Charles Affeld Diary transcription from April 15th through July 4th 1863
OPPOSITE VICKSBURG LOUISIANA
Wednesday, April 15, 1863
Morning quiet and pleasant. After breakfast I heard that John Easson was to leave on the Sunny South we immediately wrote letters. I wrote to father and Otto wrote to the girls. I went on guard from 9 to 11 A. M, and Otto took the letters down to Easson, but finding that neither were going as reported he did not leave the letters. After dinner we had the guard today, went after hair but could not get any. The Dickey at the same time took up a barge of. hay; several others having previously been taken to the upper landing for the purpose of protecting the boats that are to run the blockade, for the report is that the transports, Forest Queen, Henry Clay and six more gunboats are to run the blockade in several days, and that they are to protect themselves by hay and cotton bales.
After return to camp we transferred the oats to a dry place and the guard with one man extra from each squad again went to the landing for hay, and this time succeeded in obtaining 30 bales. I went on guard from 9 to 11 P.M. During which time I observed a fire on the upper landing, probably an old log cabin burning. Retired after 11 P. M.
Thursday, April 16, 1863.
Morning beautiful, clear and bright. After breakfast all the squads had to help dig a sort of levee back of our camp to keep the water out, we had to dig where it was nearly a foot under water, but we managed to finish it. After dinner I stood V. Hathaway’s guard from l to3 during which time Otto heard that Easson to leave to-morrow, so he gave him the letters we wrote yesterday along with the February and March Atlantics to take up.
Everything is astir this evening, It is well understood, among the best informed, that to-night 8 gunboats and 4 transports are to run the blockade. It is said, that the Lafayette and 7 turtles are to constitute the naval force. Six of the gun boats were this morning covered with bales of hay and towards dark there was a great stir among the shipping, steamers coming down, etc. We have all made arrangements to see as much of the fight as possible, and have asked the Capt. of the guard to wake us at the first fire, Retired after 9 P. M.
Friday, April 17, 1863.
Was up at the usual hour, and the morning was pleasant. I was detailed to take the swing-team on the caisson for a week. The absorbing topic of conversation this morning is the grand event of last night. At about 11 o’clock the gunboats, Lafayette, Tuscumbia, Benton, Mound City, Carbondale, Louisville, Cincinnati, General Price and the transports Forest Queen, Henry Clay and Silver Wave commenced running the blockade. The cannonading lasted about an hour. I did not hear it, being asleep it did not awaken me. Of the 11 boats that started 10 succeeded in running the blockade without any or little damage. The Henry Clay was entirely destroyed and burned up. The Forest Queen was slightly disabled and the Mound City and Benton also received shots. One man was killed and seven wounded on the gunboat fleet.
It is said that the pilots who ran by the blockade on the transports are to receive 100 bales of cotton as their reward. It was not generally believed, until towards evening, that the Henry Clay was burned, as the fire that was seen was attributed to the enemy sending fireboats or rafts out to illuminate the river. We know nothing but by report an to the exact number and names of the boats that ran the blockade.
Today the casemated batteries on the Point Opposite Vicksburg have been firing more or less all day at the city. News is that General Cumby's division was at Milliken’s Bend along with General McArthur’s division.
Jim Whittle has permission to go up and see Web Whittle tomorrow. The weather has been fine all day. Retired after 9 P.M.
Saturday, April 18, 1863.
Morning bright and clear, I went on guard from 7 to 9 A.M. During the time the squad went after wood, which is now obtained with great difficulty as the country is all overflow. Jim Whittle went up to Milliken’s Bend to see his brother Web Whittle. There has been firing down river at intervals nearly all day. It has been so deceptive that we often took it for thunder as it was clouding up dark towards dusk. Read several articles in the April Atlantic, borrowed from Charles Stickney. The casemates have been firing on the city during the day. Went on guard from 7 to 9 P.M. Retired soon after 9 P.M.
Sunday, April 19, 1863.
Was up at the usual hour. It has rained hard all night, but is clearing up and has been warm and clear the balance of the day. Toward evening Captain Barrett and Harmon Chaplet returned from New Carthage where they had been on a visit. Our fleet is there and troops are at the levee the only place where they can camp. Whittle returned from Milliken's Bend having seen Web Whittle and bought us a can of condensed milk from above, consequent we made chocolate with eggs and milk in it.
Report is that the Tigress and the Dickey are to run the blockade soon. This morning after water call William Seraphim and I had a bath, and I changed shirts and socks. Robert Hunt today received his discharge to accept promotion in the navy, which it is doubtful he will get or accept when obtainable. Retired after or at 10 P.M.
Monday, April 20, 1863.
Was up at reveille, morning pleasant. After cleaning my team, after breakfast, all the drivers went after oats each getting three sacks on horse back. Read an article "No Failure for the North" in the April Atlantic. Otto wrote a letter to father to-day and sent it with R. J. Hunt, who left today. At roll call orders were read from General Blair Jr. to the effect that all troops should appear without equipments near Blair's headquarters to listen to the address to be delivered by Adjutant General Thomas on the further conduct of the war or rather the policy of the government, Retired after 9 P.M.
Tuesday, April 21, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour. A detail of two from each squad went after hay immediately after reveille, Cleaned my team before breakfast. About half past 9 A.M. most of our battery marched to the place designated by General Blair's orders to hear Adjutant General Thomas. The soldiers-were closely formed around a circle in the center of which stood a wagon on which the speaker stood, General Thomas is a tall. gray haired. and imposing old man. He stated in few words that he came to inform the troops that it was the policy of the government to employ all the negroes possible for the purpose of suppressing the "Rebellion" and injuring the "Confederacy".
He said that he had organized troops at Memphis, Helena, and other points, and that the 150 plantations between Helena, and Vicksburg now abandoned could be cultivated by them etc., etc. General Sherman did not give it his hearty support, but said it was not for him to question the wisdom of the "Administration", but to obey like a loyal soldier. Gen. Thomas said that he would take officers out of each division of those that wished to became such. He would take enough to officer about two regiments. Blair and others spoke.
After dinner mail arrived and I received a letter with General Butler's speech enclosed, from father, dated the 11th inst. I obtained permission and went to the upper landing for papers of the 15th, but there was no steamer at the landing. The Sunny South came dawn from Milliken's Bend, but had no papers on her. I got the Tribune of the 15th from one of the hands on the boat, but could get no more. It had particulars of the attack on Charleston an the 17th instant at which time the Keokuk was injured so that she afterward sunk, the account of which was highly interesting. Though advantages have been gained it was not entirely successful, there being chains stretched from Moultrie which we could not pass. The papers also contain sad news for Mr. Upton. It contained the news of his wife's death. I have been practicing or rather trying to learn notes. Retired after 9 P. M.
Wednesday, April 22, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour and the morning was rather cloudy, but clearing up. It just poured last night, and about 1 o'clock this morning the rain came in torrents. Many of the boys declare that the transports ran the blockade last night, they having; heard a considerable firing. Applications for commissions in negro regiments are coming in fast. John Graham, J. C. Fieldwork, J. W. Lovell and F. Marion have applied for commissions out of the battery. I have thought seriously of applying for one myself.
After dinner I gave Jourdan three pieces of clothing to wash. Otto went to a little island in a canoe and had a wash. We made soma chocolate for supper. I went on guard from 5 to 7 P.M. At roll call it was announced that hereafter the guards would stand 2 hours on and 4 hours off. We have been notified that General Sherman has received orders to move his corps and that we will leave here in a few days. The report is that 3 or 4 transports will run the blockade to-day, some being prepared for the purpose. Our friend, C. Hubbard of the 13th Ill., called to-day. D'Loss of the 72nd Co. B. came down from Milliken's Bend to see his friends, and he will, call at our camp tomorrow. Retired after 9 P.M. Weather has been warm and excellent all day.
Thursday, April 23, 1863.
I was awakened at about 11 P. M. last night to accompany Charles Pierre to the landing to see what could be seen of the steamers running the blockade, for the cannonading had commenced.
We went to the landing and. got on the Lady Pike and witnessed the cannonading for over an hour, during which time two or three had come down and commenced running and succeeded in getting by successfully as we thought.
The cannonading was terrific and after the bright flashes the heavy thunder of the sound would. shake the whole boat and make the glass rattle. There were several fires made, to no doubt, to illuminate the river. There was also a bright headlight rather red, in the direction of the point and also some below the city. The firing has exceeded everything of the kind I have yet heard. By actual count it is known that over 500 shots were fired at the fleet as it ran by the blockade. I got up at 5 A.M. and went on guard at 7 A. M.
Thursday, April 23, 1863.
Orderly D’Loss visited us all to-day and went back to Milliken's Bend about 1 P.M. We learned during the day that the following boats ran by the blockade last night: Tigress, J. Cheesman, Empire City, Horizon and the Anglo-Saxon. The Tigress, it is said sunk a few miles below the mouth of the canal. The balance of the fleet being comparatively uninjured. At roll call this evening it was announced that there would be an inspection by 11 A. M. tomorrow. Practiced a little on the horizontal bar of Battery A and after making my notes retired. Stickney blew assembly tattoo and taps this evening and blew it well, as he is improving fast.
Weather warm and pleasant. The water has fallen several feet within the last few days and is still falling. Retired at 10 P.M.
Friday April 24, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour, Otto takes the swing team for a week from me. At 10 A. M. the battery was harnessed and hitched up, an account taken of what was needed and then dismissed.
Report says that tomorrow we shall probably leave for New Carthage, but it is thought that we will not move until next week. Nothing of interest in the shape of news. Got permission tonight to go to Milliken's Bend tomorrow, for which I applied yesterday and was refused, but he allowed Syd. Peckham to go after considerable teasing so he sent word that I could also go. Exercised again after roll call on Battery A’ s horizontal bar. Retired at about 9.30 P.M.
Saturday, April 25, 1863.
Was up At the usual hour. Pursuant with permission given by Barrett. Syd. Peckham and I with his friend of the 23rd Illinois went up to Milliken's Bend. Started at about 11 A.M. on the Diligence. We noticed the new canal a few miles above the upper landing. One dredge is about one-half mile down the canal and another at its head, and a number of barges with railings all around, the barges are lying near by.
After arriving at Milliken's Bend are found that General Quimby’s Division had left day before yesterday, and that Logan's left this morning. We returned without seeing our friends. We noticed at every residence with large trees are in blossom, and they have the perfume of the lilacs as well as the looks, but they are somewhat peculiar to any I ever saw north. Returned to camp in time for supper.
After roll call, orders were read to the effect that Batteries A., B., H. and a section of the 8th Ohio should be ready to move for Milliken’s Bend by 9 A.M. tomorrow, which was afterwards changed to 7 A. M. Wrote letters to the girls. Weather pleasant and warm. Retired after 9 P.M.
Sunday, April 26, 1863.
We had reveille at 4.A. M. and immediately after roll call commenced putting away everything, taking down our tents etc. We were ready at the appointed hour and moved up to the upper landing. We loaded on to the John H. Dickey leaving the battery and forge wagons and 3 mule wagons for another trip. We started at about 10.30 A. M. and arrived at our camp around noon. We landed our battery near where the Mercantile Battery was encamped and afterward occupied their camp ground.
There being plenty of lumber at hand we soon spread our shelter tent, fixed tent, etc.
Sunday, April 26, 1863.
Our camp is very pleasant, it having the park of the residence torn down behind it, and consequently abounding in trees such as pecan, fig and a species of lilac, curious, beautiful and to the sight familiar trees that I cannot name. Steele's Division also moved to Milliken's Bend. Weather was cloudy all day. It rained after supper and Otto, Scupham and I went in swimming and were not present at roll call, but Capt. excused us from extra duty because it was had unusually early, We retired at about 9 P. M. The Dicky brought the remainder of our battery toward 4 P.M. Battery A encamped to are immediate left as we face the river.
Monday, April 27, 1863.
We were up at reveille, morning cloudy and it had rained all night. After breakfast I mailed the letter that I wrote on the 25th. I bought a Tribune of the 21st and a Times of the 22nd. The latter contained the bad news of the election of F. C. Sherman as Mayor of Chicago, and the defeat of T. B. Bryan. The former is a Copperhead or in other words not a supporter of the administration, which is generally lamented. Major Taylor came today to inform us that if we were comfortable to stay where we were, if not to make ourselves so, as we would probably remain here for a long time, as the balance of the division received orders countermanding the order to move to this place. We retired at about 9 P. M.
Tuesday, April 28, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour, morning cloudy but cleared up early. After breakfast 2 men from each squad were detailed to go out with the wagons for forage. I went in Charles Henry's place on his horse. We took the levee and rode up the levee about 3 miles to Noble's plantation, where we were stopped ,by the guard on the plantation, and we were not allowed to get any forage from that or any other plantation above that to Lake Providence. The officer of the guard informed us that all of the plantations between the places mentioned were appraised and to be worked under government direction. Not getting anything there but roses and flowers, we rode back and loaded up our wagons at the numerous camps that have been left with a considerable amount of forage found at each. We loaded 7 bales of hay, a wagon of corn and one of corn fodder. There is any variety and amount of lumber at the abandoned camps, but I could not bring any or we could have had a new shebang.
Tuesday, April 28, 1863.
