On the morning of May 12, 1863, Major General James B. McPherson's XVII Corps marched along the road from Utica toward Raymond. Shortly before 10:00 a.m., the Union skirmish line crested a ridge, and moved cautiously through open fields into the valley of Fourteen Mile Creek, southwest of Raymond. Suddenly a deadly volley ripped into their ranks from the woods lining the nearly dry stream.
As the battle progressed, McPherson massed 22 guns astride the road to support his infantry, while Confederate artillery also roared into action, announcing the presence of Brigadier General John Gregg's battle-hardened brigade. The ever-combative Gregg decided to strike with his 3,000-man brigade, turn the Federal right flank, and capture the entire force. Faulty intelligence led Gregg to believe that he faced only a small Union force, when in reality McPherson's 10,000-man corps was on the road before him.
Thick clouds of smoke and dust obscured the field and neither commander accurately assessed the size of the force in his front. Gregg enjoyed initial success, but as successive Confederate regiments attacked across the creek to the left, resistance stiffened and it became clear that a much larger Federal force was on the field. By early afternoon, the Confederate assault was checked and Union forces counterattacked.
Union brigades continued to arrive on the field and deploy in line of battle on either side of the Utica road. In piecemeal fashion, McPherson's men pushed forward at 1:30 p.m., driving the Confederates back across Fourteen Mile Creek. The ensuing fight was of the most confused nature, for neither commander knew where their units were or what they were doing.
However, Union strength of numbers prevailed. The Confederate right flank along the Utica road broke under renewed pressure, and Gregg had no alternative but to retire from the field. His regiments retreated through Raymond along the Jackson Road, bivouacking for the night near Snake Creek. There was no Federal pursuit as McPherson's troops bedded down for the night in and around the town.
The fight at Raymond cost Gregg 73 killed, 252 wounded, and 190 missing, most of whom were from the 3rd Tennessee and the 7th Texas. McPherson's losses totaled 446 of whom 68 were killed, 341 wounded, and 37 missing. Now secure in his position, Grant could begin to pressure Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi.
Last updated: February 15, 2018