Sunday, July 28, 2013

Diary of Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, October 5, 1862

The entire Sixth Division, taking up the line of march2 this morning at 6 o'clock, marched five miles and then formed a line of battle. We heard some very heavy cannonading out on the Hatchie river, in our front. General Hurlbut had cut off the retreat of the rebels at the bridge crossing the river, but after a hard fight they got away and continued their retreat to the south, on the east side of the river. We resumed our march at 1 p. m. and after covering ten miles stopped for the night. The Second Iowa Cavalry was ordered back to Corinth.

2 As we passed the field hospital of the Confederates on the Corinth battlefield, we saw eighteen of their dead, evidently having died from wounds, lying side by side, and almost black in the face, which at the time was said to have been caused by their drinking a mixture of water, vinegar and gunpowder. Our army had barrels of vinegar, one for each regiment, so stationed as to permit the men to come and help themselves. Now, our quartermaster, in hastily removing the commissary's supplies back of the inner lines during the battle, had, for lack of facilities, left standing these barrels of vinegar. It is supposed that the Confederates took the vinegar and made a drink of it, for after the battle there was no vinegar to be found. — A. G. D.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 73-4

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