War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0052 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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enemy at about 25,000 men. From them I also learned the positions being taken up by the enemy, and his intention of attacking our rear. I had determined to leave one DIVISION of Sherman's corps one day longer in Jackson, but this information determined me to bring his entire command up at once, and I accordingly dispatched him at 5. 30 a. m. to move with all possible speed until he came up with the main force near Bolton. My dispatch reached him at 7. 10 a. m., and his advance DIVISION was in motion in one hour from that time. A dispatch was sent to Blair at the same time to push forward his DIVISION in the direction of Edwards Station with all possible dispatch. McClernand was directed to establish communication between Blair and Osterhaus, of his corps, and keep it up, moving the former to the support of the latter. McPherson was ordered forward at 5. 45 a. m. to join McClernand, and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, of my staff, was sent forward to communicate the information received, and with verbal instructions to McClernand as to the disposition of his forces.

At an early hour I left for the advance, and, on arriving at the crossing of the Vicksburg and Jackson Railroad with the road from Raymond to Bolton, I found McPherson's advance and his pioneer corps engaged in rebuilding a bridge on the former road that had been destroyed by the cavalry of Osterhaus' DIVISION that had gone into Bolton the night before. The train of Hovey's DIVISION was at a halt, and blocked up the road from farther advance on the Vicksburg road. I ordered all quartermasters and wagon-masters to draw their teams to one side and make room for the passage of troops. McPherson was brought up by this road.

Passing to the front, I found Hovey's DIVISION, of the Thirteenth Army Corps, at a halt, with our skirmishers and the enemy's pickets near each other. Hovey was bringing his troops into line ready for battle, and could have brought on an engagement at any moment. The enemy had taken up a very strong position on a narrow ridge, his left resting on a height where the road makes a sharp turn to the left, approaching Vicksburg. The top of the ridge and the precipitous hillside to the left of the road are covered by a dense forest and undergrowth. To the right of the road the timber extends a short distance down the hill, and then opens into cultivated fields on a gentle slope and into a valley, extending for a considerable distance. On the road and into the wooded ravine and hillside Hovey's DIVISION was disposed for the attack. McPherson's two DIVISIONS-all of his corps with him on the march from Milliken's Bend, until Ransom's brigade arrived that day after the battle-were thrown to the right of the road (properly speaking, the enemy's rear), but I would not permit an attack to be commenced by our troops until I could hear from McClernand, who was advancing with four DIVISIONS, two of them on a road intersecting the Jackson road about 1 mile from where the troops above described were placed, and about the center of the enemy's line; the other two DIVISIONS on a road still north, and nearly the same distance off.

I soon heard from McClernand through members of his staff and my own, whom I had sent to him early in the morning, and found that by the nearest practicable route of communication he was 2 1/2 miles distant. I sent several successive messages to him to push forward with all rapidity. There had been continuous firing between Hovey's skirmishers and the rebel advance, which by 11 o'clock grew into a battle. For some time this DIVISION bore the brunt of the conflict' but finding the enemy too strong for them, at the instance of Hovey, I directed first one and then a SECOND brigade from Crocker's DIVISION to re-enforce him.