Today begins a series of quick posts that look back 150 years ago to a number of conflicts surrounding the Vicksburg Campaign, with the ultimate surrender on July 4th. There have already been two articles on this campaign in the Enfilading Lines Blog:
1. The Running of the Vicksburg Batteries (April 16) and may be found by looking HERE.
2. The American Normandy: Grant Crosses the Mississippi / Battle of Port Gibson (April 30) and may be found by looking HERE.
The remaining posts will be:
3. Today, May 12: The Battle of Raymond
4. May 14: The Battle of Jackson
5. May 16: The Battle of Champion Hill
6. May 17: The Battle of Big Black River Bridge
7. May 19: The First Assault on Vicksburg
8. May 22: The Second Assault on Vicksburg
9. May 26: The Siege of Vicksburg
10. July 4: The Surrender of Vicksburg
The Battle of Raymond – May 12, 1863
The forces of Grant’s Army of the Tennessee marched northeast in Mississippi from their river crossing point at Bruinsburg (rather than an expected straight north – see the map), pushing inland from the river over a period of 10-12 days. On this date of May 12, 150 years ago, the Battle of Raymond was fought.
Confederate Brigadier General John Gregg was ordered by commanding general John Pemberton at Vicksburg to intercept advancing Union troops, but to not bring on a general conflict against a larger force. Gregg sought to set a trap at a bridge crossing the 14-Mile Creek, believing the Union force to be some sort of advance raiding party. But the blast of artillery upon the bridge signaled the presence of more infantry (a division under John Alexander Logan). Though the Confederates had the numerical advantage early in the day, the arrival of the Union XVII Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson turned a 2-1 Confederate advantage into a 3-1 deficit. After six hours of fighting, the superior numbers prevailed and Gregg was forced to retreat from the field.
The result of the battle was that Confederate forces under Pemberton and Gregg (soon to be in command of Johnston) were unable to combine, and the Southern Railroad supply for Vicksburg was cut. Total losses were roughly in the 400-500 range for the Union, and about double that for the Confederates.