Union Forces Commanded by: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman
Confederate Forces Commanded by: Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Union Victory
On July 1st, after time had run out for the defenders of Vicksburg, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston put his 32,000-man army in motion to go to their relief. he spent several days searching for lightly guarded crossings of the Big Black River, but maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, sent by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to guard the approaches to the army's rear, frustrated his effort.
The surrender of Vicksburg enabled Grant to reinforce Sherman, and by the 5th, Sherman advanced to attack Johnston. Covered by cavalry, Johnston abandoned the line at Big Black, retreating into earthworks covering the approaches to Jackson. The Union army crossed the river on a broad front. Columns tramped east; advance guards clashed with Confederate cavalry. Clinton was occupied on the 9th, and the next day Sherman's 3 corps closed in on Jackson.
On the 12th, Brig. Gen. Jacob G. Lauman's division of the XIII Corps was directed to make a forced reconnaissance of the defenses between the New Orleans railroad and the Pearl River. Charging into an abatis, one of his brigades was cut to pieces, losing more than 1/2 of its 1,000 men.
While awaiting the arrival of a wagon train with artillery ammunition, en route from Vicksburg, Sherman's troops inched their way closer to the perimeter of Jackson. Johnston sent his cavalry sweeping to the west to intercept the train, but the Confederate cavlary failed, and the wagons arrived at Sherman's headquarters. Apprised of this, Johnston ordered his army to prepare to abandone the siege lines.
Under cover of darkness on the 16th, the Confederates evacuated Jackson, crossed the Pearl River, and retired to Morton. Sherman's army occupied the city on the 17th, and 1 division followed Johnston's rearguard as far as Brandon. After wreaking additional havoc on the railroads and city, Sherman's columns were recalled and returned to the Vicksburg area on the 25th.