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[147] on the Vicksburgh road. I ordered all quartermasters and wagon-masters to draw their teams to one side, and make room for the passage of troops. McPherson was brought up by this road. Passing to the front, I found Hovey's division of the Thirteenth army corps at a halt, with our skirmishers and the enemy's pickets near each other. Hovey was bringing the troops into line, ready for battle, and could have brought on an engagement at any moment. The enemy had taken up a very strong position on a narrow ridge, his left resting on a height where the road makes a sharp turn to the left approaching Vicksburgh. The top of the ridge and the precipitous hillside to the left of the road are covered by a dense forest and undergrowth. To the right of the road the timber extends a short distance down the hill, and then opens into cultivated fields on a gentle slope and into a valley extending for a considerable distance. On the road-and into the wooded ravine and hillside Hovey's division was disposed for the attack. McPherson's two divisions — all of his corps with him on the march from Milliken's Bend (until Ransom's brigade arrived that day after the battle)--were thrown to the right of the road, properly speaking, the enemy's rear. But I would not permit an attack to be commenced by our troops until I could hear from McClernand, who was advancing with four divisions, two of them on a road intersecting the Jackson road about one mile from where the troops above described were placed, and about the centre of the enemy's line; the other two divisions on a road still north and nearly the same distance off.

I soon heard from McClernand through members of his staff and my own whom I had sent to him early in the morning, and found that by the nearest practicable route of communication he was two and a half miles distant. I sent several successive messages to him to push forward with all rapidity. There had been continuous firing between Hovey's skirmishers and the rebel advance, which, by eleven o'clock, grew into a battle. For some time this division bore the brunt of the conflict; but finding the enemy too strong for them, at the instance of Hovey, I directed first one and then a second brigade from Crocker's division to reinforce him. All this time Logan's division was working upon the enemy's left and rear, and weakened his front attack most wonderfully. The troops here opposing us evidently far outnumbered ours. Expecting Mc-Clernand momentarily, with four divisions, including Blair's, I never felt a doubt of the result. He did not arrive, however, until the enemy had been driven from the field, after a terrible contest of hours, with a heavy loss of killed, wounded, and prisoners, and a number of pieces of artillery. It was found afterward that the Vicksburgh road, after following the ridge in a southerly direction for about one mile and to where it intersected one of the Raymond roads, turns almost to the west, down the hill and across the valley in which Logan was operating on the rear of the enemy. One brigade of Logan's division had, unconscious of this important fact, penetrated nearly to this road, and compelled the enemy to retreat to prevent capture. As it was, much of his artillery and Loring's division of his army was cut off, beside the prisoners captured. On the call of Hovey for more reinforcements, just before the rout of the enemy commenced, I ordered McPherson to move what troops he could by a left flank around to the enemy's front. Logan rode up at this time and told me that if Hovey could make another dash at the enemy he could come up from where he then was and capture the greater part of their force. I immediately rode forward and found the troops that had been so gallantly engaged for so many hours withdrawn from their advanced position and were filling their cartridge-boxes. I desired them to use all despatch and push forward as soon as possible, explaining to them the position of Logan's division. Proceeding still further forward, expecting every moment to see the enemy, and reaching what had been his line, I found he was retreating. Arriving at the Raymond road, I saw to my left and on the next ridge a column of troops which proved to be Carr's division and McClernand with it in person; and to the left of Carr, Osterhaus's division soon afterward appeared with his skirmishers well in advance. I sent word to Osterhaus that the enemy was in full retreat, and to push up with all haste. The situation was soon explained, after which I ordered Carr to pursue with all speed to Black River and across it if he could, and to Osterhaus to follow. Some of McPherson's troops had already got into the road in advance, but having marched and engaged the enemy all day they were fatigued and gave the road to Carr, who continued the pursuit until after dark, capturing a train of cars loaded with commissary and ordnance stores and other property.

The delay in the advance of the troops immediately with McClernand was caused, no doubt, by the enemy presenting a front of artillery and infantry, where it was impossible, from the nature of the ground and the density of the forest, to discover his numbers. As it was, the battle of Champion's Hill, or Baker's Creek, was fought mainly by-Hovey's division of McClernand's corps, and Logan's and Quimby's divisions (the latter commanded by Brigadier-General M. M. Crocker) of McPherson's corps.

Ransom's brigade, of McPherson's corps, came on to the field where the main battle had been fought immediately after the enemy had begun his retreat.

Word was sent to Sherman, at Bolton, of the result of the day's engagement, with directions to turn his corps toward Bridgeport; and to Blair to join him at this latter place.

At daylight, on the seventeenth, the pursuit was renewed, with McClernand's corps in the advance. The enemy was found strongly posted on both sides of the Black River. At this point on Black River the bluffs extend to the water's edge on the west bank. On the east side is an open, cultivated bottom of near one mile in width, surrounded by a bayou of stagnant water, from


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