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"Grant's crown of immortality was won, and the jewel that shone most brightly in it was set
there by the blood of the men of Champion Hills ...... Six thousand blue and gray-coated men were lying there in the woods, dead or wounded, when the last gun of Champion Hills was fired.

Major S. H. M. Byers, Fifth Iowa Infantry

 

 













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Battle of Champion Hill

 


"The Hill of Death"
Historic Marker


"THE HILL OF DEATH" read by Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emeritus, National Park Service

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RECENT ARTICLES

"Aunt Lula's" Headstone Set
  Rebecca B. Drake
Letters of Pvt. Ackless W. Geeslin
   22nd Iowa Infantry
Gen'l Bowen's Wife in Raymond
   Rebecca B. Drake

Janesville Daily Gazette
Memoir of Pvt. James Warren
  McPherson, 10th Iowa

Lieut. Col Leonidas Horney
  Killed at Champion Hill

Union Occupies Cook Plantation
  Rebecca Drake & Sue Moore
Diary of Pvt. Arthur McCullough
  Co. D, 81st Ill
Discovering Names & Faces of
  Civil War Soldiers

Fighting for Vicksburg
  B.F. Boring, 30th Ill.
Alvin P. Hovey Reminisces
  Rebecca B. Drake
"Three Years with Grant"
  Sylvanus Cadwallader
Memorial Dedicated at St Alban's
  Rebecca B. Drake
America History Tours Visits
  Champion Hill, Oct 2, 2009
Memoirs Historical and Personal
  Ephraim Anderson, 1st Missouri
2009 Anniversary Event
  Rebecca B. Drake
Tilghman Monument Dedication
  Rebecca B. Drake
Five Generations of Sid
 Champions
, Rebecca B. Drake
The Long Road Home
  Pvt. Myron B. Loop
1864 Pywell Photograph
  Big Black River Station
Coker House to be Razed
  Rebecca B. Drake
Administering Last Rites
  Father John Bannon
Maltida Champion: "I was in
  the Cellar During the Fight"
Mary Dabney Ware:
 "Behind Enemy Lines"
Margie's 1960 Scrapbook:
  Charm, Dot & Paul Jones
Battle of Big Black River Bridge
  Rebecca Blackwell Drake
Champion Dedication
  Grady Howell. Jr.
Capt. Samuel Ridley:
 "Bravest of the Brave"
Battle of Champion Hill:
  Killed and Wounded
The Battle of Baker's Creek
  W.T. Moore, Miss Light Artillery
Charles E. Comstock Diary,
  Co G, 34th Indiana
Gen. Cumming's Letter
  to Gen. Stephen D. Lee
Matilda Champion:
  "A Sorrow's Crown of Sorrow"

Vignettes of Champion Hill
  Margie Bearss
Champions of Champion Hill
  Rebecca B. Drake
Diary of William Montgomery:
  Confederate Scout
Will Montgomery: Scout
  Kay Cornelius
Brother Against Brother
  Rebecca B. Drake
History of the 78th Ohio
  Rev. Stevenson, Chaplain
Champion Hills
  Alonzo L. Brown, 4th Minnesota
Battle of Champion Hill
  G. B. McDonald, 30th Illinois
The Death of Gen John Bowen
  Rebecca B. Drake
Lt. William Drennan:
  Letters to His Wife
The Defense of Vicksburg
  Maj. Samuel Lockett
Letters of George B. Boomer
  Mary Boomer Stone
Vivid Experiences
  Pvt. A. H. Reynolds, 19th Ark.


Photography from Anniversary Events

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In Memoriam
Margie Riddle Bearss

October 22, 1925 — October 7, 2006

 

Quotes by Matilda Champion
Wife of Lt. Col. Sid S. Champion,
28th Mississippi Cavalry

 

May 30, 1863
From “Brae Mar”, Matilda’s parent’s plantation home in Madison County

     We are ruined already and I feel now that if I can only keep what I have saved I will be satisfied. And, when this war is over, if ever in my day, if you are spared to me we can begin again….it is a thought that I dare not think upon – that of being homeless and widowed, my children orphans of this terrible cruel war. Yet the thought will present itself and then I am unfit for anything. I could endure hardships and privations provided you were spared to me.
     I have always looked on the dark side of this war picture and now I am realizing what the end will be is beyond human comprehension. I feel as though I should never see the end of it and death would be preferable to such an existence.

