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[61] and by others, to acquire familiar knowledge of the ground and roads for seven miles west to Edward's Station.

It was found three roads led from the Raymond and Bolton road to Edwards's Station-one diverging a mile and a half north of Raymond, a second three miles and a half, and a third seven and a half miles north of Raymond and one mile south of Bolton and the railroad. These roads may be designated as the northern, middle, and southern roads to Edwards's Station, and united some two miles east of that place.

Night found Generals Hovey's, Osterhaus's, and Carr's divisions in the order stated at the entrance of these several roads, prepared to receive a threatened attack, or to move forward upon converging lines against Edwards's Station. General Smith's division came up during the night, and bivouacked north of Raymond, near General Carr's. General Blair's division of General Sherman's corps bivouacked at Raymond.

This disposition of my corps but anticipated events. During the evening of the fifteenth, I received a despatch from Major-General Grant, advising me that the entire force of the enemy at Vicksburgh had probably crossed the Big Black and taken position at Edwards's Station, and ordering me to feel the enemy without bringing on a general engagement, and to notify General Blair what to do.

battle of Champion Hill.

It only remained to execute what has already been intimated. Hence, on the night of the fifteenth, orders were issued by me to commanders of divisions, to move forward on the following morning. General Smith advanced on the southern road at five o'clock A. M., on the sixteenth, followed and supported by General Blair. General Osterhaus, on the middle road at six o'clock, followed and supported by General Carr and General Hovey, at the same hour on the northern road. The starting of the different divisions at different hours, was in consequence of the difference in the distances they had to march, and was designed to secure a parallel advance of the different columns. Each division was instructed to keep up communication with that or those next to it.

Believing that General Hovey's division also needed support, I sent a despatch on the fifteenth to Major-General Grant, requesting that General McPherson's corps, then arrived in rear of General Hovey's division, should also move more forward, and early on the morning of the sixteenth, I rode over to General McPherson's Headquarters and suggested the same thing to him-urging among other things, that if his corps should not be needed as a support, it might, in the event I should beat the enemy, fall upon his flank and rear, and cut him off. Assurances altogether satisfactory were given by the General, and I felt confident of our superiority on the right.

I went forward with the centre, formed by Generals Osterhaus and Carr. At half-past 7 o'clock A. M., when my whole line had approached within five miles of Edwards's Station, General Smith's division on my left, encountered the enemy's skirmishers, who retired. A half-mile further on they encountered the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was briskly replied to until it ceased.

At the moment these demonstrations commenced, there was strong reason to believe (corroborated by subsequent information) that the enemy was moving in large force on the Raymond road with the hope of turning my left flank and gaining my rear; but the sudden appearance of my forces in that direction foiled the design, and threw his right back in some confusion toward his centre and left.

Hearing the report of artillery on the left, General Osterhaus pushed forward through a broad field to a, thick wood which covered a seeming chaos of abrupt hills and yawning ravines. From the skirt of this wood he drove a line of skirmishers, and continuing his advance until he discovered the enemy in strong force, commenced feeling him.

Early notifying Major-General Grant and Major-General McPherson what had transpired on the left, I requested the latter to cooperate with my forces on the right, and directed General Hovey to advance promptly but carefully.

At forty-five minutes past nine o'clock A. M. I received a despatch from General Hovey informing me that he had found the enemy strongly posted in front; that General McPherson's corps was behind him, that his right flank would probably encounter severe resistance, and inquiring whether he should bring on the impending battle.

My whole command was now about four miles from Edwards's Station, and immediately informing Major-General Grant, whom I understood to be on the field, of the position of affairs, I inquired whether General McPherson could not move forward to the support of General Hovey, and whether I should bring on a general engagement? A despatch from the General, dated thirty-five minutes past twelve P. M., came, directing me to throw forward skirmishers as soon as my forces were in hand, to feel and attack the enemy in force, if opportunity occurred, and informing me that he was with Hovey and McPherson, and would see that they fully cooperated.

Meanwhile a line of skirmishers had connected General Osterhaus and Smith's divisions, closing up the narrow space between them. General Blair had moved a brigade further to the right to support the skirmishers and the proximate flanks of Osterhaus and Smith. General Ransom's brigade of the Seventeenth, army corps had beer. ordered to hasten up from the neighborhood o! Raymond, and skirmishing along my left and centre, particularly the latter, was quite brisk.

These measures, in part, had been taken in compliance with General Grant's orders, based on information of which he had advised me, that the enemy was in greatest strength in front of my centre and left, and might turn my left flank and gain my rear. This, doubtless, as already explained, had been the tendency of the enemy

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A. P. Hovey (8)
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