Dash Into Corinth
This particular report combined three fascinations that I have when it comes to the Civil War. One, the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry. My 4x Great Grandfather served as a private in this regiment, enlisting in his 40's in the fall of 1861. Unfortunately, he passed away outside Corinth, Mississippi in June 1862 from a mixture of disease and heart problems. He is buried there in the National Cemetery. The second fascination is the campaign to capture Corinth, Mississippi. I have always felt like it is sorely understudied, even though there are a few good books out there on the subject. I don't think a lot of us truly grasp the size of this campaign that yielded little fighting. Third, The Owensboro Monitor newspaper. This report was placed in this paper's very first issue. I can't imagine trying to start a newspaper while in the midst of a civil war, especially in a place like Kentucky, where saying the wrong thing could get your paper shut down by one side, and burned by another. Since this piece combines all three, I absolutely had to put it here.
August 13, 1862
We do not remember to have seen the following report in print. It will be read with interest by the many friends of the regiments mentioned:
Camp Near Corinth, Miss.
May 31, 1862.
Maj. E.H. Murray, Commanding Third Kentucky Cavalry:
Sir: On the morning of May 30th, while on outpost duty in front of the 4th Division, I was ordered by Brigadier General Nelson to proceed with my command--consisting of parts of companies C and D, 3rd Kentucky Cavalry--further to the front. On arriving in sight of the enemy's outerworks, General Nelson ordered me forward, with all possible dispatch, to "take possession of Corinth." I did so, and found, after passing the enemy's breastworks several hundred yards, Colonel John H. McHenry, with a part of the 17th Kentucky infantry, pressing on to Corinth.
I passed Colonel McHenry, and, on arriving in Corinth, found the evacuation complete; with the exception of a few stragglers, scarcely a vestige remained of the great army reported to have been collected at this point.
In obedience to instruction, I threw out skirmishers in all directions, for the purpose of arresting straggling soldiers, and to ascertain if possible, the direction of the enemy's flight. My command arrested twenty seven prisoners, among them on captain. Ten of the prisoners were on picket duty at the time of their capture--showing that the latter part of the evacuation was not as deliberate as reported.
Before closing this report, I think it due to the truth of history that some facts connected with the occupation of this stronghold of the enemy should be clearly stated. While I consider it no very great achievement to mount and take possession of undefended intrenchments, yet, if there be any credit due, the 4th Division of the Army of the Ohio is entitled to the praise of having first entered the enemy's works in and around Corinth. The Seventeenth Kentucky, under command of Colonel John H. McHenry, was first inside the enemy's lines; the Third Kentucky followed, and were in Corinth one hour before the left wing of our forces crossed the right of the enemy's works.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Robert H. King
Captain Co. C, 3d Ky. Cavalry.
The 3rd Kentucky Cavalry was a very competent and solid cavalry regiment. From their early days at Camp Calhoun in 1861, to the final surrender in North Carolina in 1865, I don't think there is much negative press out there for these boys. I think this is a group that warrants more research and attention, so expect to see more on these troopers in the months ahead!
If you would like to read more about the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, specifically one of their first engagements, against none other than Nathan Bedford Forrest, then check out this post from 2021. Click HERE.
Derrick Lindow is an author, historian, teacher, and creator of the WTCW site. His first book, published by Savas Beatie, will be released in Spring 2023. Go HERE to read more posts by Derrick and HERE to visit his personal page. Follow Derrick on different social media platforms (Instagram and Twitter) to get more Western Theater and Kentucky Civil War Content.