to move my corps 8 miles north, to Bolton Station, to frustrate the design. Corresponding orders were immediately issued by me to commanders of DIVISIONS, and, by 9. 30 o'clock on the 15th, General Osterhaus' DIVISION had seized Bolton Station, capturing several prisoners and driving the balance of the enemy's picket away.
General Hovey's DIVISION soon after came up from Clinton, and both DIVISIONS were disposed to meet any attack that might come from the enemy known to be in front. During the day an active reconnaissance was pushed by Colonel Mudd, chief of cavalry of my corps, up to the enemy's picket lines, and at some points beyond. General [Albert L.] Lee, who had reported for duty that morning, and who kindly volunteered his service as aide-de-camp until he could be assigned to a command, also displayed great enterprise and daring. Indeed, every effort was made by myself personally and by other to acquire familiar knowledge of the ground and roads for 7 miles WEST to Edwards Station. It was found three roads led from the Raymond and Bolton road to Edwards Station, one diverging 1 1/2 miles from Raymond, and 1 mile south of Bolton and the railroad. These roads may be designated as the northern, middle, and southern roads to Edwards Station, and united within some 2 miles of that point.
Night found Generals Hovey's, Osterhaus', and Carr's DIVISIONS, in the order stated, at the entrance to these several roads, prepared to receive a threatened attack, or to move forward upon converging lines against Edwards Station. General Smith's DIVISION came up during the night and bivouacked north of Raymond, near General Carr's. General Blair's DIVISION, of General Sherman's corps, bivouacked at Raymond. This disposition of my corps but anticipated events.
During the evening of the 15th, I received a dispatch from Major-General Grant, advising me that the entire force of the enemy at Vicksburg had probably crossed the Big Black and taken position at Edwards Station, and ordering me to feel the enemy without bringing on a general engagement, and to notify General Blair what to do.
BATTLE OF CHAMPION'S HILL.
It only remained to execute what has been already intimated; hence, on the night of the 15th, orders were issued to commanders of DIVISIONS to move forward on the following morning.
General Smith moved forward on the southern road at 5 a. m. on the 16th, followed and supported by General Blair; General Osterhaus on the middle road at 6 o'clock, followed and supported by General Carr; and General Hovey at the same hour on the northern road. The starting of different DIVISIONS at different hours was in consequence of the difference in the distances they had to march, and was designed to secure a parallel advance of the different columns. Each DIVISION was instructed to keep up communication with that or those next to it.
Believing that General Hovey's DIVISION also needed support, I sent a dispatch on the 15th to Major-General Grant, requesting that General McPherson's corps, then arrived in rear of General Hovey, should also move forward, and early on the morning of the 16th I rode over to General McPherson's headquarters and suggested the same thing, urging, among other things, that if his corps should not be needed as a support, it might, in the event I should beat the enemy, fall upon his flank and rear and cut him off. Assurances altogether satisfactory were given by the general, and I felt confident of our superiority on the right. I went forward with the center, formed by Osterhaus and Carr.