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SECOND ASSAULT ON PORT HUDSON.
at Vicksburg, even while shot and shell were spreading death and destruction all around him,' that Johnston would come to his rescue.
It was arranged for the main attack to be made by Grover and Weitzel on the extreme northeasterly angle of the Confederate works, while Generals Auger and Dwight should make a feint or a real attack, as circumstances might determine, on the right of the works. He was directed to press up stealthily through a ravine, and rush over the defenses simultaneously with the attack on their left.
On the National right two regiments were detailed as sharp-shooters (Seventy-fifth New York and Twelfth Connecticut), to creep up and lie on the exterior slope of the breast works, followed by another regiment (the Ninety-first New York), each man carrying his musket and a five-pound hand-grenade, to throw over the parapet. A third regiment (Twenty-fourth Connecticut) was detailed to carry sand-bags full of cotton, with which to fill the ditch in front of the breastworks, and enable the storming party to pass easily. These were to be followed by the regiments of Weitzel's brigade, under Colonel Smith, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New York, to be supported by the brigades of Colonels Kimball and Morgan, under the general command of General Birge, the whole forming the storming party on the right. In conjunction with these, and on their left, moved a separate column under General Paine, composed of the old division of General Emory. Both parties were under the command of General Grover, who planned the attack. Acting Brigadier-General Dudley's brigade, of Auger's division, was held in reserve. It was intended to have Weitzel's command effect a lodgment inside of the Confederate works, and thus prepare the way for the operation of Paine's division.'
This movement commenced just at dawno (first along a covered way to within three hundred yards of the works), and was met by a most determined resistance by the Confederates, who, informed of it, were massed at the point of attack. The skirmishers, making their way over rough and vine-tangled ground, in the face of an incessant fire in the front, reached the ditch, where they were terribly smitten by an enfilading one, that drove them back; and even the hand-grenades were made to plague their bearers, for they were caught up by the besieged and
a June 14,
· It appears from the diary of a captured Confederate soldier (J. A. Kennedy, of the First Alabama), that one of Banks's heavy guns had been nained by the besieged, as we have observed one of the Confederate cannon at Vicksburg was—* Whistling Dick," and that it was the means of great destruction. Under date of “June 9," he wrote: “ Whistling Dick is at work to-day, tearing our camps all 10 pieces. Our sick have been removed to the ravine. It is difficult to get something to eat. The Yankee artillery is playing upon us all round.
The Hessians burned our commissary with a shell to-day." ? Weitzel's command was composed of his own brigade (Eighth Vermont, Twelfth Connecticut, and SeventyAfth and One Hundred and Fourteenth New York), and the Twenty-fourth Connecticut and Fifty-second Massachusetts, of Grover's division. The Seventy-fifth New York and Twelfth Connecticut, forming a separate command under Colonel Babcock, of the first-named regiment, were detailed as skirmishers.
3 Paine's column advanced to the assault in the following order: In the advance, as skirmishers, the Eighth New Hampshire and Fourth Wisconsin. Behind these were five companies of the Fourth Massachusetts, One Hundred and Tenth New York, and four companies of the Third Brigade. Closely upon these followed the Third Brigade, under Colonel Gooding, composed of the Thirty-first, Thirty-eighth, and Fifty-thiru Massachusetts, and One Ilundred and Fifty-sixth and One Hundred and Seventy-fifth New York. Then a part of the Second Brigade, under Colonel Fearing, composed of the One Hundred and Thirty-third and One Hundred and Seventy third New York, the remainder of the brigade being detailed as skirmishers. After the Second Brigade followed the First, under Colonel Ferris, composed of the Twenty-eighth Connecticut (his own), Fourth Massachusetts, and four companies of the One Hundred and Tenth New York. Nimm's battery and pioneers accumpanied the column.
SIEGE OF PORT HUDSON CONTINUED.
sent back to explode among the assailants. Yet steadily the assaulting column moved up and made a series of vigorous attacks, but effected little, so heavily were the works manned at the point of the blow. Meanwhile, Dwight was fighting desperately on the left, but without effecting an entrance into the works, and Auger was as gallantly struggling, but to as little purpose. Success was with the Confederates. The Nationals were repulsed at all points, and at eleven o'clock in the morning the struggle ceased. Banks had lost in this assault about seven hundred men, and General Paine, whose division had borne the brunt of the battle, was among the wounded. Yet he had gained a decided advantage by the operation. Paine and Weitzel on the right had advanced much nearer to the Confederate works than they were before, where their men intrenched and began the erection of new batteries, while on the left General Dwight carried and held a hill which commanded the “citadel”—a vital point of the intrenchments—and he was thereby enabled a few days later to seize and hold another point on the same ridge with the “citadel,” within ten yards of the Confederate line.
