Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12, 1863 (Tuesday): The Battle of Raymond

McPherson's Ridge at Raymond Battlefield (

DILLON'S PLANTATION, MISS., May 12, 1863-9. 15 p. m.
Major General John A. McClernand, Comdg. Thirteenth Army Corps:
     General McPherson gained Raymond this afternoon, after a severe fight of several hours, in which we lost from 400 to 500 killed and wounded. The enemy was driven at all points, leaving most of his wounded and over 100 prisoners in our hands.
     He retreated toward Clinton, and no doubt to Jackson. I have determined to follow, and take first the capital of the State. Accordingly McPherson is ordered to move at daylight from Raymond toward Clinton and Jackson. Sherman leaves here at 4 o'clock in the morning, in the same direction. You will start with three of your divisions as soon as possible, by the road north of Fourteen-Mile Creek, to this place, and on to Raymond. The road is plain, and cannot be mistaken. A supply train left Grand Gulf yesterday, and Blair's division with an additional train, to-day.
     Under present instructions, these trains will divide at the forks of the road where you and Sherman separated this morning. I would direct, therefore, that your Fourth division go back to Old Auburn, and wait until these trains come up, both of them, and conduct them after the army on the Raymond road, until they receive further orders from these headquarters.

     U. S. GRANT.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 24, Part 3, Page 300.

Grant's intention had been to combine with Banks in operations against Fort Hudson, Louisiana and then move on Vicksburg.  But he learned Banks was engaged in his own campaign (known as the Red River Campaign) and would not return to Baton Rouge until May 10th, and then with only 15,000 men.  So Grant decided to advance on Jackson and attempt to get between the separated wings of Confederate forces who were attempting to concentrate there.  He could have moved directly on Vicksburg, but in doing so would not have disrupted the re-enforcements would have come to Pemberton's aide.  At Raymond the Confederate brigade of John Gregg formed south of town and held off McPherson from 11 a.m. until late afternoon.  This confirmed for Grant the idea that considerable force was building at Jackson.

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