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The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2000

    Exceptional battle scenes.

    Peter Cozzens' book interested me for the simple fact that it deals with the very important but largely 'forgotten' battles of Iuka and Corinth in September and October of 1862. My previous reading on these battles included Battles and Leaders, reports in the Official Records, and Frost's rare History of the 10th Missouri, with which I spent part of a Saturday in the rare book room of the Kansas City Public Library, wearing required white gloves carefully turning brittle pages under the watchful eye of the librarian. Cozzens brings the story together in a cogent and exciting way. He does a very good job of developing the major characters, none of whom shine on close inspection, from the pompous and self-serving Rosencrans to the libertine Van Dorn. Cozzens is at his best with descriptions of the actual battles. He paints the panorama on a regimental level through the cotton fields of Iuka to the great actions around the fortress batteries at Corinth. I am in awe at heroism and shudder at the incompetence of leadership on both sides. My only complaint, and this is minor, is that he wrongly identifies Company E of the 24th Missouri Infantry as 'Company F.' This Company was attached to the 10th Missouri, and included my ancestor Hezekiah Lucas and my ancestoral uncle, Drury Campbell, who was killed at Corinth facing another of my relatives, Rufus Yancey Powell, with the Confederate 5th Missouri in the action near Battery Powell on October 4. I am thankful that Mr. Cozzens has written a book worthy of honoring their memory.

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