Now again the siege went on in the usual way. There was mining and counter-mining. The shells from the army and navy poured upon the garrison, and fearfully increased the miseries of the worn and half starving troops. Gun after gun on the Confederate works was disabled, until at length only fifteen effective ones remained on the landward side; only twenty: rounds to each man of the ammunition for small arms was left, and the garrison were beginning to subsist on mule-meat, and even fricasseed rats. At the same time, Banks had nearly completed a mine, by which thirty barrels of gunpowder would have been exploded under the “ citadel.” The beleaguered garrison could have held out but a few days longer. Their gallant leader had begun to despair of aid from Johnston, and was at his wit's end, when he and his troops were suddenly
startled by the thunder of cannon and loud cheering along & July 7,
the whole National lines and upon the river squadron, followed
by the shouts of pickets—“Vicksburg has surrendered !" This was the knell to Gardner's hopes. At midnight he sent a note by a flag to General Banks, inquiring if the report were true, and if so, asking for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to the consideration of terms for surrendering the position. Banks assured Gardner that he had an official dispatch from General Grant to that effect, dated on the 4th instant, but he refused his consent to a cessation of hostilities for the purpose named. Gardner then called a council of officers, composed of General Beale, Colonels Steadman, Miles, Lyle, and Shelby, and Lieutenant-Colonel M. J. Smith, when it was agreed to surrender, and the commander proposed to Banks the appointment of joint commissioners to arrange the terms. This was agreed to, and General Charles P. Stone, Colonel Henry W. Birge, and LieutenantColonel Richard B. Irwin were chosen for the purpose on the part of Banks. The terms agreed upon were the surrender of the post and its appurtenances, the officers and privates to receive the treatment due prisoners of war, and
1 The garrison's supply of meat gave out on the 30th of June, when Gardiner ordered rules to be slain for food. “ Many of the men, as if in moekery of famine, canght rats and ate them, declaring that they were better than squirrels."—Narrative of a Confederate writer, dated Mobile, July 20, 1868.
SURRENDER OF PORT HUDSON.
to retain their private property; the garrison to stack their arms and colors in submission on the following day. The surrender was duly completed early in the morning of the 9th, when six thousand four hundred and
« July, 1863. eight men, including four hundred and fifty-five officers, became prisoners of war, and the National troops took possession of the post. The little hamlet of Port Hudson, within the lines, composed of a few houses and a small church, was in ruins. General Banks found comfortable quarters at the farm-house of Riley's plantation, not far distant, which had survived the storm of war. Farragut, with the veteran Hartford and the Albatross, moved down to Port Hudson, and received the cordial greetings of the troops.
Banks's loss in men during the siege of forty-five days was about three thousand, and that of Gardner about BANKS'S IIEAD-QUARTERS, PORT VUDSON. eight hundred. The spoils of victory were the important post, two steamers, fifty-one pieces of artillery, five thousand small arms, and a large quantity of fixed ammunition for the latter and for cannon. anks stated that his winnings for the campaign which then ended so gloriously for the National arms, amounted to ten thousand five hundred and eighty-four prisoners, seventy-three guns, six thousand small arms, three gun-boats, eight transports, and a large quantity of cotton, cattle, and other property of immense value.
This conquest gave the final blow in the removal of the obstructions to the free navigation of the Mississippi River by Confederate batteries, for which Fremont planned and worked so earnestly in the first year of the war, and for which the Western troops fought so gallantly and persistently. The first of these obstructions, as we have seen, was erected at Vicksburg," and there the finishing blow was really given, for the fall of Port Hudson was but a consequence of the siege and surrender of Vicksburg. The Mississippi was now open to the passage of vessels upon its bosom, from St. Louis to New Orleans, and its waters, as the President said, unobstructed by batteries or other impediments, now “went unvexed to the sea." On the 16th of July the steamer Imperiul, from St. Louis, arrived at New Orleans, making the first communication of the kind between those cities for two years. On the 28th of the same month she returned to her wharf at St. Louis, announcing the fact that the great highway of the commerce of the Mississippi Valley was again open, and was hailed with the welcoming shouts of thousands of citizens.
The capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, by which powerful portions of the Confederacy were severed and weakened, was hailed with the most
1 General Banks depnted General George L. Andrews to receire the surrender. To him General Gardner offered his sword. Andrews received it, but immediately returned it to the general, complimenting him for maintaining the defense of the post on gallantly.
? see page 164, volume I.
