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PEMBERTON COMPELLED TO FIGHT.
Early on the morning of the 16th General Grant was pretty accurately informed, by two persons who had been employed on the railway, and who had come through Pemberton's lines, of the position, strength, and intentions of that commander, who had been for two or three days near Edwards’s Station. They informed him that Pemberton's force was about twenty-five thousand strong, composed of eighty regiments, with ten batteries of artillery, and that he was moving forward with the intention of attacking the National rear. This was confirmatory of information already received, and Grant resolved to strike first. Blair was ordered to push forward with his division toward Edwards's Station, and McClernand and Osterhaus were directed to follow immediately, while McPherson was ordered to keep u;) communication with McClernand on another road. In order to prevent any miscarriage, Grant sent Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, of his staff, to McClernand, to explain the situation, and urge him to move promptly. Then the Commander-in-Chief hastened to the front, to have a personal direction of the movements there.
Pemberton, who appears to have been a rather tardy and timid leader, had advanced a few miles eastward from his fortifications near Edwards's Station. On the day of the battle at Jackson, he had received a dispatch from Johnston at that place, "suggesting, not order
a May 14, ing,” he afterward said, a combined attack on McPherson at Clinton, when Pemberton called a council, and, pursuant to its decision, prepared to attack the next morning, quite unconscious that his chief had already been made a fugitive by the very troops he was about to fall upon.
A branch of Baker's Creek was so swollen by the rains that he was delayed until the afternoon, when he advanced four five miles to a strong position on broken ground,
the railway, and not far from Baker's Creek, known as the Champion Hills, where he received a note from Johnston directing lim to move northward, so as to form a junction with that oflicer's shattered forces. Pemberton at once sent his trains back to the
CHAMPION HILLS BATTLE-GROUND. Big Black, and was abont to follow with his troops, when he found Grant close upon him, anıl he felt compelled to remain and fight. Ile was posted across the main Vicksbarg dirt road that led to Edwards's Station, with a high undulating hill on the left, crowned with a dense forest. General W. W. Loring commanded
BATTLE OF CHAMPION HIILLS.
his right. General John Bowen, who had been driven from Port Gibson, led his center, and General Carter L. Stevenson commanded his left. To reach Pemberton's line from the road the Nationals had to cross two open fields, and ascend a steep slope dotted with stumps of trees, exposed to the fire of the foe in thick woods. General Hovey's division held the advance in front of Pemberton, and
when Grant arrived his skirmishers were close to the pickets of a May 16,
his foe, and his troops were coming rapidly into line. McPher
son's corps (excepting Ransom's brigade), which soon came up, was thrown to the right of the road, and threatened Pemberton's rear. There were promises of immediate success in case of a strife, but Grant, unwilling to risk a battle without evidently sufficient numbers to gain a victory, forbade an attack until McClernand's corps should be near. was advancing from Bolton's Station, and Grant sent an urgent messenger for its commander to hasten forward. Then he listened anxiously, but in vain, for McClernand's guns. He knew the belligerents were too close together to allow much delay. At length firing commenced, and at cleren o'clock a battle had fairly begun. Ilovey's division, composed of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin troops, was bearing the brunt. His first brigade, mostly Indiana troops, under General McGinnis, opened the battle gallantly. The Confederates brought two batteries of four guns each to bear upon them from a ridge. One of these was charged upon and captured by the Eleventh Indiana' and Twenty-ninth Wisconsin, and the other by the Forty-sixth Indiana. But after a severe struggle for an hour and a half, against constantly increasing numbers (for Pemberton massed his troops on his right so as to crush and turn Grant's left), Hovey's infantry were compelled to fall back half a mile, to the position of his artillery, leaving behind them the captured guns. There Ilovey was re-enforced by a portion of Crocker's (late Quinby's) division, when he re-formed, and, massing his artillery, which was strengthened by the addition of Dillon's Wisconsin battery, he renewed the fight with great spirit.
In the mean time Logan's division of McPherson's corps (its second brigade, under General M. D. Legget, forming on the right of Hovey) had fallen upon Stevenson, on Pemberton's left. Seeing this, Pemberton sent two of Bowen's brigades to assist Stevenson, and ordered General Loring to join Bowen and the remainder of his division, in further attempts to crush and turn Grant's left. Loring refused obedience, and seemed like a man demented. The battle went on without him, with varied fortunes, until late in the afternoon, when Stevenson's line, which had fought most gallantly, began to bend under Logan's severe pressure, and at five o'clock broke and fell back in confusion. Meanwhile the divisions of Osterhaus and Carr, of McClernand's corps, had come up, but did not engage very severely in the battle.
