128 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
ordered General A. L. Lee to take command of the Ninth Division, and the battle began. It was soon terminated. After an artillery duel of an hour or so, varied with some sharp skirmishing, General Carr's Division, with the portion of Lee's which was on the right, made a gallant charge upon a weak spot on the enemy's left, and took the works. So suddenly and effectively was this done that the whole of Bowen's Brigade was cut off and captured, while our left, advancing at the same time, took two regiments of rebels who were trying to escape down the swamp and across the river in that direction. Every gun in the works was taken – in all eighteen – and the number of prisoners amounted to about three thousand. The haste with which the surrender was made was something ludicrous. The moment our charge began on the right fifty white flags appeared behind the works, extemporised by hoisting bunches of cotton on the end of bayonets. Alas! that the regal fiber should fulfill so meek a mission! We immediately advanced up to the captured works, and, planting a section of heavy guns near the river, began to shell the rebels who had got across it, and had burned the bridge which took them over, as well as set fire to the immense railroad bridge and trestle work.
The enemy left a regiment of sharpshooters on the west bank of the river to annoy us and delay our crossing, but General Lee, with a pioneer corps and a company of skirmishers, protected by the fire of Lamphear's Seventh Michigan Battery, reconnoitered the bank, and commenced the construction of a floating bridge. At 9 o'clock to-morrow it will be completed, and we shall move forward
. Meantime Sherman's Corps is crossing on pontoons above, and will go to Vicksburg by the upper road toward Haines' Bluff, while McClernand and McPherson will move on the Jackson road.
Our losses in the battle of yesterday were heavy – probably three hundred killed, and the usual sad proportion of wounded. Pemberton was in command of the rebel force. Major General Tilghman was killed. In the battle to-day our losses were but slight – our captures immoderately large.
THREE MILES IN REAR OF VICKSBURG,
May 20, 1863. }
On the 18th our army crossed the Big Black and marched on Vicksburg, Sherman coming in and taking possession of Haines' Bluff, McPherson arriving on the Jackson road, and McClernand advancing toward the close of his march on the road to Baldwin's Ferry.
Yesterday morning General Grant began to "move upon the enemy's works," – a line of redoubts extending from the rear of Haines Bluff to the Warrenton road, a distance of eight or ten miles.
The attack was made with Sherman on the right, McPherson extended from his left to the railroad, and McClernand from his left on the railroad to the extreme left. At daylight our troops moved up, but the action did not begin until about noon, save an occasional shot from our artillery as it came within range.
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