Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ARMY MOVEMENTS. 459

ment to attack the works at that place on the 3d, and found them evacuated. General Grant now made the necessary arrangements for changing his base of supplies from Bruinsburg to Grand Gulf. When the enemy moved from Milliken's Bend, the 15th corps, under General Sherman, remained to be the last to follow. General Sherman had also been ordered to make a demonstration on Haines' Bluff, in order to prevent reinforcements leaving Vicksburg to assist the forces at Grand Gulf. General Sherman moved upon Haines' Bluff, but the attack was made chiefly by gunboats. On the 7th the expedition returned and the military part prepared to join General Grant.

It had been General Grant's plan to collect all his forces at Grand Gulf and to get on hand a good supply of provisions and ordnance before moving against Vicksburg from the south. He had also determined to detach an army corps to co-operate with General Banks at Port Hudson and thus effect a junction of the forces. But this plan was given up upon learning that General Banks could not return to Baton Rouge before the 10th of May, and that by the reduction of Port Hudson he could not join General Grant with more than 12,000 men. These delays would be so great that the addition of forces would not make him relatively so strong for the attack upon Vicksburg as if the attack were made at once. Another reason for the change of plan was the expectation of the arrival of reinforcements at Jackson for the rebels.

Meantime, as the army of General Grant lay at Harkinson's Ferry, waiting for supplies and the arrival of General Sherman's corps, demonstrations were made to deceive the enemy, and an elaborate and well ordered system of movements commenced. On the 7th of May an advance was ordered. General McPherson's corps was required to keep the road nearest Black River to Rocky Springs. General McClernand's corps moved on the ridge road running from Willow Springs, and General Sherman followed with his corps divided on the two roads. All the ferries were closely guarded until the troops were well advanced. It was General Grant's plan that Generals McPherson and Sherman's corps should hug the Big Black River as closely as possible, and thus get to the Jackson and Vicksburg Railroad at some point between Edwards's Station and Bolton. General McPherson was ordered to move by way of TJtica to Ray niond, and from thence to Jackson, destroying everything of value to the enemy, and then push west to rejoin the main force. General Sherman moved forward on the Edward's Station road, crossing Fourteen Mile Creek at Dillon's plantation. General McClernand moved across the same creek further west, sending one division by the Baldwin's Ferry road as far as the river. At the Fourteen Mile Creek crossing, both Generals McClernand and Sherman had some skirmishing with the enemy, but the latter was easily overcome. That night, May 11th, General McClernand's corps was at the Black River; General Sherman was at and beyond Auburn, and General McPherson a few miles north of Utica,

OHAPTEE XXYII.

From Grand Gulp To Vicksburg—A Series Of Battles And Victories—The Battle Op Raymond—A Splendid ChargeGeneral Crocker's Charge At JacksonCapture Op The CityThi! Battle Op Champion Hills—Desperate Fighting Op Logan's DivisionGalllantry Op His MenThe March On Big Black River BridgeStorming The WorksThe Rebels Driven OutThe Final Investment Op Vicksburg—A Review Op The Situation—Tribute To Illinois Valor.

