National Geographic : 1963 Jul
ODACHROMESBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERJAMESP. BLAIR© N.G .S. In Raymond, the gracious old courthouse, slave-built, is still in use. Inside, office work ers paused to admire a handsome riding horse-a plantation walker, they told me prancing by on the street. In the same block a modern drugstore sells boots, saddles, ten gallon hats, and other gear more appropriate to cattle than to cotton. Grant marched from Raymond to Jackson, Mississippi's capital, and took it, wedging his army between General Johnston's Con federates on the east and the forces of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, charged with the defense of Vicksburg, on the west. Then, at Champion Hill, came the blood iest battle of the campaign. Grant had casual ties of 2,500; Pemberton lost nearly 4,000 and his last chance to keep the North from Vicksburg's back door. He made a final stand at the Big Black River, was routed, and fell back into Vicksburg's defenses. The battlefield at Champion Hill is over grown; the plantation bell is still there, but no longer does it rouse field hands at four in the morning. The plantation runs cattle now. Old days are gone, but memory lingers. In the dining room of the Champion house is Iowa's 26th Infantry, memorialized by the marker below, charged 500 yards up this hill May 22, 1863, in the face of direct fire. Distant shaft honors Louisiana's Maj. William W. Martin, who was picked off by a sharpshooter a month later.