ARMY BEFORE CORINTH, MISS.
May 28th 1862
MR. EDITOR: The ball that will in all probability, decide the terrible conflict now raging in our country, has been opened to-day. For a week past the two armies have been looking each other in the face – the fortifications of both being about two miles apart, and the pickets continually skirmishing.
I visited the headquarters of this division – the left wing – this morning on an item of business, and was informed by the A. Adj. Gen., Capt. Hammond, that he had more important business on his hands, and could not attend to mine to-day. “We are to advance to-day,” said he. Sure enough, the whole division was soon in motion. The roaring of cannon and the rattle of musketry was soon heard along the whole line. The first place attacked was a log house in front of our extreme right which had been used by the rebels as quarters for their picket guard. Their officer of the day was taken prisoner by our men.
Gen. Pope’s division has advanced one and a half miles to-day on our left. Heavy cannonading has been going on, at intervals, on the left wing all day. We could distinctly hear the booming of the heavy siege guns in that quarter about five miles distant. At times the roaring was incessant and terribly sublime. At first and for a considerable time, no response was elicited from the enemy, and at no time was it brisk. – One bomb from the enemy struck, without exploding very near our breastworks. Every regiment has been on duty to-day. The Iowa 6th was especially detailed to defend our earthworks in the morning, but was ordered forward in the afternoon. To the great joy of the regiment Major Corse commands them. I saw him this morning reviewing the regiment preparatory to marching to the front. The officers and men are well satisfied with the present arrangement – they know him and can trust him.
The casualties of the day, as far as I have heard have been light on our side. A few have been killed, several wounded, some badly. Early in the day one man had his arm blown off and his eye out by the premature discharge of a gun. Another had his back broken by the bursting of a shell, and I have not been able to learn either their names or the regiments to which any of them belongs.
Another line of intrenchments [sic] have been commenced and will be completed by morning – a half mile, or thereabouts, in front of our present one. This will bring the whole army within one and one and a half miles of the enemy’s works. Our gunners say that they can throw solid shot five miles. It will then be an easy mater to storm the enemy’s works with shot and shell at the distance of one mile, and to destroy Corinth itself, which will be only two miles distant from our advance works.
Night has set in and silence again reigns supreme. Scarcely a sound is heard and one can scarcely persuade himself to believe that a terrible and deadly conflict has been going on all day. The croaking of frogs and the chirping of insects, with now and then a horseman galloping along near by, are the only sounds that break the profound stillness. The tattoo has beaten and all the soldiers who remain in camp have retired to their quarters. But all who have gone forward have to lay upon their arms at night without tents, and their two day’s rations in their haversacks.
Hot work is expected in the morning, as I have heard that our heavy siege guns are to be moved forward to-night. Then in comparison, to-day’s work will be that of to-morrow, as a drop to a shower.
I have written hastily after the day’s work is over, so as to send this by morning mail. I shall write again tomorrow.
H. M. ROBERTS
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, June 7, 1862, p. 2