Iuka was marked by the occurrence of an unusual battlefield phenomenon: acoustic shadow. While Union General Rosecrans was engaged in a ferocious battle to take the town from its occupiers, Sterling Price’s Confederate Army of the West, his left flank under Ord, kicked their heels nearby, blissfully unaware. Battle commenced late on 19 September, when the Union advance guard under General Hamilton clashed with the Confederates at a crossroads on the town’s southwestern outskirts. Hamilton deployed his cavalry right of the fork and a battery on the left. In a ferocious assault, the Confederates were repulsed twice before overrunning the battery, but were unable to take the guns because all their horses were killed in the fighting. A final desperate attack by the Confederates was thwarted by General Stanley’s reserves, who were by now fighting in darkness. Price at this point ordered withdrawal, which continued unhindered down the unguarded Fulton Road.
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