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He was unable to restrain the
troops from plundering the captured Union camps; and when on the second
day Grant launched his regiments against them, they were driven
pell-mell from the field, and did not stop their retreat until they
reached Corinth, Mississippi.

[Illustration: A RAILROAD BATTERY.]

Little fear of the Union troops being caught a second time at such a
disadvantage. They were established on the upper part of the Tennessee,
prepared to strike blows in any direction.


EVACUATION OF CORINTH.

The withdrawal of Beauregard to Corinth made that point valuable to the
Unionists, because of the large number of railroads which centre there.
It was strongly fortified, and no one expected its capture without a
severe battle. General Halleck, who was high in favor with the
government, assumed command of the Union armies and began an advance
upon Corinth. He moved slowly and with great caution, and did not reach
the front of the place until the close of May. While making preparations
to attack, Beauregard withdrew and retired still further southward. No
further Union advance was made for some time. The important result
accomplished was in opening up the Mississippi from Cairo to Memphis and
extending the Union line so that it passed along the southern boundary
of Tennessee.

Beauregard resembled McClellan in many respects. He was excessively
cautious and disposed to dig trenches and throw up fortifications rather
than fight. Jefferson Davis always had a warm regard for General Braxton
Bragg, whom he now put in the place of Beauregard. By the opening of
September, Bragg had an army of 60,000 men. Kirby Smith's corps was at
Knoxville and Hardee and Polk were with Bragg at Chattanooga.

They were ordered to march through Kentucky to Louisville, threatening
Cincinnati on the way. Kirby Smith's approach threw that city into a
panic, but he turned off and joined Bragg at Frankfort.


A RACE FOR LOUISVILLE.

By this time the danger of Louisville was apparent, and Buell, who was
near Nashville, hastened to the defense of the more important city.
Bragg ran a race with him, but the burning of a bridge, spanning the
river at Bardstown, stopped him just long enough to allow Buell to reach
Louisville first. This was accomplished on the 25th of September, and
Buell's army was increased to 100,000 men.


BATTLE OF PERRYVILLE.

Disappointed in securing the main prize, Bragg marched to Frankfort,
where he installed a provisional governor of Kentucky and issued a
high-sounding proclamation, to which few paid attention. Bragg had
entered one of the richest sections of the State, and he secured an
enormous amount of supplies in the shape of cattle, mules, bacon, and
cloth. His presence in the State was intolerable to the Union forces,
and Buell, finding a strong army under his command, set out to attack
him. Bragg started to retreat through the Cumberland Mountains on the
1st of October, with Buell in pursuit. A severe but indecisive battle
was fought at Perryville, and the Confederates succeeded in carrying
away their immense booty to Chattanooga, while the Union army took
position at Nashville.

The government was dissatisfied with the sluggishness of Buell and
replaced him with General William S. Rosecrans. He posted a part of his
army at Nashville and the remainder along the line of the Cumberland
River. Advancing against Bragg, he faced him in front of Murfreesboro',
some forty miles from Nashville. On the 30th of December brisk firing
took place between the armies, and when they encamped for the night
their fires were in plain sight of each other.


BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO' OR STONE RIVER.

The opposing forces were on both sides of Stone River (this battle is
generally referred to in the South by that name), a short distance to
the northwest of Murfreesboro'. By a curious coincidence, each of the
respective commanders formed the same plan of attack, it being to mass
his forces on the left and crush his enemy's right wing. A terrific
engagement lasted all day, and night closed without any decisive
advantage to either side, though the Confederates had succeeded in
driving back the Union right upon the left and occupying a considerable
portion of the field formerly held by the Federals.

The exhaustion of the armies prevented anything more than skirmishing on
New Year's day, 1863, but on the afternoon of January 2d the furious
battle was renewed. Rosecrans ordered an advance of the whole line, and
the Confederate right wing was broken and the flank so endangered that
Bragg was compelled to withdraw his entire army. The only way for him to
retain Tennessee was to abandon Murfreesboro'. Accordingly, he retreated
to a point beyond Duck River, about fifty miles south of Murfreesboro',
which was occupied by the Federals, January 5, 1863.

