War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0661 Chapter XXXVI. BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON, MISS.

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ble. Your telegraphic communication will be cut off, and enemy will have road open to east. You must, however, of course, be guided by your own judgment. You and your men have done nobly. The account of the bacon is very gratifying.


Vicksburg, May 1, 1863.

Brigadier General John S. BOWEN:

In case the bridge is destroyed, how far up before you could form a connection? Is the river navigable to the bridge? Is not the river so narrow at the rafts that, with field artillery and sharpshooters, its destruction could be prevented? It is of vast importance to drive enemy back and save our communications with Grand Gulf and Port Gibson. You said this evening you would fight him on the other side of Bayou Pierre. Why have you changed your mind? You have now about 9,000 men, and you ought to attack before he can greatly increase his strength.


Lieutenant-General, commanding.

HEADQUARTERS, Grand Gulf, May 2, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following synopsis of the battle of Port Gibson, fought by a portion of my command on May 1: The whole of the night before, the enemy were landing troops at Bruinsburg, just south of the mouth of Bayou Pierre. From that point several roads could be reached by the enemy, all centering at Port Gibson. General [M. E.] Green had been sent out on the Bruinsburg road the day before with a force of about 1,000 men. The enemy attacked him at 1 a. m., and, after a brisk skirmish of two hours and a half duration, were repulsed. They continually received fresh troops, and renewed the attack at daylight on General Green's position.

In the mean time General [E. D.] treaty had arrived and taken position. His force, nominally 2,200, was really not more than 1,500, and the men were completely jaded and broken down with continuous marching. The enemy's attack was sustained with great bravery until between 9 and 10 o'clock, when, overwhelmed by numbers and flanked on the right and left, General Green had to fall back. Courier after courier had been sent for General [W. E.] Baldwin, but his troops were so utterly exhausted that he could not get up in time to prevent this. General Tracy's position on the right was maintained. He himself was killed early in the action. All of General Green's artillery ammunition was exhausted when he fell back. The enemy captured two pieces of the Virginia battery, on General Tracy's left and Green's right.

Just as the retreat was taking place, general Baldwin arrived. I ordered him to form a new line, about 1 mile in rear of General Green's first position, and sent the latter to the right to assist General Tracy. General Baldwin had no artillery, and that ordered up from Grand Gulf had not arrived. Colonel [F. M.] Cockrell, with three Missouri regiments, came up soon after. Two were sent to the left and one to the right. Ammunition was scarce, especially 's command, their ordnance train not having arrived. I now had all the force at my command on the field. excepting three regiments and two battalions, which occupied positions which I could not remove them from until the