THE NORTHEAST CORNER 403 they knew would be overwhelming numbers. Others dug wells. The existing wells could not possibly supply drinking water for the thousands of men encamped in the town that had held only 2,500 souls before the war. The wells proved inadequate and diarrhea affected almost the entire army. More men died in Corinth from the water, lack of sanitation, and poor food than died at Shiloh. Despite reinforcements, the Confederacy realized that it could not hold Corinth and resorted to a clever ruse to cover their retreat. They ran empty railcars into town and had soldiers cheer their arrival in order to deceive the Yankees. The cars departed in full until the army left an empty town to their enemy. The ill and wounded were scattered across north Mississippi where the University of Mississippi, resort hotels, and private homes took them in and nursed them back to health or buried them. The Confederate states later attempted to retake Corinth, but failed. The Union built one of its first facilities outside Corinth to house the fleeing slaves who flocked to the Union army. The Corinth and Shiloh experiences were so horrifying Confederate and Union leaders came to understand that the war would not be fought by the gentlemanly rules of previous wars. The battles also served notice that the South would not go down easy. General Ulysses S. Grant believed that ordinary southerners would not support the Confederacy, but he found most Mississippians defiant and hostile. As the center of activity shifted west to Oxford, northeast Mississippi became the scene of guerrilla warfare. Many men left the army after Shiloh and returned home. Colonel William C. Faulkner of Ripley lost his command in Virginia when his unit voted in a new leader so he returned and organized a cavalry unit. When Confederacy conscripted it into the army, he stayed home and began running cotton to Memphis laying the basis for his post war fortune. Sargent Soloman G. Street, who had also been serving in Virginia, hired a substitute when he heard that the Yankees had invaded Tippah County and came home to form a Citizen’s Guard. Elected Captain, Street and about thirty men hid out in the “bottom” near his boyhood home until the Union forces had passed on. Then they emerged to ambush Yankee patrols and even attack Union trains. Northeast Mississippi descended into chaos during the remainder of the war. Courts ceased to function and guerrilla units roamed the country. Some of the inhabitants who had opposed secession all along began to cooperate with the invaders. M. A. Higginbottom joined the Union Army and served in the Federal Secret Service as a spy. He guided Union troops about northeast Mississippi during the war. Robert Flournoy, who served in the Secessionist Convention and was elected colonel of a Confederate unit, resigned his commission before the fighting began and returned to Tippah County rather than fight against the United States. Many of the citizens of Tishomingo, Itawamba, and Pontotoc took the Union oath, and the army allowed them rail service and power of local government in return. Nathan Bedford Forrest continued to bedevil the Union forces in north Mississippi for the rest of the war. Several times Union forces passed through the Northeast Corner seeking to destroy him, but they never did. At Brice’s Crossroads, Forrest won what military historians have judged a brilliant victory and he chased the Union force back to Ripley where it disintegrated into a fleeing mob. Later near Tupelo, they fought to a draw. Confederate General Earl Van Dorn made successful raids on the Yankee forces in the region. But the Yankees made a few raids of their own. Grant sent Benjamin Grierson to ride across the entire state starting in the Northeast to distract attention from his movements toward Vicksburg. And in December, 1864, the Union descended on Ripley and Booneville simply to destroy anything of use— tearing up railroad tracks, stealing food, and burning buildings. At the war’s end, the northeast, like the rest of the state, lay prostrate. In the summer of 1866, Richard Bolton of Pontotoc, who was an agent for the New York and Northeast Mississippi descended into chaos during the remainder of the war.