After returning one man, driver out of each squad was detailed and I volunteered, I took Edward Kingsbury's horse, Fatty, and rode up to where General McPherson's headquarters used to be and loaded one wagon with oats and two with hay. Daniel Sheldon's wagon with 5 loads of hay tipped over on the levee and we had to set it up and load up again. After dinner at about 3.30 P.M, the harness call blew, and the wheel teams of guns and caissons had to harness and hitch up. Our orders are to load on board of boats one section to each boat, taking only the guns and chests and leaving everything but blankets and 4 day's rations. Battery A got similar orders and soon after 4.30 P. M, loaded on. board the Nevada to be taken to the various boats to which each section may be assigned. After dinner I took Sergeant Wilcox's horse, rode to the 13th (Illinois) regiment, and bought 25 loaves of bread from Clarence Hubbard for $2.40 and sold them at 10 cts. a loaf. Changed shirt and socks after roll call. Otto took the commissary ship of the squad to-day. We are all patiently awaiting the arrival of our boat.
At about 5 P.M. we were all attracted to the river bank where the new gunboat and ram Choctaw was passing and close followed by the F. B. Wilson. towing some kind of barge or ark like structure. The ram is of the same pattern as the Lafayette, with the exception, that instead of having a deck like the turtle’s she has a sort of immovable turret at the bow pierced bye portholes. She is a very formidable looking boat. We waited until about 11 P. M. for a boat to take us and had made our beds for the night when the Argonaut arrived and we loaded our guns and chests on her and spread our blankets on the guards for the night.
Wednesday, April 29, 1863.
We got up a little before sunrise, having slept soundly after a hard days work. Our boat steamed down to the lower landing at Young's Point where Otto got breakfast consisting of coffee and ham. After breakfast the left section under command of the Captain Samuel Barrett went on board the City Belle with the 116th Illinois on board and Colonel Thomas Smith. The right section under Lieutenant Rumsey went on the Chancellor, which is General Ewing’s headquarters, and the 37th Ohio is on with them.
ON THE STEAMER COMMERCIAL ON THE YAZOO RIVER, LOWER BRANCH OF CHICKASAW BAYOU
Wednesday, April 29,1863.
Our section was the last to go off and. went on board the Commercial which is the headquarters of Gen. Blair, acting Brig. Giles Smith, and has only one company of the 8th Missouri besides our section and the officers. The Choctaw and the DeKalb are the ironclads of the expedition accompanied by Nos. 2 and 8. and others of the Mosquito fleet, besides 3 mortars towed by 3 tugs. The following are the transports as far as I know: following Lieutenant Commander K. Randolph Breese’s boat the Black Hawk is the Commercial, Chancellor, Crescent City, City Belle, Express, Thomas Tutt, R. Hamilton, White Cloud and others.
After supper I picked a handful of dewberries which were ripe and rich, Pickets were thrown out to reconnoiter and we remained: for the night where we stopped at about 4.30 P.M. Above the mouth of the Chickasaw Bayou.
ON THE STEAMER COMMERCIAL YAZOO RIVER, CHICKASAW BAYOU NEAR SNYDER’S BLUFF
Thursday, April 30, 1863.
I had to get up at 12 midnight and stand guard until 2 A.M. while on guard I got some potatoes out of a barrel near the kitchen, which we had for breakfast, Otto went in swimming in the Yazoo. The fleet did not move up river until about 9 A.M. the Choctaw the lead. Before moving up we were paid for the last two months, March and April.
After an hour of slow steaming we came in sight of Snyder’s Bluff, the gunboats Choctaw, DeKalb, Black, Hawk and Tyler took their position in the bend. The transports remaining on the right bank of the river. The first two mentioned boats conmnenced feeling for the batteries on the hill with an occasional response, we had nothing to do, and the plantation we landed by was well stocked with cattle though deserted. Companies were sent out to bring in the cattle and load them aboard our boat, Half of the cattle escaped before they came near our boat and the balance, about 18 head, were got to the gang planks and were surrounded entirely by bayonets, but they were afraid to go aboard and being pricked considerably the largest one made, a dash into the crowd and cleared the way, The balance followed, and it was a comical sight. Four or five were shot and five or six got on the steamer alive.
ON THE STEAMER COMMERCIAL YAZOO RIVER
Thursday, April 30, 1863.
We had fresh meat for our dinner and supper beside some stewed dried apples. The Choctaw and others did all the fighting until about 3 P. M. when all the infantry came off the boats and followed the river up to in front of Drumgould’s Bluff where they were out of sight by lying behind a levee. The Choctaw was hit several times in the smoke stacks and wheel houses but doing no damage The other boats if hit are but slightly damaged. We could see the smoke and flash of all the guns that were fired from the side of the hill. Troops and wagons were seen coming to the scene of action. But our troops could effect nothing and we returned about 8 P.M. We retired about 10 P. M.
Friday, May 1, 1863.
Was up shortly after sunrise. After breakfast of fresh meat and coffee with the last of our soft bread and butter, I made a reconnaissance to the Choctaw. She was lying about a quarter of a mile above the transports. I was quite surprised to find her so badly hurt. She was struck about 52 times, .and the smoke stacks were nearly riddled. The turret in front was struck in various places, one shot just under the jack staff; entered fairly and out a clean hole through the two iron and rubber plates and through the timber that backs it, entering inside. Various shots of more or less damage were received. One especially had struck the center of the boat diagonally and went through everything and lodged in the engine room. She was struck at various places, but strange to say no one was hurt except one man losing a finger. Appears that the boat is incomplete not being plated behind the wheel house at all. She has in all but 6 guns, two in her turret(100 pound Parrott, and a quick Dahlgren.) As we left, the DeKalb seemed to engross the attention of the rebels.
During the morning the Express, with 8th Missouri landed on the left side of the river, to reconnoiter the batteries around the bend. They attracted a heavy cannonade which was very correct in aim, but inflicting no injury. I helped to row a yawl over the river with orders, when the Express soon returned. We had beef soup for dinner. During the morning the DeKalb and Choctaw displayed some excellent artillery practice silencing several of their batteries. we could see the shells explode over and in front of the works on the first hill, and one especially as it exploded could be seen some 5 or six rebels running from behind their works out of range. There were good shots visible that would elicit the commendation of those looking on from the boats The enemy fired very seldom during the afternoon. I stewed some dried apples towards, evening and after supper I went in swimming in a bayou or inlet a few yards from the Yazoo.
At about 8 P. M. all the transports drew off and steamed back to Young's Point, where they are at present. I am writing this by moonlight at 10 P.M. I have interested myself all day in "The Children of the Abbey" by Regina Maria Roche. Weather today like the rest of the days of the expedition was very agreeable and not too warm, nights have been charming moonlight nights.
MILLIKEN' S BEND LOUISIANA
Saturday, May 2, 1863.
We awoke after sunrise and found that we were still at Young's Point where we remained until about three or after, Turing which time the troops that were on the expedition and those that were encamped there were at work bringing their baggage on the boats. Our boat was used for Gen. Blair's head quarters, baggage and all destined for Milliken's Bend.
Saturday, May 2, 1863.
At about 3 P. M. our boat left for Milliken's Bend and we arrived at about 4.30 P. M. at our destination, about one half mile from our camp we were glad to see the boys that were left behind, and found that the right section had already unloaded everything from the boats. After supper at about 7 or 6 P.M., the Commercial steamed up opposite to our camp where we unloaded and put our chests on the carriages and then our work being finished we retired. Spent all my leisure time in reading
"The Children of the Abbey." Weather has been excellent all day, was quite pleased at receiving a long letter from our St. Louis friend, Glaser. He writes that he married at the time before mentioned and has commenced house-keeping.
Sunday, May 3, 1.863.
I was up at the usual hour. We had inspected at 9 A. M. Weather very warm. I took care of the extra horse to-day, Otto made an excellent pudding for dinner to-day. After roll call in the afternoon I went in swimming. I noticed an unusual stir among the steamers. The Express arrived and took on board the 8th Missouri, and other boats took some troops and left at about 9 or 10 A.M., but where they went to nobody in camp seemed to know. I finished the volume which so agreeably diverted my attention the last 3 or 4 days, viz; "The Children of the Abbey" by Miss Roche. Retired about 10 P. M. There are various rumors about a fight at Grand Gulf, but nothing definite.
Monday, May 4, 1863.
Was up at the usual hour, After breakfast at about 8.30 A. M., the City of Memphis passed by the landing below. I in company f others immediately went to the landing, and as expected found that Lieut. John Rumsey had returned on his sick furlough. I called on Charles Turner, who had called on our friend Glaser, he treated us with oranges, etc. Dr. Turner informed me of the promotion of Dr. John Woodruff to Major, and that he would be with Battery “A” and our battery. Dr. Turner showed a great deal of resentment at his promotion over his (Turner) head. Lieut.. Rumsey brought down any number of boxes for both batteries. The wagons having to go twice for them. Our battery received a keg of tobacco and a half barrel of pickles and a barrel of sundries, sent down by the T. B. (Taylor’s Battery) Aid Association. We received 2 packages and a letter by him, the latter being from father, dated April 28th. The package containing April and May Atlantics, 3 quires of paper, 2 packages of envelopes, two note-books, 2 pocket-knives, two tooth-brushes and 2 lbs. prunes, all which except the paper was received in good conditions The paper was pierced through by 2 or 3 nails which had been driven in in nailing up the box. I went on guard from 11 P. M. to 1 A.M. Otto, Edward Wilcox, Merwin Oliver, and Fredrick Thompson went after lumber for a cook-house or shed. Otto bought the Tribune of the 30th in which various things of importance are mentioned. It is reported and generally believed, Colonel B. Grierson made a cavalry dash into Mississippi from the upper end of the state. Cut some 30 miles of Vicksburg and the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, destroying bridges, trains and rolling stock on his way, and has successfully eluded the vigilance of the enemy and made his way safely to Baton Rouge. It is the greatest cavalry raid of the war! Another report is that Gen. Grant in attacking Grand Gulf lost 200, killed, and that he captured it, however, with 18 pieces of cannon and 500 prisoners that he captured.
At about 6 P.M. Brig. General Morgan L. Smith, who came down on the Champion stopped to see Batteries “A” and “B” . He had been driven to camp in a buggy and when he alighted required crutches on which he hobbled, and he remarked that he was pleased at our healthy appearance, and expressed his confidence in Gen. Blair for whom he offered three cheers, three cheers were given, but three stronger ones were given for him. He looks rather pale from confinement. He drove off to the 8th Mo. camp.
Tuesday, May 5, 1863.
Went on guard, from 1 to 3 and again from 5 to 7 A. M. We had quite a shower last night, After breakfast went on detail to dig a ditch, etc., after which I helped Otto and Kingsbury put up a cook shed. Occupied the balance of the time in extending and improving our tent or shebang which is very much improved. After supper, Otto and I went swimming, and changed our clothes. I bought a blue shirt from Wilcox, and I am to draw him another for it. After dusk the musical men of the Co. practiced, in our shebang, the new pieces of music Edwin Wilcox received. Report says that our troops captured 5000 prisoners in the vicinity of Grand Gulf: Bought papers of May 1st today. General J. Hooker has crossed the Rappahannock. Retired at 10 P.M.
Wednesday, May 6, 1863.
Was up at the usual hour, and the morning was cloudy and chilly. Commenced a letter to Glaser, which I completed after dinner. Some 440 prisoners captured at Port Gibbon arrived and were taken to the Daniel G. Taylor. They were a promiscuous looking set of men, rather tall and healthy looking on the whole. There were no regiments in full represented, but just such as were picked up all over after a rout. Report has it that 5000 more prisoners were taken by us and also that Gen. Logan was killed in battle. I went on detail after dinner and helped load 30 bales of hay, 25 of which were taken to our camp and the balance to Col. K. Smith's. Received orders to leave tomorrow at 6.30 A. M. with 10 days' rations in, the wagons.
Mailed a letter to Glaser, and Otto wrote and mailed one to father, and also sent his note book and the April Atlantic by express. Weather has been cool and windy all day. Paid Jordan 30 cts. for our washing of 6 pieces. Retired after 10 P. M.
ENCAMPED AT ROUNDAWAY BAYOU TWO AND ONE HALF MILES FROM RICHMOND ON THE CARTHAGE ROAD.
Thursday, May 7, 1863.
We got up about 4 A.M. Had half dozen fried eggs, fresh veal, potatoes, etc., for breakfast. We were all ready and left at 6.30 A.M. We moved out about 3 miles when we came to Walnut Bayou, which we followed and crossed about 5 or 6 miles from Milliken's Bend. There we met the 55th Illinois and rested about an hour awaiting the balance of Gen. Blair's division. Col. K. Smith commands the 1st brigade, which consists of the 55th Illinois, 83rd Indiana and our battery. Col. Giles Smith commands 127th. Ill. and our Battery. Col. Giles Smith commands the 2nd brigade, consisting of the 8th and 6th Mo., 116th Illinois, 13th Regulars and Battery “A” of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery.
Thursday, May 7, 1863.
We followed the 55th Ill. all day, who took the lead. At one of the intervals for rest we ate our dinner, consisting of boiled eggs soft bread and butter, cheese and pickles. We arrived at Richmond at about 3 P. M. The bayou had all the time been following terminated here in what is called Roundaway Bayou. We only stopped an hour during which we had coffee and ham for supper. Richmond is a very little place with a few hundred inhabitants. It has a courthouse, church, jail and hotel (Orange Hotel). Here we met Gov. Richard Yates who spoke to the troops as we were about leaving Gen. Thomas with him
We cheered him as we left or went by. At 6.30 we encamped on a beautiful clover field about two and one half miles from Richmond. Otto and I got some lumber and built a sort of shed for shelter, then took some supper and retired. We traveled about 15 miles today. Weather rather cooler than usual made travel rather good as the roads are dry.
