In 1862, the sleepy town of Corinth, Mississippi, was transformed into one of the South's most strategic strongholds. At Corinth, the Mobile and Ohio Railroad crossed the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, creating a crucial nexus for the transport of supplies, material, and men throughout the western Confederacy. Following the battle of Shiloh, a vast Federal army under Gen. Henry Halleck captured the town after an extended siege. But by summer, Confederate forces began a broad offensive. In the East, Gen. Robert E. Lee invaded Maryland, while in the West, Gen. Braxton Bragg led an incursion into Kentucky. In support of Bragg, Generals Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price were ordered to drive back the Union forces under Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William S. Rosecrans and seize control of rthern Mississippi. The action began in earnest in September, as Price fought Rosecrans to a bloody standoff at Iuka, Mississippi. Price then combined his forces with Van Dorn, who, in early October turned his attention to the effort of regaining Corinth. The campaign for Corinth reached a crescendo in one the Civil War's most violent and bloody assaults, setting the stage for Grant's Vicksburg campaign and ultimately deciding the fate of the Confederacy in the Mississippi Valley.
STEVEN NATHANIEL DOSSMAN has studied as a McWhiney Fellow and has delivered papers at several national conferences. He also has an innate interest in the battle of Corinth, as three of his ancestors fought there.