126 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
The whole army, then fifty-five thousand strong, set out upon its march to Bruinburg, below Grand Gulf, where it crossed the river, fought five successive battles, and drove an enemy outnumbering the Union army, into the walls of Vicksburg.
The following letters were written by Surgeon Reeves and the author, which give a correct history of the regiment and its operations:
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.
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