CAMP ON FISK'S PLANTATION, ROUNDAWAY BAYOU
Friday, May 8, 1863
We were up before sunrise, I took care of the extra team to-day, and I saddled a horse early to look for Chauncy Wicker's horse, which got away. Got breakfast when I got back, and soon after we passed a portion of McArthur's Division at Holmes plantation, about 5 or 7 miles from Richmond. He has an immense cotton-gin, planning mill all combined on it. A few plantations further on we saw a cotton gin with a large quantity of cotton bales of the first quality of cotton, and any amount scattered over the ground where soldiers had slept on it. We watered the horses here, we left the Carthage road near the balance of McArthur's Division, which we passed about 6 miles from Holmes' plantation, at Smith's plantation. We saw the 11th Illinois and 72nd Illinois of the latter I saw Web Whittle and Elisha Morgan of Battery B. and others that we knew. About a mile from their camp we made a rest of about an hour.
Our dinner consisting of boiled eggs, meat, etc. We marched some 5 miles further and encamped on Col. Fisk's plantation on Roundaway Bayou. On the way we were met by Capt., Fredrick Sparrestrom, whose battery, Co, G., was sunk in the Miss. river by the Moderator running into the Horizon the latter boat going down with battery horses and cannons on board.
Otto went on detail after corn, and I went in swimming. Swam 9 of our squads horses in the bayou and then washed myself. As we stopped at about 4 P. M. we had supper after 5. Wilcox had bought nearly a pail full of dewberries of which he gave us some and they were quite refreshing. We had excellent weather all day, and traveled about 15 miles, but the horses and men are troubled with the little buffalo gnats which swarm about.
CAMP AT CAMP MRS. JOHN OGDEN’S PLANTATION AT THE HEAD OF JOSEPH LAKE, LOUISIANA.
Saturday, May 9, 1863.
We were up at day break, and we had an early breakfast of beans, bacon and coffee. We moved at about 6 A. M., the 83rd Indiana taking the lead. We marched about 2 or 3 miles when we came to a bridge which crossed the bayou. Co. D of the 11th Illinois Regiment was stationed nearby and we had the pleasure of seeing many of the boys that were, detailed with us in the Donelson fight and elsewhere. While the battery was waiting for the baggage or wagon train to pass, I took a ride in several canoes and one large race boat. After leaving the bridge the road lead through the woods to another bridge, a distance of about 3 miles. We crossed at Judge Perkins plantation landing. On the way, we came across fields of dewberries of which we picked a profusion At about 11 A.M., we arrived at Perkins' Landing and again came in sight of the Miss. river. We could see Carthage about 5 miles above from here.
We rested 2 hours, unharnessed, fed, and got our dinner. I bought 50cts. worth of bread(3 small half pound loaves), and Otto bought a pie for 30 cts. We moved on again at about 10.30. After a few miles of travel along the levee of the Miss. river, we turned off and came upon what is called Lake St. Joseph. We crossed Douglas’ bridge and encamped for the night at Mrs. John Ogden's plantation, then being used for Gen. Blair's Head Quarters, about 6 or 7 miles from Perkins' Landing. On the way we saw 3 or 4 dead alligators lying on the bank of the lake, probably shot by the soldiers. Weather has been warm but pleasant all day. We encamped after 3 P.M. made our notes and retired at 9 P.M.
CAMP AT HALLER NUTT'S PLANTATION ABOUT TWO MILES FROM HARD TIMES' LANDING.
Sunday, May 10, 1863.
We were up at day break and left camp at about 6.30 A.M. The road is good along the margin of the lake. A few miles from camp we passed the ruins of Dr. Allen Bowie’s mansion and cotton house. It was considered the most elegant house in the parish, the ruins, yard, and out houses indicate a lavish expenditure of money. All that remained of the furniture was a piano in the front yard, of which the top had been taken off. From appearances and report at least $500,000 dollars worth of property must have been destroyed, The next plantation, we came to was that of John Gordon, it was deserted and everything removed except the heaviest pieces of furniture, The negroes and stock, as in all other places that we have seen on the road, have all been taken away and but few old infirm negroes left to guard the place. About a mile from the above mentioned place, called the Phelps Bayou. The bridge that was formerly there was burned by Major Isaac L. Harrison of the rebel cavalry. I went ahead of the battery, and stopped at Routh's plantation, across the bayou, and had quite an interesting conversation with an old negro on the place, who informed me that this was one of the Routh plantations and that the overseer "massa" had taken about 500 negroes besides the stock on the plantation and run them some where near Rodney landing, down river. Also that it was 9 miles from that place to either Perkins' landing or Hard Times landing below.
The first bayou is Clark's Bayou and the bridges of both were above a few hundred yards from destroyed with the cotton on the plantation by setting them on fire. The bridges constructed by our troops consisted of nothing but rails laid. across some ill.-fitting sleepers, and it was a precarious crossing. The 8th Mo. wagon tipped over in the Phelps's bayou and the same wagon and Gen. Blair's wagon tipped over in Clark’s Bayou. From the latter, liquor in bottles and several barrels of beer were readily rescued by the soldiers for the sake of the articles.
About 2 miles from the first bayou, we came upon old John Routh's Routhwood plantation where the troops rested for several hours and got dinner. While there we went through the orchards of pear, peach and apple trees, and also got some splendid magnolias in full bloom. Besides the orchard the overseers' house and negro quarters remained. The large mansion, cotton house and machine were all destroyed. and only the chimneys remain to show the extent of the buildings formerly on it. The house evidently was splendidly furnished, as some of, the pieces of furniture indicate. The overseer and his family occupied the house before mentioned, he is a cripple having but one leg. Otto and I ate our dinner in the store house and weaving room, and I noticed in. one corner of the room some kind of fruit looking like coffee beans, but growing in groups of four clustered on a stem. On inquiry, I was informed that the plant was called Palm of Crystal of which our castor oil is made, in other words it is a castor bean. We moved. on again after a rest of several hours, and next came t o Haller Nutt's Evergreen plantation, which was deserted by most of the negroes and stock, but more remained than on the other plantations, the heavy furniture remaining in the mansion. About a mile or two beyond Evergreen, as this place is called, we stopped and. encamped for the night. It is also his Nutts plantation, and it is where he has his cotton gin, press and storehouse was located. We encamped at about 4 P. M. on Haller Nutt's plantation about 2 or 3 miles from Hard Times landing, and the boats are visible from camp. The whole line of plantations from Perkin’s Somerset Landing to Hard Times, where they are at all cultivated, are filled with little else but corn. It has been especially the case with the last 6 miles of our march, where Routh's the cornfields are from 2 to 3 feet high. At John Routh's we saw sweet corn in bloom and the ears forming, this was in the garden.
We went to bed rather later than most of the boys. The 127th is encamped in our rear and the 57th Ohio in front of us. We got a quantity of cotton from the gin to sleep on.
CAMP AT GRAND GULF MISSISSIPPI
Monday, May 11,1863.
We were up at reveille, but not hearing the bugle for assembly were not at roll call. Capt. Williams of Co. G 127th Illinois, a former schoolmate of ours, called and we had quite a pleasant chat about old times and former acquaintances. I went on detail today for the whole day, helped load several wagons with corn from the bin and also helped to husk it. After this I took a good look at Nutt's cotton gin, and appurtenances. His buildings are two and one half stories high, double houses. In the upper story or loft all of the unginned cotton is stored, and the second story is divided into 3 rooms. The first room containing 4 new gins, which are fed from above and the ginned cotton carried by an endless apron to a. room immediately back, which room is connected with the 3rd room or press room. Under the press room is the engine room and press or rather the screws which are horizontal and work the press upward. The balance of the first story is used for store rooms.
I went in swimming in St. Joseph Lake before dinner. Otto stewed some dried huckleberries for dinner. The lst brigade on whom we are waiting, crossed this A.M. and about 2 P. M. we moved on to the river. We arrived at Hard Times landing at about 3 P. M. As the infantry went over first, we prepared and ate our supper before the boat returned for us. As we looked down river, a large hill rising as if an island out of the water indicates at once the place where the batteries were, and where the Big Black empties into the Mississippi. At about 7 P. M. we commenced loading and by 9 P. M. We were on the opposite side unloading, which we did not finish until near 11 P. M. about which time we retired. A few hundred yards back from the river rises a very picturesque range of bluffs, which are from 50 to 60 feet high. The town that was formerly here is completely destroyed, nothing remaining but cisterns and chimneys to indicate the former habitation.
CAMP ON THE ROAD TO JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI AT THE CROSSROADS NEAR INGRAHAM’S PLANTATION
ABOUT FIFTEEN MILES FROM GRAND GULF
Tuesday, May 12, 1863.
We were up at day-break and at roll call orders were read from Generals Grant and Sherman. One in reference to rations, which was to consist mostly of hard bread, salt pork and some bacon, expecting us to live on fresh meats as much as possible. Also that Gen. Blair is to see to the crossing of all the provision wagons from the other side that are there, Also in reference to stragglers, to keep a rear guard to prevent same. We moved up the bluffs at about 7 A.M., noticed the fortifications and where the rebels had some 5 or 6 guns judging from the port holes. They had exploded the magazine which threw up the dirt so as to cover pieces of artillery, carriages, etc. Noticed a Parrott gun exploded short off at the breech.
The country is very hilly, but the scenery is very beautiful. The woods are mostly in hollows as the hills are all cultivated along the road. In the hollows there are an amount of mulberry trees, the fruit of which is ripe and we indulge quite extensively. We stopped at widow Mrs. Bower while watering his team, Michael was kicked by one of squad 2's horses and badly hurt in the shins.
I was surprised to see the immense magnolia trees that grew wild in the woods, and are in bloom. They grow from 20 to 100 feet high and are over 2 foot thick. I went on guard from 11 to 1 P.M. I went ahead of the column and stopped at a plantation 8 miles from Grand Gulf, where the lst brigade were resting . They soon moved on and our brigade made a stop of two hours. The roads are extremely dusty so that one can hardly breathe when on the road, and the hills make traveling very fatiguing. The news to-day is various and conflicting. Papers of the 6th report Hooker successful both in Saturday and Sunday fight and also speak of a fight of Monday. It is stated that we captured about 3,000 prisoners among which are several generals, including Fitzhugh Lee and others, also that there are fair prospects of cutting the enemies communication with Richmond. But the Memphis Bulletin of the 8th with the New York World's dispatches of the 7th throw cold water on all the good news reports.
Hooker retiring after consultation with his generals. We did not get in camp until after 7 P.M. when we camped near Ingram's plantation at the junction of a road leading to the Big Black with the Jackson road, on the latter of which we camped about 15 miles from Grand Gulf. As we did not get supper until very late we did not go to bed until after our guard from 11 to1 A. M. We had fried potatoes, hard tack and fresh pork for supper that is Otto and I , and while on guard stewed some prunes for breakfast.
CAMP ON HUTCHINS' PLANTATION COMMISSIONER'S CREEK 27 MILES FROM GRAND GULF.
Wednesday, May 13, 1863.
We had reveille at half pest two this morning, and I having been on guard had only one and one half hours sleep. Watered the extra team which I take to-day, and I rode about a mile for water, but few of the horses got any last night as we were unable to find any after dark.We commenced march at about 5 A.M. a little before sunrise, the road is improving as there are not so many short hills.
We reached a little place called Rocky Springs, consisting of several houses and a store or two. At about 10 A.M. we came down the hill into the valley, we came to the Little Sand Creek where we watered our horses and I took a wash in the creek, but had not finished when the hitch up call blew.
We moved on to the Big Sand Creek, a couple of miles further, which we reached at about 11 A.M. and remained until about 2 P.M. We took dinner, consisting of fried bacon, coffee and hard tack. We moved on rather slowly as weather was sultry and rain anticipated. The 127th took the lead to-day, At Henderson's plantation we came to a cross road with mile boards which read as follows; To Port Gibson 24 miles, Grand Gulf or Steam Ferry 26 miles, Gallatin to the right 30 miles, College l/2 mile and Jackson on the road we are following 37 miles. About a mile from this place we encamped on Hutchin's plantation near Commissioners Creek. The 2nd brigade was encamped on the hill over the creek.
It was about 6.P, M. or rather at sundown when we camped, and as it was cloudy and sprinkled a little we put up our shelter tent, after a supper of bacon, coffee and hard bread we went down to the creek and had a bath and change of clothing. Retired at about 10 P.M., reveille is to be at 2 A M. We marched 13 or 14 miles. It is 19 miles to Raymond, Miss., which it is said is one half the distance from here to Jackson.
CAMP AT HALL’S PLANTATION 11 MILES FROM RAYMOND NEAR AUBURN
Thursday, May 14, 1863.
