SATURDAY, November 22, 1862-9 a.m.
The court met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: Major Gens. Sterling Price and D. H. Maury; Brigadier General Lloyd Tilgham; Captain E. H. Cummins, recorder, and Major General Earl Van Dorn.
Major-General Van Dorn submitted the address herewith forwarded:
GENTLEMEN OF THE COURT: Stripped of all technicalities the accusations against me are:
First. That I ought not to have attacked Corinth at all.
Second. That I made the attack without consideration or forethought, on a plan crude and undigested.
Third. That military blunders were committed by me in the management of the fight on the first day (Friday), and that I failed to make proper disposition during the night of Friday, by which the battle was lost.
Fourth. That I moved my army on Corinth with deficient subsistence supplies, relying on capturing what was needed from the enemy.
Fifth. That I was cruel and inhuman to the officers and men of my command by ordering senseless circuitous marches and countermarches and by subjecting them to starvation.
Sixth. That I was negligent of my wounded, and by my neglect subjected them to incredible and unnecessary suffering.
If these accusations are well founded they must deeply touch my character as a soldier and a man. If they be true I am neither fit for society nor command. If they are established by the evidence before you I ought to be stripped of every badge of military authority or honor my country ever conferred upon me-which I have worn with the thrill of gratitude love of country inspired-and banished out of the circle of a civilized and Christian community. Upon issues so big with to all that I hold dear I trust the court will not regard some comment on my part either untimely or improper.
First. Was it wrong to attack Corinth at all? This question cannot be determined without a careful consideration of the situation, the accepted word to signify the relative position and forces of the enemy and of our own. At the time I determined to move on Corinth the enemy held the city of Memphis, fortified by works and within the protection of gunboats: Bolivar, strongly fortified on both banks of the Hatchie River: Jackson, fortified, and Corinth, strengthened by more elaborate works and defenses than existed at either of the positions mentioned. The forces of the enemy distributed at these points approximately amounted in the aggregate to 42,000, as follows: At Memphis, 6,000; at Bolivar, 8,000; at Jackson, 3,000; at Corinth, 15,000; at the outposts (Burnsville, Rienzi, Jacinto, Iuka, and Bethel), 8,000; at important bridges and on garrison duty, 2,000 or 3,000. Western Tennessee was occupied by the enemy, with railroad connections to Columbus, Ky., and the Mississippi River from Helena to Cairo, and they held Nashville, garrisoned by a small force, in Middle Tennessee. At Helena (also fortified) the Federal force amounted to-thousand, with the facility of river transportation. The new levies, under the call for 600,000 additional troops, had long been made and were rapidly being organized, while many thousands of them had already taken the field.
The main body of our army, which evacuated Corinth, was in Kentucky under General Bragg before greatly superior forces of the enemy,