GRANT, Ulysses S. (1822-1885), President. Letter signed ("U.S. Grant" Maj. Gen."), TO MAJOR GENERAL E.O.C. ORD, Jackson, [Mississippi], 4 October 1862. 2 pages, 4to, slightly browned along folds, otherwise in good condition.
"...IN CASE YOU FIND THE BATTLE STILL RAGING": GRANT'S ORDER TO RESCUE THE UNION ARMY AT CORINTH FROM A CONFEDERATE SIEGE
A fine letter giving very specific instructions for Ord to "save" (Grant's verb) the Union force of 23,000 at Corinth, commanded by Rosecrans, which was being strongly attacked by Confederate forces under Van Dorn. Grant's subordinate commanders occupied several strongpoints: Rosecrans in Corinth, Ord and Hurlbut at Bolivar, Sherman in Memphis and McPherson at Jackson. Van Dorn, believing Rosecrans' the weaker of the garrisons, attacked Corinth at 10 a.m., the day before this letter. On the 4th, fighting continued and Grant gave orders for Ord to go to the aid of Rosecrans. He writes: "You will proceed this evening by special train to Bolivar, with such of your staff as you can take with you - and push forward to Maj. Gen. Hurlbut's on its way towards Corinth. They are expected to encamp tonight at Davis' Bridge. Instructions to Gen. Hurlbut you have already seen. The object is to co-operate to the best advantage with the troops beleaguered at Corinth. Gen. Rosecrans is fully advised of your approach and will understand if you engage the enemy and will follow should you find it necessary [sic] to retreat. He will even follow if the enemy should retreat before your attack. It is impossible to give instructions as to whether you should more to the right or to the left so as to form a junction with Gen. Rosecrans, in case you find the battle still raging. All in this matter will have to be left to your discretion. If however you should find the enemy wavering, to the right would be decidedly preferable, as it would tend to cut off all retreat towards Tupello [sic]. In case you find it necessary to retreat, do so towards Bolivar, if possible. In such a contingency the addition of your forces to those now already there would be absolutely nescessary to save the present garrison either to hold its ground, or to effect a safe retreat."
The relief columns Grant had ordered marched so late on the 4th, that Ord, with 6,500 troops, arrived from Bolivar and met Van Dorn's rebel forces who were already withdrawing, at the Hatchie River crossing, near Pocahontas. Ord and his men pursued the Confederates as far as Ripley, and in the encounter, Ord was wounded.