it was originally named Cross City because the east-west Memphis & Charleston Railroad and the north-south Mobile & Ohio Railroad were slated to intersect there in the near future. When the Civil War began, Corinth was still a small village with a population of only 1,000. Once the fighting started, the city became a rallying point for troops and supplies. When Albert Sidney Johnston and his army arrived there after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862, the city gained more than 40,000 new military residents, numbers of whom were already ill or became ill and died. Corinth resembled a huge hospital and morgue. Entrenchments protecting the city, begun under Bragg’s direction prior to Shiloh, now stretched into 10 miles of mounded clay and lumber. They reinforced the natural defenses of the swamps and the flooded streams. They ran out of coffins because of the huge number of deaths, but there was always plenty of clay to dig and pile up.

The terrain that separated the Union army at Pittsburg Landing and the Confederate army some 22 miles away in Corinth was rolling, wooded and, in places, swampy and traversed by streams and roads. These bodies of water were hardly imposing enough to stop an advancing army, but they were robust enough, particularly because of the wet spring, to make land approaches swampy and water crossings difficult.

There were several roads leading into the city. A direct road ran from Pittsburg Landing to Corinth, first passing through Monterey 10 miles out and then continuing for another nine miles into the former Cross City. This was the route that the Right Wing followed. The Center Wing followed the Purdy-Farmington Road, while the Left Wing traveled along the Hamburg-Corinth Road, which passed through Farmington.

Rain was a major problem, resulting in a flood that carried away bridges, and creating mud that slowed road traffic to an exhausting crawl. Pope said that he almost lost his boots in slogging through the mud to get to Halleck’s tent. Future president Garfield bemoaned the’succession of heavy rains…[which] made camp life in these woods very uncomfortable.’ Soldiers had to clear numerous trees the Confederates had dropped in the army’s path, and they also corduroyed roads through the swamps. It was a difficult existence. Inexorably, however, Union troops were bearing down on the Mississippi-Tennessee border in a line almost 12 miles wide. They expected a major battle soon, a repeat of the horror of Shiloh.

Rumors of Confederate activity filled the air, influencing the generals and the lowliest privates alike. Still, by May 3, Pope’s wing was only a mile and a half from Farmington, which was a scant four miles from Corinth. Slowing its progress, however, was a swollen creek to the front and what was described as ‘an impregnable jungle and swamp’ to the left. Pope also worried that Buell, on his right, was not keeping up. Meanwhile, Thomas’ Right Wing had advanced beyond Monterey until rain stopped its movement. Sherman, who commanded a division in the Right Wing, described the situation in a circular to his soldiers: ‘Our situation from the rain and road has become difficult, and it becomes the duty of every officer and man to anticipate our danger and labor. Every ounce of food and forage must be regarded as precious as diamonds….General Halleck and our superior officers will do all they can, but their power is limited by nature.’

The heavy rains, the washed-out bridges and muddy roads that made supply difficult, the fact that Halleck found the region ‘almost a wilderness and very difficult to operate in’ and the rumors of Beauregard’s being reinforced and feeling confident at being able to repulse any Union attack frustrated Halleck. Some of his soldiers, however, had more basic concerns. They were hungry and cursed the quartermaster. ‘The cry of `crackers,’ `crackers’ resounds from one end of the camp to the other,’ a soldier said. Yet, despite it all, Halleck was pleased to be able to tell Secretary of War Edwin Stanton on May 6 that ‘our advance guards are within six (6) miles of Corinth.’

The weather turned briefly hot and dry, and the army began a siege of Corinth — what one soldier termed the ‘First Epistle to the Corinthians.’ Soldiers on both sides had predicted a quick fight. Union troops had believed they would be marching into Corinth by May 2, but this had not happened.

Certainly the horrible weather and subsequent widespread illness had played a role in this slow movement, but Halleck was the primary reason. He was the authority on military theory, and his book called for massing troops and winning victories through maneuver and numerical superiority. He had also been Dennis Hart Mahan’s star pupil at West Point and, like Mahan, he was a great admirer of the French doctrine that emphasized the necessity of field fortifications, particularly for amateur soldiers like the ones that comprised his massive army. So he dug in every chance he had. The memory of the recent surprise Confederate attack at Shiloh only made his orders regarding entrenchments more insistent. He massed, he inched forward, he worried and he entrenched.

Although second in command, Grant found himself with little to do. He complained to Halleck, ‘I believe it is generally understood through this army that my position differs but little from that of one in arrest.’ Although he was nominally vice commander, he did not have any real authority. ‘I respectfully ask either to be relieved from duty entirely or to have my position so defined that there can be no mistaking it,’ he concluded.

Halleck feigned shock at Grant’s letter, writing, ‘I am very much surprised, general, that you should find any cause of complaint in the recent assignment of commands.’ Grant, Halleck must have thought, had received what his rank required. Besides, Halleck continued, he had always steadfastly sided with Grant no matter the criticism. ‘If you believe me your friend,’ Halleck concluded, ‘you will not require explanations if not, explanations on my part would be of little avail.’

Halleck’s answer only added to Grant’s depression, and rumors spread of his departure, although it was unclear if this meant taking a leave or resigning from the army altogether. Sherman had become a friend earlier in the war, and he now rushed to Grant’s camp. He found Grant’s trunks in a pile ready for shipment, and the general himself was still in his tent, packing. Grant poured out his discontent and his determination to go back to St. Louis. Sherman, who had overcome his own dissatisfaction with the state of affairs, convinced Grant to stay where he was.

