JULY 2018

JULY 2018
One Hundred Years Later, Same Message. 1916 - 2017


Sunday, May 11, 2008

FRIDAY MAY 15, 1863

In the pre-dawn darkness, Pemberton’s 17,000 men begin their march for Dillion. They set out from Edward’s Station, intending to follow the Raymond road South East, but the downpour from the 13/14 May has swollen Bakers Creek which they must cross about a mile and a half out of Edwards. The ford is so flooded as to be useless. So Pemberton is forced to backtrack 1 ½ miles on the Clinton Road to cross the stream by the bridge on the Jackson/Vicksburg Road, and then detour 4 miles South before rejoining the road to Raymond. Wirt Adam’s cavalry leads a mile in front of the infantry, followed by Loring’s and then Bowen’s Division, and finally Stevenson’s division, followed by the army’s wagon trains.
Also this morning another 4,000 Confederate troops arrive at General Johnston’s position on the Canton Road, six miles North of Jackson. He now has a force of 15,000 men. But the rebel troops are not a single cohesive unit yet and cannot be expected to fight a complicated engagement with Grant’s veterans. So Johnston holds back, waiting for word of Pemberton’s intentions. Meanwhile, in Jackson, two divisions of Sherman’s Corps begin their work destroying the industry and communications centers of the city.
This morning, at seven, McPherson’s Corps leaves Jackson, led by Logan’s division, and bound for Clinton and then Bolton, where the Vicksburg Road crosses the old Natchez Trace. Directly in front of McPherson's column on the Vicksburg Road is McClernard’s Corp, now with orders to about march and advance toward Edward’s station. Bit McClernard is also cautioned by Grant not to bring on a general engagement.
Grant rides as far as Clinton, where he is met by two captured engineers from the Vicksburg & Jackson Rail Road. They tell him that Pemberton is at Edward’s station with 3 divisions. Having earlier captured one of the couriers carrying a copy of Johnston’s message to Pemberton, Grant thus expects there to be contact with Pemberton’s army this day near Edwards. He urges Sherman to hurry the destruction of Jackson and bring up his full Corps to Bolton.
Meanwhile on the road to Raymond, Pemberton spends the night in a private home. But he is now growing ever more confused. Where are the Union supply trains? Wirt Adam’s cavalry report no traffic on the Grand Gulf/Raymond road. The troops of Stevenson and Loring are on the march past midnight, trying to close up the column. They all expect to make contact with the Federal cavalry guarding the wagon trains in the morning. But Pemberton goes to bed without issuing any orders for his troop on the next day. Clearly he is unsure of where Grant is and what he intends on doing next.
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