May 17, 1863: The Battle of Big Black River

On May 17, 1863, Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee fell upon John C. Pemberton’s rear guard defending a bridge along the Big Black River. In the ensuing battle, Grant’s men took the bridge and began heading for Vicksburg. Spearheading the attack on the Union right was Michael Lawler’s brigade, which smashed through the Confederate left.

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