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VICKSBURG CLOSELY INVESTED.
returned without opposition, excepting by some ambushed riflemen and a battery at Liverpool Landing, where he was fired upon, and lost one killed and eight wounded. Before Walker's return Porter had forwarded to Grant's army inuch needed supplies.
Now, with nothing to fear on rear or flank, excepting the troops under General Johnston, beyond the Big Black, Grant closely invested Vicksburg, and commenced the siege proper, with Sherman occupying the right of his line, McPherson the center, and McClernand the left. Pemberton had reorganized his shattered army within his defenses, with General Martin L. Smith on his left, General Forney in the center, General Stevenson on the right, and General Bowen in reserve. He had received a letter from Johnston, written on the 17th, saying :-“ If Haines's Bluff be untenable, Vicksburg is of no value and cannot be held.... If it be not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march to the northeast.”
It was indeed “too late," and Pemberton, perplexed by conflicting orders from General Johnston and Jefferson Davis,' was compelled to remain and eee the commencement of a close siege of his position, when he had only sixty days' rations for his troops.
1 Davis appears to have been exceedingly anxious to keep the horrors of war from his own State, without regard to the sufferings of others. He had sent Johnston to Tennessee in November previous, with full powers ww control the armies under Bragg, E. Kirby Smith, and Pemberton, and yet he was continually interfering with his plans of campaign, and making every thing bend to tho defense of his own State of Mississippi. When Bragg, menaced by Rosecrans in December, needed strengthening, he ordered Stevenson's brigade of ten thousand men to be detached from Bragg's command, and sent, without sufficient transportation, six hundred miles, to re-enforce Pemberton. Johnston had earnestly protested against the measure, but in vain, and Davis, stimulated by his inordinate conceit, and reveling in power, treated Johnston's opinions almost with contempt. And now, when Johnston was more intent upon saving Pemberton's army than Vicksburg or Port Hudson, and directed him to unite his forces and beat Grant, saying, “Success will win back all you will abandon to gain ih" Davis, without Johnston's knowledge, telegraphed to Pemberton (May 7, 1863) to hold both Vicksburg and Port iludson. It was this order that made Pemberton so weak that he could not avoid being finally shut up in Vicksburg by Grant
POSSESSION OF VICKSBURG DESIRABLE.
SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF VICKSBURG AND PORT HUDSON.
N immediate assault upon the defenses of Vicksburg
extreme left that it was little more than a series of pickets. Johnston was at Canton, receiving re-enforcements from Bragg's army, in Tennessee, for his five thousand troops with whom he fied from Jackson. He was making every exertion in his power to collect a force sufficient to warrant him in falling upon Grant's rear, and endeavoring to compel him to raise the siege. That danger was imminent, and there seemed but one way to avert it,
AZOO CITY and that was by a speedy capture of the post and garrison. If Grant could possess himself of Vicksburg immediately, he might turn upon Johnston and drive him from the State of Mississippi, and, holding all of the railroads, and practical military highways, effect
WARRENTON ually secure to the Nationals all territory west of the Tombigbee River, thereby saving the Government the sending of re-enforcements to him which were so much
GHA ZELHURSTI needed elsewhere. In view of impending dan
MILITARY OPERATIONS AROUND VICKSBURG. ger, and of the importance of the immediate capture of Vicksburg, and with the belief that in the then demoralized state of Pemberton's army, because
i See page 608.
ASSAULT ON THE CONFEDERATE WORKS.
of recent reverses, the task would be comparatively easy, Grant resolved to attempt it. His troops were impatient to possess the object of their toils for months, and he was satisfied that, if an immediate assault should end in failure, they would work better in the trenches while prosecuting a regular siege, than they would do if denied an opportunity to capture the post by direct assault. Grant therefore prepared to storm the Confederate works on the day after the arrival of his troops before them, which had occurred on the anniversary of Farragut's advent there the year before. He made his head-quarters in his tent, pitched in a canebrake near an immense tree, in the edge of a wood on the farm of E. B. Willis, about three miles northeast from Vicksburg, and there he issued his orders for assault. Grant ordered the attack to be commenced at two o'clock in the after
noon of the 19th. It was begun by Sherman's corps, which was « May, 1863.
nearest the works on the northeastern side of the city, which lay on both sides of the old Jackson road, the one on the right, in approaching
the town, known as Fort Hill, and the one on the left as Fort Beauregard. The attack was directed upon the former. Blair's division took the lead, followed by Tuttle's as a support. As it moved, it occupied both sides of the road. The ground was very rough, and was cleft by deep chasms, in which were
trees standing and GRANT'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VICKSBURG. 1
trees felled ; and along the entire front of the Confederate works was such a tangle of hills and obstacles that the approach was excessively difficult and perilous.
There had been artillery skirmishing and sharp-shooting all the morning : now there was to be close work. Both parties were nerved for the task. Steadily Blair's regiments moved on, and their first blow was given to General Senoup's Louisiana brigade, which struck back powerfully and manfully. After a slight recoil, Blair's troops moved on across the ditch to the exterior slope of the works, where the Thirteenth Regulars, of General Giles Smith's brigade, planted the flag of the Republic, but at the cost of seventy-seven of its two hundred and fifty men, its leader, Captain Washington, being among the fatally wounded. The Eighty-third Indiana and One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois also gallantly gained the slope, but all were unable
i This is a view of the place of Grant's head-quarters, as it appeared when the writer sketched it, on the 19th of April, 1866. He was accompanied to the spot by Caplain White, of General T. J. Wood's staff, who was on the staff of General Legget during the siege, and was very often at head-quarters. There they found the insulator of Grant's telegraph, seen in the picture on the saplicg between the large tree and the tent. The position and form of Grant's tent and its veranda, composed of a rude frame-work covered with cane-leaves, were given in the writer by Captain White and a delineation of it, which he prononnced correct, was added to the sketch, and so restores the appearance of the head-quarters at the time of the siege.