We were up at reveille at 2 A M. and moved out at 4 A.M. We passed the 6th and 8th Missouri along with Battery A of Giles Smith’s brigade , and about a mile or more from which we came to a little place called Gayuga; were the 113th were stationed. While halting there we ransacked a formerly ransacked country store, but found nothing except a little hardware. About one half mile from the town we passed our division trains and from thence were in the advance of our division, the 54th Ohio taking the lead. The rain that had been threatening for the last 24 hours commenced in earnest and it came down pretty heavy, I did not put on a rubber poncho, preferring a wetting and a clean jacket to a dusty one. It did not cease until we came to a plantation just beyond Auburn Post Office, here we found the Chicago Mercantile battery encamped and as it was raining the column halted and we stayed with them under a cotton gin. The rain soon subsided and we moved on but not far, perhaps a mile or two from Auburn Post Office, when we went into camp for dinner at about 2 P.M.. I got some boards, built a shebang And spread our tent over it, though we did not expect to stay. We afterward received orders to stay for the night. News of to-day is very good, so good indeed that one might say too it was to good to be true, first, that Stonewall Jackson was killed in the fight with Hooker and that it is called a drawn battle, we having 5,000 and they 2,000 prisoners, this news came through a Mississippi paper. Secondly, that a courier Col. Amory Johnson came through with dispatches informing Gen. Grant of the fight of Hooker, and that in the first three days Hooker was rather worried and with reinforcements coming up he drove them every time. and t a Genl Stoneman with his cavalry had taken Richmond. and that the Stars and Stripes now float over the rebel capitol. We had fresh veal for supper, also some huckleberry that Otto stewed tonight. We retired after making notes at about 9 P.M.
CAMP WEST END OF RAYMOND, MISS. ON THE ROAD TO VICKSBURG
Friday, May 15, 1863.
We had reveille at sunrise. I was detailed to take Samuel Newton's team, the wheel team on the gun. and was busy until breakfast cleaning them, After breakfast we harnessed and hitched up, but did not move off until about 9 A. M. The road was quite bad from yesterday's showers, and the horses had hard pulling. Before leaving camp this morning several orderlies arrived, reporting Grant within 2 miles of Jackson, Miss. and still later dispatches arrived from Grant dated at his Head Quarters. Jackson, Miss. It was taken with but slight resistance. At about 5 miles from Raymond, we stopped and had some dinner, consisting of a piece of meat and some hardtack. When we came within a mile or two of the town, we could see by the rail fence and trees the place where the battle of Raymond was fought last Wednesday by one of Logan' s brigades. From all we could learn from the wounded soldiers engaged and the citizens of the place, it seem that they, our troops, were attacked rather unawares from the woods and driven back about one half mile when the balance of the troops, that were marching, came up. They drove the rebels after a hard fight of about 3 hours, in which the 20th and 31th Illinois, 7th Mo. 20th Ohio and other regiments,. perhaps of Logan's division, were concerned. We lost, as is variously reported, from about 250 to 300 men in killed, wounded and prisoners. We captured 400 prisoners. It was a desperate struggle for the number engaged and the time occupied.
We entered the town at about 5 P. M., turned t o the left or west and encamped on the west side of the town. The town is of about 1500 inhabitants. It has quite a large court house built of brick, stuccoes and built in the shape of the one at Chicago before it was altered. There are entrances on all sides with
pillars the height of the building , which is two stories with a jail below it. The court house is occupied by the rebel wounded, and several churches are occupied by ours. We expect an attack, but are unharnessed. Generals A. J. Smith and Eugene A Carr’s divisions passed and camped about a mile west of us. We retired at 9 P.M.
CAMP ON THE LEFT WING ON THE FIELD NEAR EDWARD’S STATION, ABOUT 7 MIKES FROM RAYMOND.
Saturday, May 16, 1863.
We were up at 4 A. M. and moved forward at sunrise, about one half mile and then waited about an hour for A. J. Smith's division to move forward. We moved forward to the Raymond and Edward’s road, and proceeded as far as Newman's plantation about 6 miles from Raymond. At this place our division was formed in line of battle, in the rear of A. J. Smith’s and to his left. We had heard heavy firing to our right and front for 3 or 4 hours before the left was at all engaged and then but slightly.
Generals Logan, Osterhaus and Carr were the ones that stood the brunt of the battle all day and drove the enemy before them after hard fighting. They took, it is said, some 2,000 to 3000 prisoners and 16 pieces of artillery, What the enemy's loss in wounded and killed is, we have not ascertained. Our loss it is said amounts to 1600 killed, wounded, etc., this was all on the right by the troops mentioned. The Mercantile Battery and several regiments were engaged on the left. We had advanced several miles since the first line was formed and toward night the firing of the enemy was directed to the hill on which the Coker house is, in front of which were the l0-pounder Parrotts of the 17th Ohio battery and the Mercantile battery. Both batteries lost horses and the latter had several men wounded. We and Battery “A” were ordered but remained in the road, and the firing having ceased at about 7 or 8 we drew back to the next hill and stayed there for the night. It is the impression that the rebels have withdrawn. Squads of prisoners or rather deserters, come in continually, evidently glad of the opportunity afforded to quit the service. It is really surprising to see the despondency so prevalent, but the bad or indifferent treatment and defeats are at every point lately are sufficient to make the most desperate feel blue.
During the day we procured geese, chickens, sugar, onions, a side of bacon, etc., though we had nothing but coffee and hard bread for supper. We stayed up until a late hour, plucking geese and chickens so as to get their for breakfast, also baked some sweet potatoes for breakfast. Retired late, at 11 P.M.
CAMP ABOUT 2 MILES FROM BRIDGEPORT, 16 MILES FROM VICKSBURG.
Sunday, May 17, 1863.
We were up at daybreak and had an excellent breakfast of geese, chickens, soup and coffee besides some sweet potatoes we baked last night. We moved off at sunrise or a little later. we were encamped near Collier's plantation. We traveled over the ground occupied by the rebels yesterday. It gave evidence of a hasty retreat, guns bent or stuck in the ground, ammunition boxes partially full are to be seen all along the road.. Some pieces of artillery were captured by Blair's division this morning and also some 15 wagons. We crossed Baker’s creek of which the bridge had been destroyed, and reached Edwards Station at about 10 A. M. We moved to the Bridgeport road and we passed all the troops engaged. on the right ,yesterday, and in particular the 20th Illinois what is left of them, about 125 effective men. All were glad to see them as we had not seen them since Shiloh. Logan, Osterhaus, Carr and others took the road further south or in line with the R. R.
Edwards Station is about 22, miles from Vicksburg, and 4 miles to the Big Black, at which place we arrived at what is called Bridgeport and formed in line of battle. Battery “A” placed a section in the valley and fired over the creek or river at which some 20 men surrendered from the other side of the river, We had to ferry them over in a canoe and they volunteered to help fix the bridge. Here we saw some 200 prisoners mostly from Tennessee who were stragglers and picked up having been in charge of a wagon train. I spoke with many of them and they are universally despondent and think there is but little doubt of our capturing Vicksburg.
We all drew down hill along the bank of, the river, took position and went to work getting dinner. We ate our dinner about 2 P. M. Otto and. I had coffee, corn-bread, and honey. After dinner we went to where the pontoon bridge was being constructed and had a swim across the Big Black, which is a yellow, deep, narrow stream with very steep banks and a swift current. The pontoons are constructed of rubber pontoons. A pontoon consists of three rubber tubes all connected with loops for handles and also some to tie a sort of sleeper to each tube. These were inflated with bellows, the wood tied to it and then ferried to their place, about 15 feet apart, and sleepers put from pontoon to pontoon. A layer of boards is placed on this to cross upon. A square weight is attached to each pontoon as an anchor to keep it in place. The bridge consisted of 6 pontoons. It was commenced at about half past two and finished at 6 P. M. Troops commenced crossing soon after and we crossed at about 7.30 P.M. The troops finished crossing at about 9 P.M. We traveled about 2 miles and went into camp along that road at about 10 P.M. We retired soon after without supper.
ON THE RIGHT WING, SHERMAN’S CORPS. BLAIR'S DIVISION ON THE FIELD BEFORE VICKSBURG. FIRST DAY.
Monday, May 18, 1863.
We had reveille at day break and had hardly time to eat any breakfast before leaving, but managed to fry some sweet potatoes before moving off and ate them with some coffee. The 1st Brigade of Gile Smith in Blair's division went ahead. We marched on steadily until about 11 A.M. when we rested on the road 6 miles from Vicksburg. Here we rested, ate our dinner, fed our teams and remained until 11 P.M. We moved on until within 4 miles of the city at which place the line was drawn and the troops were formed to the right, Gen.Grant arriving about the same time. We were moved about 1/2 mile forward and to the right. Skirmishers were thrown out and our section ordered into position. At about 4 P. M:, we commenced firing. Our section fired the first gun on the enemies fortifications before Vicksburg. At about 4.30 the balance of the battery came into position on our left, and we fired more or less until about 5 P.M. during which time the skirmishers advanced and the lines were more definitely formed, the 55th Illinois being behind us. Steele's command is flocking to the right and they are passing in numbers.
McPherson has the center and his left is to rest on our right. McClernand has the left and extends nearly to the Mississippi river. McArthur’s division, I think, rests next to ours. One of our detailed men from the 57th Ohio on the number one gun was slightly wounded by one of the stray shots that come over the hill quite often. Our gun squad consists of the following men; Sgt. E. P. Wilcox, (Gunner) J. C. Hadlock, (No. 1) A. Wilson, (No. 2) C. E. Affeld, (No. 3) D. K. Newell, (No. 4) W. Simpson, (No. 6 ) Edward Kingsbury, (No. 6) F. Affeld, (No. 7) and a detail from the 57th Ohio and others from the 55th Illinois to carry ammunition. We went to bed about 9 P.M.
BEFORE VICKSBURG SECOND DAY.
Tuesday, May 19, 1863.
We were up at day break, our breakfast was brought to us from the caisson. The drivers on the gun are M. R. Oliver, lead), F. Thompson (swing) and Sam Newton (wheel), on the caisson. Jas, F. Whittle (lead), C.W. Pierce (swing) and John Henry (wheel). Before breakfast I went out to where our advance pickets or skirmishers were and had a good view of the enemies line of breastworks and of the 27th Louisiana Lunette a little to our right. It has two embrasures and one gun in it. From the eminence we had a good view of the enemies line of works, extending from a high hill on which there is apparently artillery, in from of our center, to a ridge of hills higher than those we are on, to the river which is in sight. Between the ground we occupy and that which they occupy there are a couple of small hills between which there are ravines. We put our battery on the hill about 50 yds ahead of us. No. 1 gun occupying a position in the road on the highest place the hill affords. Between them and the rest of the battery are two of Hart’s 20-pounder Parrots and to our left are two more in position. All the guns opened at about 9.45 A.M. and lasted until 12 after which we fired more at leisure and at long intervals until about 2 P. M, when the whole line was to make an attack on the enemies works and storm them.
After we fired three rounds by battery, by way of signal, the whole line advanced and we eagerly awaited their progress. We fired round or solid shot rather high while our men were a head. Kirby Smith's Brigade was to the left of Gen. Blair’s division and Giles Smith's brigade was to the right. The other brigades are variously distributed. Tuttle’s division moved up in the Graveyard Road as a second reserve, The troops have advanced on the line of works from 150 to 250 yds as the ground would permit. The firing advanced and increased and there was some cheering, Then the ammunition gave out some of the regiments had fixed bayonets, the attack not being general McPherson and McClernand not moving a foot, our troops remained in their advanced position until after dark. At about 10 or 11 P. M. the 55th Illinois and the balance of the regiments soon after came in, the attack having been unsuccessful. The loss in Blair's division is variously estimated, but from all that can be learned our loss was 350 killed and wounded, a larger portion than usual being wounded. Col. Hoge of the 113th Illinois was badly wounded. Col. Malhenborg of the 55th Illinois was slightly wounded in the eye. We retired, expecting momentarily our position would be moved.
BEFORE VICKSBURG THIRD DAY
Wednesday, May 20, 1863.
We were up at daybreak. The position that we expected to occupy had not been prepared yet. A detail was put to work at making a road for our guns and a place to put them in, in the side of the hill to the right, in front of the fort. (The Stockade Redan) After the place was partially fixed for 2 guns, the left section was ordered in the position. We worked quite a while in fixing a sort-of shelter against Sharpshooters, who clear the hill of all and everything visible in the shape of human beings, commenced firing at about 9.45 A. M. and it was kept up continuously and with rapidity until 11 A.M. At the commencement of the engagement at about 10.30 Corp. Daniel P. Young was wounded while at his gun (No. 2) immediately to our left. Douglas K. Newell on our gun was shot through the head as I was thumbing the vent of our gun while putting in the cartridge. We were now two of our number short, as I had been acting as both Nos. 2 and 4 until after Douglas Newell was shot. Newell was shot near the top of his head and the bullet came out through the occipital bone. I had just put in the cartridge when he fell forward his knees on the ground and his head also. We drew him out and had him carried to where the caissons were. We fired but few rounds after that until after dinner, Major Taylor ordering us to wait until, Waterhouse’s Battery, (Battery E 1st Illinois) who is making a place for his guns to get into position. We had a good dinner of bacon, hardtack and apple sauce sent to the battery cooked by Charles Andrews, our artificer.
Waterhouse's battery lost a sergeant and 2 horses on the hill in the rear of where the caissons are. We received a letter from home containing a letter from father and all of the girls dated respectively 6th and 5th of May acknowledging the letter and package sent by John Easson and also the letter sent by Robert Hunt. We commenced firing, at about 3 o'clock along with Waterhouse's guns to our right and 2 guns of the 2nd Iowa battery on our left. Our practice was directed mostly to the stockade and a building like a gin-house immediately to the right and also to the fort. (The stockade Redan)
The sharpshooters were pretty quiet during the afternoon and little else was done but wasting ammunition on their works. The stockade was not otherwise effected by our shot than that it penetrated, The enemy did not answer with artillery but 2 or 3 times all day, and then but one gun was fired and was drawn out of sight immediately after it was fired. After supper we got our blankets and slept near the guns. Charles Pierce was told to act as Chief of the Caisson, yesterday, and had one of the detail of the 57th Ohio, Leonard Hauman take his (the swing) team. After Newell was killed Fred Thompson, who was on the swing of the gun took his as No. 3 and Sidney a spare from the 57th Ohio took the team.
