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[564] Baldwin's Ferry, and Gregg was notified accordingly, and informed that the enemy's movements were apparently towards the Big Black Bridge, and not, as had been supposed, against Jackson. On the twelfth, the following was addressed to Major-General Stevenson: “From information received, it is evident the enemy is advancing in force on Edwards Depot and Big Black Bridge; hot skirmishing has been going on all the morning, and the enemy are at Fourteenmile Creek; you must move up with your whole division to the support of Loring and Bowen, at the bridge, leaving Baldwin's and Moore's brigades to protect your right.” In consequence of this information, Brigadier-General Gregg was ordered not to attack the enemy until he was engaged at Edwards or the bridge, but to be ready to fall on his rear or flank at any moment, and to be particularly cautious not to allow himself to be flanked or taken in the rear. Thus, it will be seen that every measure had been taken to protect Edwards' Depot and Big Black Bridge, and by offering or accepting battle to endeavor to preserve my communications with the east.

At this juncture, however, the battle of Raymond was fought by a large body of the enemy's forces, and one brigade of our troops, under the command of Brigadier-General Gregg.

I have received no official report of that affair, and hence cannot say how it was fought, or by whom the engagement was brought on. Unofficial information represents Brigadier-General Gregg and his small command to have behaved with great gallantry and steadiness; but after an obstinate conflict of several hours, they were finally overwhelmed by superior numbers and compelled to retire. The command was withdrawn in good order, and retired to Jackson.

On the fourteenth, a large body of the enemy made their appearance in front of Jackson, the capital of the State. After some fighting, our troops were withdrawn, and the enemy took possession of the place; but as General Johnston was commanding there in person, his official report, which has doubtless gone forward, will furnish all the information required.

On the twelfth, the following telegram was sent to General Johnston: “The enemy is apparently moving his heavy force towards Edwards' Depot, on the Southern Railroad; with my limited force, I will do all I can to meet him; that will be the battle-field if I can forward sufficient force, leaving troops enough to secure the safety of this place (Vicksburg). Reinforcements are arriving very slowly, only one thousand five hundred having arrived as yet. I urgently ask that more be sent; also, that three thousand cavalry be at once sent to operate on this line. I urge this as a positive necessity. The enemy largely outnumber me, and I am obliged to hold back a large force at the ferries on Big Black, lest he cross and take this place. I am also compelled to keep considerable force on either flank of Vicksburg, out of supporting distance.” The same dispatch was also sent to His Excellency President Davis, on the same date.

The divisions of Major-Generals Loring and Stevenson moved from the line they had occupied between Warrenton and Big Black Bridge to Edwards' Depot, General Stevenson being directed to keep well closed up on the rear of General Loring's column. On the evening of the twelfth, I moved my headquarters to Bovina to be nearer the scene of active operations. The command arrived at Edwards' Depot on the thirteenth, and was placed in position covering all approaches from the south and east, in the following order, viz.: Bowen on the right, Loring in the centre, and Stevenson on the left. This position was occupied from the night of the thirteenth until the morning of the fifteenth. On the thirteenth, the following dispatch was sent to General Johnston: “General Forney reports from Vicksburg, this morning, four transports loaded with troops arrived at Young's Point this morning. Five regiments and a battery passed down by Brown and Johnston's. Wagon trains continue to pass back and forth. My reinforcements will be very small and arrive very slowly. If possible, Port Hudson should also be reinforced. I have been forced to draw largely from there. I have no Major-General to command brigades arriving in Jackson. I am in position with eight brigades near Edwards' Depot.”

On the morning of the fourteenth, while on my way from Bovina to Edwards' Depot, I received the following dispatch, dated May thirteenth, from General Johnston, then at Jackson: “I have lately arrived, and learn that General Sherman is between us with four divisions at Clinton. It is important to re-establish communications that you may be reinforced. If practicable, come up in his rear at once; to beat such a detachment would be of immense value; the troops here could co-operate; all the strength you could quickly assemble should be brought; time is all important.” I immediately replied as follows: “Bovina, May 14, ‘63--I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication. I move at once with whole available force, about sixteen thousand, from Edwards' Depot, leaving Vaughn's brigade, about fifteen hundred, at Big Black Bridge; Tilghman's brigade, fifteen hundred, now at Baldwin's Ferry. I have ordered to bring up the rear of my column; he will be, however, from fifteen to twenty miles behind it. Baldwin's Ferry will be left necessarily unprotected. To hold Vicksburg are Smith's and Forney's divisions, extending from Snyder's Mills to Warrenton, numbering effective, seven thousand five hundred men. The men have been marching several days, are much fatigued, and I fear will straggle very much. In directing this move, I do not think you fully comprehend the position that Vicksburg will be left in, but I comply at once with your order.”

The “detachment” General Johnston speaks of in his communication, consisted of four

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