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Memories of Other Days
Recalled at Montgomery

 

Touching and Thrilling Scene When the Venerable President of the Confederacy Laid the Cornerstone at the Women’s Monument

 

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy

When the good King Cyrus made it possible for the people of Israel to go back home after long captivity there was great rejoicing, and on arrival immediate effort was put forth to get the temple rebuilt. As the time came around to begin work there was jubilation and shouting, but above the noise of the glad throng came the sound of weeping and the cry of many in sorrow. The old men were grieved for the magnificence of the former temple, for the time that once was in the glory of Israel.

Today, when the throngs that had gathered from the country around surged up the steps of the Capitol to greet and honor the President of all the people, a good man and a strong man and the shouts of the populace arose in cheers for the head of the nation, many a grizzled countenance wore a look of sorrow and down numberless furrowed cheeks ran the salty tears. They recalled the day when they gathered to welcome the man who had stood at the head of the Confederacy, when after the failure of the Lost Cause had gone by twenty odd years, Jefferson Davis, sick and feeble, left his comfortable Mississippi home to lay the cornerstone of the monument built by the efforts of the good women of the South in memory of the noble men who sacrificed life and fortune on the altar of the Southern Confederacy.

 

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The Diary of
Lt. W.R. Eddington

97th Illinois Infantry Volunteers

 

The battle of Champion Hill, Mississippi was fought May 16, 1863 on Mrs. Champion’s farm near Edward station, Mississippi. The Lord was good to us that night. Just before dark a bunch of hogs ran through our company and we got one for Company A so we had something to eat. This was the 16th day on five day rations and we were beginning to feel a little bit slim. I have Mrs. Champions picture.

That night the Rebels fell back about seven miles to Black River Bridge where they had more fortifications on the east side of Black River. Where they built the railroad bridge over the river, they had to go way back to start so the grade would not be too steep. It was a very long bridge built up on trussel [sic] work with a plank floor laid on it for wagons.

 

Sketch of the temporary "Cotton Bale Pontoon Bridge"
over the Big Black River by Theodore Davis

 

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Letters & Memoirs of
Sgt. S. A. Rollins

97th Illinois Infantry Volunteers

"This Unnatural War"

The night after the Battle of Jackson, the 97th Illinois bivouacked in mud and rain and foraged enough to eat from the frightened citizens of Jackson. Afterwards they went into the city and viewed the State-house and other public buildings.

“On May 15 our army “changed front,” and marched back through Clinton towards Vicksburg, and bivouacked near Bear Creek. The next day we marched four miles and encountered the enemy in force at Champion Hills.  Our regiment ran about a mile under a burning sun to get into position, and threw out skirmishers to protect the right flank of the army. We immediately advanced with the division [Logan] to the support of General Hovey who was being very hard pressed by the overwhelming force of the enemy. We quickly got into the thickest of the fight and opened fire.

 

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The Diary of
Brig. Gen. Joseph Stockton

72nd Illinois Infantry Volunteers

 

May 16. Started at four a.m. Reached Raymond by ten o'clock. The churches were full of the wounded rebels and our men, for there had been quite a fight here, as well as at Port Gibson. We had cleaned the rebels out and our men were in the best of spirits. While resting here, heard firing in the distance. Started at quick time ; men were drawn up in line of battle about five miles from Raymond, across a road, but the enemy had gone around us. Orders came to move forward in a hurry. Met some brigades resting on the road, but General Wilson of Grant's staff hurried us forward across fields and arrived at Champion's Hill just as the enemy fled. We were pushed forward to the front and slept on the field of battle. Dead rebels and Union soldiers were lying all around us. The enemy had fled across the Big Black River. Our victory had been complete, captured over two thousand men, seventeen pieces of artillery and a number of battle flags. Marched twenty-five miles today.

