Battle of Davis Bridge
Also known as the Battle of Hatchie's Bridge and the Battle of Matamora, this conflict was the final battle between Union and Confederate forces during the Iuka-Corinth Campaign of 1862. The Union needed to capture the towns of Iuka and Corinth in order to control the vital Memphis & Charleston Railroad and the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Controlling these would cut off western Confederate forces to their eastern and more southern counterparts, while allowing the Union greater access to the western and southern theaters of the war. After a brief siege around Corinth during October 3-4 ended in Union victory, Confederate forces fled west and were chased, being forced to fight at Davis Bridge on October 5th. The Confederates lost again but avoided complete destruction or capture. This battlefield is part of the Shiloh-Corinth Battlefield Park, where more can be learned and seen about Davis Bridge at the Corinth Interpretive Center just south into Mississippi. This location is where an older marker of the battlefield was erected.
Backstory and Context
For the next two days heavy fight occurred all around the town, with Union forces making charge after charge. Union forces prevailed, but Van Dorn, Price and thousands were able to retreat and flee capture. Rosecrans sent a force of a few thousand to capture those Confederate forces. At Corinth, loses were 2,520 Union, 4,233 Confederate.
Van Dorn rested in the Davis Bridge area, which lies just north of the MS/TN border, only to find Union forces upon him on October 5th. Union forces were elements of the Army of the Tennessee (attached to the Union Army of the Mississippi) led by Major Generals Edward Ord and Stephan Hulburt. This force attacked first the men under CSA General Sterling Price. During the fighting, Ord was wounded in the ankle and Hulburt took overall command. At this time, men under Van Dorn found another escape route through the Hatchie River. Union loses were about 500, with the Confederates losing about 400.
Van Dorn was able to lead the rest of his men across the Hatchie and into Holly Springs, MS. Even with this daring accomplishment, Confederate leaders and citizens were appalled not just at losing the railroads but for the dead it cost to lose them. Van Dorn lost command of his forces (though given a smaller command) and was accused of being recklessly drunk during the fighting at Corinth. He was replaced by CSA General John C. Pemberton (who would later surrender Vicksburg) and then ordered a court of inquiry into the charges of being drunk on duty; he was exonerated but reputation was sullied. Rosecrans was reprimanded for failing to capture or destroy all of Van Dorn's men.
Thus was the final battle of the Iuke-Corinth Campaign. A huge success for the Union, it is now part of the Shiloh-Corinth Battlefield Park run by the NPS. More can be learned about this particular battle at the Corinth Interpretative Center in Corinth, MS.