Battle of Raymond "The Road To Jackson" May 12, 1863
For more than 18 months Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had been trying to capture the Mississippi River fortress town of Vicksburg. The batteries of cannon on the high bluffs above the river allowed the Confederacy to maintain a supply route to their western states, from which they received badly needed materials and food. If Grant could capture Vicksburg, he would cut the Confederacy in two, and the Union would control the entire length of the Mississippi River. Grant had already made half a dozen attempts to take Vicksburg. They had all ended in failure, but now he was ready to risk all on one daring campaign.
Grant's plan was to cross his army over the Mississippi to the east bank, well south of Vicksburg. From there he could march his troops to Vicksburg and lay siege to the town from the eastern land side. By May 2, 1863, Grant's army had made the river crossing and, to the surprise of the Vicksburg defenders, moved east toward the state capitol of Jackson. Grant reasoned that he needed to capture Jackson before beginning the siege in order to prevent Confederate reinforcements from arriving at his rear. Grant sent 12,000 men under the command of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson toward the town of Raymond, 15 miles from Jackson.
On May 12, McPherson ran into a well-posted brigade of 4,000 Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. John Gregg. McPherson threw one division, under the command of Gen. John A. Logan, against the Rebel position. Logan's men were repulsed in a hot and bloody contest, but they rallied in time to ward off a Confederate counterattack. By 1:30pm, McPherson had brought up another division and mounted a counterattack of his own. Gregg, realizing at last that he was vastly outnumbered, managed to disengage his troops and pull out down the road to Jackson. Union losses totaled 66 killed, 339 wounded, and 37 missing. Among the Confederates, 72 were killed, 252 wounded, and 190 missing.
Fascinating Fact: The battle at Raymond did little to prevent the capture of Jackson, which fell to Union forces two days later, on May 14, 1863.
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