After the battle of Iuka in September 1862, General Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates and those of General Sterling Price were combined. On October 3, 1862, this newly structured Confederate army under the leadership of Van Dorn attacked Union forces guarding the critical transportation hub of Corinth, Mississippi. After severe fighting, the Confederates exploited a gap in the Union line and continued to press the Federals until they fell back to an inner line of fortifications closer to Corinth.
Distressed over what he perceived as procrastination by the Army of the Potomac since Antietam, on October 1, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln, with a party of advisors, left Washington, D.C. for Harper’s Ferry to confer with Union General George McClellan. On October 2, Lincoln left Harper’s Ferry for McClellan’s field headquarters, where the president for two days occupied a tent next to McClellan’s.