Corinth, Mississippi, was an important town to the Confederacy during the Civil War. Two important railroads to the Confederacy in the Western theatre met there, the Memphis & Charleston and the Mobile & Ohio. The first railroad went east and west; the other went north and south. If the Union could capture Corinth, they would be able to cause serious problems for the Southís Western section. The South would be unable to transport by rail soldiers and war materials as easily; they would have to use longer, more out-of-the way routes. The Southís economy in transporting goods from one end of the country to the other would suffer as well. That was the Unionís plan, and it eventually worked.
In April 1862 at the battle at Shiloh, Union forces under General U.S. Grant were nearly defeated by the surprise attack of Confederates under General Albert Sidney Johnston. General Johnston was killed, and second-in-command General P.G.T. Beauregard took over. The Confederates decided to retreat to Corinth, Mississippi. General Henry W. Halleck, the general in charge of the Unionís Department of the Mississippi and General Grantís superior, took personal command of Grantís army after Shiloh, thinking that Grant could not handle the job.
General Halleck missed a great opportunity to crush the Confederates before they retreated from Corinth to Iuka, Mississippi. Halleck was too cautious. The Confederate Army, under its new commander General Braxton Bragg, renewed itself, joining up with General Edmund Kirby Smith to invade Kentucky. General Bragg had Generals Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price work together to take back and defend Corinth and the region. General Halleck was promoted to over-all command of the Union Army, and General Grant succeeded him as commander of the department.
General Grant wanted to finish conquering of the Mississippi River Valley to divide the Confederacy. First he needed to control Corinth, so that the South could not supply troops or material to its defenses at Vicksburg and to help end the Trans-Mississippi region from helping other parts of the Confederacy. Steven N. Dossman recounts this very violent and bloody battle admirably, presenting the history of the battle in an engaging narrative.
A variety of maps and black and white illustrations add visual aids to the historical narrative. Dossman provides several biographical sidebars covering those involved in the battles in northern Mississippi, which is an important component of the Civil War Campaigns and Commanders series. The series is a delight to read, and this is another great addition. Dossman provides endnotes, appendices listing the roster of the armies involved, and an index. Campaign for Corinth is recommended to Civil War enthusiasts interested in the Western theatre of the war.
This is Steven Nathaniel Dossmanís first book. He has studied as a McWhiney Fellow and delivered papers at several national conferences. Three of Dossmanís ancestors were involved in the battle of Corinth.