THE FALL OF VICKSBURG AND PORT HUDSON.
profound satisfaction by the loyal people of the Republic. Occurring at the moment when the aggressive power of the Confederates was fatally smitten at Gettysburg, it gave assurances of the final triumph of the Government over its enemies. It dismayed the conspirators, and destroyed the hopes of the ruling classes abroad, who, until that time, had believed they would speedily see an ignominious ending of the great experiment of republican government in America. It utterly confounded those prophets among the political leaders in the Free-labor States who sympathized with the conspirators, and who, at that very moment, as we shall observe hereafter, were prophesying, in apparent accordance with their own wishes, the speedy triumph of Jefferson Davis and his legions, civil and military. In the blindness of partisan zeal, they were unable to discover the great lights of eternal principles that were illuminating the pathways of those who were contending for the life of a great Nation and the Rights of Man. They and the conspirators seemed to forget that there is a God whose throne is established upon JUSTICE and MERCY, whose ear is ever open to the cry of the oppressed, and whose arm is ever bared in the defense of the righteous.
The writer visited the theater of events described in this and the preceding chapter in April, 1866. He had spent a few days in New Orleans, where he had experienced the kind courtesies of Generals Sheridan and Hartsuff, and held interviews with several Confederate leaders, mostly temporary visitors there. Among these was General Frank K. Gardner, the commander at Port Hudson, who was residing in the city, and pursuing the business of a civil engineer, and from him the writer received interesting facts then, and afterward by letter, concerning the siege of Port IIudson, and also of Mobile, where Gardner was in command at a later period of the war. The writer left New Orleans on the fine river steamer Indiana, on the
afternoon of the 16th,“ intending to stop at Port Hudson that « April, 1866.
night. The weather was fine, and the Mississippi was full to the brim with the spring flood, so that from the main deck we had a perfect view of the country on both sides of the great river. . Among the passengers was
short, stout man, a little past sixty years of age, who happened to be the first one whom the writer addressed. When the former found that the latter was from the North, he began to curse the “Yankees” furiously. Remembering the wisdom uttered by the sacred sage, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” the author soon allayed the passions of his elder, and during the remainder of the voyage they journeyed pleasantly together. The wrathful man had been a major in Forrest's cavalry, and was a citizen of Vicksburg. He imparted to the author a great deal of information concerning the interior of the Confederate cavalry service, in which he was largely engaged, and of the leading men in that service. He said Forrest expressed his principles of action in that service by saying, “War means fight, and fight means kill—we want but fer prisoners.” This major had been
. an imprisoned spy in Sherman's camp at Vicksburg, under sentence of death by hanging the next morning. He was confined in a shanty. A heavy rain-storm came up in the evening, and while the guard was engaged for a moment in taking measures to keep out the water, the prisoner sprang
into the black night, and, being well acquainted with the region, escaped.
We passed Baton Rouge early in the evening, and just afterward we VOYAGE FROM NEW ORLEANS TO VICKSBURG.
glided by the roaring mouth of an immense crevasse, or breach in the levée, out of which a flood was pouring into the lower ground on the western side of the river, and submerging rich plantations over an area of hundreds of square miles. Informed that Port Hudson was a desolation, and then without a lodging-place, and that we should pass it at midnight, the writer concluded to omit his intended visit there, feeling little regret, for the kind hands of friends, the photographic art, and official records, had already given him more information concerning things and events there than he could possibly have learned by personal observation. Toward morning we passed the mouth of the Red River, and at sunrise were abreast the bluff, on the east side of the Mississippi, on which Fort Adams stood, a little north of the boundary-line between the States of Mississippi and Louisiana.
To the writer, who was a voyager on the Mississippi for the first time, the scenery was most strange. On each side were wide clearings, on which now were the ruins of many rich plantations, bordered by swamps covered with cypress-trees, and lying lower than the river, for the Mississippi, like the Nile, is now running upon a ridge, the ground sloping gently to these
Here and there an alluvial bluff was seen, breaking the monotony, and everywhere at that high-water season the green points that project into the river, and shores covered with cotton-wood, shrubs, and larger trees, were crumbling and disappearing in the flood. After a detention of some hours, because of an accident to our steamer, we passed up the river, and, at near midnight, landed at Vicksburg.
During the writer's visit at Vicksburg he was the recipient of the kindest courtesies from Major-General T. J. Wood (then the commander of the Department of the Mississippi) and his family, and from members of his staff, and other officers stationed there. General Wood offered the services of an ambulance, horses, and driver, and the company of one of his staff, in visiting the places of historic interest about Vicksburg. Fortunately for the writer, that companion was Captain W. J. White, who, as has been already observed, was a member of General Legget's staff during the siege and at the time of the surrender. We visited together every place and object of interest in the city and along the lines, from below the railway, on the Warrenton road, to Chickasaw Bayou, and finding here and there Union people, who had suffered much "in mind, body, and estate.” Among these was the
THE BHIRLEY HOUSE, family of Mr. Shirley, who was a leading lawyer of Vicksburg. His house was on the old Jackson road, not far from Fort Hill, and was occupied by General Logan as his head-quarters. Being on a lofty eminence, overlooking much of the field of operations, it was the frequent resort of General Grant