Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16, 1863 (Saturday): Champion Hill

CSA Left Flank (1 mile in front of Champion Hill)

BOLTON, MISS., May 16, 1863
Brigadier General A. J. SMITH.
    GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note to General Carr, advising him of your arrival at Raymond. Inclosed you will find orders for the movement of your DIVISION. # If
you are prompt in your movement, at 4 a. m. you will take the lead in the left wing, General Blair having orders to move at 5 a. m. You will take the road to Edwards Depot, which leaves the Raymond and Bolton road 1 1/2 miles this side of Raymond, diverging to the left.

    JOHN A. McClernand.

CLINTON, MISS., May 16, 1863-5. 30 a. m.
Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Comdg. Fifteenth Army Corps:
    Start one of your DIVISIONS on the road at once, with their ammunition wagons, and direct the general commanding the DIVISION to move with all possible speed until he comes up with our rear beyond Bolton. It is important that the greatest celerity should be shown in carrying out this movement, as I have evidence that the entire force of the enemy was at Edwards Depot at 7 p. m. last night, and was still advancing. The fight may, therefore, be brought on at any moment. We should have every man in the field.

    U. S. GRANT.

HDQRS. Fifteenth ARMY CORPS. Numbers 36.
Bolton, MISS., May 16, 1863.,
The movement to-morrow will be as follows:
    I. All the effective cavalry will constitute the advance, and will move as soon as day breaks by a road that will be explained to them by the
general commanding. All the non-effectives will be put under an officer, and ordered to accompany the wagon-train, to protect it.
     II. General Steele's DIVISION will lead and General Tuttle's follow. Each DIVISION commander will designate a good officer to take charge of the tired and foot-sore, to remain with the wagon train, composed of all the wagons of this corps, which will follow the troops, and as soon as firing is heard in the front, the wagons will be parked, and all wagon guards will prepare to defend it.
     III. The troops will march Light, followed only by ammunition wagons and ambulances, which will follow brigades.
     IV. The occasion calls for the utmost energy of all the troops. One determined effort and the opportunity for which we have all labored so hard and patiently will not be lost. Our destination is now the Big Black River, 13 miles distant, beyond which lies Vicksburg. The commanding general announces that the other corps with which we are acting have to-day signally repulsed the enemy, and our part is to make that repulse a complete defeat.
    V. The artillery of each DIVISION will be massed and kept near the front of each DIVISION.
    By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:

   R. M. SAWYER,
   Assistant Adjutant-General.

CLINTON, MISS., May 16, 1863-5. 45 a. m.
Major General J. B. McPHERSON, Comdg. SEVENTEENTH Army Corps:
I have just received information that the enemy have crossed Big Black with the entire Vicksburg force. He was at Edwards Depot last night, and still advancing. You will, therefore, pass all trains, and move forward to join McClernand. I have ordered your rear brigade to move at once, and given such directions to other commanders as will secure a prompt concentration of your forces.

     U. S. GRANT.

Brigadier General A. P. HOVEY:
    GENERAL: Your dispatch is received. * I have referred the question of bringing on an engagement to General Grant, who is said to be close by.
    Osterhaus is about 4 miles from Edwards Station; Smith 5 miles, and both have driven before them the enemy's pickets and skirmishers. Carr is well up to Osterhaus, and so is Blair to Smith.
     It appears that no force has passed to our left and rear. So soon as I am advised by General Grant, I will communicate with you. Meantime take any advantage you can, without bringing on a general engagement.    Watch your left as well as right. Communicate often.

    JOHN A. McClernand,

 *Not found.

JONES' PLANTATION, May 16, 1863-6 a. m.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Commanding, &c:
     GENERAL: I think it advisable for you to come forward to the front as soon as you can.
     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


In the Field, before Edwards Station, May 16, 1863-7. 50 a. m.
Major General J. B. McPherson, Comdg. SEVENTEENTH Army Corps:
    GENERAL: My artillery has engaged the enemy on my extreme left. I am, as I advised you this morning, convinced that if you will move on the far side of the railroad and fall on the enemy's flank and rear, it would be decisive; besides, Hovey may need support by a co-operative movement by you, either on the north or south side of the railroad.
     Respectfully, your obedient servant,

    JOHN A. McClernand.

IN THE FIELD, Before Edwards Station, May 16, 1863.
Brigadier General A. P. HOVEY:
     GENERAL: Our forces have engaged the enemy with artillery on the left. Move forward on the right, cautiously but promptly
     Very respectfully,

    JOHN A. McClernand.

