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[146] destroyed the railroad and telegraph, and captured some important despatches from General Pemberton to General Gregg, who had commanded the day before in the battle of Raymond. Sherman moved to a parallel position on the Mississippi Springs and Jackson road; McClernand moved to a point near Raymond.

The next day Sherman and McPherson moved their entire forces toward Jackson. The rain fell in torrents all the night before, and continued until about noon of that day, making the roads at first slippery and then miry. Notwithstanding, the troops marched, in excellent order without straggling and in the best of spirits, about fourteen miles, and engaged the enemy about twelve o'clock M., near Jackson. McClernand occupied Clinton with one division, Mississippi Springs with another, Raymond with a third, and had Blair's division of Sherman's corps, with a wagon train, still in the rear near New-Auburn, while McArthur, with one brigade of his division, of McPherson's corps, was moving toward Raymond on the Utica road. It was not the intention to move these forces any nearer Jackson, but to have them in a position where they would be in supporting distance if the resistance at Jackson should prove more obstinate than there seemed reason to expect.

The enemy marched out the bulk of his force on the Clinton road, and engaged McPherson's corps about two and a half miles from the city. A small force of artillery and infantry took a strong position in front of Sherman, about the same distance out. By a determined advance of our skirmishers these latter were soon driven within their rifle-pits just outside the city. It was impossible to ascertain the strength of the enemy at this part of the line in time to justify an immediate assault; consequently, McPherson's two divisions engaged the main bulk of the rebel garrison at Jackson without further aid than the moral support given them by the knowledge the enemy had of a force to the south side of the city, and the few infantry and artillery of the enemy posted there to impede Sherman's progress. Sherman soon discovered the weakness of the enemy by sending a reconnoitring party to his right, which also had the effect of causing the enemy to retreat from this part of his line. A few of the artillerists, however, remained in their places, firing upon Sherman's troops until the last moment, evidently instructed to do so, with the expectation of being captured in the end. On entering the city it was found that the main body of the enemy had retreated north, after a heavy engagement of more than two hours with McPherson's corps, in which he was badly beaten. He was pursued until near night, but without further damage to him.

During that evening I learned that General Johnston, as soon as he had satisfied himself that Jackson was to be attacked, had ordered Pemberton peremptorily to march out from the direction of Vicksburgh and attack our rear. Availing myself of this information, I immediately issued orders to McClernand and Blair, of Sherman's corps, to face their troops toward Bolton, with a view to reaching Edward's Station, marching on different roads converging near Bolton. These troops were admirably located for such a move. McPherson was ordered to retrace his steps early in the morning of the fifteenth on the Clinton road. Sherman was left in Jackson to destroy the railroads, bridges, factories, work-shops, arsenals, and every thing valuable for the support of the enemy. This was accomplished in the most effectual manner.

On the afternoon of the fifteenth I proceeded as far west as Clinton, through which place Mc-Pherson's corps passed to within supporting distance of Hovey's division of McClernand's corps, which had moved that day on the same road to within one and a half miles of Bolton. On reaching Clinton, at forty-five minutes past four P. M., I ordered McClernand to move his command early the next morning toward Edward's Depot, marching so as to feel the enemy, if he encountered him, but not to bring on a general engagement unless he was confident he was able to defeat him; and also to order Blair to move with him.

About five o'clock on the morning of the sixteenth, two men, employes on the Jackson and Vicksburgh Railroad, who had passed through Pemberton's army the night before, were brought to my headquarters. They stated Pemberton's force to consist of about eighty regiments, with ten batteries of artillery, and that the whole force was estimated by the enemy at about twenty-five thousand men. From them I also learned the positions being taken up by the enemy, and his intention of attacking our rear. I had determined to leave one division of Sherman's corps one day longer in Jackson, but this information determined me to bring his entire command up at once, and I accordingly despatched him, at halfpast five A. M., to move with all possible speed until he came up with the main force near Bolton. My despatch reached him at ten minutes past seven A. M., and his advance division was in motion in one hour from that time. A despatch was sent to Blair, at the same time, to push forward his division in the direction of Edward's Station with all possible despatch. McClernand was directed to establish communication between Blair and Osterhaus, of his corps, and keep it up, moving the former to the support of the latter. McPherson was ordered forward, at forty-five minutes past five A. M., to join McClernand, and Lieut.-Colonel Wilson, of my staff, was sent forward to comunicate the information received, and with verbal instructions to McClernand as to the disposition of his forces. At an early hour I left for the advance, and on arriving at the crossing of the Vicksburgh and Jackson Railroad with the road from Raymond to Bolton, I found McPherson's advance and his pioneer corps engaged in rebuilding a bridge on the former road that had been destroyed by the cavalry of Osterhaus's division that had gone into Bolton the night before. The train of Hovey's division was at a halt, and blocked up the road from further advance

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