All of the news that we heard about Richmond is contradicted or rather not confirmed. Hooker is not over the Rappahannock, and Stoneman though very near Richmond was not in it. However, there are advantages gained by the several battles engaged in by Hooker. I received a St. Louis paper of the 13th, but it contained no news of an advance by General Rosecrans on Chattanooga as reported. After dusk Sergeant Wilcox, Otto and I went to the caisson to see Douglas Newell's remains and we helped put him in the box or coffin that Chas. Andrews made for him. Captain Barrett is going to ask permission to send him to Milliken's Bend with one of our boys.
BEFORE VICKSBURG, FOURTH DAY.
Thursday, May 21, 1863.
We were up at daybreak. The gunboats fired during the night but not so continuously as the previous evening. The sharpshooters remained remarkably quiet to-day and fired only when there was too tempting a crowd around the trees to see the sights, then a whistling bullet would clear all from behind the tree although none were hurt. We fired only occasionally as our ammunition is getting low and there is no prospect of getting any until the ammunition train arrives, which has been expected every day since Monday. Sergt. Wilcox, being so ill as not to be at the gun, remained at the caisson all day. Sergeant and gunner sponging the few times that we fired. Battery A (Chicago Light Artillery) is in position on a hill to our right and a little further ahead they have been firing a considerable amount to-day. They are directly opposite the stockade, about 350 yds from it. A detail has been at work making a place for 2 more guns on the same hill immediately to our left. After supper about 5 P.M. we drew out of our position, to give room for the 2nd Iowa battery who put in 2 guns where we were and 2 more in the place they were preparing during the day. We went back to where we were all day Tuesday, expecting however to change our position for a new one before to-morrow. After we changed our position or rather had drawn off, Major Taylor said that we might rest for 2 hours, during which time Edward Wilcox and I went to the caisson, there we buried Douglas Newell next to a Lieutenant of the 47th Ohio. It is about 1/4 of a mile from the main road (Bridgeport and Vicksburg) where the road from Benton comes in and is on the north side of the road we move forward on, also west side of old Chickasaw road. Rations are coming in plentifully on the last mentioned road. Pierce, Whittle, Wilcox and I of our squad buried D. K. Newell. Valcourt and Wm. Hathaway were also there and know the place, besides nearly all of the squad know where it is.
I got Otto's blanket and slept by the gun after I had made a trip to Battery “A” with the Sergt., Easson and 5 others after tools for the working parties to make places for our guns. Battery “A” have a strong position up an exceedingly steep hill opposite the stockade of the enemy, the hill is about 200 feet high. They used 3 prolongs to pull up a gun and worked hard to get a good place to work the guns in comparative safety. We returned by a different road and came near being shot, having exposed ourselves coming up the hill in front of Waterhouse's battery and in plain sight of the sharpshooters in the fort and stockade. We got back safely, however, about dusk. We retired soon after.
BEFORE VICKSBURG. FIFTH DAY.
Friday, May 22, 1863
We were awakened about an hour or more before daybreak. I rolled my blankets up and carried them to the limber. The battery was all moved into the new position, right in front and about 100 yds of where we were last. The infantry had done a poor job, either on account of poor management or not enough tools, for when we run our gun in, it hardly found room enough for itself, much less for men to work it. Day was breaking so we cut away the earth so the gun would at least stand straight, then cut brush to screen us from observation and worked until about 7 A. M., before we got it even tolerably well fixed. After breakfast, we worked at it again so as to be protected from sharpshooters.
At 10 A. M. there is to be a grand charge along the whole line and an attempt made to storm the fort. We fired pretty steadily to the left of the Fort (Stockade Redan) from 7 to 10 A.M., mostly round shot, as we had but 7 rounds of spherical case to each gun. Just before 10 A. M. we opened a tremendous fire at the works and kept it up until our men interfered, when we directed our fire more to the left of the fort. On the right the charge was lead from the road, an officer of the 30th Ohio taking the lead of the storming party which consists of volunteers from every regiment of the division. Lieut. William C. Porter of the 55th Illinois also lead a party. As the men came in plain sight led by their officers swords in hand and men following with boards to cross the trench, we saw the whole charge. And though the bullets were flying thick over head, we watched the party until we saw the flag planted on this side of the fort in front of the port embrasure and some 5 or 6 men lying close against the fort over the ditch. The rebels not daring to expose themselves enough to fire at the men on their works, our troops kept up a brisk fire from the hill immediately in front of their works. We all admired the bravery of the men that lay by near the flag, exposed as they were to the shots of the enemy and our men too. After the storming party had reached its place and a regiment had got safely behind the brow of the hill next to their works, we had to fire pretty high and slow, our ammunition being nearly exhausted. We had to reserve our fire for such times as when a (rebel) regiment would start to cross the road over the hill in plain sight, then we opened fire on them along the whole line with artillery for the purpose of keeping them down and preventing them from firing on our men. Regiment after regiment crossed in this manner , but none but the storming party were on the enemies works and none crossed over to them. We were limited about noon to 2 spherical case to a gun, though ammunition is momentarily expected.
At about 1 or 2 P. M. an ammunition train arrived and we soon had round shot and shell, though in limited quantities. We fired quite rapidly after our new supply. At about 3 P.M. another storming party was to go in. We did not look up to watch it soon after saw another flag on the works and nearly all of the men that were there dropped into the trench or were so wounded as to be unable to move, At about 5 P. M, as I was sponging the gun Frederick Thompson was shot through the heart, while thumbing the vent. He was standing erect while I was sitting down and sponging. He was shot through the left breast, the shot penetrating the upper end of the heart and passing through his body. He fell on his back, never spoke a word but breathed for 5 or 10 minutes. The blood meanwhile streaming out in strong jets, which was increased by every throb of his heart. We dressed him out and had him carried down hill by the caisson. He was one of the oldest members of the battery, having enlisted in '61 and been with the battery ever since. Had he been more careful he would probably been living yet. He had on his person some $85.00 in green-backs and a note book in which he had made notes in German up to the time he was killed.
Our troops remained under the cover of the hill in front of the enemies works until after dark when they were all drawn off excepting one brigade in front of us for support. Those that planted our colors on the fort brought them back when they retired. Lieut. Web. Whittle and Col. Fredrick Starring came to see the battery this morning before the charge Gen. Ransom also came to see his old Bird's Point fellow soldiers on the right wing. His brigade is immediately to our left or the left of the right wing.
The loss is very severe on our side, it will not fall much short of 5000 killed and wounded along the whole line, though I have nothing to estimate from yet and it may be long before the real amount of our loss is known. The soldiers now seem perfectly willing to siege the place, being confident that storming will not do it. We hear that Lieut* Web. Whittle of the 72nd Illinois was shot through the arm while leading his regiment. The Col. was carried off the field on a shutter, having been shot in the neck---by a .bottle and being dead---drunk. Lieut. Col. Wright was wounded in the left arm which had to be taken off. Of our brigade, Col. Smith who commanded it and Col. Malmborg are said to have been under the influence of liquor while in the fight and their behavior is the talk of all who talk of it. After supper our caisson went to the river to fill up with ammunition. We retired quite early. It was cloudy and threatened rain and I had no blankets so Hadlock and I took Thompson's blankets and retired, putting a piece of tent over the gum blanket under which we slept being tired out after a hard and dirty day's work.
BEFORE VICKSBURG. SIXTH DAY.
Saturday, May 23, 1863.
We were up at daybreak, every thing along the line quiet except as soon as sunrise the sharpshooters were alive and busy. We heard after breakfast that George Whittiers shot and instantly killed. He belonged to Battery A, we were schoolmates and his mother was formerly our teacher so we were well acquainted with him.. He was shot through the breast, the shot entering one side and coming out at the other, He was engaged in pouring water over a comrade's hands to wash them, when the sharpshooters picked him off. He was a young and handsome man of about 21 years, he leaves a mother and brother to lament his untimely death. He was wounded in the battle of Shiloh, in the head. He has been in the service since the commencement of the war, over two years. Our caisson returned with ammunition, though not full. Otto wrote a few lines home informing our folks of our loss and our safety. Our men have been at work making covered roads so that we can cross our troops over the hill in front of the enemy without being seen. I went to the caisson to get some dried huckleberries out of my saddle-bags but found when I arrived that Walter Simpson had ridden off with both saddle and saddle-bags and been absent since last night, and no one knew where he had gone to. Otto helped to bury Thompson, he was buried on the left of Douglas Newell. We worked at strengthening our earth-works thus making it safer for us to work at the gun.
There is a beautiful clear spring about 1/4 of a mile over our breast-works, but again as far by following the ravine. Otto and I built a little shelter. It showered several times during the afternoon. We retired quite early.
BEFORE VICKSBURG SEVENTH DAY
Sunday, May 24, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour at daybreak, everything has been quiet lately. Otto and I went to work getting a quantity of cane and built a little shebang to hold a rubber or blanket for shade. [Brigadier] General [Thomas E. G.] Ransom called on our officer’s to-day and conversed some time with our boys.' He informed us that we might expect to hear a great explosion in a day or two, if things worked well, that our men had dug some 100 feet under the fort [the 3rd Louisiana redan] and had about 69 feet more to dig. I heard that Col. [Frederick A.] Starring was back with the wagons under arrest and stripped of his sword.
We received mail to-day but no letters for us. We worked by moonlight getting or rather putting up the cane we got during the day in front of our gun, strengthening our work by backing it with cane. The mortars are at work in front of city. We can see the shells coming up over the hills, winking at us until sunk behind them again in their descent and often hear them explode.
Our soldiers are calling over to the rebels and conversing aloud with them. The 1st Mo., 5th Mo. and others made themselves known. Papers of the 16th are in camp, but there is nothing new. We retired about 9 P.M. Otto and others, during the evening, went down and up the hills in front of us to look at the things ahead more closely. They had all they could do to climb up and down the hill in front of us, crossing two ravines full of fallen timber. A regiment is on this side of the second hill and is protected by the hill from the enemy, a ravine parting them from the enemies' works. We are perfectly safe against any attempt of theirs to get out, as it cannot be successful if tried at any place except the [graveyard] road, and artillery can be so placed as to make it entirely impossible for any body of men to get through alive.
BEFORE VICKSBURG EIGHTH DAY
Monday, May 25, 1863.
We were up at daybreak. After breakfast I got permission from Capt. [Samuel E. Barrett] to go to the wagons to get a clean shirt. Went to the caisson, the, baggage had been removed to a new place on the river road. I got my knapsack took out two clean shirts and a pair of socks, put in my dirty ones and strapped the knapsack on the caisson again. Otto and I then had a wash, put on clean shirt and socks. A good wash makes one feel 100 % better.
I wrote a letter to father and the girls to be sent by Lieut. D. W. [Web.] Whittle, who leaves tomorrow, he also takes my notebook. He has a leave of absence and goes home to Chicago. Geo. has been buried next to our boys and news has been sent to his folks. One of [Brigadier General James 'M.] Tuttle's brigades went to the right, destination unknown. [Walter] Simpson reurned his leg improving. Otto stewed some huckleberries. I saw a paper of the 18th and mention is made of [Major General Nathaniel P.] Banks making connections with Porter on the Red River.
At about 6 o'clock we were all surprised at seeing the rebels all appearing above their breastworks, our men equally anxious to know what was going on also showed them. The reason of the procedure was the granting of an armistice by the rebels to bury our dead, which they remised to do under a flag of truce. The armistice was from 6 to 8.30 P.M." The right section is busy backing their works with cane to strengthen it. I went to Battery A's position, troops are at work daily on covered roads from right to left. Positions are being dug for 3 guns to the left of Battery A [1st Illinois Light Artillery], they are strong positions. We retired about 9 P. M. Moon shining brightly.
BIVOUACKED ABOUT 4 MILES FROM SNYDER'S BLUFF NINTH DAY
Tuesday, May 26, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour. After breakfast, just as giggers had been dealt out, we heard a bullet whistle by and sounded as if it had struck something. In a second, it was said that [Henry F.] Henrotin was shot and sure enough he was shot in the forehead. The bullet entered about an inch over the right eye and came out at the same place over the left eye, fracturing the skull and spattering some brains around. He bled considerably and though alive, is insensible. We carried him to the caisson from whence he was taken to the hospital. He is one of the original members of the Battery and has been in service two years. Dr. Rolla says his case is entirely hopeless, although he may live some days.
I understand that Lieut. [Web.] Whittle does not leave to-day, but will have to wait for the next hospital boat. Capt. [Patrick H.] White of the [Chicago] Mercantile Battery called today. Admiral Porter, leaving several of his gunboats to cooperate with Banks, returned to the Vicksburg area, arriving below the "Hill City" on May 16. The boys were glad to see him and he has received his Captain's commission. He told us that the mine that our troops had been digging had been discovered by the enemy. Many reports of desertions from the enemy are prevalent, mostly out of rebel Mo. regiments. They give various reports, but all agree in saying there cannot be more than a month's provisions, that is bread, in the place and it may not last 2 weeks.
