War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0656 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

to 50,000 strong, were marching a column of 20,000 to turn his rear by the way of Grindstone Ford, on the Bayou Pierre, that they had repaired the bridges across the intervening streams and were then rapidly approaching. He placed in my possession information and facts to satisfy my mind that the statements were undoubtedly true. He further informed me that he was fully convinced of the necessity of taking the army out of its position, and had put off doing so, hearing that I was coming. I approved of his determination, and directed it to be done at once, determined to fall back to a position where supplies and re-enforcements could reach the army. This had scarcely been determined upon when your communication was received, stating that the army had fallen back toward Grand Gulf, and ordering it to move at once out of its position and across the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry. The necessary order was given for the movement, General [A. W.] Reynolds being sent with al possible dispatch to Grindstone Ford with his brigade, it being all-important to hold that position. From some cause or other this brigade failed to reach its destination, and it was left to the regiments before mentioned to hold it, and soon the command was in motion. Subsequently we heard of [S. M.] Barton's arrival, it being the first information we received of his approach. I placed General [Lloyd] Tilghman in command of a brigade, in addition to the two regiments and the battery referred to, with which he held the enemy in check and drove him back after he had crossed the Bayou Pierre with an advance of some fourteen regiments, with large amount of artillery. The force, with its baggage, in accordance with your orders, crossed Big Black and there remained (the other instructions having been carried out), its baggage being sent to the rear to have it our of the way in case the enemy appeared. During the crossing, and after a large portion of the command was over, I learned of the coming of Major-General [C. L.] Stevenson with a brigade.

On the following morning, Brigadier-General [S. D.] Lee, being ordered to bring up the rear, was left for that purpose at the crossing of the Big Black, and kept the enemy (which proved to be but a reconnoitering force) from coming to this side of the river, or in any way disturbing our march.

The next morning (Monday, May 4) I received your communication to hasten as rapidly as possible to Big Black Bridge and Edwards Depot, it being feared from information received that the enemy was moving rapidly in that direction. This order was obeyed. Subsequently an order was received dividing the army and sending the DIVISIONS to different positions. This was done, and I reported the facts to your headquarters.

Very respectfully,&c.,

W. W. LORING.

Major-General, Commanding.

Major R. W. MEMMINGER,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS LORING'S DIVISION, Forest, MISS., August 27, 1863.

COLONEL: I respectfully state that I was ordered on the night of May 1 to move with two regiments and a battery from Jackson to Port Gibson by the way of Edwards Depot.

On May 2, while passing within a few miles of Grindstone Ford, on