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[531] search of him, but it was not until after General Bowen had personally informed me that he could not hold his position longer, and not until after I had ordered the retreat, that General Loring, with Featherston's brigade, moving, as I subsequently learned, by a country-road which was considerably longer than the direct route, reached the position on the left known as Champion's Hill, where he was forming a line of battle when he received my order to cover the retreat. Had the movement in support of the left been promptly made, when first ordered, it is not improbable that I might have maintained my position, and it is possible the enemy might have been driven back, though his vastly superior and constantly-increasing numbers would have rendered it necessary to withdraw during the night to save my communications with Vicksburg.

Early in the day, Major Lockett, Chief Engineer, had been instructed to throw a bridge over Baker's Creek, on the Raymond road. The stream had also fallen sufficiently to render the ford practicable. The retreat was ordered to be conducted by that route, and a staff-officer immediately dispatched to Brigadier-General Tilghman, who was directed to hold the Raymond road at all hazards. It was in the execution of this important duty, which could not have been confided to a fitter man, that the lamented general bravely lost his life. He was struck by a fragment of a shell, and died almost instantly. Although, as before stated, a large number of men had shamefully abandoned their commands and were making their way to the rear, the main body of the troops retired in good order. On reaching the ford and bridge, at Baker's Creek, I directed Brigadier-General Bowen to take position with his division on the west bank, and to hold the crossing until Loring's division, which was directed to bring up the rear, had effected the passage. I then proceeded at once to the intrenched line, covering the wagon and railroad bridges over the Big Black, to make the necessary arrangements for holding that point during the passage of the river.

In his official report, Major-General Stevenson says:

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