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BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON.
VIEW ON LAKE PROVIDENCE
to the parting of roads, four miles from Port Gibson, each running along a ridge with deep hollows on each side. There he was confronted by a strong force from Vicksburg, under General John Bowen, with troops advantageously posted on the two roads and the broken ridges around them.
McClernand's troops were divided for the occasion. On his right were the divisions of Generals Hovey, Carr, and Smith, and on his left that of General Osterhaus. The former, superior in numbers pressed the foe on its
front steadily back to Port Gibson, while the latter was unable to move forward until he was re-enforced by a brigade of General Logan's division of the advance of McPher. son's corps. Another brigade of the same division was sent to the help of McClernand, and after a long and severe struggle the Confederates were re
pulsed, late in the afternoon, with heavy loss, and pursued to Port Gibson. Night coming on, the Nationals halted and rested on their arms, expecting to renew the contest in the morning. But the Confederates had fled across Bayou Pierre during the night, burned the bridges over the two forks of the bayou behind them, and retreated toward Vicksburg. So ended THE BATTLE OF Porr GIBSON.
The bridges were rebuilt and the pursuit of the Confederates was continued. Meanwhile Porter was directed to assail Grand Gulf again, but on approaching it, on the 3d of May, he found it deserted. The Confederates there, flanked by the Nationals at Port Gibson, had joined with the defeated troops in their flight toward Vicksburg. The Nationals followed them closely to Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black, skirmishing and taking prisoners on the way.' Grant at once made arrangements for a change of his base of supplies from Bruinsburg to Grand Gulf.
In the mean time General Sherman, with the Fifteenth corps, had been operating on the Yazoo again. He had been left above Vicksburg, with the expectation of soon following McClernand and McPherson down the west side of the Mississippi. On the 28th of April Grant sent him word that he intended to attack Grand Gulf the next day, and suggested that he should make a feint simultaneously on Haines's Bluff. Sherman was quick to act, and at ten o'clock on the morning of the 29th he started from Milliken's Bend for the mouth of the Yazoo, with Blair's division, in ten steamers. There he found three iron-clads and several unarmed gun-boats, under Cap
1 The National loss in the Battle of Port Gibson (called by some the Battle of Thompson's Hill) was 540 men, of whom 130 were killed and the remainder wounded. They captured three guns, four flags, and 580 prisoners.
· Black Hawk, DeKalb, and Choctau.
MARCH OF THE ARMY TOWARD JACKSON.
tain Breese, in readiness to go forward. They passed up the river and spent the night at the mouth of the Chickasaw Bayou. Early the
a May 6, next morning® they went within range of the batteries at Haines's Bluff, and for four hours the armored gun-boats and the Tyler assailed the fortifications there. Then there was a lull in the fight until toward evening, when Blair's brigade was landed on the south side of the Yazoo, as if io attack. The bombardment was resumed and kept up until dark, when the troops were quietly re-embarked. The assault and menace, with reconnoissances, were repeated the next day, when Sherman received an order from Grant to hasten with his troops down the west side of the river to Grand Gulf. Sherman kept up bis menaces until evening, when he quietly withdrew his whole force to Young's Point, whence Blair's division was sent to Milliken's Bend, there to remain until other troops, expected from above, should arrive. The divisions of Tuttle and Steele marched rapidly down the west side of the Mississippi to Hard Times, crossed the river there, and on the following day joined Grant's troops at
May 8 Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black. Sherman's feint was entirely successful in keeping re-enforcements from the Confederates at Port Gibson.
Grant, as we have observed, had expected to send troops down the river to assist Banks in operations against Port Hudson, intending, in the mean time, to remain at Grand Gulf, and collect there ample supplies of every kind. Circumstances compelled him to change his purpose, and on the 7th of May he moved his army forward on two nearly parallel roads on the eastern side of the Big Black River. These columns were led respectively by Generals McClernand and McPherson, and each was followed by portions of Sherman's corps, which had been divided for the purpose. The immediate destination of the army was the important railway that connects Vicksburg with Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, and also that capital itself, immediately in the rear of Vicksburg. Grant intended to have McClernand and Sherman strike the railway between the stations of Bolton and Edwards, while McPherson, bending his course more to the east, should march rapidly upon Jackson by way of Raymond and Clinton, destroy the railway and telegraph lines, seize the capital, commit the public property there to the flames, and then push westward and rejoin the main force.