Newspaper correspondents also felt frustration with Halleck. By early May, there were more than 30 newsmen traveling with the Union army, including some of the most famous correspondents of the Civil War years: Henry Villard, Whitelaw Reid, Tom Knox, Franc B. Wilkie, George Smalley, Albert D. Richardson and Richard T. Colburn. The army’s attitude toward these reporters was hardly positive, thanks to earlier press reports criticizing Union generalship for the surprise at Shiloh. Now reporters were writing critical accounts of Halleck’s slow movement toward Corinth.

In late April, Halleck had issued an order stopping all mail, even to and from soldiers, and he required all reporters to renew their press passes. This was no problem, but on May 13 Field Order No. 54 expelling ‘unauthorized hangers on’ proved troublesome. Halleck included newsmen in this definition, and a correspondent was soon ejected from his headquarters. Reporters immediately composed a written protest. Halleck insisted that he had to eject all civilians because of the many spies following his army, but he promised to work with reporters. At a subsequent meeting, however, he rejected every compromise, promising instead that his headquarters would provide correspondents with the latest news. Reporters quickly learned that this meant access to a bulletin board at Pittsburg Landing, 20 miles to the rear. All but three reporters left in disgust. Richardson cuttingly wrote, `As false as a bulletin’ has passed into a proverb.’

The rain, the mud, the uncertain food supply, insects such as wood ticks, gnats and mosquitoes, the irritated newsmen, the usual arguments between officers capped by Grant’s frustration and rumors of a Confederate attack followed by rumors of an evacuation of Corinth only made the slow movement and the constant digging in the Mississippi soil increasingly upsetting to correspondents and soldiers alike.

Even Halleck grappled with frustrating times. Pittsburg Landing was the depot for supplies deposited from Tennessee River steamboats and pulled in mule-driven wagons to the army on the move. Soldiers without a pass were supposed to stay away. One day a guard stopped a general and his aide and demanded a pass, refusing to allow the officer to continue without one. ‘What are your orders?’ the general thundered. ‘My orders are not to let anyone pass without a pass signed by General Halleck, General Grant or the Provost Marshal,’ he said. ‘I am General Halleck,’ the officer snapped, thinking that would get him through. The soldier stood his ground, however. Halleck demanded to see this man’s superior and worked his way up to the regimental colonel but with no better luck. A lowly private had turned back the commanding general of the largest army on the continent.

On the battlefield, however, Halleck’s army continued moving forward. He kept his forces massed, constantly worried about Beauregard’s Confederates flanking him on his right or finding a gap between two wings. He knew that he had to keep watch on Pope and his Left Wing in particular, as Pope displayed an aggressiveness that concerned Halleck. On May 3, Pope moved one of his divisions forward toward Farmington, only four miles from Corinth. Instead of ordering the Center and Right wings to align with Pope’s advanced Left Wing, Halleck ordered Pope back to his original place.

On May 7, Pope wanted to send forward a reconnaissance force to investigate the recurring rumor that the Confederates were evacuating Corinth. Halleck agreed and offered support from Buell’s Center Wing. The next day, however, he told Pope to ‘avoid any general engagement’ because he was not sure that Buell had received his order. It was too late, however the Confederates had launched their own attack and were driving his pickets in, Pope said. Then he changed his mind and said he was not sure what was going on. The Confederate resistance had proved to be ‘feeble.’ They were either evacuating Corinth or they were trying ‘to draw us in on this road.’ In fact, the Confederates had botched a planned attack and had withdrawn into their entrenchments.

The minor engagement demonstrated this campaign’s lack of sustained combat, the confusion on both sides and Halleck’s refusal to take any risks. He remained content with inching his completely protected three wings forward, as heavy rain kept the roads a quagmire and illness depleted his ranks. Assistant Secretary of War Thomas A. Scott and Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton told the president that Halleck needed more men to accomplish his task. Abraham Lincoln, who was constantly being badgered by McClellan, wrote directly to Halleck, gently reminding him that every general ‘from Richmond to Corinth’ believed he was ‘confronted by numbers superior to his own.’ He added, ‘I believe you and the brave officers and men with you can and will get the victory at Corinth.’ In short, Halleck could expect no more men.

By the middle of May, Halleck’s army was located within two to three miles of Corinth. Beauregard was still planning an attack, his botched Farmington movement against Pope not having deterred him. He implemented a new plan, this time to have his entire army go on the offensive. Once again, the strike never materialized because Van Dorn, who was supposed to lead it off on May 22, failed to move on time.

If Pope displayed an unwavering propensity for moving forward, Grant had an even more daring idea. Thinking long and hard, he finally got up the nerve to suggest to Halleck that he order Pope to pull his Left Wing out of line, march it behind the Center and Right wings, and attack the Confederate left along a ridge there. A stream and swamps already protected Pope’s position, thus it only needed pickets to defend it, Grant insisted.

As had happened earlier in the war when Grant had suggested an offensive thrust against Forts Henry and Donelson, Halleck greeted his suggestion with utter disdain. ‘I was silenced so quickly that I felt that possibly I had suggested an unmilitary movement,’ Grant later recalled. Halleck would not allow his army to undertake any great turning movement. He would have it continue moving forward together slowly and carefully, keeping its flanks covered and its front protected every day by new log and dirt entrenchments, 4 feet high and 4 to 10 feet wide from top to bottom.

In Corinth the Confederates had their own permanent breastworks, which were even more formidable than those the Union army was constructing daily. The Confederates regularly heard rumors of a Union attack, some whispering to each other that Halleck had troops to their rear, at Tupelo. While Halleck repeatedly expressed concerns about a Confederate attack on his right and experienced minor combat on his left, Beauregard was worried about flanking movements like the one Grant had suggested. He also realized that Halleck was drawing ever closer to the Confederate defensive lines with his siege tactics. If he breached the entrenchments, he could capture not only the city and the railroads going through it but also Beauregard’s army. The Louisiana general had to do something.

