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[517] nine o'clock A. ., May 1st, General Bowen informed me by telegraph, his army being then in position three miles south of Port Gibson, that General Baldwin was entering the latter place. On the same day, General Bowen telegraphed me that prisoners taken reported McClernand in command; that three divisions had landed, one of which took the right-hand road from Rodney, and that the enemy's force was estimated at twenty thousand men. He added, however, “I disbelieve the report.” At three r. M., the same day, General Bowen advised me that he still held his position, but that he was hard pressed, and concluded by asking when Major-General Loring would arrive. In reply, he was notified by telegram that another brigade from Vicksburg was en route to reinforce him, and would probably reach him before Major-General Loring could arrive from Jackson. At half-past 5 r. M., he informed me that he was falling back across the Bayou Pierre, and that he would endeavor to hold that position until the arrival of reinforcements. On reaching Rocky Springs, about eighteen miles from Grand Gulf, Major-General Loring, learning that Brigadier-General Bowen had fallen back before a large force, from Port Gibson, in the direction of Grand Gulf, directed two regiments and a field-battery of Tilghman's brigade, which had been withdrawn from the Big Black Bridge, to move as rapidly as possible to Grindstone Ford, and hold it at all hazards, to prevent the enemy from flanking Bowen in that direction, and then proceeded himself to the headquarters of General Bowen, near Grand Gulf. Major-General Loring concurring with General Bowen as to the impracticability of holding his position with so small a force, directed its withdrawal across Big Black, at Hankinson's Ferry.

In his official report, Major-General Loring says: “This had hardly been determined upon, when your communication was received, stating that the enemy had fallen back toward Grand Gulf, and ordering it to move at once out of its position, and to cross the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry.” The movement was promptly carried out. Previous

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