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[118] were about to secure possession of the bridge across the bayou and block the only line of retreat of the army. Generals Bowen and Cockrell in person led a charge of the Third and Fifth on the right to relieve the pressure on the left. The men crossed one ravine twenty feet in width and twelve feet in depth successfully, and soon came to another, equally as wide and deep, which was swept by the artillery and musketry fire of the enemy. This they could not cross, but fell back in good order to the first ravine and held the further side of that. In an hour's fight they lost in killed and wounded twenty per cent of their number. But the charge accomplished its purpose, because it relieved the pressure on Green's wing and left the way open for retreat In its nature the charge was a forlorn hope. It was a desperate move of one part of the command to save the remainder. In the final charge by Green on the left, the enemy was checked and Bowen given time to withdraw the right wing, which was followed by the left, the Sixth being the last to retire.

As soon as the bridge was crossed, the command halted and threw up earthworks to hold it against the enemy. But on the night of the next day the position was abandoned, and on the 4th Bowen effected a junction with Pemberton on the Big Black, and immediately proceeded to construct fortifications to protect the railroad bridge across that river. The fortifications being completed, the army moved eastward and on the 15th of May bivouacked on Baker's Creek. The Federal and the Confederate armies were camped within a mile of each other, and their camp fires at night showed the location and gave an approximate idea of the strength of each. Pemberton's force consisted of the divisions of Loring, Bowen and Stevenson. Loring's division was about 6,000 strong and Bowen's less than 5,000. Stevenson's division was larger, consisting of three brigades, and was about 7,000 strong. The battle line was formed across the road, with

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Bakers Creek (Mississippi, United States) (1)
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