On May 25, Beauregard called in his corps commanders. He was running out of water for his soldiers and draft animals, and the unhealthy conditions were resulting in burgeoning levels of ill health. He still wanted to attack the Union army, but he could not see how to breach Halleck’s entrenchments without incurring major casualties. He hated to admit to himself and his officers that the only viable option that remained was to abandon Corinth and save the army to fight another day.

For most of the campaign, the Union army had heard railroad trains entering and leaving the city on a regular basis. One officer said Union soldiers ‘could hear the cars moving and departing from Corinth just as distinctly as if we had been there.’ For several days in late May, some of Logan’s men put their ears to the rails and could tell there was increased railroad activity. Beauregard was up to something, but Halleck did not know what. Sherman offered to send troops forward to find out, but after Halleck gave him permission he wavered, saying: ‘If not too late, hold your position. If, however, you consider the risk too great, fall back.’

Of all the Union generals, the aggressive Pope was particularly nervous about Confederate intentions. He had, after all, already been the target of several attacks, so he wanted to make sure he knew what was going on to his front. On May 27, he told Halleck that a woman who lived within sight of one of the railroads was sure that Beauregard’s army was planning a withdrawal toward Memphis, Tenn. Then Pope changed his mind and insisted that Beauregard’s men were massing to his front, and he expected an all-out attack. The noise coming out of Corinth was increasingly disconcerting to him. ‘The enemy is re-enforcing heavily, by trains, in my front and on my left,’ Pope wrote. ‘The cars are running constantly, and the cheering is immense every time they unload in front of me. I have no doubt, from all appearances, that I shall be attacked in heavy force at daylight.’

Halleck reacted immediately. He told Buell, in the center, to be ready to support Pope when he came under attack. Then Pope noticed ‘a succession of loud explosions, followed by dense black smoke in clouds’ and was sure that Beauregard was evacuating Corinth. Halleck did not know what to believe. ‘Reports from Corinth respecting enemy’s movement are so conflicting, it is very difficult to fix definitely now our plans,’ he said. Not surprisingly, however, he decided that an enemy attack was imminent.

Just the opposite was happening. On May 30, rather than massing to attack Halleck’s army, Beauregard’s force was abandoning Corinth. He used the trains to evacuate his incapacitated men and his supplies, but he made it seem as though reinforcements were actually pouring in. Every time an empty train rumbled into the city to evacuate wounded and sick soldiers and much-needed supplies, Beauregard had healthy soldiers cheer as though the train had just brought in new troops. A regimental band played festive music, fake deserters were sent to Union lines to tell false tales, and wooden, or Quaker, guns replaced real ones in the entrenchments. Beauregard used every trick he could think of to fool Halleck. The Confederates evacuated Corinth before the Federals knew what had happened. The Union troops eventually marched into abandoned fortifications with no Confederate soldiers in sight and the Quaker guns standing as a silent rebuke to Union timidity.

Even though Beauregard’s army had escaped, Halleck had taken Corinth. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, not one of Halleck’s fans, called the city’s capture a ‘brilliant and successful achievement.’ Halleck himself was thrilled with what he considered his great accomplishment. His book on military theory emphasized the importance of gaining control of strategic places capturing armies was not important. So to him his capture of Corinth, with its strategic north-south and east-west railroads, was a major victory — no matter that Beauregard had escaped. And he had done it all, he told his wife, ‘with very little loss of life….I have won the victory without the battle!’ Even more inspiring, his men had given him a nickname in honor of his achievement. They began calling him ‘Old Brains,’ a name he carried from that time on.

Halleck’s officers, including Grant, were similarly pleased with the victory and extolled him as a military genius. Sherman said that Corinth was ‘a victory as brilliant and important as any recorded in history.’ Halleck had said on May 25 that ‘Richmond and Corinth are now the great strategical points of war,’ and he had now captured one of them. At the same time, McClellan’s attempt to take Richmond remained bogged down on the peninsula. Newspapers might criticize Halleck, and some soldiers might grumble, but Old Brains had done what he had set out to do. It apparently did not matter that he did not follow up the victory and instead broke up his vast army.

Within two months, in July 1862, Abraham Lincoln called Halleck to Washington to work his magic for all Union armies. The nation applauded and looked for further successes in the future. Halleck, it seemed, was the man to win the war. Corinth had clearly demonstrated this fact. Because of its capture, Halleck became the commanding general.

Corinth, however, would prove to be Old Brains’ one and only experience of command in the field, and from his desk in Washington he strove ever after to avoid responsibility for any offensive movements. Henry Halleck had taken his last city.

This article was written by John F. Marszalek and originally published in the February 2006 issue of Civil War Times Magazine.

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Hill Country History

Hill Country History is dedicated to preserving the history, culture and architecture of the North Mississippi Hill Country region. During prehistoric times, north Mississippi was occupied by the “Mound-Builders”, native tribes who left behind several ancient burial mounds, including the Beer Creek and Pharr Mounds. Sometime around 1300 CE, the Chickasaw Native American tribe migrated from the western United States, across the Mississippi River, and settled in the north Mississippi hills.

1800s Map of Mississippi, showing the original Chickasaw Cession (shaded yellow portion)

The Chickasaws first encountered Europeans during Hernando de Soto’s Spanish expedition in 1540. By 1640, the Chickasaws were trading with early British settlers. For the next hundred years, the Chickasaws were allies with the British against the French. After the Revolutionary War, the area that would become north Mississippi was ceded by the British to the newly-formed United States. American settlers slowly began migrating west of the original Thirteen Colonies into the wide-open lands of West Tennessee and north Mississippi, and the Federal government began discussing relocation with the Chickasaw Indians. Talks between the United States and the Chickasaws culminated in the Treaty of Pontotoc, in 1832. The Treaty of Pontotoc sold all of the Chickasaw lands of northern Mississippi to the Federal government, which began to map out this new “Chickasaw Cession”, creating ten new counties in north Mississippi.

The original Chickasaw Cession Counties

As new white settlers began streaming into the newly-opened lands, communities began to form. These communities included Hernando (Desoto County), Holly Springs (Marshall County), Pontotoc (Pontotoc County), Oxford (Lafayette County), Ripley (Tippah County), and Jacinto (Tishomingo County), all founded between 1836 and 1837. For the next twenty years, the Mississippi Hill Country remained prosperous, supported by cotton and other crops and an increasingly-large enslaved labor force.

Holly Springs, at the beginning of the Civil War

During the Civil War, North Mississippi was occupied by union forces for much of the War. Corinth saw one of the greatest sieges in modern history, and Holly Springs was the site of a cavalry raid led by Confederate Earl Van Dorn in 1862. After the Civil War, the Hill Country endured a decade of Reconstruction, during which several new counties in north Mississippi, including Tate, Benton, Union, Alcorn and Prentiss, were formed out of the original Cession counties. Soon after the end of Reconstruction, The Yellow Fever ravaged much of the area, especially Holly Springs and Batesville.

Corinth City Center, circa 1915

The Hill Country recovered from Reconstruction and the Yellow Fever, largely due to the prosperity brought by the Railroad which came through north Mississippi in the 1880s, resulting in many gorgeous Queen Anne and Italianate homes springing up throughout the region. The early 20th century saw even more prosperity for whites, while African-Americans suffered through decades of Jim Crow laws. Noted African-American activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born and raised in Holly Springs, and the region was a hotbed of the early Civil Rights Movement. Millions more African-Americans left the area in the Great Migration of the 1920s and 1930s.

Culturally, the Mississippi Hill Country has produced internationally-known figures, including authors William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and John Grisham and singers Elvis Presley and Tammy Wynette.

The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area, created by Congress in 2009, defines the Hill Country as the area bounded by the north and east boundaries of the State, Interstate 55 to the west, and Highway 14 to the south, covering 19 full counties and 11 partial counties. Hill Country History takes a more restrictive view of the Hill Country, limiting the area to the original Chickasaw Cession Counties (Desoto, Panola, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah, Tishomingo, Itawamba, Pontotoc, Yalobusha and Chickasaw) and their progeny counties formed during Reconstruction (Tate, Benton, Union, Prentiss, Alcorn, Lee and Calhoun). The blog will also cover Monroe County, which was formed before the Chickasaw Cession but received large amounts of land from the Cession.


Legends of America

Railroad Crossroads, Corinth, Mississippi

In 1854, the citizens of Tishomingo County invited two railroad companies, the Mobile & Ohio and the Memphis & Charleston, to build lines through the largely agricultural area. Within a year, the companies completed their surveys and their two routes intersected in the north-central Tishomingo County. A small town grew up at the crossroads of the two new railroad lines, originally called Cross City. By 1855, the rapidly growing town changed its name to Corinth, after the crossroads city of ancient Greece. By 1860, Corinth was called home to about 1,500 people. When the Civil War began in 1861, both Confederate and Union strategists recognized the importance of controlling Corinth due to its junction of two major rail lines. The town would become the site of two significant engagements, a siege of the town in spring 1862 and a bloody conflict in the fall of the same year.

The tracks still cross in the center of town, and trains still use them, but no one fights over them anymore. During the Civil War as many as 300,000 soldiers moved through this tiny town in northeastern Mississippi as the Union and the Confederacy fought to control the critical railroad crossroads. The evidence of their presence is everywhere.

A reconstructed earthen redoubt commemorates the men in gray who marched with slow and steady steps against its walls and the men in blue who defended it in fierce hand-to-hand combat. And, if you look carefully, you can see miles and miles of earthen fortifications, some built to protect the crossover and some to help seize it. These trenches testify to a new kind of warfare that was tested here and would become common before the war ended in 1865.

In the years since the Civil War, Corinth has grown into a small city of about 14,000 people, but the general landscape has changed little.

The Siege of Corinth

At the end of April 1862, Union Major General Henry W. Halleck’s powerful Army group of almost 125,000 men, set out from Pittsburg and Hamburg landings in Tennessee towards Corinth, Mississippi. A Confederate force of about half that size, under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard, waited for them, behind five miles of newly-constructed earthworks. Both commanders knew the importance of the coming battle. Halleck claimed that the railroad centers in Richmond, Virginia, and Corinth were “the greatest strategic points of the war, and our success at these points should be insured at all hazards.” Beauregard told his superiors: “If defeated here we will lose the Mississippi Valley and probably our cause . . . and our independence.”

It took Halleck a month to travel the 22 miles to Corinth. The route crossed a series of low ridges covered with dense forests and cut by stream valleys and ravines. Moving his army through the rugged country while keeping it aligned along a 10-mile front, was slow and difficult work. The weather was bad and there was little good water. Dysentery and typhoid were common.

Ruse of the Whistles at Corinth, Mississippi

By May 2nd, the Union troops had closed to within 12 miles of Corinth and felt its way forward from one line of entrenchments to another. The Confederates had constructed a defensive line of earthworks anchored on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to the west, continuing around to the north of Corinth, crossing the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and Purdy Road, then turning south following the high ground commanding Bridge Creek and crossing the Memphis and Charleston Railroad well east of the crossover, and anchoring on the Danville Road, one-half mile east of the Mobile and Ohio. These earthworks guarded the eastern and northern approaches to Corinth.

