War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0042 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

Osterhaus, but my messengers, not knowing the country nor his exact locality, were unable to find his DIVISION. In the mean time Major-General Grant had arrived, and with him Major-General McPherson, with his command. Before proceeding further, it is necessary that the topography of the field should be described.

Midway, or Champion's Hill, is equidistant from Jackson and Vicksburg, and is near the Midway Station on the Vicksburg and Jackson Railroad. It is a high promontory, some 60 or 70 feet above the common level of the country, and covered with woods, the Vicksburg and Clinton road leading over the crest. To the right and northeast of the hill are undulating fields, and on the left a woody tangled ravine, through which troops might pass with great difficulty. (See map accompanying this report. *) About half a mile from the open field, facing toward the side of the hill, a distance from the hill of about 400 yards, his front and the main front main front of my DIVISION being nearly at right angles. As my DIVISION ascended the hill, its line conformed to the shape and became crescent-like, with the concave toward the hill. As soon as General McPherson' line was ready to take part in the contest, about 10. 30 a. m., I ordered General McGinnis and Colonel Slack to press their skirmishers forward up the hill, and follow them firmly with their respective brigades. In a few minutes the fire opened briskly along the whole line, from my extreme left to the right of the forces engaged under Major -General McPherson, and 11 o'clock the battle opened hotly all along the line. The contest here continued for an hour by my forces. For over 600 yards up the hill my DIVISION gallantly drove the enemy before them, capturing 11 guns and over 300 prisoners, under fire. The Eleventh Indiana, colonel Macauley, and Twenty-night Wisconsin, colonel Gill, captured the four guns on the brow of the hill, at the point of the bayonet. Colonel Bringhurst, with the Forty-sixth Indiana, gallantly drove the enemy from two guns on the right of the road, and Colonel Byam, with the brave and eager Twenty-fourth Iowa, charged a battery of five guns on the left of the road, driving the enemy away, killing gunners and horses, and capturing several prisoners.

At this time General McGinnis requested me to permit him to take one section of the SIXTEENTH Ohio Battery, commanded by Captain Mitchell, up the hill. The section was taken up, and after fighting gallantly and firing 16 rounds was withdrawn, the danger of capture being imminent. Captain Mitchell, who fell during this attempt, will prove a great loss to his friends and country. First Lieutenant Murdock acted very gallantly during this affair, and deserves much praise for his coolness and bravery.

In the mean time the enemy, being rallied under cover of the woods, poured down the road in great numbers upon this position occupied by my forces. Seeing from the character of the ground that my DIVISION was likely to be severely pressed, as the enemy would not dare advance on the open ground before General McPherson, who had handled them roughly on the right, I ordered our captured guns to be sent down the hill. A short time afterward I received a request to send support to General McGinnis, on the right. At this time my whole DIVISION, including reserves, had for more than one hour been actively engaged, and my only hope of support was from other commands. Brigadier-General Quinby's DIVISION commanded by General Crocker, was near at hand, and had not yet been under fire . I sent to them for support, but being unknown to the officers of that command, considerable delay(not less

---------------

*On opposite PAGE .

---------------