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General Osterhaus led the advance from Little to Big Sand, and upon arriving at the latter creek, immediately threw a detachment of infantry, preceded by the Second Illinois cavalry, over it, toward Hall's Ferry, on Big Black. Finding a detachment of the enemy in front of the ferry, a company of cavalry, under Lieutenant Stickel, dashed forward and dispersed it before it had time to form, killing twelve men, and capturing thirty prisoners.

Resuming its march on the eleventh, my corps moved to Five-Mile Creek, and on the tenth to Fourteen-Mile Creek. During the last thirteen days it subsisted on six days rations, and what scanty supply the country in the immediate vicinity of the road afforded; was wholly without tents and regular teams, and almost without cooking utensils; yet was cheerful and prompt in the discharge of duty.

General Hovey's division led the advance to Fourteen-Mile Creek, followed by General Carr's and General Osterhaus's. General Smith's division, moved by the way of Hall's Ferry on Big Black River, and leaving a detachment there to guard that crossing, passed on to Montgomery's bridge on Fourteen-Mile Creek, three miles below the point of General Hovey's approach.

An outpost of the rebel force at Edwards's Station, concealed in the thick woods and underbrush lining the creek, was first encountered by General Hovey's advance-guard, consisting of a detachment of the Second Illinois cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Bush, and soon after by his artillery and infantry, which were boldly advanced across the open fields for that purpose. Overcoming the resistance of the enemy and driving him from his cover, General Hovey pushed forward a portion of his command beyond the creek, and secured the crossing.

My loss in this skirmish was four men wounded. The loss of the enemy is unknown, but must have been greater. On the same day General Sherman seized the crossing of Turkey Creek, a few miles to the right, and General McPherson, after a sharp skirmish, seized Raymond, still further to the right.

The flight of the enemy from Raymond left the way open to Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, and General Grant determined to march his army in that direction. This involved a change in the direction of his movements. Up to this time Edwards's Station, to which I had been leading the advance, was the objective point. Here it was known the enemy had concentrated a considerable force, and intended to accept battle when offered. Jackson now became the objective point.

On the night of the twelfth, I was ordered by Major-General Grant to move on the following morning on the north side of Fourteen-Mile Creek to Raymond. At this time my corps rested within four miles of Edwards's Station, with an outpost only three and a picket only two miles from that place. The outpost of the enemy had been driven back from the creek, and he was fully advised of the fact and of our proximity.

The movement ordered was a delicate and hazardous one, but was calculated to deceive the enemy as to our design. To insure it against casualties as far as possible, I ordered General Hovey to advance his division early on the morning of the thirteenth a mile on the main road to Edwards's Station, and form it in line of battle across the road.

The movement was happily executed, and had the effect to throw the enemy upon his defence against apprehended attack. Meanwhile General Osterhaus's and Carr's divisions crossed the creek, and filing by the flank to the rear, and under cover of Hovey's line, crossed Baker's Creek a mile eastward, on the road to Raymond, and halted. Hovey's division followed in successive detachments, under cover of the woods. The movement was discovered by the enemy too late to allow him to prevent or embarrass it. His attack upon the rear-guard was hesitating and feeble, and was promptly and completely repulsed. All were now safely beyond Baker's Creek.

On the same morning General Smith's division, after destroying Montgomery's bridge, hastened back on the south side of the creek, in pursuance of Major-General Grant's order, to Old Auburn, to guard and bring forward to Raymond the army's trains. That night the same division rested at Old Auburn; while the three remaining divisions rested on the Raymond road between Turkey Creek and Raymond.

The morning of the fourteenth found General Osterhaus's division in Raymond, which, in pursuance of Major-General Grant's direction, I ordered to garrison that place. On the same day, in pursuance of like direction, General Carr's and Hovey's divisions marched through Raymond in a heavy rain-storm — the former to Forest Hill Church, within six miles of General Sherman's position, at Jackson — the latter to a creek within four miles of General McPherson's position, at Clinton. This was the most fatiguing and exhausting day's march that had been made.

That night I received a despatch from Major-General Grant, informing me that the enemy had retreated from Jackson, and was probably attempting to reach Vicksburgh in advance of us, and ordering me immediately to move my corps eight miles north to Bolton Station, to frustrate the design. Corresponding orders were immediately issued by me to commanders of divisions, and by nine and a half o'clock on the fifteenth, General Osterhaus's division had seized Bolton Station, capturing several prisoners, and driving the balance of the enemy's picket away. General Hovey's division soon after came up from Clinton, and both divisions were disposed to meet any attack that might come from the enemy known to be in front. During the day an active reconnoissance was pushed by Colonel Mudd, chief of cavalry of my corps, up to the enemy's picket-line, and at some points beyond. General Lee, who had reported for duty that morning, and had kindly volunteered his service as Aidde-camp, until he could be assigned to a command, also displayed great enterprise and daring. In. deed, every effort was made by myself, personally,

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A. P. Hovey (9)
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