We had thirteen pieces of Light artillery. The enemy had landed 30,000 men, and according to their letter-writers nearly all were brought into action during the day. They had certainly five
major-generals, including their commander, General Grant, present, showing that the above is no exaggeration of their numbers. My command held this large army in check from daylight until near sundown, often repulsing them, and three times charging and breaking their lines.
About half an hour before sundown the order to retire was given. Green was then slowly falling back on the right. Tracy's brigade moved next, followed by Cockrell, from the left, and Baldwin, who occupied the center, brought up the rear. Passing to the left of the town with the leading brigades, we crossed the bayou, and, having formed line of battle on the north side, destroyed the bridge. The enemy pressing upon our rear, obtained possession of the road leading to the left of the town, and compelled Baldwin to cross through the town and over the forks of the bayou, destroying both bridges. Halting a few hours to rest his men, he took up his march, and, passing around, joined me the following day at Grant Gulf.
Hoping from my dispatches the Major-General [W. W.] Loring, with his whole DIVISION, would be up that nigh, I determined to hold the position on the Bayou Pierre, and if Loring could prevent the enemy from crossing the two forks of the bayou to the east, and thus secure my left flank, I felt confident of whipping them in front. Finding that only one small brigade of his was en route to join me, and that [A. W.] Reynold's brigade, of [Carter L.] Stevenson's DIVISION, had not yet come up, I determined to abandon the position.
Major-General Loring and Brigadier-General [Lloyd] Tilghman arrived at my headquarters about 11 o'clock on the night of the 2nd. I explained my position to them, and stated my determination to retreat, but told General Loring that the order had not yet been communicated to any one. He declined to assume the command of the troops, but concurred in my belief that I was compelled to abandon the post at Grand Gulf. I then ordered the evacuation, the time for each command to move being so fixed as to avoid any delay or confusion when the several commands from their respective positions should meet on the main road. After the order was issued, a dispatch from General Pemberton ordered the abandonment of the position, adding that I was to abandon my baggage, which I had determined to and did save. After the army was clear of the post, magazines destroyed, and the order of march fully arranged, General Loring assumed command, keeping me with him as a staff officer until we crossed the Big Black River, when I returned to the command of my DIVISION.
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the troops who shared the perils and hardships incident to this battle. By referring to the reports of General Baldwin and Colonel [I. W.] Garrott (commanding Tracy's brigade), it will be seen that these brave men marched over 100 miles, fought for twelve hours an army five times their number, and all in the space of five days.
General Green's handsome repulse of the enemy's advance guard the night before the battle is worthy of special commendation.
In addition to the gallant charge made by the THIRD and FIFTH Missouri (Colonels [W. R.] Gause's and [James] McCown's regiments) on the left, I would call special attention to the cool, daring, and determined conduct of Colonel Eugene Erwin and the brave officers and men under him, of the Sixth Missouri. To fully understand the merit of