Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nelson's Report

Below, the original report from Nelson to Buell is reprinted along with Buell's endorsement as it was forwarded to Halleck's Chief of Staff.  Next time maybe they should use the telegraph like Pope and Sherman to get proper public acknowledgement.  After all, this is the 19th Century and media hype now flows with the speed of light.

No. 4 Report of Brigadier General William Nelson, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division, of operations from May 2 to June 11.

Before Corinth, May 31, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that at 4 a. m. of the 30th an escaped rebel came into my camp and stated that the rebel army were evacuating the lines of Corinth; that their infantry pickets had been withdrawn about 10 o'clock the night previous and had been replaced by cavalry. I immediately ordered a general advance of my line of skirmishers to verify the statement, and at the same time ordered the Seventeenth Kentucky Regiment, which held the bridge, to advance also, sending the Twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteers to take their place. At 5.30 the advance was halted, by orders from headquarters. At 6.30 it was resumed, the skirmishers of the Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteers entering the line of the enemy. At 7 the Tenth Brigade entered the enemy's works with Mendenhall's battery, and I dispatched and aide to inform General Buell that I was in Corinth. We took 103 prisoners; found the town on fire, but were deterred from any serious attempt to extinguish the flames by the frequent explosion of shell; found artillery and musket ammunition in close proximity to the fire, which I ordered to be moved.
The line of skirmishers passed far beyond the town, and I opened on the rising ground in advance, where some of the enemy were in sight, with rifled cannon. The division took up its position on the rising ground, and remained till orders were received from headquarters.
I send you a rebel flag, taken with the prisoners.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel J. B. FRY,
Chief of Staff.
JUNE 2, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded.
To General Nelson's division first and General McCook's very soon after belong whatever credit attaches to the discovery that the enemy had evacuated Corinth and of first occupying his intrenchments.

Major-General, Commanding.*

*, pp.680-681

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