of artillery, was put in command of a "provisional division" which included a number of regiments and battalions and artillery, among which were the Third Mississippi, Third battalion State troops, Fourth regiment, Col. Pierre S. Layton; Thirteenth and Thirty-fifth regiments; Forty-sixth regiment, Lieut.-Col. W. K. Easterling; the Mississippi batteries of Capt. Robert Bowman, Capt. J. L. Wofford, Lieut. Frank Johnston, Capt. N. J. Drew, Maj. S. M. Ward’s light artillery, and Johnston’s cavalry company.
General Lee was given charge of the line of defenses from Vicksburg to Snyder’s Mill on Christmas day, and he at once made skillful arrangements for meeting the enemy. Judging the approaches nearest Vicksburg sufficiently protected by abatis of fallen timber, and the defenses at Snyder’s not likely to be assailed, he stationed the First Louisiana and two guns at the mound, or sandbar, four regiments and a battery at the head of Chickasaw Bayou, and a regiment between the mound and the bayou. Rifle-pits were hurriedly thrown up at the mound and the bayou, and across the lake timber was felled for an abatis.
On the 26th the fighting began with Morgan’s advance on the west side of the bayou, which was gallantly held in check by Col. W. T. Withers with the Seventeenth Louisiana, two companies of the Forty-sixth Mississippi, and a section of Wofford’s battery, stationed between the bayou and lake. "Early on the morning of the 27th," General Lee reported, "the enemy appeared in force and attacked Colonel Withers with violence. The colonel retired for a short distance up the bayou to a piece of woods, and held his ground against a largely superior force. The enemy also appeared in force in the woods in front of the Indian mound, driving in our skirmishers across the lake. They also appeared at Blake’s levee, at the same time attacking our batteries at Snyder’s Mill. They evidently had excellent guides, attacking us at