By May 4th, the Union army was within 10 miles of Corinth and the railroads. The Confederates began a series of small-scale attacks, keeping up nearly constant harassment. Halleck, cautious by nature, established an elaborate procedure to protect his army as they advanced. As the troops moved up to a new position, they worked day and night digging trenches. These “were made to conform to the nature of the ground, following the crest of the ridges… They consisted of a single ditch and a parapet… only designed to cover our infantry against the projectiles of the enemy.” As each line of earthworks was finished, the men advanced about a mile and then started digging a new line of trenches. Eventually, there were seven progressive lines and about 40 miles of trenches. Their work was described as the “most extraordinary display of entrenchment under offensive conditions witnessed in the entire war.”

The Confederates waiting in Corinth were well aware of Halleck’s slow, but constant, advance. In May, a Confederate soldier wrote his wife:

“I can sit now in my tent and hear the drums and voices in the enemy lines, which cannot be more than two miles distant. We have . . . killed and wounded every day… The Yanks are evidently making heavy preparation for the attack which cannot, I think, be postponed many days longer… Everything betokens an early engagement so make it be, for I am more than anxious that it shall come without further delay.”

The Union Army taking control of the railroad crossing during the Siege of Corinth.

On May 21st, General Beauregard planned a counterattack, an attempt to “draw the enemy out of its entrenched positions and separate his closed masses for a battle.” The gamble came to naught because of delays in getting the troops in position to attack.

By May 25th, the long Union line was entrenched on high ground within a few thousand yards of the Confederate fortifications. From that range, Union guns shelled the Confederate defensive earthworks, and the supply base and railroad facilities in Corinth. Beauregard was outnumbered two to one. The water was bad. Typhoid and dysentery had felled thousands of his men. At a council of war, the Confederate officers concluded that they could not hold the railroad crossover.

Beauregard saved his army by a hoax. Some of the men were given three days’ rations and ordered to prepare for an attack. As expected, one or two went over to the Union with that news. During the night of May 29th, the Confederate army moved out. They used the Mobile and Ohio Railroad to carry the sick and wounded, the heavy artillery, and tons of supplies. When a train arrived, the troops cheered as though reinforcements were arriving. They set up dummy guns along the defensive earthworks. Campfires were kept burning, and buglers and drummers played. The rest of the men slipped away undetected. When Union patrols entered Corinth on the morning of May 30th, they found the Confederates gone.

During the siege, there were some 120,000 Union troops and 70,000 Confederate troops engaged. Each side had estimated casualties of about 1,000 men. Most historians believe that the Union seizure of the strategic railroad crossover at Corinth led directly to the fall of Fort Pillow, Tennessee on the Mississippi River, the loss of much of Middle and West Tennessee, the surrender of Memphis, and the opening of the lower Mississippi River to Federal gunboats as far south as Vicksburg. No Confederate train ever again carried men and supplies from Chattanooga to Memphis.

The Battle of Corinth

Battle of Corinth by Currier & Ives.

After the Confederates evacuated Corinth, Union soldiers occupied the town. They spent most of the long, hot summer digging wells to find good water and building additional fortifications. General Halleck ordered the construction of a series of larger earthwork fortifications called “batteries,” designed to hold cannon to protect Corinth against Confederate forces approaching from the west or south. His successor, Major General William S. Rosecrans, concentrated on protecting the railroad crossover and its vital supplies. He built an inner series of batteries on the ridges immediately around the town. Trenches for infantrymen connected the batteries and masses of sharpened logs pointing outward (the Civil War equivalent of barbed wire) strengthened the line.

In the summer and early fall of 1862, the military situation changed dramatically. The South seized the initiative from Virginia to the Mississippi River and beyond. In hard-fought battles, the Confederates carried the fighting to the North. On the all-important diplomatic front, the British government seemed on the verge of recognizing the Confederacy as an independent country.

Major General William S. Rosecrans

In September, many of the men at Corinth went off to fight a bloody battle at Iuka, Mississippi successfully blocking a Confederate move into middle Tennessee. On October 2nd, General Rosecrans learned that the Confederates were approaching from the northwest. The two armies each had 22,000-23,000 men but, Rosecrans’ position behind his defensive earthworks was a strong one. He stationed his advance guard about three miles beyond the town limits. On October 3rd, Union and Confederate forces clashed initially in the area fronting the old Confederate earthworks. In heavy fighting throughout the day, the Confederates pushed Union forces back about two miles. Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn, certain he could win an overwhelming victory in the morning, called a halt to the fighting about 6:00 p.m. His troops, parched and exhausted from lack of water and 90-degree heat, camped for the night, some only a few hundred yards from the inner fortifications where Union troops had taken refuge.

During the night, Union commanders moved their men into a more compact position closer to Corinth, covering the western and northern approaches to the community. The partially entrenched line was less than two miles long and was strengthened at key points by the cannons of the batteries named Tannrath, Lothrop, and Phillips located on College Hill southwest of the town batteries Williams and Robinett, positioned overlooking the cut of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad immediately west of the rail junction and an unfinished Battery Powell, still being built on the northern outskirts of Corinth.

