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[307] to form a junction with Pemberton at some point on the Big Black, above the railroad. It was, therefore, Grant's business and purpose to prevent this conjunction by meeting and beating Penmberton before it could be effected. At 5 A. M.,1 Grant learned that Pemberton's force consisted of 80 regiments, with 10 batteries of artillery, probably numbering in all about 25,000 men,2 now eagerly advancing with intent to fall unexpectedly on his rear; and he resolved to anticipate the delivery of this blow. Pushing forward Blair's division toward Edwards's Station, he directed McClernand to follow, with that of Osterhaus ; McPherson, with his entire corps, following directly.

Pemberton was in position near Edwards's Station, when lie received3 a dispatch from Johnston suggesting — he says not ordering — a combined attack on McPherson, then at Clinton, and called a council to consider the proposition. After hearing its advice, he decided to attack next morning; but was delayed by the swollen condition of a branch of Baker's creek till afternoon; when he advanced four or five miles, and took up a strong position on Champion Hills, southward of the railroad, and about midway between Jackson and Vicksburg. Here lie received, next morning,4 a note from Johnston, directing him to move northward, so as to form a junction with his own shattered forces. most of which had so recently been driven out of Jackson. Pemberton thereupon ordered his trains sent back toward the Black, and would have followed with his army, but it was too late; Gen. Hovey's division, of McClernand's corps, being now close upon him, and the rest of McClernand's, followed by McPherson's corps, rapidly coming up.

Gen. Grant now reached the front, and found Hovey's skirmishers close to the enemy's pickets, while his troops were rapidly coming into line, and might, had they been strong enough, have opened the battle at any moment. The enemy in their front held a very strong position on a narrow ridge, with his left resting on a height, where the road toward Vicksburg made a sharp turn to the left, with the crest of the ridge and his left flank covered by a dense forest. McPherson's corps, except Ransom's brigade, soon came up, and was thrown to the right, so as to threaten the enemy's rear. Still, our numbers on the field were inadequate, and Grant forbade an attack until he could hear from McClernand, who was advancing with two divisions, from Bolton Station on our right, but on parallel roads which converged two miles east of Edwards's Station. But, while Grant was thus impatiently listening for the sound of McClernand's guns, and sending him orders to push forward rapidly, the firing between Hovey's and the Rebel skirmishers gradually grew, by 11 A. M., into a battle; and — since a single division could not long resist two or three times its numbers--one brigade and then another of Crocker's division was sent in to Hovey's support; while McPherson's other division, under Logan, was working effectively upon the enemy's left and rear, essentially weakening his efforts in front. MeClernand's remaining divisions failed to arrive at the front,

1 May 16.

2 A Rebel report says 17,500.

3 May 14.

4 May 16.

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