known the ground as I did afterward, I cannot see how Pemberton could have escaped with any organized force."
The Confederates had fortified the bridge where the railroad crosses the Big Black with a téte-de-pont on the east side of the river, and this was occupied by Vaughn's brigade, about 4,000 men, when the troops arrived from Baker’s creek during the night of the 16th. Bowen's division was also posted in the works, and Stevenson’s division was sent west of the river to Mount Alban. The fortifications were strong and defended by twenty pieces of artillery. Yet Pemberton did not desire to hold it longer than to enable Loring, whom he had not heard from, to come up. While waiting, morning (May 17th) arrived, and with it an attack from the enemy, who had followed rapidly and now made a charge against that part of the works held by Vaughn’s brigade, which broke in confusion. Green and Cockrell were then compelled to retire with much celerity across the bridge, using the steamer Dot, which was swung across and used as an additional bridge. Some of the men, possessed by panic, swam across the turbulent river, and others in the attempt were drowned. The bridge and steamer were then burned under the direction of Major Lockett, and Federal pursuit was checked, the Twenty-third Alabama remaining on the opposite bank all day. The Federals captured 18 guns and 1,751 prisoners, and lost in killed and wounded 276 in this affair.
Captain Ridley having been killed at the battle of Baker's creek, First Lieut. C. E. Hooker had command of the battery, consisting of Lancaster's section under the command of Lieutenant Lancaster, and Hooker's section under the immediate command of Lieutenant Johnston. A shot from the enemy's artillery stationed immediately in front of Robert Smith’s house, struck the axle of the gun under command of Lieutenant Johnston, throwing the gun from the trunnion bed and igniting some loose ammunition near by and severely wounded