Union Corps Histories

 

13th Corps

 

Chickasaw Bluffs; Arkansas Post; Port Gibson (Magnolia Hills); Champion's Hill; Big Black River Bridge; Vicksburg Assault, May 19th; Vicksburg Assault, May 22nd; Siege Of Vicksburg; Siege Of Jackson; Helena; Grand Coteau; Cane River; Cloutiersville; Sabine Cross Roads; Spanish Fort; Fort Blakely.

 

The Thirteenth and Fourteenth corps were the first ones organized in the Western armies. They were created on the same date, October 24, 1862, by General Order No. 168, War Department, which ordered that "the troops under the command of Major-General Grant will constitute the Thirteenth Army Corps." As these troops included the whole Army of the Tennessee, it became necessary to subdivide the corps, which was done December 18, 1862, and four organizations, the Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth corps were accordingly formed, with General John A. McClernand in command of the Thirteenth. In the meantime, General Sherman, with a portion of the Thirteenth Corps, the right wing, embarked at Memphis on the Yazoo Expedition, during which he made an unsuccessful assault on the outer works of Vicksburg, at Chickasaw Bluffs. Loss, 208 killed, 1,005 wounded, and 563 missing; total, 1,776, out of 33 regiments engaged. The forces consisted of the divisions of Generals A. J. Smith, Morgan L. Smith, George W. Morgan, and Frederick Steele, numbering 30,075 men. The regiments, with a few exceptions, were under fire for the first time. There was some close fighting done; "the flag of the Sixteenth Ohio was shot to tatters, only shreds remaining on the staff; and the flag of the Twenty-second Kentucky was scarcely less torn, and not less dripping with blood."--[Official Report.]

In January, McClernand moved on an expedition against Arkansas Post, taking with him the Thirteenth and Fifteenth corps. He styled his forces, "the Army of the Mississippi," and designated them as the First and Second corps of the same. He placed General Morgan in temporary command of his own corps- the Thirteenth; General Sherman was in command of the Fifteenth. The Confederate works at Arkansas Post were carried by storm, the losses in the Thirteenth Corps amounting to 48 killed, 397 wounded, and 18 missing; total, 463, the bulk of which fell on Burbridge's Brigade o[' A. J. Smith's Division. Only two divisions of the Thirteenth Corps--A. J. Smith's and Osterhaus'--participated in this expedition.

Upon the opening of the campaign against Vicksburg, May 1, 1863 the Thirteenth Corps was composed of the four divisions of Osterhaus, A. J. Smith, Hovey, and Carr; these were also known, respectively, as the Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth, and Fourteenth Divisions, having been numbered thus while in the Army of the Tennessee. The corps, as thus composed, contained 40 regiments of infantry, 11 batteries of light artillery, and 6 companies of cavalry; numbering in all 32,648, present and absent, with 18,245 present for duty. To this should be added Ross's (13th) Division, stationed in Arkansas, which also belonged to the Thirteenth Corps, but which did not take part in the Vicksburg campaign. This division fought the battle of Helena, Ark, July 4, 1863.

The battle of Port Gibson, May 1, 1863, was fought almost entirely by the Thirteenth Corps, its losses in that action aggregating 125 killed, 678 wounded, and 23 missing; total, 826. The battle of Champion's Hill was fought by the Thirteenth and Seventeenth Corps, the former losing 231 killed, 987 wounded, and 145 missing; total, 1,363. The fighting at the Big Black River Bridge was a brilliant affair, in which the Thirteenth Corps alone participated; loss, 39 killed, 237 wounded, and 3 missing; total, 279, the bulk of which occurred in Lawler's Brigade of Carr's Division. In the first assault on Vicksburg, May 19th, the corps sustained a slight loss only; but in the grand assault of May 22d it suffered severely, losing 202 killed, 1,004 wounded, and 69 missing; total, 1,275. During the first twenty-two days of the Vicksburg campaign, the corps lost 3,893 men in action, which was supplemented during the siege by heavy losses in the trenches.

General McClernand was relieved from command on June 19th, by order of General Grant, and General E. O. Ord was appointed in his place. Grant was displeased with the tone and character of a congratulatory order issued by McClernand to his troops, and as McClernand declined to amend it he was relieved. After the capitulation of Vicksburg the Thirteenth Corps, under General Ord, moved with the Army to Jackson, Miss., and assisted in the investment of that place. Carr's Division at this time was commanded by General William P. Benton. In the operations about Jackson the corps lost 85 killed, 501 wounded, and 165 missing; total, 751. This includes the loss in Lauman's Division, of the Sixteenth Corps, which was temporarily attached to the Thirteenth.

Upon the evacuation of Jackson and retreat of the enemy, the corps returned to Vicksburg, and in the following month (August, 1863) moved on transports down the Mississippi to New Orleans. The troops were assigned to duty at various places in the Department of the Gulf, --in Texas and Louisiana. General Osterhaus was succeeded in command of his division by General C. C. Washburn. The Third and Fourth Divisions fought at Grand Coteau, Louisiana November 3, 1863. The winter of 1863-4 was spent in the vicinity of New- Orleans and the Lower Mississippi, a part of the corps being stationed in Texas. Corps headquarters were in Texas, but were moved to Alexandria, La., on the 18th of April, as the Third and Fourth Divisions had accompanied Banks on his Red River Expedition of April, 1864. General McClernand was again in command of the corps; the Third Division was commanded by General Cameron, and the Fourth, by General Landram. The First and Second Divisions remained in Texas during the Red River Expedition, excepting Lawler's (2d) Brigade, of the First Division, which joined Banks' Army about the 90th of April. The Third and Fourth Divisions of the Thirteenth Corps were actively engaged at the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, La., April 8, 1864, in which they sustained considerable loss. They were also engaged at Cane River, and at Cloutiersville, La.

The corps organization was discontinued, June 11, l864, and the troops transferred to other commands. It was reorganized, Feb. 18, 1865, and Major-General Gordon Granger, of Chickamauga fame, was placed in command; the divisions were commanded by Generals Veatch, Andrews, and Benton. The corps proceeded to Mobile, and it participated in the investment of that city, and in the storming of Fort Blakely, April 9, 1865, which was the last general engagement of the war.

The Thirteenth Corps then moved to Selma, Ala., and thence to Galveston, Texas. Its existence terminated officially on the 20th of July, 1865. The men of the Thirteenth never wore any corps badge; neither was there any badge designated in official orders for their use.

 

Source: "Regimental Losses in the American Civil War (1861-1865)" - William F. Fox

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