THE series of battles which followed each other in rapid succession prior to the final and complete investment of Vicksburg, are of unusual interest, both as illustrating the rapidity and sharpness with which Gen. Grant struck blow after blow, and as developing many instances of the valor of Illinois troops. The first of these which we purpose to notice was that fought on Farnden's Creek near Raymond, May 12th. Skirmishing commenced early in the morning. At nine o'clock in the forenoon, our advanced cavalry reported to Gen. McPherson that a strong body of rebel infantry was ahead of them,whi<ih it would be impossible for the cavalry to penetrate. After heavy firing by the cavalry in which the 2d Illinois behaved gallantly, losing a few men, the 20th, 73d and 68th Ohio, and 30th Illinois constituting the second brigade of Gen. Logan's division, were ordered forward. The brigade advanced and held its ground against a superior force. Gen. Logan hurried forward the 1st and 3d brigades of his division. The 8th Michigan battery was also sent to the front, and committed great havoc in spite of the repeated efforts of the rebels to charge upon and capture the battery. Defeated in their efforts, the rebels fell back to a position just in the rear of Farnden's Creek. General McPherson immediately ordered an advance upon the position. General Dennis's and General Smith's brigades moved forward, and a fearful but brief conflict ensued, in which the 20th Illinois fought most desperately and lost heavily, but the rebels were forced from their ground. During this desperate struggle, the rebels attempted to turn our left flank, and very nearly succeeded. The fight on the left was fearful. The 20th Illinois had fired forty rounds of cartridges, and still held the enemy at bay. Their colonel had been mortally wounded while urging on his men, but not one of the heroes faltered. At this critical moment, Gen. Stevenson's brigade came to the rescue. The 8th Illinois, Lieut.-Colonel Sturgis, came on with fixed bayonets and with a wild yell, slowly but steadily as the march of fate. Their old foe, the 7th Texas, who had faced them at Fort Donelson, again stood to receive them, but the 8th dashed them away like chaff. The brigade moved forward, solid and irresistible, and the rebels gave way and fled in disorder, retreating towards Raymond. General Logan, to whose division belongs the honor of the victory, was full of zeal and wild with enthusiasm. Fearless as a lion, he was in every part of the field, and seemed to infuse every man of his command with a part of his own indomitable energy and fiery valor.

On the morning of the 13th, Gen. Crocker's division of the 17th corps was on the move, followed by Gen. Logan's on the road to Clinton. At 6 o'clock on the morning of the 14th, these two divisions, General Crocker's in the advance, moved cautiously along towards Jackson. Rebel cavalry were encountered about three miles from Clinton, but they fell back rapidly. About three miles from Jackson, the main force of the enemy was encountered. Their line was nearly three miles in length, of which the 17th corps engaged one half, Sherman on the right attending to the other half. Learning the situation, Gen. Crocker ordered the 18th Missouri battery into position to test their artillery strength. A reply from three batteries was the result, and an artillery duel commenced, which lasted for half an hour without any decisive results. The infantry were then ordered into action. One of the most magnificent charges of the war followed, in which the 56th Illinois participated with distinguished honor, and won laurels for its bravery. A mile of open space lay between our army and the enemy, every foot of which was swept by the enemy's fire. The 1st brigade under Colonel San

BATTLE OF CHAMPION HILLS. 463

borne, was selected for the bloody work. They formed in line and steadily advanced in spite of the fearful storm of shot and shell which swept through their ranks. They halted for a few moments under cover of a hill-side. Their officers briefly addressed them and then gave the word forward. Onward the column flew on the double quick, their cheers ringing high above the din of musketry. They had hardly struck the rebel front before it was shivered. A long, loud cheer of victory swelled on the air, as the foe fled panic-stricken from the field, and yielded the city of Jackson as the prize of the battle.

On the 16th of May, another glorious and decisive battle was fought. Early in the morning Gen. McClernand's corps was in motion. Gen. Hovey's division was on the main road from Jackson to Vicksburg, but the balance of the corps was a few miles to the southward. On a parallel road Gen. McPherson's corps followed Hovey's division closely. At 9 o'clock, Gen, Hovey discovered the enemy in front, on Champion Hills, to the left of the road near Baker's Creek, apparently in force. Skirmishers were thrown out, and the division advanced cautiously and slowly to give Gen. Logan's advanced division time to come up as a support. General Hovey's division advanced across an open field at the foot of Champion Hills, and commenced battle at eleven o'clock. The rebels, although strongly posted upon a heavily timbered hill covered with almost impenetrable scrub oaks, were deficient in artillery, and opened only with a four-gun battery. Gen. Hovey's division carried the hight in gallant style, and made a dash upon the battery, driving the gunners from their pieces and capturing the latter. At this juncture Mitchell's Ohio battery opened upon another battery about eighty yards from the brow of the hill. The rebels made a desperate charge upon it, and nothing but the fleetness of the horses saved it from capture. After the charge they were reinforced with fresh troops, and redoubled their efforts to hold the position and dislodge our troops on the hill. Hovey's division was slowly forced back, but a brigade from General Quimby's division, hastened to his support, and the ground was re-occupied and the rebels were finally repulsed. In this battle General Logan's splendid division as usual immortalized itself. At the commencement of the battle, he marched past the

« AnteriorContinuar »