With that demolition of Pemberton's left, the Confederates became so confused and disheartened that nothing better seemed left for them than flight. Loring, with his troops sharing the panic of their leader, had
1 This was the famous regiment of Zouaves, first organized by Colonel (afterward Major-General) Lewis Wallace. See page 517, volume I.
PURSUIT OF THE CONFEDERATES.
already moved from the field, leaving his artillery behind, and a large number of his men as prisoners, and was making his way to Johnston's camp at Canton. Seeing this, Pemberton ordered his whole army to retreat toward the Big Black, when Grant, who had been on the field directing his troops in battle, ordered the fresh brigades of Osterhaus and Carr to follow with all speed to that river, and to cross it if possible. In his flight, and in this instant pursuit, Pemberton lost many of his troops made prisoners. Thus ended The BATTLE OF CHAMPION Hills, or Baker's Creek, as it is sometimes called, it having been fought near that stream. It was “fought mainly," Grant said in his report, “by General Hovey's division of McClernand's corps, and Generals Logan and Quinby's divisions (the latter commanded by General M. M. Crocker) of McPherson's corps.
The Confederates were pursued until after dark that night, with a loss of some men, and a train of cars loaded with provisions and ordnance stores captured, and a large quantity of similar and other stores which they themselves burned. McClernand accompanied the pursuing party, with whom he bivouacked that night on the hill overlooking Edwards's Station, and tee broad and fertile plain between it and the Big Black. Early the followi::g morning-a beautiful Sabbath morning in Maya—the pursuit was resumed, but not continued long, for it was found that the Con
a May 17, federates were well posted on both sides of the Big Black at the railway bridge, and were strongly fortified. On the bottom, near the eastern bank of the stream, they had a line of well-armed works, in front of which, and about a mile from the river, was a bayou that formed an efficient ditch, with a line of rifle-pits behind it. On the opposite side of the river the bank was steep and covered with works, well armed with heavy guns; and back of these, at a little distance, was a forest. Behind the defenses on the eastern side of the river, to meet the first onset of the pursuers, were the brigades of Green, Villepigue, and Cockrell. Just above the railway bridge,
, Pemberton had constructed a passage-way for troops, composed of steamboat hulks.
General Carr's division occupied the extreme advance of the pursuing columns. A heavy line of skirmishers, supported by two brigades of his division, were deployed in the woods on the right of the road, while Osterhaus's division was similarly posted on the left of it. Very soon Carr's skirmishers were hotly engaged with those of the foe, which had come out to meet them, and speedily a severe battle was raging between the two armies in the thick forest. This continued for about three hours, when General Lawler, commanding Carr's extreme right, discovered a good opportunity for a charge. He gave the order, and right gallantly his brigadle, composed
| The National loss in the battle, as reported by Grant, was 2.457, of whom 426 were killed, 1,842 wounder, and 189 missing. Hovey's division alone lost 1,202, or one-third of its entire number. The Confederate liss is unknown, as no official account was given. It was estimated in killed and wounded as quite eqnal to that of the National forces, besides almost 2.000 prisoners, 18 guns, and a large quantity of small arms. Among their killed was General Loyd Tighlınan, who was captured at Fort Henry the previous year. lle was billed by a shell from one of the guns of the Chicago Mercantile battery. Indiana was more largely represented in th: desperate battle of Champion IIills than any other State.
The Twenty-fourth lowa was called the " Methodist regiment," its principal officers and a portion of its men being of that denomination. They fonght most galiantly, and at evening, after the battle was over, they held a religious meeting, and made the bills resound with the grand air and stirring words of - Old Hundred."
BATTLE OF THE BIG BLACK RIVER.
of the Twenty-first, Twenty-second, and Twenty-third Iowa, and Eleventh Wisconsin, sprang forward with cheers, and drove the foe to his intrenchments; not, however, without suffering fearfully from an enfilading fire from a curtain of the Confederate breast-works, which prostrated one hundred and fifty of their number. Undismayed, they waded the bayou, pressed for ward, delivered and received heavy volleys of bullets, and rushed upon the foe with fixed bayonets before the latter had time to reload. Meanwhile many of the Confederates within the intrenchments fled to the other side of the river, and communicated to the troops there their own irrepressible panic.