Before dawn on October 4th, the Confederates woke the Union troops with artillery fire, but, things quickly began to go wrong. The general who was to lead the opening attack had to be replaced, causing confusion and delay. But, about 9:00 a.m. the Confederates opened a savage attack on the Union line. Some of the Confederates fought their way into the town. Battery Powell changed hands twice in fierce fighting. About 10:00 a.m., four columns of gray-clad Confederates advanced on Battery Robinett. The men inside the battery watched them come, one describing it:

“As soon as they were ready they started at us with a firm, slow, steady, step. In my campaigning, I had never seen anything so hard to stand as that slow, steady tramp. Not a sound was heard but, they looked as if they intended to walk over us. I afterward stood a bayonet charge . . . that was not so trying on the nerves as that steady, solemn advance.”

A man from an Alabama regiment described the scene from the Confederate side:

“The whole of Corinth, with its enormous fortifications, burst upon our view. The United States flag was floating over the forts and in town. We were met by a perfect storm of grapeshot, canister, cannonballs, and mini balls. Oh God! I have never seen the like! The men fell like grass.”

Four times they charged, each time being mowed down by withering fire from the cannons of batteries Robinett and Williams and from the muskets of the men lined up in the field next to the batteries. After desperate fighting, a Union bayonet charge broke the enemy columns and drove them back. By noon, Van Dorn’s army was in retreat. Rosecrans did not pursue the retreating army until the next day, and eventually, Van Dorn managed to save his army. During the battle, there were some 23,000 Union soldiers engaged resulting in 2,359 casualties. Of the Confederate Army, some 21,000 soldiers were involved, resulting in 4,388 casualties. Union victories at Corinth, Antietam, Maryland, and Perryville, Kentucky set the stage for Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and helped prevent the British and the French from recognizing the Confederacy. The Confederacy never recovered from its losses in September and October 1862.

The struggle over Corinth and its railroad crossroads would go on for some six months

The Union continued to occupy Corinth for the next 15 months, using it as a base to raid northern Mississippi, Alabama, and southern Tennessee. Control of Corinth and its railroads opened the way for Union victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi in July 1863. On January 25, 1864, Union troops left the town. The Confederates returned, but, it was too late. The South had not built a single locomotive since 1861 and could no longer take advantage of the once critical railroad lines. The only cars moving on the patched-together tracks were pulled by mules.

Today, the Corinth Battlefield Unit contains numerous historic sites associated with the siege, battle, and occupation of the city during the Civil War. Several miles of rifle-pits, trenches, artillery positions and the earthworks of Batteries F and Robinett still exist. Located near the site of Battery Robinett, the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every day except December 25. The center exhibits include interactive displays and multimedia presentations on the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege and Battle of Corinth. Elsewhere can be found the historic depot which houses a museum, the National Cemetery, Contraband Camp, historic homes where officers were housed, and more.

Civil War Trail guides are available at several locations throughout Corinth — at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, the Mississippi Welcome Center, and the Crossroads Museum at the Historic Corinth Depot. The museum also offers a free CD which narrates the tour.

Historic Civil War Sites:

Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

1. Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center at Battery Robinett – This National Park Service Visitors Center is a unique experience of informative exhibits, two films, and an interpretive courtyard water display. The Interpretive Center is located at the site of Battery Robinett, an earthen redoubt which was a key position in the fighting on October 4, 1862. Open daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Christmas. Free admission. 662-287-9273.

2. Trailhead Park – The strategic crossing of the historic Memphis & Charleston and Mobile & Ohio Railroads was extremely important to both the Confederacy and the Union since this was the only crossing of two standard-gauge railroads in the Confederacy. W. Waldron Street.

Corinth Crossroads Museum

3. Crossroads Museum at the Historic Corinth Depot – The museum exhibits Civil War artifacts and 20th-century memorabilia. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm, closed major holidays, 221 North Fillmore Street, Corinth, Mississippi 38834, 662-287-3120. Admission fee.

4. Corinth National Cemetery – Established in 1866, the Corinth National Cemetery is the final resting place for 5,700 Union soldiers who died in the capture and occupation of Corinth, and in other engagements in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The first interments were gathered from a dozen sites throughout the three states. Three Confederate burials are also in the cemetery, including one unknown and two known soldiers. Corinth National Cemetery’s layout is a square in shape, bisected by a central avenue running from the southern main gate to a rear gate on the north end of the property. Double gates at both the northern and southern entrances are of ornamental wrought iron supported by granite piers and flanked by narrower pedestrian gates. At the north end of the cemetery, the central avenue splits around a grassy circle on which the cemetery’s flagpole is located. A series of parallel avenues running east-west further divide the cemetery into smaller burial sections. A brick wall constructed in 1878 to replace a wooden picket fence encloses the cemetery. This is the final resting place for 1,793 known and 3,895 unknown Civil War soldiers representing 273 regiments from 15 states. The two-acre site is located at 1551 Horton St. and is open for visitation daily from 8:00 am to sunset however, no cemetery staff is present on site. Corinth National Cemetery and other sites associated with the Battle of Corinth are National Historic Landmarks.

5. Corinth Contraband Camp – This is the site of the model camp established for runaway slaves. As many as 6,000 people were thought to have resided here at its peak. As Federal forces occupied major portions of the South, enslaved people escaped from farms and plantations and fled to safety behind Union lines. Once President Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued in September 1862, the number of freedom seekers increased considerably in Union-occupied Corinth.

The Corinth Contraband Camp was established by Union General Grenville M. Dodge to accommodate these refugees. The camp featured numerous homes, a church, school, and hospital. The freedmen cultivated and sold cotton and vegetables in a progressive cooperative farm program. By May 1863, the camp was making a clear profit of $4,000 to $5,000 from it enterprises. By August, over 1,000 African American children and adults gained the ability to read through the efforts of various benevolent organizations. Although the camp had a modest beginning, it became a model camp and allowed for approximately 6,000 ex-slaves to establish their own individual identities.

