delay until May 10, and for the reduction of Port Hudson after that, the accession of 12,000 men would not leave me relatively so strong as to move promptly with what I had. Information received from day to day of the movements of the enemy also impelled me to the course pursued.
While lying at Hankinson's Ferry waiting for wagons, supplies, and Sherman's corps, which had come forward in the mean time, demonstrations were made, successfully, I believe, to induce the enemy to think that route and the one by Hall's Ferry, above, were objects of much solicitude to me. Reconnaissances were made to the WEST side of the Big Black to within 6 miles of Warrenton.
On May 7, an advance was ordered, McPherson's corps keeping the road nearest Big Black River, to Rocky Springs, McClernand's corps keeping the ridge road from Willow Springs, and Sherman following with his corps divided on the two roads. All the ferries were closely guarded until our troops were well advanced. It was my intention here to hug the Big Black River as closely as possible with McClernand's and Sherman's corps, and get them to the railroad at some place between Edwards Station and Bolton. McPherson was to move by way of Utica to Raymond, and from there into Jackson, destroying the railroad, telegraph, public stores, &c., and push WEST to rejoin the main force. Orders were given to McPherson accordingly. Sherman was moved forward on the Edward Station road, crossing Fourteen-Mile Creek at Dillon's plantation; McClernand was moved across the same creek, farther WEST, sending one DIVISION of his corps by the Baldwin's Ferry road as far as the river. At the crossing of Fourteen-Mile Creek both McClernand and Sherman had considerable skirmishing with the enemy to get possession of the crossings.
McPherson met the enemy near Raymond, two brigades strong, under Gregg, and Walker, on the same day; engaged him, and, after several hours' hard fighting, drove him, with heavy loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Many threw down their arms and deserted. My position at this time was with Sherman's corps, some 7 miles WEST of Raymond, and about the center of the army.
On the night of May 12, after orders had been given for the corps of McClernand and Sherman to march toward the railroad by parallel roads, the former in the direction of Edwards Station and the latter to a point on the railroad between Edwards Station and Bolton, the order was changed, and both were directed to move toward Raymond. This was in consequence of the enemy having retreated toward Jackson after his defeat at Raymond, and of information that re-enforcements were daily arriving at Jackson, and that General Joe Johnston was hourly expected there to take command in person. I therefore determined to make sure of that place and leave no enemy in my rear.
McPherson moved on the 13th to Clinton, destroyed the railroad and telegraph, and captured some important dispatches from General Pemberton to General Gregg, who had commanded the day before in the battle of Raymond. Sherman moved to a parallel position on the Mississippi Springs and Jackson road. McClernand moved to a point near Raymond.
The next day Sherman and McPherson moved their entire force toward Jackson. The rain fell in torrents all the night before and continued until about noon of that day, making the roads at first slippery and then miry. Notwithstanding, the troops marched in excellent order, without straggling and in the best of spirits, about 14 miles, and engaged the enemy about 12 m. near Jackson. McClernand occupied Clinton with one DIVISION, Mississippi Springs with another, Raymond