Very little serious opposition to the Nationals was experienced until the morning of the 12th of May, when the van of each column was approaching the railway. On the previous evening Grant had telegraphed to Halleck that he was doubtless on the verge of a general engagement; that he should communicate with Grand Gulf no more, unless it should be necessary to send a train with a heavy escort, and that he might not hear from him again in several weeks. Ile and his army were now committed to the perilous but extremely important task of capturing Vicksburg. That night McClernand's corps was on and near the Baldwin's Ferry road, and not far from the Big Black River; Sherman's, in the center of the forming line, and accompanied by General Grant, was at and beyond Auburn; and McPherson's was eight miles to the right, a little in advance of Utica, in the direction of Raymond.
When, early in the morning of the 12th, the troops moved forward, they began to encounter stout resistance. The most formidable opposition was
BATTLE OF RAYMOND.
in front of McPherson, who, two or three miles from Raymond, the capital of Ilinds County, Mississippi, encountered two Confederate brigades about six thousand strong, under Generals Gregg and Walker (commanded by the former), well posted near Farnden's Creek, with infantry on a range of hills, in timber and in ravines, and two batteries commanding the roads over which the Nationals were approaching. Logan was in the advance, and not only received the first heavy blow at about ten o'clock, but bore the brunt of the battle that ensued. Brisk skirmishing had begun sometime before with the advance cavalry, under Captain Foster It speedily developed into a severe though short struggle.
The Confederates were mostly concealed in the woods, but their fire was soon drawn by Logan's Second brigade,' which advanced toward their covering. Soon afterward De Golyer's (Eighth Michigan) battery was ordered forward to assist in dislodging the foe, when for the first time the latter opened their batteries. Finding it impossible to silence the Michigan guns, the Confederates dashed forward to capture them, when they were repulsed with heavy loss by two shells that burst among their advancing troops. They tied beyond the creek and rallied.
McPherson now ordered an advance upon the new position of the Confederates. The movement was led by General Dennis's brigade, supported by General Smith's. A very severe conflict ensued, in which the Twentieth Ohio, Twentieth Illinois, and Twenty-third Indiana, lost heavily. The Confederates were pushed back a little, yet they maintained an unbroken front, when the Eighth Illinois, Colonel Sturgis, charged furiously upon them with fixed bayonets, broke the line into fragments, and drove them from the creek in wild disorder. So ended THE BATTLE OF RAYMOND. It had lasted about three hours.
The Confederates rallied and retreated in fair order though Raymond toward Jackson, followed cautiously by Logan, who occupied the town an hour after the fight, and found there Jackson newspapers of the day before, announcing, in grandiloquent style, that the “ Yankees had been whipped at Grand Gulf and Port Gibson, and were falling back to seek the protection of their gun-boats.”” During the engagement McPherson and Logan were seen riding along the lines directing the battle, and exposed to death every moment. This conduct greatly inspirited their troops.
McClernand and Sherman had skirmished pretty heavily while McPherson was struggling at Raymond, and when the result of that struggle was known to Grant, he ordered the other corps to move toward Jackson. He had learned that General Joseph E. Johnston, the ablest of the Confederate leaders, was hourly expected at Jackson, to take the command of the Confederate troops in that region in person. Perhaps he was already there. “ I therefore determined,” Grant said in his report, “ to make sure of that place, and leave no enemy in my rear."
i Composed of the Twentieth, Sixty-eighth and Seventy-eighth Ohio, and Thirteenth Illinois.
? The Union loss in this battle was 442, of whom 69 were killed, 341 wounded, and 82 missing. The loss of the Confederates was $23, of whom 103 were killed, and 720 were wounded and made prisoners. In this engagement the Eighth Ilinois and Seventh Texas, which faced each other at Fort Donelson, now had n fierce encoun
Eighth Missouri (Union) and Tenth Tennessee (Confederate), both Irish regiments, here met and," the correspondent of the Cincinnati Commerciul said, “exchanged compliments with genuine Hibernian accent"
* Correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, May 13, 1568.
BATTLE OF JACKSON.
On the morning of the 13th, McPherson pushed on to Clinton, which he entered unopposed at two o'clock in the afternoon, and began
a May, 1863. tearing up the railway between that town and Jackson. Sherman was marching at the same time on the direct road from Raymond to Jackson, while McClernand was moving to a point near Raymond. That night was a tempestuous one. The rain fell heavily, and made
6 May 14. wretched roads. But the troops under Grant were never overcome by mud, and early the next morning® Sherman and McPherson pushed on toward Jackson.
