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Receiving this dispatch as I did late at night, and when I expected these troops were far on their way toward Iuka and had made plans accordingly, it caused some disappointment and made change of plan necessary. I immediately dispatched to General Ord, giving him the substance of the above and directions not to move on the enemy until Rosecrans arrived or he should hear firing to the south of Iuka. Of this change General Rosecrans was promptly informed by dispatch sent with his return messenger. During the day General Ord returned to my headquarters at Iuka [Burnsville?], and in consultation we both agreed that it would be impossible for General Rosecrans to get his troops up in time to make an attack that day. The general was instructed, however, to move forward, driving int he enemy's advance guards, but not to bring on an engagement unless he should hear firing. At night another dispatch was received from General Rosecrans, dated from Barnett's, abut 8 miles from Iuka, written at 12.40 p. m., stating that head of column arrived there at 12 m. Owing to the density of the forest and difficulty of passing the small streams and bottoms all communications between General Rosecrans and myself had to pass far around near to jacinto, even after he had got on the road leading north. For this reason his communication was not received until after the engagement. I did not hear of the engagement, however, until next day, although the following dispatch had been promptly forwarded:
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, TWO MILES SOUTH OF IUKA, MISS.,
September 19, 1862-10.30 p. m.
GENERAL: We met the enemy in force just above this point. The engagement lasted several hours. We have lost two or three pieces of artillery. Firing was very heavy. You must attack in the morning and in force. The ground is horrid, unknown to us, and no room for development. Could not use our artillery at all. Fired but few shots. Push in onto them until we can have time to do something. We will try to get a position on our right which will take Iuka.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.
This dispatch was received at 8.35 a. m. ont he 20th, and the following immediately sent:
BURNSVILLE, September 20, 1862-8.35 a. m.
Get your troops up and attack as soon as possible. Rosecrans had two hours' fighting last night and now this morning again, and unless you can create a diversion in his favor he may find his hands full. Hurry your troops all possible.
U. S. GRANT,
The statement that the engagement had commenced again in the morning was on the strength of hearing artillery. General Ord, hearing the same, however, pushed on with all possible dispatch without waiting orders.
Two of my staff, Colonels Dickey and Lagow, had gone around to where General Rosecrans was and were with him during the early part of the engagement. Returning in the dark, and endeavoring to cut off some of the distance, they became lost and entangled in the woods and remained out overnight, arriving at headquarters next morning about the same hour that General Rosecrans' messenger arrived. For the particular troops engaged and the part taken by each regiment I will have to refer you entirely to the accompanying reports of those officers who were present.
Not occupying Iuka afterward for any length of time, and then not with a force sufficient to give protection for any great distance around
|Page 67||Chapter XXIX. IUKA.|