Report says that Banks has two brigades (16,000 men) in Warrenton, having arrived lately. Toward evening I stewed some huckleberries and after supper orders came for our brigade to move." By 8 P.M. we were prepared accordingly. Co. G, 55th Ill. left reluctantly for their regiment, having been with us as detail to carry ammunition and do other work." At 8 P.M. we commenced letting our guns down the hill into the ravine and after hard work succeeded in getting them all down and up to where the caissons are. After waiting until after 10 P.M. our brigade, the 2nd, moved on, taking the road to the river or Chickasaw road. We climbed up and down the roads for about 4 or 5 miles and camped in the bottom at about 1 AM. We are to have reveille at daybreak, about 4 o'clock. We bivouacked along the road.
CAMP AT NELLEY'S PLANTATION ABOUT 7 MILES FROM MILLDALE CHURCH
Wednesday, May 27, 1863.
We moved off immediately after reveille, at daybreak or about 4 A.M. We marched to the foot of Drumgould's Bluff where we stopped for breakfast and feed. The hills afford a splendid view of the valley and of the place we landed at, the last of April and the 1st of May to make a feint on Snyder's Bluff. I noticed the line of rifle pits for the last 4 or 5 miles, along the bluffs. At Drumgould's Bluff there were two lines of rifle pits and several 8 inch Columbiads apparently, one being run off the carriage and destroyed and another being covered by the explosion of the magazine." Before the bluffs there is a swamp or bayou and it is almost if not entirely impossible to have ever taken those Bluffs from the front. The 2nd brigade [Mower's] of Tuttle's division encamped on the bluff as we arrived.
We left Drumgould's Bluff at about 9 A.M. or after, passing Snyder's Bluff to our left. After marching a few miles stopped at Milldale Church, now used for a hospital by the rebels and there are about a dozen patients in it at present though formerly used extensively no doubt. We arrived here [at Milldale] about 11 A.M. and halted until 4 P.M., it was awfully hot. We had dinner and had all the mulberries we could eat. [Merwin R.] Oliver picked a quart cup full and gave it to Otto. After starting we had a pleasant shower and marched on steadily until sundown. One of Tuttle's brigades having the lead; we camped on Nelley's Plantation about 7 miles from Milldale on the Benton road.
William Sanborn and I succeeded in getting a hive of bees in spite of the guards. We smoked the bees and brought a quantity of the honey on a board to camp. We retired at about 8 P.M. I went on guard from 11 P.M. to 1 A.M.
CAMP AT HART'S PLANTATION, 28 MILES FROM YAZOO CITY ON THE BENTON ROAD.
Thursday, May 28, 1863.
We had reveille at 3.30 A.M. and moved out at about 4 A.M. We stopped for breakfast at about 8 o'clock for / of an hour and had coffee, meat, and corn bread with honey. We moved forward again and stopped at or near Harris' plantation, near a creek at about 10 A.M. I went in the hollow and had a wash all over and changed my boots for shoes, the former being inconvenient to walk in. Here we came up with [Brigadier General John] McArthur's 3 brigades. Blair has a guard on Harris' plantation on the smokehouse and storehouse in the latter of which one of the detail and I got some 15 lbs. of sugar for the squad, the guard allowing but 2 men in at a time.
The column moved on again at about 3 P.M. and after marching a mile or two stopped at a clear creek to water and allow all the troops to supply themselves, I think it was Bear Creek. We marched very lively until late (after 9:30 P.M.) when we camped near Hart's plantation, 28 miles from Yazoo City and 30 miles from Vicksburg. We have marched about 15 miles to-day. Weather warm, but roads good. I caught a sheep on the way which we skinned. We retired about 11 P.M
CAMP AT MECHANICSBURG, MISS. ABOUT 22 MILES FROM YAZOO CITY
Friday, May 29, 1863.
We had reveille at daylight. Many of the boys heard heavy cannonading in the direction of Vicksburg. We had breakfast before moving, moved off very late about 8 or 9 A.M., the right section taking the rear of the baggage wagon train. We traveled provokingly slow and arrived at Mechanicsburg where we went into camp. We had a welcome shower during the afternoon. We went into camp about 4 P.M.
I rode through the town of 13 or 14 old houses to a creek a mile beyond, where we watered." A squad of cavalry (5) came through from Vicksburg to-day, they bring the news of the capture of a volunteer who volunteered to take dispatches from Pemberton to Johnston, but leaving his line he gave himself up to our men. Dispatches taken from him are to the effect that Pemberton wished Johnston to hurry up as he feared a mutiny, and that they have but 18,000 men, etc., also that the gunboat Cincinnati, while engaging the rebel batteries, was sunk above the city." We had mutton stew for supper. Splendid moonlight night. We spread our blankets and retired at about 9 P.M.
CAMP ABOUT 12 MILES FROM SNYDER'S BLUFF NEAR A CREEK.
Saturday, May 30, 1863
We had reveille about 4 A.M. and had chicken stew for breakfast. We moved off at about 6 A.M. going back on the road we came on, but in another brigade, think it is [Colonel Lucius F.] Hubbard's brigade but are under [Brigadier] Gen. [Joseph A.] Mower for the day. Some of the troops took another road. We are evidently returning to Vicksburg. We went on the Benton road (the road I came on) to where the Vicksburg Telegraph road meets it. It is 33 miles by either road to 'Vicksburg as the mile posts inform us.
We took the Telegraph road and marched steadily until we arrived at Parties' plantation at which place we descended the hills and took the Valley road.` We halted about an hour at Parties' place to water (a creek running near by) and to clean out the plantation. Our squad got 8 chickens. The place is quite extensive though nothing but an overseer's house is on it now and is very small for so large a family as occupy it. Parties left New Orleans going to Vicksburg to avoid the Yankees and from the latter place he moved his family on this plantation. The place was entirely cleaned out except the dwelling occupied by about 5 or 6 young ladies, the old lady and a man apparently a cripple.
We commenced to prepare dinner but not having time succeeded in getting nothing but coffee ready. We moved on a few miles further and stopped at a cotton-gin next to a running creek for dinner. We stopped about 2 hours and noticed Parties' cotton-gin on fire; the balance on the road will have to share the same fate. After dinner we moved on, crept along until near Richard Johnson's place where we waited an hour or two for another brigade to get rested, we being meanwhile in the road under the hot sun waiting.
The column again started and crept along until dark, bringing us about 12 or 13 miles to-day. We encamped near a creek about 12 miles from Snyder's Bluff where the road turns up the hills. [Samuel] Hadlock and I went after a sheep to the corral; we got a nice little lamb. [William H.] Sanborn has not been seen since morning. After a good supper of fresh meat, onions, coffee and honey, we retired about 10 P.M.
CAMP AT SNYDER'S BLUFF BETWEEN TWO CREEKS.
Sunday, May 31, 1863.
Was up at about 5 A.M., and had a splendid chicken soup and stew with potatoes for breakfast. We moved on our brigade, [Brigadier General Joseph A. J.] Lightburn's taking the lead and the 54th Ohio leading the brigade. We have been on the Valley road most of yesterday, a ridge of hills to our left and the woods to the right of the corn and cotton fields. We have been about 4 or 5 miles from the Yazoo along the road. The 54th [Ohio] marched along briskly. The hills afforded a beautiful sight westward of the whole Yazoo bottom or valley; a level field of woods as far as the eye could reach. We descended the hills at Bruce's plantation where we stopped for dinner at a creek running near by. Picked a pint of blackberries and stewed them for dinner, also stewed some partially ripe plums and put them in a jar for supper.
We passed a very extensive plantation about 2 or 3 miles from Haynes' Bluff (think it was Roach's) where we saw some splendid corn, some of which was in bloom and averaged from 6 to 8 feet in height. Corn is universal, miles and miles of corn can be seen, but how it can be gathered is a mystery for darkies of all ages and sex fellow us for miles." Horses, wagons, buggies, carriages and go-carts are following, picked up by the soldiers to carry knapsacks. Ox teams loaded down with Negroes and baggage, and cattle by the thousand are being driven in, all for the support of the Union Army.
We arrived at the upper end of the enemies' works on the Yazoo at the upper end of Snyder's Bluff, as we think. We encamp at about 4. P.M. fed and had supper. Received orders to move a couple hundred yards down so as to be with the balance of the brigade, between the two creeks that empty in the Yazoo. There is but one heavy rifled gun (about 58-pdr) destroyed here, though platforms and embrasures for more are there. The guns have been drawn off. A grist mill [Snyder's] has been burned and entirely destroyed.
Otto and I went in swimming in the Yazoo from the raft that was formerly used to stop and block navigation on the Yazoo. Weather has been exceedingly warm all day, but the nights are really beautiful, clear moon light nights. Retired after making a shebang, about 8 P.M.
CAMP UPPER END OF SNYDER'S BLUFF, MISS.
Monday, June 1, 1863.
Was up at the usual hour. At an early hour one of our wagons went to the river and the other two went to our camp before Vicksburg. Otto and I had 2 pieces of washing washed. At almost 7 A.M. our wagons returned, the one from the landing brought the news that there were quite a number of Chicago men at the landing, Lombard brothers among the number.
It is reported that a flag of truce was raised by the enemy requesting permission to send women and children from the city, which was refused. Grant gave them 24 hours before the siege was commenced.
The balance of the wagons with camp equipage, 15 horses, battery and forge wagons arrived as did also [Benjamin] Stephens, [Walter] Simpson, and [Samuel D.] Newton of our squad. Chas. Turner returned to the Battery, Henrotin died the morning after we left and was embalmed by Dr. Bailey of the 8th Missouri. Battery A has Siege guns, and other batteries also man one. We hear the mortars booming at intervals. Retired rather late after 9 P.M. was in swimming to-night.
CAMP UPPER END OF SNYDER'S BLUFF, MISS.
Tuesday, June 2, 1863.
We were up about 5 A.M. I commenced and finished putting up a shelter tent, and enjoyed its shelter all day, weather cool compared with yesterday and there was a good breeze all day. Our 2nd detail from the 54th Ohio left for their regiment to-day.
The E. H. Fairchild lay at the landing, as also the commissary boat. On Sunday the DeKalb and 2 other turtles came down the river. Orders were read at roll call to the effect that Mower's brigade is to go up the river to Yazoo City and clean out the country and the balance of the troops to march tomorrow for Vicksburg, 6 A.M. I was on guard 2nd relief. Made Sunday notes by moonlight.
ON BOARD THE STEAMER L. I. BENNET YAZOO RIVER OPPOSITE OUR CAMP
Wednesday, June 3, 1863.
Was up at the usual hour. I heard that Capt. [Barrett] had received orders last night or early this morning to go with Gen. Mower whose infantry is going up river on steamers and that we are to follow the cavalry. We have been in readiness since 8 A.M. The balance of Blair’s command is moving off for Vicksburg. Mower's command consists of one brigade 8th Wis., 11th Mo., 47th Ill., 5th Minn. and our battery. We loaded on board the L. M. Kennett which had been here since yesterday. With us are the 8th Wis., 11th Mo., and 3 companies of 47th Ill., all on one boat. We left the battery wagons and baggage wagons to go by land.
Orders are to report at Mechanicsburg, Miss. We were loaded by 2 P.M. and waited on the opposite shore to start, had supper about 5 P.M. Our boat as well as the Madison, Sam Young and several mosquitoes follow at 11 P.M. for up stream." We managed to find a place to sleep at 9 P.M. We left Chicago two years ago today.
CAMP AT MECHANICSBURG, MISS. 40 MILES FROM VICKSBURG.
Thursday, June 4, 1863.
We awoke at sunrise and were steaming up river, one half hour after sunrise found us passing the Big Sunflower; it is wider than the Yazoo. From there, we passed it on our left. The Yazoo is so narrow above the Big Sunflower that one steamer only can ply it at a time and no other could pass it.
At about 8 A.M. we stopped before a town of 5 or 6 houses, a few stores and a church, called Satartia. Here we landed and soon after moved on to Mechanicsburg which is 3 miles from the river.
About 2 miles from Mechanicsburg our advance commenced skirmishing with the enemy, the infantry, mostly went ahead. I noticed 2 or 3 steamers coming up river and soon after the 12th Michigan, 43d and 61st Ill. went by us. Saw Capt. [Reimer C.] Fieldcamp, as the 43d passed, [he] informed us that they came from Bolivar [Tennessee].
No. 1 gun was ordered forward, fired a few rounds and then the column moved forward until we entered the town, where we took position in the road and the whole battery fired at the retreating rebels, which we knew were about by the dust they kicked up. After firing on an average about 10 rounds we ceased firing and our cavalry went in pursuit accompanied by the right section of our battery under Capt. Barrett. We went through the town on the Benton road and encamped on a hill just above the town. We here had supper or dinner the only meal we have had time to eat. I stewed some plums which we had for supper, besides Otto came up with nearly a quart of blackberries.
At about dark we went to see Capt. Fieldcamp of the 43d Ill. and learned that [Brigadier] Gen. [Nathan] Kimball is in command of the 2 brigades just arrived and ranks Mower. The brigade that just arrived, as we were skirmishing, consists of the 43d, 61st, and 106th Ill. and 12th Michigan.
