A Good Deal of Skirmishing
At 2 o’clock we were ordered out to support a battery, the enemy having possession of some houses in a large field one mile from our camp. The house being in the center of the field and held by a strong force of the enemy could not be approached by our line of pickets suffering great loss, this in connection with a heavy picket which the enemy had brought up kept annoying our lines very much; so our general determined to drive them from their strongholds. We advanced upon them, the right wing of our regiment deploying as skirmish; we advanced as far as the fence around the field. Our battery was planted at one corner of the same. General Sherman’s division planted one at the other corner of the field, his men charging upon the house under a heavy fire of the enemy drove them from their position killing and wounding many of them, with a small loss on our side. Then we commenced shelling the woods with our batteries, doing great execution.
Soon, the drums of the enemy began to beat-off. We could hear them distinctly as though they were marching, but in what direction I could not ascertain. At sundown we withdrew from our position and fell back into line without hearing a reply from the enemy’s batteries. We remained in position till 11 o’clock P.M. when we were relieved by another regiment, so we returned to camp and slept till morning in camp near Corinth, Mississippi.
The Sabbath, May 18th, 1862, everything is quiet along our lines this beautiful Lord’s Day morning. The enemy pickets poured a volley into ours [picket] as they were relieving the old guards. But more than this, the fighting was a bit trifling in comparison with other days.
Our pickets advanced today. I think the shell we gave them last night cooled them down considerably. I do not think they respect the Sabbath as a day for rest so much as they fear the shell from our batteries.
This was not a day of rest for me as I was detailed on fatigue duty to cut away some timber in front of Bolen’s Battery, as to give them range with their rifled cannon into an open field. This, however, we completed by 12 o’clock; the remainder of the day I had to myself.
Monday, May the 19th A.D., 1862
Camp 4 miles from Corinth
We were early called in line this morning. Some movement had taken place which our generals were watching. I think perhaps the enemy was moving on our right flank. Picket engagements were heavy. Late in the afternoon heavy cannonading was heard on our left. Picket engagements continued all day until dark.
Off Corinth 4 miles
Tuesday, May the 20th, 62, a heavy rain fell last night. The pickets were early engaged this morning and continue to skirmish up to this hour 9 A.M.
10 o’clock A.M., heavy cannonading on the left of the right wing, continued for several hours. Heavy cannonading in the distance, supposed to be on the left wing. Generals John Pope & Mitchell engaging the enemy, also volleys of musketry in the direction of Corinth and in other directions; the cause of which is unknown. At times the pickets are heavily engaged, not very great demonstrations along our lines this evening.
The rain continues to fall slowly. Lieutenant Colonel Scott arrived today; all glad to see him take command. He is in good health. My health is good; am in good spirits, anxious for the fight to come off - in camp near Corinth Mississippi.
Fortifying Our Position
Wednesday, May the 21st
In camp 2 ½ miles from Corinth
We were ordered this morning at 7 o’clock A.M. to march with knapsack, accouterments, axes, shovels and two days’ rations. But were delayed till 10 ½ A.M., when we advanced slow and quietly within 2 ½ miles of Corinth, when we formed our lines, stacked arms and proceeded with great caution to fortify under the range of the enemy’s guns.
To prevent the enemy from ascertaining our intentions we were not allowed to chop, so we went to work with picks and shovels, and ere the sun had set we were well fortified, with a deep ditch on the outside of the earthworks, and on the inside one foot deep and 6 feet wide.
Our fortifications here are more formidable than any heretofore made by us. An officer belonging to the 25th Indiana, who was at the taking of Fort Donelson, informed me that the fortifications here were stronger than them of Donelson. While working here, about 4,000 Cavalry [CSA] annoyed one of the Indiana regiments on the left of our division by rushing upon them, trying to drive them away, but they were soon routed after a nice little fight.
The enemy advanced in force on General Davis’s division while fortifying, but a few shells from his batteries made them skedadle. We have driven the enemy back time and again often shelling the woods in front of their lines and in no instance have they replied with their guns. Occasionally we can hear cannonading on our left and in the direction of Corinth; supposed to be on the other side of that noted place. The picket engagements were not so protracted as yesterday.
We completed our fortifications by sundown. As we had no tents, I collected some brush and leaves made a bed upon the ground. Where after partaking of a supper, hot coffee, fish, ham, eggs &c (in an iron), I laid my weary limbs to rest, &c &c
Company G, 3rd Brigade, Iowa Infantry
Thursday, May 22nd, 1862
2 ½ miles off Corinth, Mississippi
Being so very tired last night, I slept but little.
The pickets continued their skirmishing the greater part of the night. In the after part of the night, heavy cannonading on the left and beyond Corinth.
Moved camp and baggage this forenoon up to this position, placing them 500 yards in rear of fortifications.
The weather is very warm. My health is excellent.
Everything is comparatively quiet along our lines, but little skirmishing between the pickets up to this time, three o’clock P.M.
For the past week, the whistle of engines and the running of oars could be distinctly heard. But since yesterday, although the wind was favorable, we cannot hear them running as usual. What is the cause of it, I cannot tell whether they have evacuated or whether our forces have possession of the railroads.
Distant cannonading is heard on the extreme right. Six o’clock P.M., occasional cannonading on the left, light skirmishing between the pickets. Our company went on guard at 2 o’clock and 20 minutes. The day is very warm.
Drums of the Enemy
Friday, May the 23rd, 1862
In camp 2 ½ miles off Corinth, Mississippi
Everything quiet along the lines this morning except a few scattering shots from pickets. At 9 A.M. heavy volleys of musketry were fired into our pickets from the enemy, as they were being relieved by the new guard. The sky is clouded and the rain is falling, cooling the atmosphere, making it very pleasant. My duty last night was sentinel post on fortifications.
The night was pleasant. At three A.M. I heard the faint whistle of steam engines at Corinth, about the same time I could distinctly hear the drums of the enemy in camp at Corinth. I think ere long their drums will beat no more, and the patriotic tunes of the C.S.A. will be heard no more.
W.C. Newlon USA
Saturday, May the 24th, 1862
In camp 2 ½ miles off Corinth, Mississippi
A very steady rain fell this forenoon. Nothing unusual has taken place along our lines today up to this time, 4 P.M., except that our pickets have advanced a little without much resistance from the enemy.
Today there is a scaffold being erected 400 feet right on the top of the highest hill along our lines by General Davis, first division on our left. This once erected, we will have a commanding view of the enemy, whereby, we will be able to ascertain in a great measure the strength and position of the same.
As the enemy permitted us to build fortifications at this place almost without molestation, and from other indications, I think our lines will be advanced a short distance before long and fortify as at this place, unless strongly resisted by the enemy. I do not understand why it is that the enemy is so strongly entrenched at Corinth as reported to be; will permit us to advance so close to their fortifications and fortify as we advance.
The rain has ceased, the air has become quite cool and pleasant.