may 2-17 1863
Having secured his beachhead, Grant assessed his options: attacking Vicksburg from the south would capture the city, but Pemberton would escape northeast; Grant could march east and strike the Southern Railroad, pivot west, and close on Vicksburg from the east. This approach could cost Pemberton his army as well as the city. Grant, a great captain, chose the latter course.
Sherman duly crossed the Mississippi at Grand Gulf. The Army of the Tennessee resumed its advance on May 8 Grant sent McPherson through Utica toward Raymond. McClernand watched the Big Black River crossings, while Sherman closed on Auburn.
On May 11, Confederate Brigadier General John Gregg's brigade marched from Jackson to Raymond. At 10 a.m. on May 12, Gregg sighted McPherson's vanguard on the Utica road, and the fight began. Initially, Gregg's 3,000 troops held the initiative, McPherson failing to use his greater numbers to coordinate an attack. But finally, Gregg retreated toward Jackson.
The battle had important repercussions: when McPherson reported it, he doubled Gregg's true strength. This, together with rumors that General Joseph Johnston was expected at Jackson, caused Grant to alter his plan. Instead of striking for Bolton on May 13, he turned his army east. McPherson and Sherman were to capture Jackson and destroy the railroads. McClernand's corps would cover them.
Pemberton ordered his army to concentrate at Edward's Station, within easy striking distance of a Federal corps. McClernand bluffed an attack on Edward's Station. The Confederates dug in on hills south of the village, while McClernand broke contact. Stealing a march on Pemberton, he camped at Raymond on the 13th. Johnston reached Jackson late that day. After conferring with Gregg, he telegraphed Richmond: "I am too late," and prepared to evacuate the city.
On May 14, in driving rain, McPherson and Sherman converged on Jackson. After some skirmishing, the Confederates retired into the fortifications. Before the Federals could attack, word arrived that the Confederates had evacuated Jackson and were retiring up the Canton Road.
With the Federals in Jackson, Confederate brigades en route to reinforce Johnston were halted at Crystal Springs, Meridian and at Brandon. Johnston's evacuation of Jackson had scattered his army and critical days
A division under Gen. Logan had been left by Grant at Raymond, a village between Jackson and Vicksburg. This division was struck by Gen. John Gregg's Confederate brigade. The battle of Raymond (left) lasted for several hours and resulted in the retreat of the outnumbered Confederates. Each side suffered about 500 casualties.
May8-U:Grant'sarmyadvantis Big Black Bayou watershed
May 11: Gregg's brigade marjiHfr Port Hudson area to Raymond
Battle of Raymond 9j2> km
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