127 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
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.
THE BATTLE OF THE BIG BLACK.
AT THE BRIDGE, May 17. – At daylight this morning our victorious army moved on from Edward's Station, by the main road to the Big Black, McClernand's Corps in the advance, led by Carr's Division. It was known that the rebels had constructed earthworks to defend the bridge, and that these works must be taken. The distance was but three miles, and we had hardly advanced one before the skirmishing in front commenced. The enemy slowly retired, and we pressed on until we reached a point about one mile from the river, when the rebel batteries, some eighteen guns, opened on us. They had a good range of the road, and the shells flew and burst about us in lively style.
Carr immediately formed in line of battle and advanced on the center and right, with half of Osterhaus' Division on the extreme right and half on the left. Smith's Division came rapidly up and formed on the extreme left.
The action had hardly began when the gallant Osterhaus was slightly wounded, while busy in getting the First Wisconsin Battery in position on the left center. Captain Foster, commanding the battery, was at the same time hurt – a case shot bursting among the party, and both were obliged to leave the field. General McClernand immediately
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