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The Battle of Booneville was fought on July 1, 1862, in Booneville, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. It occurred in the aftermath of the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh and within the context of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's efforts to recapture the rail junction at Corinth, Mississippi, twenty miles north of Booneville.

After the Union Army victory at Shiloh, the Union armies under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck advanced slowly on Corinth, an important rail center. By May 25, 1862, after moving five miles in three weeks, Halleck was in position to lay siege to the town. However, on May 29 the Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard had slipped away undetected and moved towards Tupelo, Mississippi. Halleck in late June ordered further movement south and learned that the Confederates, now under Bragg, were advancing towards Corinth. Union Col. Philip Sheridan established a fortified position at Booneville on June 28 to await the Confederate attack.

Lead elements of 4,700 troops under Confederate Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers encountered Sheridan's pickets on the morning of July 1, three and a half miles to the southwest of the town. The pickets fell back and established a sound defensive line at the intersection of the roads from Tupelo and Saltillo. Aided by the new Colt revolving rifle, the line withstood the initial Confederate assault but then withdrew to a backup position two miles closer to the town.

An effort to turn the left flank of this new line was thwarted when Sheridan's main force joined the battle. The bulk of the Union force stayed on the defensive while Sheridan sent the 2nd Michigan Cavalry under Capt. Russell Alexander and the 2nd Iowa Cavalry under Lt. Col. Edward Hatch to attack, respectively, the Confederate rear and left flank. Chalmers was forced to retreat and Sheridan's pursuit was called off after four miles as the fatigued troops encountered swampy terrain.

It was estimated by Sheridan that 65 of Chalmers's troops were killed in the battle while Federal casualties consisted of 1 dead, 24 wounded, and 16 missing. The battle caused Bragg to reconsider his offensive strategy towards Corinth and allowed Halleck additional time to unite his troops.

References[]

  • Eldridge, David P., "Battle of Booneville, Mississippi (1 July 1862)", Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, ISBN 0-393-04758-X.

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