Today in History:

54 Series I Volume XXIV-I Serial 36 - Vicksburg Part I

Page 54 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

sides of the Black River. At this point on Black Riveend to the water's edge on the WEST bank. On the east side is an open, cultivated bottom of nearly 1 mile in width, surrounded by a bayou of stagnant water, from 2 to 3 feet in depth and from 10 to 20 feet in width, from the river above railroad to the river below. Following the inside line of this bayou, the enemy had constructed rifle-pits, with the bayou to serve as a ditch on the outside and immediately in front of them. Carr's DIVISION occupied the right in investing this place, and Lawler's brigade the right of his DIVISION. After a few hours' skirmishing, Lawler discovered that by moving a portion of his brigade under cover of the river bank he could get a position from which that place could be successfully assaulted, and ordered a charge accordingly. Notwithstanding the level ground over which a portion of his troops had to pass without cover, and the great was gallantly and successfully made, and in a few minutes the entire garrison, with seventeen pieces of artillery, were the trophies of this brilliant and daring movement. The enemy on the WEST bank of the river immediately set fire to the railroad bridge and retreated, thus cutting off all chance of escape for any portion of his forces remaining on the east bank.

Sherman by this time had reached Bridgeport, on Black River, above. The only pontoon train with the expedition was with him. By the morning of the 18th, he had crossed the river, and was ready to march on Walnut Hills. McClernand and McPherson built floating bridges during the night, and had them ready for crossing their commands by 8 a. m. of the 18th.

The march was commenced by Sherman at an early hour by the Bridgeport and Vicksburg road, turning to the right when within 3 1/2 miles of Vicksburg, to get possession of Walnut Hills and the Yazoo River. This was successfully accomplished before the night of the 18th. McPherson crossed Big Black River above the Jackson road and came into the same road with Sherman, but to his rear. He arrived after night fall with his advance to where Sherman turned to the right. McClernand moved by the Jackson and Vicksburg road to Mount Albans, and there turned to the left, to get into Baldwin's Ferry road. By this disposition the three army corps covered all the ground their strength would admit of, and by the morning of the 19th the investment of Vicksburg was made as complete as could be by the forces at my command.

During the day there was continuous skirmishing, and I was not without hope of carrying the enemy's works. Relying upon the demoralization of the enemy, in consequence of repeated defeats outside of Vicksburg, I ordered a general assault at 2 p. m. on this day. The Fifteenth Army Corps, from having arrived in front of the enemy's works in time on the 18th to get a good position, were enabled to make a vigorous assault. The Thirteenth and SEVENTEENTH Army Corps succeeded no further than to again advanced positions covered from the fire of the enemy.

The 20th and 21st were spent in perfecting communications with our supplies. Most of the troops had been marching and fighting battles for twenty days, on an average of about five days' rations drawn from the commissary department. Though they had not suffered from short rations up to this time, the want of bread to accompany the other rations was beginning to be much felt.

On the 21st, my arrangements for drawing supplies of every description being complete, I determined to make another effort to carry Vicksburg

Page 54 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.