May 16, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Commanding Department:
    GENERAL: I received an order last evening from General McClernand to take the road from Raymond to Edwards Depot, which I accordingly did, and am now, at 9. 50 a. m., within 1 1/2 miles of Baker's Creek. General A. J. Smith's DIVISION is with me. We are feeling the enemy cautiously, skirmishing, and I have sent to ascertain the exact where-abouts of Osterhaus, Carr, and Hovey. We shall attack as soon as we can develop the enemy's position and ascertain that of our friends.
     Respectfully, &c.,


CLINTON, MISS., May 16, 1863.
Major General F. P. BLAIR, Jr.:
Commanding FIFTH DIVISION, Fifteenth Army Corps:
     Information received indicates that the enemy have moved out to Edwards Station, and are still pushing on to attack us with all their force. Push your troops on in that direction as rapidly as possible. If you are already on the Bolton road, continue so; but if you still have a choice of roads, take the one leading to Edwards Depot.
     Pass your troops to the front of your train, except a rear guard, and keep the ammunition wagons in front of all the others. I sent your orders on the 14th to move directly from wherever you might be to Bolton. Did you received the order? If you take the Edwards Depot road, you will want to communicate with the troops along the railroad by all cross-roads, after having advanced to WEST of Bolton. Precautions in approaching Baker's Creek are necessary. Before doing so, know where friend and enemy both are.

    U. S. GRAN

Major General U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Dept. of the Tennessee:
     GENERAL: At 9. 45 a. m. General Hovey has advanced on his road about 4 miles. Finds the enemy strongly posted in his front, showing two pieces of artillery at the distance of some 400 yards. The general has taken 15 prisoners, who represent the enemy to be from 50,000 to 60,000 strong. Osterhaus must be some 4 miles from Edwards Station. General Smith is about the same distance.
McPherson, I think should move up to the support of Hovey, who thinks his right flank will encounter severe resistance. Shall I hold,

EDWARDS STATION, MISS, May 16, 1863. -12. 35 p. m.
Major General John A. McClernand, Comdg. Thirteenth Army Corps:
    As soon as your command is all in hand, throw forward skirmishers and feel the enemy, and attack him in force if an opportunity occurs. I am with Hovey and McPherson,. and will see that they fully co-operate.
or bring on an engagement? General Hovey thinks the enemy has passed a large force toward Raymond, and to our rear, but an aide from General Smith knows nothing of it.

    JOHN A. McClernand.

    U. S. GRANT.

IN THE FIELD, Before Edwards Station, May 16, 1863.
    Generals Smith and Osterhaus will attack the enemy vigorously, and press for victory. Generals Carr and Blair will support Generals Smith and Osterhaus. General Carr will place General Lawler's brigade as a reserve in front of his first position to-day.
     By order of Major General John A. McClernand:

    A. L. LEE.

    We are informed that a force of infantry and artillery are pressing between you and Smith. We threw Blair's right and Carr's left between the road. Look out for the enemy there.
    By order of Major General John A. McClernand:

    A. L. LEE.

In the Field, May 16, 1863.
General CARR:
      Information is received that the enemy are pressing infantry and artillery between Smith and Osterhaus. You will throw a brigade on the left of your road, and advance it to oppose any such attempt. General Blair will also throw a brigade from his right for the same purpose.
     Whenever your brigade commander is satisfied that no danger is to be apprehended from that quarter, he will resume his position.
     By order of Major General John A. McClernand:

    A. L. LEE.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 24, Part 3, Pages 316-320.

Johnston left Jackson when Grant moved between the Vicksburg and Jackson forces.  Pemberton was ordered to leave Edwards Depot and attack the Union forces at Clinton.  Pemberton at first advised against the order, but then turned to move on Clinton, which placed his supply wagons in the vanguard.  Pemberton drew up his forces on a commanding ridge overlooking Jackson Creek.  Three Union columns moving up the Jackson Road threatened the Confederate left at Champion Hill.  If this position was turned, the rebels would be cut off from their line of retreat.  For five hours a series of attacks and counterattacks ensued, before the Southern forces fell back behind the Big Black River in front of Vicksburg.  It was ultimately a victory for Grant, both in terms of casualties (3,000 CSA, 2,500 US) and position (moving the rebels back further toward Vicksburg). 

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