On May 12th, 1863, after days of hard marching towards Jackson, Mississippi, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant fought to secure the crossings of Fourteenmile Creek southwest of Raymond, which would provide a vital water source for his men and animals and serve as a staging area for a strike on the Confederate rail supply line between Clinton and Edwards, Mississippi. Cutting the railroad here would cut off supplies to Grant's ultimate goal, the Mississippi River city of Vicksburg 30 miles to the west. At around 10:00 am, a division of the Union Seventeenth Corps under Maj. Gen. James B. MacPherson encountered Brig. Gen. John Gregg’s Confederate brigade in battle formation on the opposite bank of Fourteenmile Creek, approximately ten miles southeast of Vicksburg. The Federal force outnumbered the Confederates 10,000 to 3,000, but mistaken intelligence combined with an unusually thick haze of smoke and dust led Gregg to believe he was facing roughly equal odds. He ordered an attack across the creek that staggered the men of MacPherson’s lead elements, but Gregg's soldiers were eventually forced back by the weight of Union numbers and nearly annihilated. The Battle of Raymond gave Grant the initiative he needed to drive a wedge between the fortress at Vicksburg and Confederate reenforcements, and forced the Confederates to confront Grant again at Champion Hill four days later.