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[518] to crossing the river, however, Colonel A. W. Reynolds's brigade, of Stevenson's division, had arrived. Not having heard from General Bowen after half-past 5 . M., on the 1st instant, I dispatched him, via Rocky Springs, on the morning of the 2d, as follows:
If you are holding your position on the Bayou Pierre, and your communication is open by the Big Black to this place, continue to hold it. I am informed that you have fallen back to Grand Gulf; if this is so, carry out my instructions just sent in cipher.

These instructions were, in case he had fallen back to Grand Gulf, which is a cul-de-sac, to destroy his heavy guns and such stores as could not be transported, and endeavor to retire across the Big Black. The last brigade of Major-General Stevenson's division, which had been hurried forward to reinforce Bowen, with the hope of enabling him to hold his position on the Bayou Pierre, or, in case he should be compelled to fall back, to protect his retreat, had not all arrived when the retiring column under Major-General Loring commenced crossing the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry.

For the details of the battle at Port Gibson, the list of casualties, etc., I beg to refer to the official report of Brigadier-General Bowen, and the reports of his subordinate commanders, which I have the honor to transmit herewith, as also the report of Major-General Loring, who commanded the retreat after the column had been put in motion by Brigadier-General Bowen. Among the slain whom the country deplores, I regret to mention Brigadier-General E. D. Tracy, a brave and skillful officer, who fell, where it is the soldier's pride to fall, at the post of duty and of danger.

Though disastrous in its results, the bloody encounter in front of Port Gibson nobly illustrated the valor and constancy of our troops, and shed additional lustre upon the Confederate arms. Confronted by overwhelming numbers, the heroic Bowen and his gallant officers and men maintained the unequal


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