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The movement commenced about 1 P. M. on the 15th. General Pemberton states that the force at Clinton was an army corps, numerically greater than his whole available force in the field; that—

The enemy had at least an equal force to the south, on my right flank, which would be nearer Vicksburg than myself, in case I should make the movement proposed. I had, moreover, positive information that he was daily increasing his strength. I also learned, on reaching Edwards's Depot, that one division of the enemy (A. J. Smith's) was at or near Dillon's.

On the morning of the 16th, about 6:30 o'clock, Colonel Wirt Adams, commanding the cavalry, reported to General Pemberton that his pickets were skirmishing with the enemy on the Raymond road in our front. At the same moment a courier arrived and delivered the following dispatch from General Johnston:

Canton Road, ten miles from Jackson, May 15, 1863, 8:30 o'clock A. M.
Our being compelled to leave Jackson makes your plan impracticable. The only mode by which we can unite is by your moving directly to Clinton and informing me, that we may move to that point with about six thousand.

Pemberton reversed his column to return to Edward's Depot and take the Brownsville road, so as to proceed toward Clinton on the north side of the railroad, and sent a reply to General Johnston to notify him of the retrograde movement and the route to be followed. Just as the reverse movement commenced, the enemy drove in the cavalry pickets and opened fire with artillery.

The continuance of the movement was ordered, when, the demonstrations of the enemy becoming more serious, orders were issued to form a line of battle, with Loring on the right, Bowen in the center, and Stevenson on the left. Major General Stevenson was ordered to make the necessary dispositions for protecting the trains on the Clinton road and the crossing of Baker's Creek. The line of battle was quickly formed in a position naturally strong, and the approaches from the front well covered. The enemy made his first demonstration on the right, but, after a lively artillery duel for an hour or more, this attack was relinquished, and a large force was thrown against the left, where skirmishing became heavy. About ten o'clock the battle began in earnest along Stevenson's entire front. About noon Loring was ordered to move forward and crush the enemy in his front, and Bowen to cooperate. No movement was made by Loring; he said the force was too strongly posted to be attacked, but that he would seize the first opportunity to assault if one should offer. Stevenson soon found that unless reenforced he would be unable to resist the heavy and repeated attacks along his line. Aid was

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R. Randolph Stevenson (3)
J. C. Pemberton (3)
Loring (3)
J. E. Johnston (2)
John S. Bowen (2)
A. J. Smith (1)
T. J. Jackson (1)
Dillon (1)
Clinton (1)
Wirt Adams (1)
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May 15th, 1863 AD (1)
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