SECOND ATTACK ON THE CONFEDERATE WORKS.
a May, 1563.
to enter, in the face of the most determined resistance. Perceiving that they were exposed to destruction in detail, Sherman recalled them at dark tu places of safety behind the hills, and the assault was abandoned. The other corps succeeded in getting into good positions nearer the Confederate works while this struggle was going on at the right, but did not participate much in the contest of the day.
Two days succeeding this attack were occupied in heavy skirmishing, in bringing up from the Yazoo and distributing supplies to the army, making roads, planting cannon, and otherwise preparing for another assault. Grant informed Admiral Porter of his intentions, and requested him to engage the batteries on the river front, on the night of the 21st,“ as a diversion, as he intended to storm their works on the land side with his entire army the following morning. Porter opened fire accordingly, and all night long he kept six mortars playing upon the town and the works, and sent the Benton, Mound City, and Carondelet to shell the water batteries and other places where troops might be resting. It was a fearful night in Vicksburg, but the next day was more fearful still. It dawned gloriously. The sky was unclouded, and the troops and citizens within the circumvallating lines of the Confederates were so encouraged by the failure of the assault on the 19th, that they had no doubt that the garrison could hold out until succor should arrive.
Grant ordered an assault by his whole line at ten o'clock on the morning of the 22d. That there might be perfect concert of action, the corps commanders set their watches by his, and at a proper time the chief took position near McPherson's front, where he might overlook much of the field of strife. At the appointed hour the storming columns all moved forward, while Porter's mortars and the cannon of his gun-boats were pelting the batteries and the city furiously with shot and shell, and receiving in return many a crushing reply from the mouths of“ Whistling Dick," on the main fort,' and other heavy guns.
As on the 19th, so now, Blair's division formed the advance of Sherman's column, its van being the brigade of General Hugh S. Ewing, of the Thirtieth Ohio, with those of Giles Smith and T. Kilby Smith following in support. In the advance sharp-shooters were actively skirmishing, and with them was a small party carrying materials for bridging the ditches. At the same time five batteries (Wood's, Barrett's, Waterhouse's, Spoor's, and Hart's) were concentrating their fire upon Fort Hill, or the northeast bastion of the works at the designated point of attack.
Onward the van moved, with no signs of a foe on their front until they reached the salient of the bastion, and were near the sally-port, when there sprang up before them on the parapet, as if from the bosom of the earth, two rows of sharp-shooters, whose terrible volleys swept down the first line near them in an instant. The rear of the column then attempted to push on, but was repulsed with severe loss. Bending their course a little to the right, Ewing's braves crossed the ditch on the left face of the bastion, and, climbing the slope, planted the National flag near the top of the parapet, and there sheltered themselves from the sharp-shooters on their flank, in hoies which
I See note 2, page 584,
ther burrowed in the bank for the purpose. Meanwhile Giles Smith's brigade had taken a position where it seriously menaced the parapet at another point, and that of T. Kilby Smith, deployed on an off slope of the spur of a hill, assisted Ewing in keeping the Confederates quiet within the works by firing at every head seen above the parapet. The storming party held their ground under cover of the artillery, but when, finally, the brigades of Giles Smith, in connection with that of Ransom, of McPherson's corps, attempted to carry the parapet by assault, they were repulsed with heavy loss.
While this struggle was occurring, Steele's division had been fighting at the Grave-Yard Bastion, half a mile farther to the right of Fort Hill, as des. perately, and without gaining any visible advantage. It had pushed across deep chasms and ravines, and made its way up to the parapet in the face of a heavy fire. It failed to carry it, but held the hillside until dark, when it too was withdrawn. But while these struggles were going on, between twelve and one o'clock, Grant was encouraged by a dispatch from McClernand on the left,"stating positively and unequivecally that he was in possession of, and still held, two of the enemy's forts; that the American flag waved over them,” and asking him “to have Sherman and McPherson make a diversion in his favor." On the strength of this assurance, Sherman renewed the assault on his left front, by sending Tuttle forward. Mower's brigade charged up to the position from which Ewing had been repulsed, and the colors of his leading regiment (Eleventh Missouri) were soon planted by the side of those of Blair's storming party, which remained there. After heavy loss and no substantial advantage gained, this second storming party was withdrawn under cover of darkness.
Turning farther toward the left, we find McPherson's corps in the center, vying with Sherman's in the spirit of its attacks, and sharing with it the calamities of heavy losses and the mortifications of defeat. It is believed that McPherson lost ten men to one of the assailed, party, in his endeavors to carry the main fort, near the Vicksburg and Jackson railway. He gained some ground, but most of it was abandoned in the evening.
On the left McClernand assailed the works most gallantly, but with less positive success than he seems to have supposed. Precisely at the appointed hour his storming party, composed of the brigades of Lawler and Landrum, rushed impetuously upon the works southeast of the city, and within the space of fifteen minutes carried the ditch, slope, and bastion of the redoubt immediately on their front. Sergeant Griffith and eleven privates of the Twenty-second Iowa entered it as conquerors, but all were prostrated within it but Griffith, who escaped, and took with him thirteen prisoners. Meanwhile the colors of the Forty-eighth Ohio and Seventy-seventh Illinois had been raised on the bastion, and the brigades of Benton and Burbridge, inspirited by the success of Lawler and Landrum, had carried the ditch and slope of another strong earthwork, and planted their colors there. At the same time a gun of the fort had been disabled by shot from a piece of the Chicago Mercantile battery, which Captain White had dragged by hand to the ditch, and fired into an embrasure.
I See General Grant's Report, July 6, 1968.