The other brigade [Richmond's] landed at Snyder's Bluff a day previous to the arrival of the one just specified, but as yet has not arrived here. All the regiments above mentioned average 500 men. In the 43rd, I saw the Sergt. Major [Henry Ferra], whom father requested two weeks ago to be remembered to us if he should see us and he had the opportunity sooner than he expected. The rebel forces are estimated from 8oo to 1,500 cavalry. Our cavalry has been skirmishing a great deal all day. I retired rather late, after 9 P.M.
CAMP AT MECHANICSBURG, MISS.
Friday, June 5, 1863.
We were up at the usual hour. After breakfast Jordan baked 4 pans of corn-bread and we put it in our haversacks. I stewed a couple of quarts of plums. We moved off at about 10 A.M. Squad 2's gun went out a few miles with the cavalry on the Benton road. Our gun took position on the road [the Satartia] we came to town on so as to command the road to the creek in the hollow, and the other sections are on the other roads in position. It is thought that there are rebels between here and the river as they were said to have fired on our boats last night and our gunboats replied. The Cavalry all returned, took another road, returned from that and then went into camp. We remained in line of battle and ready all day. Had dinner consisting of bacon, stewed plums, new potatoes, and cornbread. Weather very hot and sultry, no news from any place. Read some in the May Atlantic. We Retired about 8P.M.
CAMP ABOUT 12 OR 13 MILES FROM SNYDER'S BLUFF ON THE VALLEY ROAD
Saturday, June 6, 1863.
We were up at daybreak, had been in position and harnessed all night. Hitched up after watering horses and had breakfast at about 5 A.M., consisting of bacon, coffee, stewed plums and molasses. I was detailed to take James Whittler’s team, he being ill.
While waiting we saw a man belonging to the 11th Mo. straddling a rail with a string in his mouth attached to a board behind him marked "coward,'' it was done by the soldiers of his regiment, who found him at the landing and punished him. He has been 2 years in the regiment and never fired a musket. He [was] marched to Mower's headquarters and back on the way changing a pole for a sharp rail. He was evidently half idiotic or he would have made some resistance.
Our battery commenced moving about 8 or 10A.M., a section following each brigade. The 43rd, 61st and 106th Illinois along with the 12th Michigan being ahead. We passed a jumble of baggage and ambulance wagons on the hill. Weather is awfully hot and the troops are not accustomed to marching in the heat of the day in this section of the country. Before we had marched 2 or 3 miles, we noticed blankets, jackets, coats, etc., which perfectly line the road. We marched slowly, but before we reached Parties' plantation the ambulance wagons were full of sun struck or fatigued soldiers. The baggage wagons were also filled or filling.
We stopped about 1 hour at Parties' plantation at about 1 P.M. and had just prepared some coffee and freshened some bacon when we moved off again and had to eat what was cooked as best we could on the team or caisson. We have [never] been on so ill conducted march and cannot learn why it is that the troops are being marched as if for life or death when nothing is ahead of us or in our rear to occasion so unnecessary haste.
We stopped at about dusk 12 miles from Snyder's Bluff. The infantry are not here yet, they are either in the wagons, ambulances or straggling not being able to keep up. It is said that 3 or 4 in the 106th Ill. and as many more in the other regiments have died from being sun struck. All along the road, where the shrubbery around a ditch would afford a little shelter, could be seen both officers and soldiers receiving the care of the surgeons. The gin houses and sheds were filled with exhausted soldiers; such was the march of to-day of about 10 or 12 miles.
Our section camped with the brigade [Engelmann's] we had been following all day and the balance of the battery, about 3 or 4 yards back on the road. We made our bed of corn stalks and retired after supper about 9 P.M. Otto went on guard from 9 to 11 P.M. Capt. Barrett came around and gave orders to unharness, about 9.30 P.M., and the boys had to get up and do it. Otto unharnessed for me.
CAMP AT SNYDER'S BLUFF, MISS.
Sunday, June 7, 1863.
We were awakened by moonrise about 2 A.M., harnessed and hitched up immediately, expecting to move so as to avoid marching in the heat of the day, but in fact did not move until after sunrise. It was cloudy the first few hours of sunrise. The column marched until we reached a creek near which we camped a week ago, here we were stopped to water, and feed and get breakfast all in an hour. We succeeded in getting it ready, but had to eat it on the way.
The sun came out hotter, if possible, than yesterday, and the infantry cannot possibly stand such marching. Regiments behind us are throwing away even their muskets and it is reported that our cavalry are skirmishing in the rear to prevent guerrillas from picking up our stragglers." Our center section is ahead with another brigade, and the right and left section are near the rear. We went all of the way by the Valley road and not like the last time [when we took] the Ridge road.
At about 11 A.M. we stopped at Roach's plantation to water and had left a large supply of rations ((mostly hardtack and ham) and beyond this brief foray by Ross's brigade, Johnston made the initiative. Working parties from Walker's command were kept busy throwing up earthworks on the approaches to Yazoo City to dampen their ardor.
Then moved on, reaching Snyder's Bluff about 1 P.M. It is inexpressibly hot. We encamped above the creek and had supper about 6 P.M. Stragglers have been coming in all the afternoon and are not all in yet, ambulances are being sent back to pick up those unable to walk that lie along the road.
The boys call it a regular Potomac management of troops and think if Kimball is a specimen of Eastern generals there can be no wondering at the constant failures. It is said that Gen. Kimball left Mechanicsburg out of fear, and without orders so criminally marched the troops because he was afraid of being gobbled, a fear none but his staff and he shared.
We changed camp at about 7 P.M. taking the camp-grounds just vacated by the 11th Ohio Battery. The 2nd brigade [Richmond's] of Kimball's division is now marching out to Mechanicsburg and vicinity, the 18th Ill. is in that brigade.
I was on detail to load and unload the wagons. 3 wagons went to the landing for rations and feed. Went in swimming before retiring and changed my underclothing. Retired about 11P.M. weather hot, hotter, and hottest all day.
CAMP AT SNYDER'S BLUFF, MISS.
Monday, June 8, 1863.
Otto and I put up our shelter tent after breakfast and tried to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. Reports are alive that advance beyond Mechanicsburg. Grant did not want to run the risk of having his army beaten in detail. He would leave it up to Kimball's discretion whether Colonel Johnson's cavalry should press on to Way's Bluff.
Gen. Kimball is under arrest and we all hope that it is true." The telegraph is just finished to this place.
Working parties are at work erecting forts on the hills on and around Snyder's Bluff. Commissary Chauncey Wicker and the wagons returned from the river to-day and brought mail but no letter for us, got papers of the 3rd. There are reports of a fight at Milliken's Bend, the rebels attacking the place garrisoned by a Negro regiment just organizing. It is said that they fought well and drove the rebels back." An attack was also made against Young's Point, but abandoned as the enemy judging from the empty tents and camps that there was a large force there.
News from Vicksburg is that we are working our way slow but sure, and also that hand grenades are being manufactured to be used on the enemy in the next attempt to take the place. Several of Douglas Newell's brothers are at the landing, but they think they will be unable to remove his body. Sergeant George Purinton bought a barrel of eggs and I bought a dozen of him. We had fried eggs, beans and bacon for dinner and for supper we had stewed prunes, fried eggs, codfish and coffee. We went in swimming after dusk and in anticipation of rain dug a trench around our tent and retired, but had hardly lain down when the harness call was blown and every body astir to get ready for the boats to go to Young's Point, as it is generally thought.
After waiting about an hour the battery moved a few hundred yards down across the creek and there we spread our blankets to await a boat which may be here in five minutes and may not be here in five hours. We retired for the second time at about 11 P.M.
CAMP AT SNYDER'S BLUFF, MISS.
Tuesday, June 9, 1863.
We were up at sunrise. There are several boats here but none for us. We had breakfast and no boat, had dinner and no boat, and then waited until after supper before a boat came for us. The infantry of Mower's brigade left this morning. It is said to-day that Major [Ezra] Taylor has his commission of the 1st Regt. Ill. Arty. as Col., Capt. Barrett as Maj. and [Israel P.] Rumsey as Capt., this is merely reported but the two first are quite probable.
During the afternoon I went on board the City of Madison where the DeKalb boys were drawing rations for their boat, I had a long chat with several of them and an invitation to come aboard their boat when convenient. Reports of several kinds are in circulation in reference to Kimball. One is that he requested our boys not to make any noise nor whistle as the rebels were on the hills and would be apt to hear us. The boys in consequence made more noise than before.
After sunset the Black Hawk came up the river and we loaded on board her and steamed off about 8.30 P.M. for Young's Point. We retired about 9 P.M.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT
Wednesday, June 10, 1863
We were awakened at about 2 A.M. and orders came to move our guns on shore immediately as the enemy was reported close at hand. We commenced unloading at the upper landing, the bank there is some 15 or 20 feet high and perpendicular. We had to pull our guns up this bank and had a detail of about a company of the 47th Ill. As soon as the guns were on shore, the detail pulled them to the levee where we took our positions, places having been dug for them by the detail. Our section took position on the right, the center section has the left and the right section has the center, they are about 100 yds from each other. As we took our position the rain that had threatened for two days now poured down upon us. It rained for about an hour heavily, during which time Walter] Simpson brought breakfast around.' We ate it in the drummer's tent of the 63d Ill. that was standing there at the time.' After it had stopped raining I got several crotches and a pole for a tent, then took a horse to get a tent but losing track of the man I was following, I returned with 8 loaves of bread, kept 4 and let the boys have the balance. Otto [Frank Affeld] and I worked at building our shelter tent in the rain.' Went on guard from that was standing there at the time.' After it had stopped raining I got several crotches and a pole for a tent, then took a horse to get a tent but losing track of the man I was following, I returned with 8 loaves of bread, kept 4 and let the boys have the balance. Otto [Frank Affeld] and I worked at building our shelter tent in the rain.' Went on guard from 1 P.M. to 2 P.M.,5 P.M. to 7 P.M., 11 P.M. to 1 A.M. .Behind the left and center sections there is a camp of about 130 rebel prisoners. Saw a squad of about rebel deserters, who left Vicksburg last Sunday, take the oath of allegiance. A battalion of the 1oth Ill. Cavalry arrived toward night and encamped about 2oo yards ahead of about 6 P.M. a heavy storm arose in the west, it was magnificently grand and terrific in its dark appearance, but it blew over with little rain. We retired about 9 P.M.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Thursday, June 11, 1863
At 5 A.M., went on guard and the morning was cloudy. After breakfast we noticed 3 or q. of the Marine Brigade's [boats] come down loaded with troops. They passed us and steamed down river then returned and went up the Yazoo. Other boats are coming by. At 10 A.M. boats have passed loaded with troops said to be [Major General Stephen A.] Hurlbut's command. Got an order from Lieut. [Theodore P.] Roberts for 10lbs. of dried apples and 8lbs. of peaches.' I paid 75 cts for the former and 80cts for the latter, total $1.55. I got the articles from the Adriatic commissary boat. Let [Charles W.] Pierce' have 3 lbs. of the peaches. The boats that went up the Yazoo returned with the troops and went down the Mississippi further. There are some hundreds [sic] odd bushels of oats spilled on the river bank and our boys got all they wanted. I had 4 pieces of washing done to-day. We took off our shirts and were surprised to find them occupied by living tenants, we killed the living and wounded the nats. Report says that Grant is to make another attack in a day or two. Otto wrote a letter to father to-day and mailed it before Edward Wilcox has gone to the Yazoo landing to see his cousins, Messers Newell. The river has been quite active to-day. We went swimming after supper, which consisted of corn-bread, coffee, and blackberries. Had roll call by sundown and giggers [now, more commonly, gig] this evening. After making my notes we retired about 10P.M.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Friday, June 12, 1863
We were up at the usual hour a little before sunrise. After breakfast Otto got permission to go to our old camp near the canal to see how things looked, where he lost his money and pocket-book some months ago and if possible try and find it. He found it useless looking. I went on detail in Abe Wilcox's" place to get wood for the baker, who will bake bread for us. Walter E. Hinman being acquainted with him. He treated to a glass of beer of his own making. We went about 2 or 3 miles and got a good load of dry wood and returned to partake of some pies more beer and cheese, after which we took the bread for the company and returned to camp well pleased with the detail. Some of the troops that went up the Yazoo came back and landed at or near the canal. In all, it is said that 24 boats loaded with soldiers came down from above and they are said to be [Maj.] Gen. [Francis J.] Herron's troops in part. Sergt. Wilcox returned from the Yazoo bringing a mail, but only a paper for us of the 3rd. His cousins Dave and Frederick Newell came down with him. They remained in camp most of the day and took dinner with the squad. I wrote a letter to father and Otto sent his Confederate Army Regulations home by the kindness of Mr. Newell. Not getting off, they stayed in camp all night. They contemplated going down opposite the city, but Otto informing us that none would be allowed to cross the canal without a pass from headquarters, we abandoned the idea. We got boards to-day to make a bunk but did not put it up on account of orders to move camp tomorrow morning. We also sent May Atlantic by Messrs. Newell. Weather has been very pleasant and not nearly so hot as before the rain and on the march up the Yazoo. We retired about 9:30 P.M.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Saturday, June 13, 1863
I was up at the usual hour. After breakfast we dug a place for our gun on the left of the right section and the center was to move between them and us. But after finishing a place for the gun, the idea seems to have been given up and we remained where we were. I busied myself this morning mending my shirt, etc. The Messers. Newell left to-day at about 11 A.M. We put up our bunks today. The general attack anticipated today by rumor did not take place. After supper we went in swimming in the Mississippi and when we returned found that we had received marching orders. Mower's brigade leaves with 5 days' rations to-morrow at 5A.M. we are leaving our knapsacks: the battery forge and baggage wagons have come down today as well as the detail that remained with them. Capt. [Samuel E.] Barrett, it is said, received his commission as Major of Artillery. We packed our traps and I stewed a quantity of apples to take along. We retired at about apples to take along. We retired at about 11P.M. Weather quite agreeable considering what we have had. We received a letter this morning from father and Emelia, dated 5th and 4th respectively. The letter mentions the receipt of my note-book and our letter of the 23d of last month, also the arrival of Lieut. Web. Whittle and the welcome he received from the Express boys and others.