Other important events took place in the West. General Sterling Price
wintered in Springfield, Missouri, in the southern part of the State,
and gained a good many recruits and a large amount of needed supplies.
He was attacked by Sigel and Curtis on the 12th of February, and
continued his retreat to the Boston Mountains, where he was reinforced
by McCulloch, Van Dorn, and Albert Pike, and felt himself strong enough
to turn about and attack Curtis, who was in the neighborhood of Pea
Ridge.


BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE.

The Union right was commanded by General Sigel, the left by General
Carr, and the centre by General Jefferson C. Davis. Sigel was surprised
and came very near being cut off, but he was master of the art of
retreating rather than of advancing, and he extricated his Germans with
astonishing skill and joined the main army. General Curtis changed his
front, and in the attack his right wing was driven back, obliging him
that night to take a new position a mile to the rear. The fighting next
day was at first in favor of the Confederates, and for a time the Union
army was in a critical position; but with great bravery and skill the
enemy's left was turned, the centre broken, and their forces driven in
disorder from the field.

In this battle Albert Pike used 2,000 Indian allies. They belonged to
the "civilized" tribes, and good service was expected from them; but
they were unaccustomed to fighting in the open, could not be
disciplined, and in the excitement of the struggle it is alleged they so
lost their heads that they scalped about as many of the Confederates as
Unionists. At any rate, the experiment was a failure, and thereafter
they cut no figure in the war.


INDECISIVE FIGHTING.

The enemy were so badly shaken that they retreated toward the North to
reorganize and recruit. Reinforcements from Kansas and Missouri also
joined Curtis, who advanced in the direction of Springfield, Missouri,
upon learning that Price was making for the same point. Nothing
followed, and Curtis returned to Arkansas. He had been at Batesville in
that State a few months when he found himself in serious peril. His
supplies were nearly exhausted, and it was impossible to renew them in
the hostile country by which he was surrounded. An expedition for his
relief left Memphis in June, but failed. Supplies from Missouri,
however, reached him early in July.

Curtis marched to Jacksonport, and afterward established himself at
Helena on the Mississippi. In September he was appointed commander of
the department of Missouri, which included that State, Arkansas, and the
Indian Territory. There were many minor engagements, and the Unionists
succeeded in keeping the Confederates from regaining their former
foothold in Missouri and north of Arkansas. It may be said that all the
fighting in that section produced not the slightest effect on the war as
a whole. The best military leaders of the Confederacy advised President
Davis to withdraw all his forces beyond the Mississippi and concentrate
them in the East, but he rejected their counsel, and his stubbornness
greatly weakened the Confederacy.

Having given an account of military operations in the West, it now
remains to tell of the much more important ones that occurred on the
coast and in the East, for they were decisive in their nature, and
produced a distinct effect upon the progress of the war for the Union.


CONSTRUCTION OF THE MERRIMAC.

It has been stated that early in the war the Norfolk navy yard was
burned to prevent its falling into the possession of the Confederates.
Among the vessels sunk was the frigate _Merrimac_, which went down
before much injury was done to her. She was a formidable craft of 3,500
tons, 300 feet in length, and had mounted 40 guns. The Confederates
succeeded in raising her, and proceeded to work marvelous changes in
her structure, by which she was turned into the first real armor-clad
ever constructed. She was protected by layers of railroad iron, which
sloped like the roof of a house, and was furnished with a prow of cast
iron which projected four feet in front. Pivot guns were so fixed as to
be used for bow and stern chasers, and the pilot-house was placed
forward of the smoke-stack and armored with four inches of iron. She
carried ten guns, one at the stern, one at the bow, and eight at the
sides, and fired shells. Her iron armor sloped down at the sides, so
that she looked like an enormous mansard-roof moving through the water.
Her commanding officer was Commodore Franklin Buchanan, formerly of the
United States navy, while under him were Lieutenant Catesby R. Jones,
the executive officer, six other lieutenants, six midshipmen, surgeons,
engineers, and subordinate officers, in addition to a crew of 300 men.
She was rechristened the _Virginia_, but will always be remembered as
the _Merrimac_.

[Illustration: SECRETARY STANTON'S OPINION ABOUT THE MERRIMAC.

"The whole character of the war will be changed."]

Of necessity this craft, being the pioneer of its kind, had many
defects. She could move only very slowly, and her great length of 300
feet and poor steering apparatus required a half-hour for her to make a
complete turn, while her draft of 22 feet confined her to the narrow
channel of the Roads.



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