War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0078 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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move. By a well-concerted movement we eluded the enemy upon three sides, and to his astonishment made our flank march from between his forces across the fields to a given point in the woods skirting Baker's Creek. The night being dark and the trail a blind one, et was found impossible to get through by following the creek. It was then determined to move across to another road and reach the ford in that direction. My command, being compelled to move back upon the ground where the battle was fought, passed the enemy's camp-fires, and at times our small parties were near enough to hear them. The unused plantation roads upon which we moved were in such bad condition as to render it impossible to carry our artillery over them, and we were obliged to destroy that which we had with our commands, bringing the horses and harness with us, the balance having gone with the army into Vicksburg. Soon after striking the timber, we discovered Edwards Depot and Withers' gin-house on fire, which convinced us that our forces had passed those points; but as we were led to believe that we could reach the lower ford in 3 or 4 moles, it was hoped that we could pass in between Edwards Depot and Big Black Bridge and rejoin the army. Instead of 3 or 4 it was 10 or 12 miles before my command reached the lower Raymond road which led to the ford, and then it was impossible to guide the (Dr. Williamson)informed us that it was impossible to guide the DIVISION to Big Black Bridge with the enemy in possession of Edwards Depot, which we were convinced he had held for several hours, but referred us to a gentleman by the name of Vaughan, who lived within 1 mile of the road. I went to his house and brought him to the column to consult with my generals, and proposed that he should take us to Big Black River. He declared that it was impossible, as all the lower fords over Baker's Creek were swimming, and that to Big Black Bridge he could not take us without moving through the enemy's lines at Edwards Depot. He also informed us that a large force of the enemy had that day passed by his house. It was known that the enemy had troops at all ferries over Big Black below the mouth of Baker's Creek, and that the river was a deep and difficult stream to cross. The condition of the command was also taken into consideration, being without artillery, with but few rounds of cartridges; having no implements for immediate construction of a bridge or ferry; our entire train having gone into Vicksburg, and being without supplies of any kind; also the distance to the river was so great that it would have been impossible to have reached it until late next day, when the enemy was to have been posted to prevent crossing. After a full consultation with my brigadiers, all of us were of the opinion that it was impossible to attempt the passage of Big Black at any point, and in doing so the entire DIVISION would certainly be lost. Subsequent evens have fully shown that we were right in this determinatn determined to force the rear of the enemy between Raymond and Utica.

On the evening of the 17th, my command, after a hard march, reached Crystal Springs, a village on the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad, 25 miles south of Jackson.

On the 19th, reached Jackson with my entire DIVISION, few lingering by the way, and immediately reported to General Johnston, who expressed his gratification that my command had safely arrived.

Of Generals Featherston and Buford and Colonel A. E. Reynolds, commanding brigades, whose reports are herewith annexed, too much cannot be said in commendation. The rapidity and skill with which they executed their orders, and the boldness with which their gallant com-