Report of Brigadier General Charles S. Hamilton, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, including operations October 3-11, with field dispatches.
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Corinth, Miss., October 18, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit a report of the operations of my division during the battles before Corinth on the 3rd and 4th instant:
At daylight on the morning of the 3rd the division took position on the north of the town, covering the approaches by the Purdy and Pittsburg roads and the ground between them. Subsequently I was ordered to the Purdy road with the line of rebel entrenchments 2 1/2 miles north of the town. The command was in this last position by 10 a. m., and communication opened with the right of Davies' division, then resting on the Mobile and Ohio Railway. the enemy approaching in force between the Memphis and Charleston and Mobile and Ohio Railways forced Davies by successive attacks back to the vicinity of the town. My front was gradually changed to meet the advance of the enemy, and so steady and rapid was his progress that in order to present my front to him position at 5 p. m. was nearly the reverse of that when communication was opened with Davies. the division had swung around on the center as a pivot. Owing to his advance, and in order to carry out the instructions of the general commanding, i prepared to attack his flank while he was engaged in front. Brigadier-General Sullivan with the Second brigade was directed to move down on the enemy with his left covering the Purdy road, and having gained a favorable position to attack as soon as General Buford with the First Brigade should get into position on Sullivan's right to support him in attack and to cover his right flank. The ground was too uneven and the forest too dense to use artillery, and but one battery (Dillon's) was sent forward. This battery took position on Sullivan's left, on the Purdy road. The other batteries were held in reserve and put imposition to cover any movement on Buford's right flank and rear.
The movement by Sullivan was executed promptly as directed; but Buford, diverging a half mile to the right beyond any point where he could support Sullivan, became engaged with a force of the enemy's skirmishers and drove them back, but not until so much time was lost that before Buford could brought back into position night had fallen and the attack was defeated. Sullivan advanced his line to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and his skirmishers became warmly engaged with the enemy's left flank. Unsupported by Buford, I deemed it unwise for Sullivan, with his small brigade, to attack alone. The movement, however, immediately checked the enemy's advance on the town and caused him to change front to meet my force. This check I regard as a most happy result of the movement. Had the enemy pushed his advantage over Davies until night the result must have been disastrous to our arms. He would have occupied the town, isolating my division from the rest of the army, and to have reunited we should in turn have been compelled to assault the town. As it was, the check enabled us, under the cover of the night, to take up new lines near the town and put the divisions within supporting distance of each other. Sullivan's contact with the rebel left flank resulted in the capture of about