Once the Emancipation Proclamation was implemented, nearly 2,000 of the newly freed men at the Corinth Contraband Camp had their first opportunity to protect their way of life and made up a new regiment in the Union army. Since most of the men came from Alabama, the unit was named the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment of African Descent, later re-designated the 55th United States Colored Troops. In December 1863, the camp was moved to Memphis, Tennessee and the freedmen resided in a more traditional refugee facility for the remainder of the war. The Corinth Contraband Camp was the first step on the road to freedom and the struggle for equality for thousands of former slaves.

Today a portion of the historic Corinth Contraband Camp is preserved to commemorate those who began their journey to freedom there in 1862-1863. This land now hosts a quarter-mile walkway which exhibits six life-size bronze sculptures depicting the men, women, and children who inhabited the camp.

Fishpond House, Corinth, Mississippi

6. Fish Pond House – This home served as headquarters to Confederate Generals P.G.T Beauregard and John Breckinridge.

7. Union Siege Line (May 3, 1862) – This section of earthworks was used until May 17th when the next line was constructed.

8. Farmington Baptist Church – Skirmishes were fought in this area between May 10 and May 22, 1862. Several Confederate soldiers are buried in the cemetery.

9. Union Siege Line (May 17, 1862) – This line was manned by Union troops until the 28th of May.

10. Union Siege Line (May 19, 1862) – Used for one week. this line was abandoned and moved forward on the 28th

11. Union Siege Line (May 28, 1862) – This line was used until the siege ended on May 30th.

12. Beauregard Line – This site is part of 7 ½ miles of Confederate earthworks constructed prior to and during the Siege of Corinth. They were later used as a defensive line by Union troops during the October 1862 Battle of Corinth.

13. Battery Powell – This is the site of a Federal Battery that was briefly overrun by Confederate troops during the Battle of Corinth, October 4, 1862.

14. Oak Home – This home served as the headquarters for Confederate General Leonidas Polk.

15. Rose Cottage – The home once at this location served as headquarters for Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston.

Veranda-Curlee House, Corinth, Mississippi

16. Verandah/Curlee House Museum – Completed in the spring of 1857, the Verandah House was built for one of the two founders of Corinth, Hamilton Mask. The house is a significant example of Greek Revival architecture. As a result of the crossroads of the two standard-gauge railroads in Corinth, the area became of prime importance to both the Union and Confederacy. On the evening of April 2, 1862, General Albert Sidney Johnston met with General Braxton Bragg in his bedchambers at the Verandah House to officially sign Order No. 8 to launch the Confederate counter-offensive against the Union army that ended in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. Throughout the war, generals from both the Confederacy and the Union were quartered in this house. Following the war, the Corinth Female Academy occupied the building for a short period of time. It was then purchased by the William Peyton Curlee, one of the founders of the Curlee Clothing Company. After Mr. Curlee’s death of yellow fever, Mrs. Curlee, a descendant of Daniel Boone, sold the house to the Leroy Montgomery, who raised a large family in the home. In 1921, Shelby Hammond Curlee, oldest son of the previous Curlee owners, bought the house. The descendants of the Curlee family donated the house to the city in 1961. 301 Childs Street, Corinth, Mississippi, 662-287-9501.

17. Mitchell House – The home which served as headquarters to Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant, Grenville Dodge, and Confederate General James Chalmers, was located on this site.

18. Duncan House – This home served as headquarters to Confederate Generals P.G.T Beauregard and John Breckinridge and Union General W.S. Rosecrans.

Corona College, Corinth, Mississippi

19. Corona College Site – Corona Female College was a female seminary, founded in 1857. It was situated in a three-story building. Its main building was commandeered by the Union Army for use as a hospital during the nearby battle of Shiloh in 1862. The Union Army evacuated the area in 1864, burning the college’s building. Corona Female College never reopened.

20. Federal Redan – The earthen fort which guarded the road from Kossuth was located at this site.

21. Battery F – One of six forts built by the Union Army comprising the “Halleck Line,” this battery witnessed heavy fighting on October 3, 1862.

22. Alcorn County Courthouse – Built in 1917, it is the seat of government for Alcorn County. There are two Civil War-related monuments on the grounds.

Corinth Mississippi Civil War
Corinth Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
215 N. Fillmore St.
Corinth, Mississippi 38834
662-287-8300 or 800-748-9048

All of the historic sites, including the Davis Bridge Battlefield 18 miles northwest of Corinth near Pocahontas, Tennessee are accessible by automobile.

After four long years of occupation during the Civil War, the Union finally left Corinth in January 1864. During those years, as many as 300,000 soldiers from both the North and South passed through the area, leaving behind devastation. Though war-torn and ravaged, Corinth forged onward. After recovering and rebuilding, a period of rapid growth occurred and in 1870, Tishomingo County was divided into three counties: Alcorn, Prentiss, and Tishomingo. Corinth became the Alcorn County seat.

The James-Younger Gang – Left to right: Cole” Younger, Jesse Woodson James, Bob Younger, and Frank James.

Reconstruction officially ended in 1875 and Corinth continued to flourish. During these growth years, someone else took notice of Corinth’s prosperity — outlaws. On December 7, 1874, four armed men robbed the Tishomingo Savings Bank of $5000 in cash and $5000 worth of jewelry. Thought to have been none other than the James-Younger Gang from Missouri, a Corinth newspaper reported:

“Four well-mounted men rode up to the Tishomingo Savings Bank two entered and locked the door, and two remained outside. They demanded the safe keys, which President Taylor refused. They then made an attack on him with knives and compelled him to submit. They took over five thousand dollars in currency, and much more in watches and diamonds. Mr. Taylor was not badly hurt. A negro man was in the bank making a deposit at the time and was not permitted to leave until the robbers retired. They were in the bank about fifteen minutes… The men had been lurking about the town and country for two weeks. The robbers fired several shots as they started, and rode in the direction of the Tennessee River.”

