The battery of the enemy was taken at the point of the bayonet by the Eighth Illinois and the left wing of the Thirty-SECOND Ohio Volunteers. The supports of the battery were soon driven from the field. Finding that I was upon the enemy's left flank and had completely out flanked them, I pressed my whole command upon them, gaining possession of the only road and the bridge of Baker's Creek, and capturing a number of prisoners, together with several abandoned caissons and guns. Continuing my advance with vigor, I was peremptorily ordered by Major-General McPherson to fall back with my command and form a new line, in conjunction with Brigadier-General SMITH, the reason alleged being that the enemy were driving back our left. I immediately ordered the several regiments to fall back to the point designated, still holding possession of the road and bridge. While organizing the new line, we were subjected to a heavy fire from the batteries of the enemy, but without any material effect upon the command, every officer and man remaining at his post. At this time I could see large bodies of the enemy moving across my front, out of range, to the support of the attack on our left. I sent twice for a battery to the commanding general, but, failing to get it, was powerless to impede their advance. I then received an order from Major-General McPherson to send to the support of the left one of my regiments. I immediately detached the Thirty-SECOND Ohio, under Colonel Potts, they moving off under the direction of a staff officer of General McPherson, leaving of my command two regiments. Shortly afterward I was ordered to move my entire command to the left, which I did, and, being halted in rear of our batteries, availed myself of this opportunity to refill the cartridge-boxes of the command. At this point the Seventh Missouri, under command of Captain Robert Buchanan, reported on the field.
The enemy being repulsed on the whole line, I was ordered by General McPherson to occupy my old ground and press the enemy. I immediately moved the command to the point from which I had been recalled, and, finding the enemy in the timber in my front, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Sturgess, with the Eighth Illinois Volunteers, to charge the woods, which was immediately done, resulting in the capture of one gun, a rifled piece, and about 500 infantry. Leaving the Eighth Illinois Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Sturgess, I proceeded along the road in the direction of Vicksburg with the battery of Captain De Golyer, which had been sent to my front, and the Seventh Missouri Volunteers and Eighty-first Illinois Volunteers as a support, and vigorously shelled the flying enemy for a distance of several miles, breaking their columns and dispersing them in great disorder through the woods, and capturing many prisoners. Night alone put an end to the pursuit of the enemy.
This was unquestionably the great battle of the campaign, and I am proud that the officers and soldiers of the command conducted themselves throughout the entire day with the utmost valor and determination, bivouacking some 3 miles from the battle-field.
On the next day we marched to Big Black River, and at this point the SEVENTEENTH Illinois Volunteers, commanded by Major Frank F. Peats, reported for duty. We were detained here until the next morning, bridges having been erected during the night. We then moved in the direction of Vicksburg, bivouacking for the night within 2 miles of the enemy's works.
On the 19th, we advanced upon the works of the enemy, driving in their skirmishers and pressing our lines close to the works of the enemy, at night occupying the ground gained during the day.