Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/619

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envelop the little Confederate force. At sunrise the fight was renewed and became general, and the Confederates were gradually pushed back. The Sixth Mississippi, by a gallant charge upon a Federal battery, succeeded in holding back the tide a little while, and Baldwin’s brigade came up and formed a line in the rear to which the Confederate advance was withdrawn. The Federal right approaching the Natchez road the Third and Fifth Missouri charged in that direction, routed the enemy, and by a desperate fight saved Bowen’s entire command from being flanked and captured. The Confederates kept up the fight during the day, making what Grant pronounced a very bold defense and well carried out, holding the 20,000 Federals in check until evening, when they withdrew across the bayou and burned the bridges. In this battle of Port Gibson, the Mississippi troops engaged, aside from the Sixth regiment, were mainly in Baldwin's brigade, which reached the field exhausted by a long march, fought on the left, retired through Port Gibson at nine o’clock at night, and fell back toward Willow Springs. The Fourth regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Adair, bore the severest part of the conflict. The casualties of Bowen’s little army in this battle were 60 killed and 340 wounded. Among the killed, unfortunately, was Gen. E. D. Tracy. The Federal loss was much more severe—131 killed, 719 wounded and 25 missing; but they were compensated to some extent by capturing 387 men, mainly from Green and Tracy. Bowen held his position on Bayou Pierre during the next day, but was not reinforced. Generals Loring and Tilghman arrived the following night, and it being decided that the position could not be held, Grand Gulf was ordered abandoned and Bowen's forces withdrew across the Big Black river at Harkinson’s ferry. McPherson’s corps followed, and was stoutly resisted en route, but on May 3d encamped at the ferry.

On the 6th Sherman landed at Bruinsburg and