Particulars of the fighting previous to the investment of Vicksburg.
The details of the fighting which preceded the investment of Vicksburg
are coming to light.
A participant in the recent battle of Baker's Creek
furnishes to the Appeal
the annexed account of the affair, which is the first connected narrative yet published from a Southern source.
The writer dates at Jackson, Miss.
, May 24:
On Friday afternoon, the 15th inst., three divisions of the army under Lieut. Gen. Pemberton
, (Laring's, Stevenson
's, and Bowen
's,) advanced from Edward's depot in the direction of Raymond
, and stopped that night about six miles from the starting point, and on what is known as the middle Raymond road. At eight o'clock the next morning, Saturday, just as we were preparing to move forward, the enemy opened upon our advance guard with artillery brickly, indicating that they had found out our movements and had determined to give us battle.
We immediately fell back a mile to an eligible position, and formed in line of battle, to be in readiness for an advance or to receive their attack.
We had not long to wait.
Our line was formed in a curve of Baker
's creek, upon a ridge, our right being posted in a position to use a ford at the crossing of the creek in case we were overwhelmed, and our left equally convenient to a bridge over the stream, which, it was expected, would furnish safe passage for our army in such a contingency.
The cannonading on our right ceased as we fell back to this point, and a distinguished officer remarked at the time that the attack on our right was a feint; that, in his judgment, the left of our line would have to receive the shock of their advance.
An hour's time revealed the truth of his statement; the enemy having massed a large force against our left, and opened upon us with an earnestness which betokened the most serious determination.
Aware of our position, it seemed to be their purpose to turn our left, so as to get possession of the bridge over Baker
's creek, (referred to above,) and move between us and Edwards
As their front ranks were mowed down by the deadly fire of our brave troops, myriads of fresh men fell into their places, and slowly, but steadily, drove our left and centre back foot by foot, until Stevenson
's gallant division was almost in rear of the line.
A brigade of Bowen
's division was ordered up to the support of Stevenson
— then another brigade, and finally the entire division.
Continuing the most desperate fighting, (portion of it hand-to-hand, and with clubbed muskets,) a brigade (Buford
's) of Loring
's division from the right was sent to the rescue.
immediately followed with another of his brigades (Featherstone
's) by a short route, and reached the left as the lines were giving away, leaving Tilghman
with his brigade to hold his position on the right.
Having succeeded, with great tact, in covering the retreat of the worn out forces who had so nobly and bravely stood the shock for six hours, Gen. Loring
moved back to the right in time to see a fresh line of the enemy coming down on his front and flank.
The enemy were gallantly met and driven back with great slaughter.
It was at this point that Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman
, one of the bravest and best officers in the Confederate army, fell, pierced through his manly breast with a fragment of a shell.
He was serving with his own hands a twelve pound howitzer, trying to dislodge a piece which was annoying us.
At this time two brigades of Bowen
's division were planted, one at the bridge across Baker's Creek
and one at the ford, to guard the crossing, while Gen. Loring
, with his division; engaged the enemy in front and drove him back.
's brigade was also ordered to support Bowen
at the ford, and was in motion for that point, when word was sent to Gen. Loring
by Gen. Bowen
that an overwhelming force of the enemy had succeeded in getting into the rear of the bridge, and Gen. Bowen
was compelled to fall back in the direction of Edwards
At the same time the enemy availed himself of the advantage gained and moved to a position commanding the ford, pressing at the same time Loring
's right flank and rear.
The General then determined to make a bold stroke, and with his division attempt to cut his way through east, turn Jackson
, and effect a junction with the forces under Gen. Johnston
, then supposed to be near Canton
How well he succeeded in the perilous under taking may be known by the fact that he reached Jackson
on the following Wednesday
with a division weary, footsore, hungry, but not
demoralized; proud, brave, and ready to meet the foe under circumstances where proper management will give them an opportunity to add to the laurels gained upon other fields.
He would have joined the main body of the army in which still moved those gallant spirits. --Stevenson
, and other braves, but he could not. He did the next best thing.
After saving a retreating army, he had skill and tact enough to save his own command.
By this movement the enemy got possession of the ford, and, although the remainder of the army had succeeded in crossing, Loring
's division was cut off.
In this dilemma nothing was left but for him to make a flank movement.
He had with him an experienced and intelligent guide, and accordingly moved to the left of the road, intending to strike a ford some three or four miles further down the stream — that ford furnishing the only possible outlet by which he could, with his division, rejoin the main body of the army.
The darkness of the night, and the extreme faintness of the trail by which they were moving, caused the guide to lose the point for which he was aiming, and the division moved on, after Loring
had satisfied himself that all the roads leading to Edwards
's depot were in possession of the enemy.
in the direction of Edwards
's depot, too, showed plainly they were in possession of that point.
The divisions of Stephenson
— noble, gallant men — fell back upon Big Black bridge, within their entrenchments, and reacted for the night.
The next morning the enemy, in large force, determined to press their advantage to the utmost, attacked us there, and, after about two hours hard fighting, carried the position by assault.
Our army then retreated to Vicksburg
, where they were surrounded, and where the task of taking that devoted place began on Monday afternoon last, resulting, so far, in a most disastrous failure.