Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Battle of Iuka

Edward Ord
There were two Confederate armies in Northern Mississippi, 15,000 men under Stirling Price in Iuka, and another army under Earl Van Dorn marching to join him. 150 years ago today Price was under attack. Grant had planned to envelop him by two columns attack on separate roads, Ord in the North and Rosecrans in the South. Ord was to coordinate his movement with the sound of battle to the south. Rosecrans attacked as planned, and Price responded by ordering several charges against the Federal forces. The third attack was successful, and the rebels captured part of a battery of artillery. The battle was turning against the Federals, for Ord was not in position. He had been in his appointed position, but due to a phenomenon called an acoustic shadow he did not hear the sound of fighting. Therefore he did not attack, thinking Rosecrans was not in position. He had seen the smoke of the guns, but had thought it was Price burning his stores in his retreat.
William Rosecrans
Through this providential mishap Price was able by hard fighting to hold his own against Rosecrans. During the night he left Iuke via an unguarded road. He had already been planning to leave, and now well-nigh surrounded he had few other choices. The Federals attempted a pursuit, but the tired Yankee cavalry was outrun and gave up the pursuit. The Union lost 790 men, 144 killed, 598 wounded and 40 captured, the Confederacy 1,516: 263 killed, 692 wounded and 561 captured, as well as a large quantity of stores. However, Price had saved his army, and he would be able to join up with Van Dorn and fight again another day.


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