At 10 a. m. General Hovey resumed his advance, and, approaching in plain view of the enemy, disposed his forces for battle along a skirt of wood and across the road of his approach. General McGinnis' brigade was formed on the right, and Colonel Slack's on the left. General Logan's DIVISION, of General McPherson's corps, was between the railroad and my right, and about half a mile from the latter.
A mile in front stood a hill some 60 or 70 feet high, covered with a thick wood. In this wood the enemy were drawn up in strong force, doubtless augmented by his tendency to his right, above noticed. This hill is indifferently called Midway or Champion's Hill, from the fact of its being half way between Jackson and Vicksburg, and the reputed property of a citizen by the name of Champion. The space between the hill and my right was composed of undulating fields, exposed to the enemy's fire, while the ground to its left and front was scarred by deep ravines and choked with underbrush, thus making a farther advance extremely difficult. Undaunted, the brave men of the Twelfth DIVISION pressed on under a galling fire. By 11 a. m. the engagement became general all along the hostile lines, and continued to rage with increasing fury until after 12 m. Meantime the enemy had been driven back with great slaughter, quite 600 yards, leaving in our hands 300 prisoners and eleven pieces of cannon.
Rallying in his desperation, and bringing forward fresh troops, he poured down the road, and with superior numbers renewed the conflict. Not daring to cross the open fields in the direction of General McPherson, who had handled him roughly on the extreme right, his main force was directed against A crisis had come. Struggling heroically against he adverse tide, that officer called for the support of a DIVISION of General McPherson's corps, hard by, which had not yet been engaged, but did not get it until his line was being borne back. The support finally came, and was also borne back. Slowly and stubbornly our men fell back, contesting every inch of ground lost with death, until they had neared the brow of the hill. Here, under partial cover, they rallied and checked the advance of the enemy, but a bold and decisive blow was necessary to retrieve the day in this part of the field. This was happily struck by General Hovey. Massing his artillery, strengthened by Dillon's Wisconsin battery, upon elevated ground beyond a mound to his right, he opened an enfilading fire upon the enemy, which, challenging the cheers of our men, went crashing through the woods with deadly effect. The enemy gave way and the fortune of the day in this part of the field was retrieved. General Hovey's and Crocker's DIVISIONS pushed forward to the crest of the hill, while General Logan's DIVISION, falling upon the flank of the broken foe, captured many prisoners. Five of the enemy's guns that had been captured by General Hovey and had not been brought off again fell into our hands. The carnage strewing the field literally stamped Midway as the "Hill of Death. " General Hovey had lost nearly one-THIRD of his men, killed and wounded. It was now about 2,30 p. m.
As already mentioned, General Osterhaus' DIVISION early advanced to feel the enemy, General Garrard's brigade on the right and Colonel Lindsey's on the left. The sharp skirmish that followed upon the receipt of my order to attack was pressed until the centers of the opposing lines became hotly engaged. The battle was raging all along my center and right. In front of my center, as well as my right, the enemy appeared in great numbers. Garrard's brigade was hard pressed, and General Osterhaus requested that it should be supported. Support was afforded by Benton's brigade, of Carr's DIVISION, which promptly moved