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Champion Hills, battle of

Grant, at Jackson (q. v.), hearing of the arrival of Johnston and his order for Pemberton to strike his rear, perceived the reason for the sudden evacuation of their post by the troops at the capital. No doubt they had been sent to join Pemberton that the latter might crush Grant by the weight of superior numbers. The latter comprehended his peril, and instantly took measures to meet Pemberton before such junction could take place. He ordered a concentration of his forces at Edwards's Station, 2 miles from the railway bridge over the Big Black River. While Sherman tarried in Jackson long enough to destroy the railways, military factories, arsenal, bridges, cotton factories, stores, and other public property, the remainder of the army turned their faces towards Vicksburg. Pemberton was at or near Edwards's Station, with about 25,000 troops and ten batteries of artillery. Blair moved towards the station, followed by McClernand and Osterhaus; while McPherson, on another road, kept up communication with McClernand. Pemberton had advanced to Champion Hills, when a note from Johnston caused him to send his trains back to the Big Black River; and he was about to follow with his troops. when Grant, close upon him. compelled him to remain and fight (May 16, 1863). General Hovey's division now held the advance directly in front of Pemberton. At eleven o'clock a battle began. Hovey's division bearing the brunt, and, after a severe contest of an hour and a half, his infantry were compelled to fall back half a mile to the position of his artillery. Reinforced, he renewed the battle with great energy. Finally Pemberton's left began to bend under Logan's severe pressure. and, at five o'clock, gave way. The rest of his army became so confused and disheartened that they began to fly. Seeing this. Pemberton ordered his whole army to retreat towards the Big Black River; when Grant ordered the fresh brigades [87] of Osterhaus and Carr to follow with all speed, and cross the river, if possible. In the retreat Pemberton lost many of his troops, made prisoners. This battle was fought mainly by Hovey's division of McClernand's corps and Logan's and Quinby's divisions (the latter commanded by Crocker) of McPherson's corps. The National loss was 2,457, of whom 426 were killed. The loss of the Confederates was estimated to have been quite equal to that of the Nationals in killed and wounded, besides almost 2,000 prisoners, eighteen guns, and a large quantity of smallarms. Among the killed was General Tilghman, who was captured at Fort Henry the year before.

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May 16th, 1863 AD (1)
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