Over the following years, the city developed a number of cultural and recreational venues including an Opera House, the Henry Moore Museum, Mooreville Zoological Park, and the Coliseum, which still stands today. It also drew several manufacturing companies, mills and factories. In December 1924, Corinth’s downtown district was devastated by a terrible fire. After a fight of more than six hours in bitterly cold weather, the fire department succeeded in confining the blaze to the single block. However, the blaze destroyed more than 30 stores, resulting in more than $1,500,000 in losses. Among the buildings destroyed were the post office, a jewelry store, the opera house, the Corinth Bank and Trust Co., a merchandise store and the Ford museum.

Today, Corinth is often referred to as Mississippi’s Gateway City due to its location in the northeast corner of the state. In addition to its many Civil War sites, Corinth provides a number of other historical attractions that are well worth a visit.

Other historical attractions include the Black History Museum of Corinth, several historic businesses, the Coca-Cola Museum, the Coliseum Theater, and much more.

Corinth downtown area from the Depot

More Corinth Area Attractions:

Black History Museum of Corinth – Displays memorabilia and artifacts relating to the history of Corinth’s African American residents with an emphasis on education and religion. Collections include tributes to Corinth’s first black Mayor, Mayor E.S. Bishop entertainers such as opera singer, Ruby Elzy local and nationally known sports figures African art and artifacts and artifacts from local historically black churches and former segregated black schools. 1109 Meigg Street, 662-665-8500.

Coca-Cola Museum – The story of Coca-Cola has enthralled people since its beginning in 1886. Thousands of people collect, buy, sell, and swap almost every article ever stamped with the famous Coca-Cola trademark. In 1905, Avon Kenneth Weaver bought an interest in the Corinth Bottle Works, a small soda water plant. At that time, Coca-Cola was being produced in Jackson, Tennessee, and shipped by rail to Corinth. Mr. Weaver obtained a Coca-Cola franchise for Northeast Mississippi in 1907. The company is still owned by the same family. The exhibits in the museum include historical images, artifacts from the past 100 years and interactive computer stations with information about the 100 years of Corinth Coca-Cola. 305 Waldron Street, Corinth, Mississippi 662-284-4848.

Coliseum Theater, Corinth, Mississippi

The Coliseum Theater – Benjamin Franklin Liddon, a local banker and civic leader, designed and constructed the Coliseum Theater in 1924 with a capacity of 999 seats. The theater is a showplace of Victorian and Art Deco Design. Such elements as black and white tile, ornamental plaster on the ceilings, imported white marble wainscoting and a grand staircase warrant its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also a Mississippi Landmark. Originally designed as a palatial multi-purpose theatre, the Coliseum has accommodated both live and screen performances in its acoustically perfect auditorium. Traveling Vaudeville Shows came to Corinth by rail to perform in the Coliseum. Child stars often performed here and later became nationally-known as adult actors. During the early days of the movie industry, a theatre organ in the orchestra pit accompanied the silent screen performances on a screen dropped from the fly area over the stage. Later, “Talkies” arrived and traveling performances by musicians from the Grand Ole Opry and the rock and roll of the Elvis Presley era and others all became a part of the Coliseum’s rich repertoire. In more recent years the Coliseum was the most visited movie theatre in the area and since 1981 has served the Corinth and Alcorn County area as a civic and performing arts center for a myriad of events among diverse groups. Open for tours by appointment, 404 Taylor Street, Corinth, Mississippi 38835, 662-284-7440.

Historic Downtown Corinth:

Biggers Hardware in Corinth, Mississippi has been in operation since 1918.

Biggers Hardware – This hardware store opened its doors in 1918 and has been a mainstay in the community ever since. The store’s ownership is in the fourth generation of the Biggers family.

Borroums Drug Store – Founded in 1865 by former CSA army surgeon A.J. Borroum, this is the oldest drug store in continuous operation in Mississippi. It houses Native American artifacts, Civil War relics, and an authentic, working soda fountain. This business has been owned and operated by the Borroum family since its founding. One specialty of the diner part of the soda fountain is a local favorite called a slugburger. Slugburgers are a Depression-era “burger” of meat and breading or soy meal. There’s even a Slugburger Festival every year to celebrate this local delicacy.

Waits Jewelry and Fine Gifts – This is the oldest business in Corinth dating from 1865. The store’s second generation of ownership was Earnest J. Waits, a true “renaissance man.” Not only was he a watchmaker and jeweler, but he constructed an “aeroplane” from plans in Popular Mechanics and its flights in Corinth were the first in Mississippi and probably in the Deep South. He built an early wireless telegraph, an X-ray machine, and painted beautiful seasonal murals in the building. A small area of the store is dedicated to him and his wife Eugenia who was the last family member to own the Store in 2004.

The historic Jacinto, Mississippi courthouse.

For those interested in venturing beyond Corinth into Alcorn County, visit Jacinto Courthouse located off Hwy 356, approximately eight miles east of Rienzi. Completed in 1854, the two-story federal style courthouse tells a compelling story of bygone glory days of a bustling southern boomtown. Rienzi, itself, is interesting in its own way. Though not a ghost town, supporting about 300 people, most of its business buildings are ghost town-ish looking, testifying that Rienzi’s heydays have obviously faded. Rienzi was also a very active site during the Civil War activities in Corinth.


Watch the video: Top 10 Worst Towns in Alabama. Dont live in these towns! (May 2022).


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