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"Grant's crown of immortality was won, and the jewel that shone most brightly in it was set
Major S. H. M. Byers, Fifth Iowa Infantry
"THE HILL OF DEATH" read by Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emeritus, National Park Service
at Champion Hill
October 22, 1925 — October 7, 2006
By Sue Burns Moore
On New Year’s Eve in 1862 about three miles west of Edward’s Depot in Hinds County, Mississippi, at about 11 o’clock in the morning, Richard White, the engineer of the Southern Railroad line was traveling between Jackson and Vicksburg at a safe speed with his human cargo – four cars packed with Confederate soldiers going to the front. Many were veterans of the recent bloody battle at Corinth now headed to the trenches of Vicksburg to defend Vicksburg, that Mississippi River "key" which President Lincoln felt he must have in his pocket in order to defeat the South.
Suddenly, without warning, disaster struck and the train plunged off the track, according to a soldier’s letter, originally published in the Jackson Mississippian and later picked up by several New Orleans papers. The letter, written December 31, 1862, from Edwards Depot, Hinds County, Mississippi, was penned by Pvt. Charles A. Cone, age 29, of Company C of the 28th Mississippi Cavalry.
A Terrible Day Which Cost the Confederacy Vicksburg
By P. MITCHELL
I will return to the morning and the place where ready and waiting we saw Logan's gallant men hurry past file to the right and take position in the valley beyond In the meantime the infantry of my own division having pushed forward in battle line to the immediate front had crossed the fields and commenced skirmishing with the enemy at the edge of the woods beyond But before this we of the artillery tilting on our horses or standing at rest heard the commencement of the battle far to the left in the front of Smith's and Carr's Divisions.
OVER CAUTIOUS McCLERNAND
That these divisions with Osterhaus and Blair although on good roads and in ca3y distance skirmished the day away and failed to advance until near night is a matter of history Gen. McClernand who commanded them was evidently overcautious and for this reason failed to push them forward as they should have been pushed. This failure of his to advance promptly as ordered and attack vigorously allowed the enemy in his front to mass toward their left. If I refer only briefly again or not at all to the left wing of our army it will be because as a truth it had little part in the terrific contest that fell with such fury on the right.
The Battle of Champion Hill
May 16, 2015
Alexander W. Geddes
Alexander Geddes and his younger brother, Cyrus M. Geddes, enlisted in the Union Army after President Lincoln called for volunteers.
During the May 16, 1863, Battle of Champion Hill the brothers fought in the Ninth Division (Brig. Gen. Peter Osterhaus), First Brigade (Col. John Fonda.) Two men from the 118th were killed that day - Capt. Alexander Geddes, age 33, and Lt. Thomas White.
After the battle, Pvt. Cyrus Geddes removed his brother’s saber then buried him on the battlefield. He then requested permission from Col. John Fonda to be allowed to send Alexander’s saber home to his father. Col Fonda denied the request and instead promoted Pvt. Cyrus Geddes to his deceased brother’s position as captain. Captain Cyrus Geddes wore his brother’s saber for the remaining years of the war. He was mustered out on October 1, 1865.
Information provided by Allan M. Geddes, great nephew, Mediapolis, IA.
Diary of Wesley Olin Connor
Champion Hill, Saturday May 16. 11 o'clock, we were ordered into position on that portion of the line parallel with the railroad. Moved round and found General Stevenson's division hotly engaged. Some of the Alabama regiments had already given back, came into position in a field to the left of the division within six hundred yards of a Yankee battery of Napoleon guns. We fired fifteen or twenty rounds from each gun, but it was hot work. Shot, shell and shrapnel flew thick and fast around us. Here fell Hutchens, killed, and Lumpkin and Anthony mortally wounded.
1862 Letter Written from Edwards Station
By Sue Burns Moore
Lieut. Moses Capers Leak of the "Claiborne Invincibles," Co. H, 17th Louisiana Infantry wrote his older sister Sarah Leak Simmons of Cave Springs, Georgia, a detailed letter from camp at Edwards, Hinds County, Mississippi about his recent experience at the great battle of Shiloh, April 7-8, 1862. Leak first volunteered as a private May 18, 1861, at Camp Moore, LA, but when his year was up, he re-enlisted at Edwards on May 23, 1862, and was elected as first lieutenant of his company. That fall he was sent back to Claiborne Parish on a 25-day leave to obtain clothing for his men who would soon see action in the last week of December at Chickasaw Bluff as skirmishers led by Capt. Paul Hamilton of Gen. Stephen D. Lee’s staff.
On May 1, 1863, outnumbered by Grant’s army four to one, they would fight in Baldwin Brigade in the Battle of Port Gibson, retiring to Vicksburg on May 3 to build breastworks and rifle pits. Within two weeks they were called out to Baker’s Creek and the decisive Battle of Champion Hill. However, arriving too late in the battle, they did not see action there. After camping for a time near the Big Black, they returned to Vicksburg where, by May 17, they went into the trenches for the long and terrible siege. Lieut. Leak was mortally wounded during the attack on Fort Hill, May 30 and died during the night of June 4.
By Bertha Lewis
A Memorial Poem
Medallions are now available for purchase by the public.
Plain Medallions ~ $20
Medallions in presentation boxes or on plastic presentation stands ~ $25
Send a check payable to the Champion Heritage Foundation,
Rebecca B. Drake
P.O. Box 336
Raymond, MS 39154
$50 per person (minimum of 2) Call 601-316-4894
The Rebel Sister of
By Rebecca B. Drake & Sue B. Moore
Darwina's Diary: A
View of Champion Hill ~ 1865
The Civil War Letters of Sid and Matilda Champion
Copyright (c) 2015 James and Rebecca Drake