6th Mississippi Infantry Regiment
The Second Battle of Corinth
The Battle of Coffeeville
On September 6, 1862, the Sixth left Jackson for North Mississippi. They ended up at Davis' Mill where the army was reorganized, resulting in the Sixth, 15th, 22nd Mississippi Infantry Regiments, the 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment, Caruthers Sharpshooters Battalion, and Watson's Battery were put in a brigade under the command of Brigader General Stephen Bowen.
While at Davis' Mill, General Sterling Price defeated the Union troops at Iuka. This inspired General Van Dorn to continue to press the enemy. He decided to liberate Corinth from the Union army. Generals Van Dorn and Price combined their armies and marched toward Corinth.
The going was slow due to constant skirmishing with Union pickets, but by October 2nd, the Confederate army was approximately 9 miles northwest of Corinth. The next morning, the second Battle of Corinth began. The Sixth was held in reserves on the first day and saw no action. On the 4th, Bowen's Brigage (including the Sixth) took its place in the line of battle. They attached the well entrenched Union line, but retreated under enemy cannon fire. The Sixth reported five casualties that day.
After that assault, both sides were content to wait. Heavy fighting was on the left flank where General Price's Division briefly broke through the Union line, but was quickly pushed back due to lack of reinforcements. Once Price's army was pushed back, the army fled to Chewalla. Bowen's brigade provided rear guard coverage for the retreat.
At the Tuscumbia River bridge, General Bowen set up an ambush for the pursuing army. He placed the 15th Mississippi on one side of the road and the Sixth on the other side. The soldiers were well hidden in thick woods and bruch. When the Union lead column was within about 75 yards, the Confederates opened fire. With artillery support, the Union army quickly fled. After the last Confederate crossed the bridge, it was burned and they continued to Holly Springs unharassed by the enemy.
At Holly Springs, the army went into bivouac. Van Dorn was relieved of command and replaced by Major General John C. Pemberton. Pemberton's first order of business was to reorganize the army. He changed the name to the Army of West Tennessee. He created two corps that were commanded by Generals Lovell and Price. General Bowen was moved to Price's Division and the Sixth was placed under the command Brigadier General Albert Rust.
Union General U. S. Grant never gave up Mississippi and capturing Jackson, the captial, and Vicksburg. At the end of November, he headed south from the Memphis area. This generated a frenzy of activity for the Confederate army scattered across North Mississippi. The Confederates withdrew toward Grenada with a bold Union cavalry at it's heels. At Water Valley, the end of the Confederate column was over run by this cavalry and about 1,000 Confederates were captured. Sixteen of these were from the Sixth.
Outside of Coffeeville, the Confederate command decided to ambush the harassing enemy cavlary. On December 5th, under the command of Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, the men of Baldwin, Tilghman and Rust's brigades with artillery and support from W. H. Jackson's cavlary, hid on a wooded ridge along side the Water Valley-Coffeeville Road.
The men held their fire until the Union Calvalry was within 50 yards. The artillerly shot into their faces followed by volley after volley from the infantry. The results were devastating. The Sixth was on the far right and did not participate in the actual ambush. The Confederates pushed the Union Cavalry back about three miles to the the head of Grant's column. The pursuit halted and the Confederates returned to the ambush site.
The Battle of Coffeeville brought Grant's Mississippi invasion via Tennessee to a halt. He pulled his army back to Oxford. (top)
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This page was last updated on August 8, 2000.