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The End of the Story:
Mary Elizabeth Champion

By Rebecca Blackwell Drake

 

 

Matilda Champion at age 77 years

 

Mary Elizabeth Champion was the first child born to Sid and Matilda Champion of Champion Hill. She was born in 1855 and was followed by three brothers in the ensuing years: Wallace Montgomery, William Balfour; and Sid Champion Jr. Mary was only six years old when her father enlisted with the 28th Mississippi Cavalry and left for Vicksburg where his regiment was assigned to protect the river city.

The war took an enormous toll on the Champion family. They lost most of their possessions, including their home and most of their slaves. In July of 1863, after the family home was burned, Matilda took the children to a rural site in Rankin County where she and the children lived until the end of the war. Matilda referred to the temporary home as her refuge home.

 

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I Was There: The Battle of Champion Hill

By Bertha Lewis

A Memorial Poem Read at the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Champion Hill

 

For almost half a century, Bertha Lewis has felt the ghost of the soldiers who fought on the land she calls home. Home for Bertha is Champion Hill where Blue met Gray on May 16, 1863, in a pivotal battle that turned the tide for the Union Army. Her poem “I Was There: The Battle of Champion Hill” was written for the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Champion Hill. Bertha's desire was to honor those who fought and died and their ancestors who received honorary medallions in their memory.

 

Ed Shelnut, actor and performer, read “I Was There: The Battle of Champion Hill” at the Sesquicentennial event. Ed is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London and a former member of the Screen Actors Guild. He has appeared in three feature films and numerous radio & TV shows. Ed is presently an instructor at the Mississippi School for the Blind.

 

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Sesquicentennial Event a Grand Success

By Rebecca Blackwell Drake

 

On May 18th, 2013, over 600 visitors arrived at Champion Hill to be a part of the 150th Anniversary Commemoration. The visitors came from 22 states and more than 200 of those present were descendants of those who fought in the battle.

The Champion Hill Road leading from Bolton to the battlefield set the stage for those who had never visited the historic site. Sections of the Old Jackson-Vicksburg Road, Grant’s 1863 pathway to Champion Hill was visible nearby. Magnolia trees were in full bloom, just as they were on May 16, 1863, when the battle was fought. Union soldiers were taken with the magnolia trees, describing them as white flowers whose blooms were the size of a hat. The picturesque sunken road was draped with arching tree limbs, forming a sight almost comparable to that of Oak Alley in Louisiana.

 

Bertram Hayes-Davis shakes the hand of Joshua C. Eddington (Illinois) during the Honorary Medallion presentation. Sid Champion V, Rebecca Blackwell Drake and Reverend Billie Abraham presented medallions to recipients from twenty-two states during the morning ceremony.

 

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Photography from 150th Anniversary Event

May 18, 2013

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Commemorative Medallions
Awarded
to Descendants of Soldiers Who Fought
 

Sesquicentennial Event

Battle of Champion Hill

May 18, 2013

Medallion Honoring
The Soldiers Who Fought

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 


Champion Hill Tours
With Sid Champion V

The Cross Roads

  • Old Jackson Road

  • The Hill of Death

  • Original House Site and Historic Marker

  • Midway Station

  • Family Cemetery and Memorabilia

  • Margie Bearss Memorial

  • $50 per person (minimum of 2)  Call 601-316-4894

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    NEW

    LEAVES
    The Diary of Elizabeth Meade Ingraham

    The Rebel Sister of
    General George Meade

    By Rebecca B. Drake & Sue B. Moore

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    Collected Stories of the Vicksburg Campaign

    By Rebecca Drake and Margie Bearss

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    Darwina's Diary: A View of Champion Hill ~ 1865
    Edited By
    Rebecca Drake and Margie Bearss

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    My Dear Wife ~
    Letters to Matilda

    The Civil War Letters of Sid and Matilda Champion

    By Rebecca Drake and Margie Bearss

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