Hinds County, MS | May 16, 1863
On May 16, 1863, moving west following their capture and destruction of Jackson, Mississippi, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s advancing Union corps met Confederates under Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton in a fierce struggle roughly halfway between Jackson and Vicksburg. Pemberton had posted his divisions on high ground in a 3-mile line covering the roads from the south and east. Unexpectedly, Grant's men moved west along an undefended road and met Pemberton's men at Champion's Hill. Outflanked, Pemberton stretched his line to hold back the Yankees, soon advancing across his front. The Union brigades were nearly swept away by a counterattack led by the division of Brig. Gen. John Bowen. Grant ordered more men toward the hill and Bowen’s Confederates were themselves driven off, compelling a general retreat. Confederate Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman was killed while directing a rearguard action that enabled most of the Confederate army to escape towards Vicksburg. The Union victories at Champion Hill and at the Big Black River the next day forced the Confederates into a doomed position inside the fortifications of Vicksburg. The Battle of Champion Hill was the largest of Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign.