Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Acoustical Shadow

The Confederate Army of the West found themselves in the Battle of Iuka on September 19th 1862.

Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s main column arrived in Iuka, Mississippi on September 14th 1862. He had been ordered by his commander General Braxton Bragg to keep the Union army in Mississippi from moving into Tennessee.

Union General William Rosecrans began his march to Iuka, Mississippi at 4:30 am on September 19th 1862. Price had planned to rendezvous with General Earl Van Dorn, but saw that he could not evacuate Iuka at that time. As Rosecrans’s men advanced they fought an action with the Confederates along the route. At about 4pm the Union column halted on the top of a hill, because the Confederates were in the ravine below which was filled with trees and underbrush. The Confederate troops embarked on an attack up the hill, where they took an Ohio battery. The fighting went on until dark. Although by all accounts the fighting was heated, an acoustical shadow kept all sound from the battle from being heard just two miles away where other Union troops were located. Rosecrans’ men camped behind the ridge and Price redeployed his troops across their front.

Following the 19th’s battle Price planned to reengage the enemy, but his subordinates convinced him to join his army up with Van Dorn. The Union army occupied Iuka, before making a pursuit on September 20th 1862. The Confederate rearguard and a heavily overgrown terrain prevented the chase from amounting to much. The Union saw casualties of about 800 killed, wounded or missing. The Confederate side saw about 1500 casualties from the battle.

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