April 1862: Union army advances on and conducts siege of Corinth

Evacuation of Corinth (MDAH Collection)
Evacuation of Corinth

Corinth was an important railroad crossroads. After a slow advance following the Battle of Shiloh, Union forces took control of Corinth. The loss was a significant blow to the Confederate war effort.

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April 6-7, 1862: Battle of Shiloh ends in Union victory

Baker Uniform Coat
Baker Uniform Coat

Confederate forces under General Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard launch a surprise attack on Ulysses S. Grant’s army on April 6, but heavy Union reinforcements turn the tide on April 7 and force the Confederates back to Corinth.

Image:  Uniform coat of Capt. T. Otis Baker of the 10th Mississippi Infantry which fought in the Battle of Shiloh.

May 12-13, 1862: Natchez surrenders to United States Navy

June 28, 1862: Union Navy conducts first naval bombardment of Vicksburg and first successful passage of city’s batteries

View of Vicksburg from the river (MDAH Collection)
View of Vicksburg from the river

Union Flag Officer David G. Farragut moved his deep-water naval vessels up the Mississippi past Grand Gulf to Vicksburg.

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July 15, 1862: CSS Arkansas inflicts heavy damage on Union fleet

Commanded by Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown, a Mississippian serving in the Confederate Navy, the CSS Arkansas steamed out of the Yazoo River and fought its way through the Union fleet on the Mississippi River and reached the safety of Vicksburg.

September 17, 1862: Bloody battle fought at Antietam

Featherston's Headquarters Flag
Featherston's Headquarters Flag

Following the bloodiest single day of fighting during the war at the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22. The proclamation called on rebel states to rejoin the Union by January 1 or have their slaves freed.

Image:  Headquarters flag of General Winfield Scott Featherston of  Holly Springs who served as a brigade commander at the Battle of Antietam.  He later fought in the Battle of Franklin, in 1864, where this flag was captured.

September 19, 1862: Union victorious at Battle of Iuka

Major General Sterling Price (MDAH Collection)
Major General Sterling Price

Confederates under Major General Sterling Price were defeated by Union General William S. Rosecrans, ending a move toward Tennessee in coordination with Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky.

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October 3-4, 1862: Battle of Corinth

6th MS Infantry Flag
6th MS Infantry Flag

In an effort to regain the initiative and retake Corinth for the Confederates, Earl Van Dorn launched an attack on Rosecrans’s forces. After two days of fighting, Van Dorn fell back to Holly Springs.

Image:  Flag of the 6th Mississippi Infantry that fought in the Battle of Corinth.

November 1862: Union advances down the Mississippi Central Railroad

Following the Battle of Corinth, Union General Ulysses S. Grant moved down the Mississippi Central Railroad in an effort to capture Vicksburg by an overland route.

December 12, 1862: U.S.S. Cairo sunk in Yazoo River

The sinking of the Cairo involved the use of an electrically charged underwater mine, the first recorded use of such a device in naval history.

December 20, 1862: Confederates capture Holly Springs

General Earl Van Dorn
General Earl Van Dorn

During Confederate General Earl Van Dorn’s raid on the Mississippi Central Railroad, the Confederates captured Holly Springs, a major supply depot for Grant’s army. The loss of Holly Springs forced Grant to fall back to Memphis.

December 29, 1862: Confederates win battle of Chickasaw Bayou

Confederate armory near Holly Springs (MDAH Collection)
Confederate armory near Holly Springs

William T. Sherman’s forces were sent down the Mississippi to assault Vicksburg while the main Confederate army was facing Grant in north Mississippi. Due to the capture of Holly Springs, Confederate reinforcements were rushed to meet Sherman at Chickasaw Bayou, where his army was repulsed.

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