They expected the Nationals would immediately cross the river and assail them, and so they burned the two bridges, cut off the retreat of their com radles who were yet fighting, and fled pell-mell toward the safer region of the defenses around Vicksburg, making the inhabitants of that city pale with affright, and forebodings of the greatest calamities impending. Pemberton and his staff, it is said, tried to prevent the incendiarism and stop the flight. but in vain. The assailed garrison, about fifteen hundred strong, were captured, with seventeen guns (a part of them taken from Grant the day before), several thousand stand of arms, and a large quantity of commissary stores, and losing, besides, twenty killed and two hundred and forty-two wounded. Thus ended THE BATTLE OF THE Big Black River, in which Osterhaus was wounded, when his command devolved temporarily upon Brigadier-General A. L. Lee.
McClernand could not immediately follow the fugitives toward Vicksburg. Their retreat was covered by the batteries and sharp-shooters on the high western bank of the river, who for hours kept the Nationals from constructing floating bridges. Grant's only pontoon train was with Sherman, who, under his chief's orders, and while the events we have just been considering were occurring, had been making his way from Jackson to Bridgeport, on the Big Black, a few miles above the railway bridge. He arrived there
1 This was the appearance at the passage of the railway travel between Jackson and Vicksburg, over the Big Black River, as it appeared to the writer when he made the sketch, in April, 1866, from the eastern side of the stream, while on his way from Vicksburg to Jaekson. The passengers had crossed the river on the pontoon bridge seen in the sketch, and while waiting for the cars to start, the druwing was made. On the left are seen the piers of the railroad bridge destroyed by the Confederates, and beyond the stream are the high banks, witb the forest Dear, on which the Confederate batteries were planted.
PORTER AGAIN ON THE YAZOO.
during the afternoon of the 17th, and prepared to cross the stream in the
a May 18,
1863. inan turned to the right and took possession of the Walnut Hills, near the Chickasaw Bayou,' without opposition, and cutting off the Coniederates at Haines's Bluff. McPherson followed Sherman's track some distance to the point where he turned to the right, and halted, while McClernand, advancing on the line of the retreat of the Confederates, on the direct highway from Jackson to Vicksburg, bent his course a little to the left, and took position at Mount Albans, so as to cover the roads leading out of Vicksburg on the southeast. So, on the morning of the 19th of May, Grant's army, which for more than a fortnight had subsisted off the country in which it was moving, completely invested Vicksburg on the land side, and, by a successful movement of Admiral Porter, his base of supplies was changed from Grand Gulf to the Yazoo. Let us see what Porter did. On the morning of the 16tho he
May. went to the Yazoo. He left several of his iron-clad steamers below Vicksburg, while others in the Yazoo were ready for co-operation with Grant. When on the 18th he heard the booming of guns in the rear of the city, he knew that the army was approaching, and very soon he saw through his glass National troops on the Walnut Hills. These were Sherman's men. Porter immediately sent Lieutenant-Commander Breese up the Yazoo with the De Kalb, Choctavo, Romeo, and Forest Rose, to open communication with the army, which was accomplished in the course of a few hours. The De Kalb then pushed on toward Haines's Bluff, which the Confederates had already commenced to evacuate. The latter fled precipitately, leaving everything behind them, such as stores, ammunition, gun-carriages, and an admirably constructed camp. All these Porter destroyed, and the next day he sent Lieutenant Walker, with five gun-boats, to Yazoo City. Walker found the navy, yard and vessels in flames, and the
PEMBERTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS IN VICKSBURG.? citizens ready to surrender the town, with fifteen hundred sick soldiers in the hospital. Other public property which the Confederates had not destroyed Walker burned, and then
i See miip on page 578.
? This is a view of the fine residence of C. A. Manlove, on Cherry Street, Vicksburg, when the writer sketched it, in 1866, which was occnpied by General Peinberton as his head-quarters during the siege of Vicksburg. It is a brick building, stuccoed, with a pleasant garden in front of it.
3 Among the vessels on the stocks at Yazoo City was the Republic, a ram three hundred and ten feet in length and seventy-five in widih. Also another called the Mobile, which was ready for plating. The navy. yard was well supplied with machinery and workshops, and such as were not on fire when he arrived, Walker committed to the flames.