On this date of May 17 in 1863 occurred the Battle of Big Black River Bridge. Pulling back toward Vicksburg at their defeat at Champion Hill on the 16th, the Confederates threw up a delaying defense on the east bank of the Black River. Three divisions of McClernand’s 13th Corps engaged the Confederates under the command of John S. Bowen.Big Black River Bridge

Burning the bridges behind them, Bowen’s men did what they could, though their losses totaled about 600 with close to 1800 captured. A bold charge by the men of General Mike Lawler on the Federal right flank had set the southerners into a panicked flight – some even drowning in the river in an attempt to escape. The Union forces threw up their own bridges and continued to follow the next day. Federal losses were only about 300 in total.

The three corps of Sherman, McPherson, and McClernand approached the Vicksburg defenses on the 18th. Assaults on the 19th and 22nd were not at all successful, revealing the strength of the arc of Confederate works around the city. Hence Grant concluded that a siege would be the only successful way to cause the fall of Vicksburg.

54761_black_river_lg

Advertisements

About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed multiple hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and have been a sportswriter for various publications and online venues. My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s