McPherson moved at five o'clock, with General Crocker's division (late Quinby's) in advance. At nine these encountered and drove in the Confederate pickets, five miles from Jackson ; and two and a half miles from that city they were confronted by a heavy Confederate force, consisting chiefly of Georgia and South Carolina troops, which had arrived the previous evening, under General W. H. T. Walker. These were discovered by Crocker when he gained the brow of a gentle hill, arranged in battle order along the crest of a ridge over which the road to Jackson passed, and in a shallow ravine at its foot. Their artillery was chiefly on their right, near the road, and between the two armies were broad open fields.
Crocker disposed his forces in battle order while a heavy shower of rain was falling, and at eleven o'clock they moved to the attack slowly and cau
tiously, preceded by a line of skirmishers. The First Missouri battery had been placed near a cotton-gin in the open field, and Crocker now threw out two brigades (Colonel Sanborn's and Colonel Holmes's) on the right and left of it, supported by Colonel Boomer's. His skirmishers were soon met by such volleys from the infantry in the hollow, that they were recalled. Crocker saw that the foe in that hollow as well as on the crest of the hill, must be dislodged, or the National troops must retire; so he ordered a charge by his whole line, with loaded muskets and fixed bayonets. Instantly
1 This is a view on the principal battle-ground near Jackson, as it appeared when the writer sketched it, late in April, 1866. It was taken from the open field over which Crocker's troops advanced to the charge. In the middle ground traversed by a fence is seen the ravine out of which the Confederates were driven, and on the crest of the hill, where they broke and fled, are seen the chimneys of the ruined mansion of O. P Wright, on whose farm the battle was fought. The brow of the bill on the left, where the road passes over, is the place where the Confederate cannon were planted.
CAPTURE OF JACKSON.
the troops moved steadily forward with, banners flying, unchecked by heavy volleys of musketry, and pushed the Confederates out of the ravine, and up the slopes to the crest where their artillery was planted. Still onward Crocker pressed, when the astonished Confederates broke and fled toward the city, closely chased for a mile and a half to the earthworks which formed the inner defenses of Jackson. There the batteries of McMurray and Dillon poured a storm of grape and canister upon the swarming Confederates, and under its cover the Nationals were halted and re-formed, with the intention of immediately assailing the works. But there was no occasion. They were empty. The garrison had fled. Sherman had come up and shelled them out of their works at another point, and now troops and civil officers and leading secessionists had evacuated the city and fed northward, the Governor carrying away as many State papers as possible, and the State Treasurer bearing away the public funds. McPherson and Sherman entered Jackson in triumph, finding there seventeen cannon which the Confederates had abandoned ; and standing around the Deaf and Dumb Institute, which was used as a hospital, were tents enough to shelter an entire division. They found the commissary and quartermaster stores in flames.
So ended THE BATTLE OF Jackson, in the capture of the city, and the unfurling of the National flag over the State House of Mississippi by the Fifty-ninth Indiana. General Grant entered the town that night, and learned that General Johnston had arrived, taken command of the Department, and ordered Pemberton to move out immediately from Vicksburg, cross the Big Black River, and fall upon the National rear. The reason of the flight of the troops northward from Jackson now seemed plain. No doubt Johnston intended to have them form a junction with Pemberton, and crush Grant by the weight of superior numbers. Grant perceived the menacing peril, and instantly took measures for striking Pemberton before such junction should be effected. For this purpose he gave orders for a concentration of his forces in the direction of Edwards's Station, which was about two miles
from the railway bridge over the Big Black River. McPherson was directed to retrace his steps to Clin
ton the next morning, « May 15, and McClernand's scat
tered divisions' were ordered to march simultaneously toward Bolton's Station and concentrate, while Sherman was directed to remain in Jackson only long enough to cause a thorough destruction of the railways, military factories, arsenal, bridges, a large cotton factory, stores, and other public property, and then to rejoin the main army.
JOHN C. PEMBERTOX.
1 One division of McClernand's troops was then in Clinton, another at Mississippi Springs, a third at Ray. mond, and a fourth, with Blair's division of Sherman's corps, with a wagon train between Raymond and Utica