Lindsey, deployed into line, by battalions in mass, in the rear of the First Brigade. Being placed on the extreme left, I ordered a strong line of pickets thrown out on that flank, supported by the left battalion of the SECOND Brigade, in order to prevent any
surprise from that side. Lanphere's battery was kept in reserve, supported by the cavalry. The right section of Foster's battery was opened by 10 o'clock on a battery in front of General SMITH, where we could see a party of the rebels at work. The distance was at 2,500 yards, but the projectiles from these superior guns reached the object and dispersed the working party.
All the forts in my front were fully manned, and a number of guns left of General Lee's brigade, to find their range, threw several shells among them. Their guns remained silent. I ordered General Lee to advance his line the valley leaving only a support to the batteries, and, as far as he found no resistance with skirmishers, feeling the way carefully. The general descended into the valley and marched up the next ridge, passed the next valley, and was debouching from a small strip of timber in order to ascend the SECOND line of hills. Here his troops came in view of the, enemy, who then opened with shot and shell, though without doing any injury. The general halted under the shelter of the many ravines. Colonel Lindsey's brigade followed this forward movement, under orders to support and strengthen any of General Lee's line if necessary.
Shortly before this, I received orders from corps headquarters to prepare everything for a general assault at 2 p. m. After having advised mu brigade commanders of this order, Captain Lanphere's battery was brought forward to support assault, and unlimbered on an eminence on the left of Foster's battery(four guns). Both batteries were to open fire on the enemy's works and wherever he show himself. The forward movement of the infantry had leftithout an effective support in case of a flank attack, and I therefore ordered Captain Campbell's cavalry to proceed on the plantation road mentioned above, leading to Warrenton and Hall's Ferry, scour all the country south, and apprise me of anything that might transpire in that direction.
At 2 o'clock all the batteries fired three volleys, and the infantry began the advance. They climbed the steep hills before them in most brilliant style, and marched over the brow of the ridge through a most raking fire.
The extremely irregular ground and the situation of the objects of attack made the direction of the advance of the First Brigade bear to the left, and, of course, it created a gap in the line of attack between mine and General SMITH's command, on my right. Under my orders and instructions, Colonel Lindsey, commanding the SECOND Brigade, at once inserted his brigade in this opening, and the whole DIVISION now advanced steadily and gallantly against a most fearful fire from the enemy's rifle-pits and batteries, which commanded(mostly by cross-fire)every hill, every ravine, gully, and gorge leading to the fortifications.
Many a brave man sank down under the hail-storm of iron and lead, and among them that most gallant officer, General A. L. Lee, who, so shortly connected with the DIVISION, had shown so many military virtues was wounded; but the victors at Port Gibson, Champion's Hill, and Big Black River marched forward and held the ground gained. They came within 300 or yards of the enemy's works, and, availing themselves of every swell and nook of the ground, opened now on their part a murderous fire, compelling the rebel gunners very soon to leave their guns.