The May 16, 1863 Battle of Champion Hill was the largest, bloodiest, and most significant action of Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign. 32,000 advancing Union soldiers met 23,000 Confederates in a fierce struggle for a vital crossroads roughly halfway between Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi. The field was dominated by bald Champion Hill, from which Confederate artillery opened fire on the Union army at 9:45 A.M. The first Federal assault on the hill drove the Southerners back with bayonets and clubbed muskets. As the Union soldiers tried to reform and consolidate their gains, they were swept away by a counterattack led by John Bowen’s Missourians and Arkansans. Ulysses S. Grant ordered more men towards the hill and Bowen’s Confederates were themselves driven off, compelling a general retreat. Southern Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman was killed while directing a desperate rearguard action that enabled most of the Confederate army to escape towards Vicksburg. The decisive Union victory at Champion Hill was instrumental in forcing the Confederates out of the open field and into a doomed position inside the walls of Vicksburg.