Rev. Thomas M. Stevenson, Chaplain

letter excerpted from
History Of The 78th Regiment O. V. V. I., From Its "Muster-In" To Its "Muster-Out;" Comprising Its Organization, Marches, Campaigns, Battles And Skirmishes
, by Rev. Thomas M. Stevenson, Chaplain, Zanesville, Ohio, 1865

transcribed by Thomas J. Joyce, Long Beach, CA, Sep. 2000
click here for full text


[pages 126-127]

    The gallant army under General Grant has just obtained a glorious victory a victory which fully justifies the confifidence their commander seems to have felt when he entered upon the daring campaign to Vicksburg by the way of Grand Gulf and Jackson.
     Yesterday morning the position of our army was briefly this: Part of Sherman's Corps occupied Jackson the particulars of the capture of that town you have already learned. The larger part of McPherson's Corps lay at the same place. McClernand's was two miles south of Bolton, and sixteen miles west of Jackson, while Ransom's Brigade of McArthur's Division, (McPherson's Corps) and Blair's Division of Sherman's Corps were approaching Raymond on their march from Grand Gulf. The little town of Raymond lies eight miles south of Bolton, and about twenty south-west from Jackson.
     The enemy had massed his forces at Edward's Station, nineteen miles east of Vicksburg on the railroad, with the intent to cut our long lines somewhere between Raymond and Bolton, and thus at once deprive us of supplies and beat us in detail. But his designs were discovered and splendidly defeated.
     Yesterday morning news came to General McClernand that the enemy were advancing on him from the north-west in the manner just indicated, and he immediately ordered General A. L. Lee, who had that moment arrived and reported for duty in the Thirteenth Army Corps, to reconnoiter the approach. With a squad of cavalry General Lee galloped off five or six miles toward Edward's Station, scoured the country to and fro, discovered the enemy's pickets in that direction, and returned with a map of the ground over which the battle was next day to be fought.
     In the meantime General McPherson's command moved rapidly down from Jackson and arrived toward nightfall near Bolton, while Ransom's Brigade and Blair's Division reached Raymond. Thus our widely extended front was suddenly closed on the center, in such a way as to be ready for either attack or defense. At the same time General Sherman moved from Jackson north of the railroad toward Edward's Station, in such course as to keep within supporting distance, and to prevent the rebel force under Joe Johnston (driven northward out of Jackson) from making a junction with their friends at Edward's Station.
     At daylight this morning our movement toward Edward's Station began. Hovey's Division of McClernand's Corps, followed by McPherson on the right, and advancing on the road from Bolton; Osterhaus' Division, followed by General Carr's, on the center; and Smith's Division, with General Blair's as a reserve, on the left, by the first road from Raymond to Edward's Station.
     The battle opened on the left about 8 o'clock, with artillery directed on Smith's advance. It seemed that the rebels were attempting to turn our left, and get in our rear in the direction of Raymond. But Smith held his road firmly, and the enemy slowly retired, while we slowly advanced.
     The enemy next massed his forces on our right center, where Hovey's Division was coming up, and here the battle began to rage in deadly earnest. For a time the result seemed doubtful; the rebels pressed on in the most determined manner, while Hovey's brave boys returned their attacks with the most persistent valor. For a moment we gave back at that point, but Hovey, being reinforced by two Brigades of Crocker's Division, the enemy were driven, and the day went in our favor. A portion of the rebel force began their retreat by the Vicksburg road. McPherson swung around his right, and cut off and captured about fifteen hundred prisoners, and a battery of ten guns. Our left, McClernand's Corps and Blair's Division, and Ransom's Brigade now pressed forward, and the complete defeat and demoralization of the enemy was assured. Our artillery was hastened forward from point to point, over the numberless hills of this most rugged country, and poured its deadly fire into the flying columns of the rebels. At sunset, as we entered Edward's Station, we found there a great debris of stores abandoned by the enemy in his flight among them a train of cars loaded with ammunition and set on fire, and a depot of provisions also partly consumed. We managed to save from these ninety thousand rounds of musket ammunition, a large quantity of fixed ammunition for field pieces, and a good supply of sugar.
     Our captures in this splendid fight foot up to about two thousand eight hundred prisoners, nineteen guns, and about ten thousand serviceable Enfield rifles, together with all the stores I have mentioned.


Rev. Thomas M. Stevenson, Chaplain of the Regiment; History Of The 78th Regiment O. V. V. I., From Its "Muster-In" To Its "Muster-Out;" Comprising Its Organization, Marches, Campaigns, Battles And Skirmishes; pp 126-127, 133-137; Zanesville, Ohio, 1865

 

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