Civil War Photo Contest
Featured Book Reviewer
- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
Champion's Hill, Mississippi, was in the 1980's the scene of an annual reenactment of the Battle of Champion's Hill, fought May 16, 1863, between the forces of Ulysses S. Grant and John Clifford Pemberton. It was hosted by Robert McLauren of Stanford's Mississippi Battery and sponsored by Herb Phillips, head of the Champion Hill Battlefield Foundation and his nearby Cactus Plantation. The particular event pictured here occurred in 1983 and featured my friend Marty @Marty US Grant Brazil of Biloxi, Mississippi, portraying Grant and several members of the North Texas Reenactment Society of Dallas, Texas, as members of Grant's staff. Above at left is Ed Owens, standing next to myself seated as Grant's aide-de-camp and Marty (obviously!) seated at right. Unfortunately, I can no longer identify the others.
The tent and fly above with the United States flag out front served as Union headquarters; below, what appears to be a sutler's wagon and tent.
The Battle of Champion's Hill
Our battlefield above was located between the Union and Confederate camps and was east of Baker's Creek (another name for this battle) on land across which Pemberton's main force retreated after being defeated on Champion's Hill which is a mile or more to the north-northeast. This route was defended by the brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman who was killed by a shell while directing Confederate artillery only a short distance east of our location.
Above, Union pickets and skirmishers appear east of another small creek; below, they are joined by the Big Brass as Grant himself makes a personal reconnaissance with his faithful aide-de-camp and color bearer on foot just behind and above him.
Above, Confederate guns look out over the long slope of "Champion's Hill" as the spectators at right watch and try to keep dry from the steady drizzle!
The 7th Illinois Cavalry skirmishes with the main Confederate line-of-battle on the crest of the hill.
The Union infantry finally appears and prepares to assault the Rebels!
In the above photo, Union infantry is barely visible in the background mist as the cavalry again trots forward, joined at a safe distance at the left by the color bearer and the aide-de-camp wearing not only his rubberized poncho but also his Havelock in a vain attempt to stay dry!
The cavalry resorts to their normal tactic of dismounting to fight on foot with every fourth man holding the horses of the other three.
About this time I discovered a supposedly "dead" Rebel who had been playing possum and taking potshots at the Federal infantry from behind, and I quickly dispatched him with my trusty sword; I'm here at the center - obvious in my white Havelock - kneeling beside the miscreant! Unfortunately, the steady drizzle in which our battle was fought was only the beginning of an eventual downpour that turned Baker's Creek into a torrent, flooding adjacent fields that were being used for participant parking; luckily, I was able to drive my car out of the fast-forming lake - others weren't so fortunate and wound up paying local farmers exorbitant fees to tow them out using their tractors!