In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Battle of Corinth, 1862

While my great grandfather, Nathan Oakes, was soon to fight in the great Battle of Perryville on October 8, back home in Northern Mississippi the (Second) Battle of Corinth, was fought on today's date through the 4th, in 1862. For the second time in the Iuka-Corinth Campaign, Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans will defeat a Confederate army.

Following defeat in the Battle of Iuka, on September 19th, Confederate Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn moved his army to Corinth, a critical rail junction in northern Mississippi, that had slipped into Union hands after Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard evacuated the city on May 30th. Van Dorn was hoping to cut the Union lines of communications there and and then sweep into Middle Tennessee. The fighting began on this date, as the Confederates pushed the Federal army from the rifle pits that were originally constructed by the Confederates for the Siege of Corinth.

On the second day of battle, the Confederates met heavy artillery fire while storming the Federal inner fortifications. The fight devolved into vicious hand-to-hand fighting. The Confederate advance was repulsed, and Van Dorn was forced to order a general retreat. Thankfully for the Confederates, Rosecrans did not pursue immediately, so the Confederate army escaped destruction.

News of the defeat of Corinth must have had a demoralizing effect on troops from the Corinth area who were fighting with General Braxton Bragg's army in Kentucky. It certainly affected Bragg, who counted on support from Van Dorn's army. Ultimately, the defeat at Corinth will influence Bragg's decision to retreat from his Kentucky campaign.

Sources: Wikipedia; Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle, Kenneth W. Noe

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