Capt. Aquilla Standifird's Civil War Journal
Company D, 23rd Iowa Infantry


Contributed by Julie Cheche

The Battle of Champion Hill - May 16, 1863

"The ground was torn up by shell, rails from fences scattered and broken
and the dead and wounded by the hundreds."

May 16th: [*The Battle of Champion Hill] We moved out this morning and we had not gone far until we could hear cannonading in our front. When we arrived near the battlefield we were halted and while inactive we could but think what would be the result. Who would be the victors? Wounded was passing us to the rear.

About five o-clock we were ordered to the left and front to the support of other troups. We moved forward quite rapidly at first but soon halted. Fill in line of battle. Skermishers in advance skermishing would be lively sometimes but would not last long where a general advance was made. The rebs would fall back, we would advance and halt to get lines in shape. Our route was through timber, brush, across deep ravines matted with can brake, which made it impossible to keep in line making our movement slow.

All at once firing ceased in our front. And we were halted a short time, moved forward again turning to the right and soon came out in open ground and up a hill on and around which shown the unmistakable signs of a fearful struggle. The ground was torn up by shell, rails from fences scatured and broken and the dead and wounded by the hundreds.

Survived the hill, we turned to the left going across an open field and through some timber taking some prisoners. Came across a family or parts of families, three women and some children. They had hidden in the deep revine while the battle raged over and around them.

We turned to the right and came out into a road moving toward Edward Station it was now dusk. Crossed Baker Creek and arrived at the Station in the fore part of the night. When we got near here we could hear ever few minutes quite a clatter of which appeared to be small arms and the bursting of shells. On our arrival we found a train of ammunition had been left by the rebs. They did not want it to fall into our hands so they set fire to it. We heard that there was quite a lot of rations near the burning cars but the way the shells flew we concluded it would not healthy to make a too close investagation, if we was without rations. Our blankets was left behind this morning and we will have to lie down without any covering and it is quite cool.


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