CAMP ON MRS. AMIS' PLANTATION WALNUT BAYOU, LA.
Sunday, June 14, 1863
We left our knapsacks in a tent in camp and also other camp equipage was left. We had breakfast very early and moved out on the levee soon after sunrise. Capt. Barrett had not returned from his trip to [Major] Gen. [William T.] Sherman's headquarters and Lieut. [Israel P.] Rumsey had command. While waiting to start about, steamers came down river with troops, a portion of [Major General Ambrose E.] Burnside's corps. It seemed odd to hear of such from a Mass. regiment, Penn. and New York regiments. All the boats passed on down perhaps to the lower landing. Our brigade consisting of the 5th Minn.11th and the 63rd Ill. and our battery constitutes Mower's brigade and some of the 120th Ill. [and some] of the 10th Ill. Cavalry. We moved out at about 6 or 6:30A.M. taking the levee to Duck Port, where the canal has been dug. It is now nearly dry, only a few inches of water in it. Above the river we passed the dredge Hercules high and dry in a little ditch, and going 2 miles further on near Mason's plantation we met the dredge Louisville. She had worked quite a place for herself before the water lowered. We watered at Mason's plantation and moved on stopping for dinner at 12 noon about 5 or 6 miles from Young's Point. We had dinner of ham, applesauce, coffee, and soft bread. The 47th Ill. has the lead. We marched slowly and steadily making but few halts and reached Mrs. Amis' plantation, having made about 10 miles. The house is on the other side of the bayou (Walnut Bayou) a large brown stone mansion. The bridge has been cut. At this place Willow Bayou comes in with a clear stream and from there on it is called Brushy Bayou. I was among the first to cross the bayou. The place had been entirely deserted by all except a few negroes, and that quite recently and hastily. I obtained from the store house some 30lbs. of sugar, a bottle of pepper sauce, and tomato catsup, etc., also got a carpet rug and gave it to [Merwin B.] Oliver and I got a set of china ware. Mrs. Amis had a beautifully furnished house, a fine library, etc. It was the best furnished house that I have seen deserted and unburned. Otto got a copy of Irving's Life of Washington 4 vols., some interesting books and Shakespeare's Complete Works. We were about making ourselves comfortable for the night when we heard that we had to leave at 5 P.M., which we did, returning by the road we came. Every house is unoccupied and [the] cotton-gin has been destroyed up to Zeigler's plantation, where we camped at about 7 P.M. We built a shebang and had a good supper and unharnessed before retiring. Weather cloudy all day, but a splendid day to march in and had a shower during the fight, also one about sunset. Retired about 11 P.M. Must not forget to mention that I bought an artillery jacket, it is but little worn, from [Ernst R.] Williamson for $1.oo. We lost but few wounded and killed. The enemy left one dead near the fort and several wounded in the town. One of the wounded report that the enemy's forces consists of 2 brigades,7 regiments, and 4 pieces of artillery. Evidently about 2,ooo or so men at the least. Our forces consisted of Mower's command about 1,5oo and Ellet's from 8oo to 1,ooo, yet they made no stand.
CAMP AT YOUNG'S POINT, LOUISIANA
Monday, June 15, 1863
We moved at 5 A. M .after a good breakfast. I took care of the extra horse to-day. About a mile from camp we turned into the Milliken's Bend road, the one we came on our first trip to Richmond. I rode ahead of the column, rode into Milliken's Bend passed the negro pickets and went to where the negro brigade is encamped. Found that [Theodore] D'Loss belonged to the 11th La. regiment, but was in Chicago on a furlough. I took the river for Young's Point, it being about 6 miles from the lower end of the bend. There are no other troops except the Marine Brigade but negros at the Bend nor are there any stores of any kind. I arrived in camp at about 5 A.M. Capt. [Barrett] arrived 1/4 hour afterwards and was surprised to find me here and gave me 5 days' extra duty, but after second thought generously excused me from it. I got poles and crotches for a shebang. The battery did not arrived until 1 P.M. We put up our shelters and had supper at about 3.30 P.M. The firing at Vicksburg is as it was yesterday very heavy, yesterday we heard it distinctly at Richmond and today we plainly hear the musketry. From what I can learn it is mostly on [Major General John A.] McClernand's line. I went on guard from 7 to 9 P.M. Capt. [Barrett] started for Gen. Sherman's headquarters before or rather in the rear of Vicksburg. I let [Charles J.] Sauter have 3 lbs. of dried apples and [Samuel F.] Wentworth one. About one regiment of 1,000 negroes came up from the lower landing at about 8 P.M. and encamped near the river levee. We went in swimming about 6 P.M. Weather quite agreeable all day and had a small shower. Retired at about 9 P.M.
Wednesday, June 17, 1863
Morning cool and cloudy, did not get up until after roll call, having been on guard. After breakfast went on guard from 7 to 9 A.M. After guard I busied myself cutting off the collar, putting in a pocket, etc. in my artillery jacket, bought from Williamson. Bought Tribune of the 1lth and received Journal of the 4th by mail from Wm. Creighton which speaks of the reception of Lieut. Whittle and his remarks, etc,. Read Tribune of the 12th which speaks of Whittle's returning next Sunday. Report by one of the gunboat men is that a battery was captured yesterday and that it would today be used on Whistling Joe battery on which an attack is to be made today. At about 8 P.M. a large fire is visible in the direction of Vicksburg. Capt. [Barrett] returned from up the Yazoo . Musketry besides heavy artillery fire continued during the evening. There are two new batteries on a steamer, that just came down, of Napoleon guns. Report says Battery A Illinois Light Artillery will have one. Capt. is trying hard for the other. The Meteor passed with the 36th Mass. this A.M. We are, expecting to move momentarily back to our old corps. Weather very comfortable, cloudy all day. Retired at about 11P.M. Spent most of the evening reading the May Atlantic.
CAMP AT YOUNG'S POINT, LOUISIANA
Thursday, June 18, 1863.
Morning clear and pleasant did not awaken until breakfast time, not having heard the reveille or assembly, we both missed roll call. After breakfast I commenced Mill on the floss, but had to return it as at about 9 A.M., the harness call blew and we received orders to strike our tents, and hitch up. We remained in position until after 12 noon. We had dinner before that time consisting of corn beef and potatoes, apple sauce with soft bread which we have had since returning to this point. After dinner, the battery moved to where the J. H. Dickey was lying and commenced loading. We had all of the horses on board and were waiting for the infantry to get all their tents in the hold before we could run the battery on, when the orders came to go back into camp. [Brigadier General Elias S.] Dennis commander of this place, I believe gave the order to stay. We immediately put up our tents and made ourselves as comfortable as before. The whole brigade evidently received the same orders. I stewed a quantity of peaches during the afternoon. After supper went in swimming. Otto is writing home. I am reading the Autocrat at [sic] the Breakfast Table. Retired at about 1O P.M.
CAMP AT YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Friday, June 19, 1863
Was up at reveille, morning clear and as warm as usual. We got a fly to spread over our shelter tent and it makes it considerably cooler. At about 9 A.M. a detail of two men from each squad were called to get ammunition at Chickasaw Bayou. Otto and [John E.] Kingsbury went from our squad. As soon as I heard this, I took the books we had Vol. of Shakespeare Complete, 4,Vols. of Irving's Life of Washington, Child's History of England (Dickens) Vols. Rolla at Play and Vols. of Youth's Stories, and sewed them up to be sent by express. But meanwhile heard that Mr. Kimball was on the Luminary which had just arrived and was coaling. I found that Mr. Kimball was going to Chicago so I carried the package to him, he promising to deliver it. The detail left about 11 A.M. on the Fanny Bullitt. We had baked beans, corn beef, apple sauce, mustard, etc., for dinner. Read nearly all of the time I did not sleep. After supper the detail all returned but Otto who for some cause or other was left. The news is that Gen. McClernand has been superseded by [Maj.] Gen. [Edward O. C.] Ord and that there will be an attack made on Vicksburg tomorrow, further that Bat. A and Waterhouse's [Battery E., 1st Illinois Light Artillery] batteries received the two new batteries that came down a day or two ago. Weather quite pleasant and agreeable when we have nothing to do. Retired about 10 P.M. After supper we were delighted by various airs played by a calliope on the Silver Moon which came down the Yazoo before sundown.
CAMP AT YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Saturday, June 20,1863.
Was up at reveille, morning same as usual. The cannonading had been very heavy and continuous most all night and is at present (sunrise) exceedingly heavy. To-day is the day that the reported attack was to be made. Otto returned from his detail up to Chickasaw Bayou at about 9 A.M. Played a game of Whist to-day, the first game of cards I have played since leaving Memphis. Five or six of our boys have gone down to the point De Soto opposite Vicksburg. After dinner Otto and I got some timber and made a bunk and table under our shebang. Capt. [Barrett] returned from Sherman's headquarters today. At roll call he announced to us the reasons we did not get one of the new batteries. Bat. A got one because Capt. [Peter P.] Wood was the ranking officer and, [Captain Allen C.] Waterhouse got the other because [Brigadier General James M.] Tuttle has but 8 pieces and he had repeatedly applied for more, and that it would not be fair to give both batteries to one division, etc. Capt. Barrett formally announced that he had resigned the command to Lieut. Rumsey, he having received the commission as Major. It is understood that Orderly [Timothy M.] Blaisdell and Sergt. [William W.] Lowrie have been recommended by Barrett for Lieutenancies in the battery and [he] left Rumsey to recommend the 4th or 2d Jr. Lieut. Rumsey is taking the sense of the Bat. between Sergt. [Benjamin F.] McCarty, [William J.] McCoy, and [George L.] Purinton. The choice is between the two latter and McCoy will doubtless get it. We went in swimming and retired about,11P.M. Otto while absent on detail wrote a letter to the girls and mailed it on the 19th.
CAMP AT YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Sunday June 21 1863
Was up at roll call at the usual hour, morning cloudy and cool with a brisk north wind blowing. After breakfast two men from each squad were detailed to go to Chickasaw Bayou for ammunition, with two days' rations in their haversacks. I kept on the lookout for the boats, but we did not succeed in getting our team on either the Diligence or Ben. Franklin During the afternoon two steamers, the Sultana and the Champion, came they have newspapers of the 15th and 18th from Memphis. Our mail arrived to-day but no letter for us. News is that Lee is making for Penna. with apparently his whole force. It has at least crossed the Rappahannock. The President called for 100,000, 6 months' men out of Penna., 50,000 from Ohio and 10,000 from both Va. and Md We signed the payroll this morning and were paid at about 3 P.M. in full to May 1,1863. The paymaster afforded the boys a great deal of amusement in miscalling the boys' names. Otto finished a long letter to the girls and mailed it today. I am writing one to father at present. Weather cloudy, windy and cool all day. Retired after 9 P.M.
IN REAR OF VICKSBURG WITH BAT. A, ILLINOIS LIGHT ARTILLERY, SHERMAN'S ARMY CORPS
Monday, June 22, 1863We were up at the usual hour. After breakfast, Pierce and I with some out of the other squads went with McCarty on ammunition detail. We left at about 10 Among the Diligence, arriving at Chickasaw Bayou we were obliged to wait until 2 P.M. to find out whether we could get ammunition or not at the landing. We took dinner on board the Hastings which was inferior to our average dinner in camp. Bat. A's drivers came down with their old guns and went back about 2 P.M. with their new caissons. [Edwin] Bancroft and Co. went out with caissons to the front. We waited until after 3 P.M. for McCarty and the Diligence, neither coming we also went out to the front in one of the division wagons, thus avoiding the inquiries of several lines of pickets. We passed over the Chickasaw] bayou at the same place where the 6th Mo. made a crossing last Dec. We also saw the initials of 55. Our and Bat. A's batteries cut on the various trees where we were stationed at that time. We, Pierce, Sauter and I, got through all right. Pierce and myself went to Bat. A, where we stayed all night. They are well pleased with their new 12-pdr Napoleons of which they have 5, and one 10-pdr Parrott. The guns on an average are about 400lbs heavier than ours, weighing from 1237 to 1238 [lbs.]. They have but about 38 rounds of ammunition to a chest. Besides these, they man from 4 to 6 other guns, 3 of which are within 75 yds of the enemies big fort [Stockade Redan] in front of Bat. A on Sherman's front. They consist of 2 twelve pdr howitzers and one 30 pdr Parrott. There are covered ways or Saps from one earth-work to another. Our pickets are within a stone's throw of the enemy, in fact our troops can walk around in the ditch of the fort behind which the enemy dare not expose themselves so much as to fire down into the trench. The Sap is a perfect labyrinth of a lane or walk, in which we got lost several times on our way from one position of the battery to another. Our forts are lined and strengthened by gabions and bundles of cane. While we were at the most advanced line of battery, our troops conversed with the rebels with but little effort. The Sap extends from one end of the works to the other, so that we can transport troops without the least danger of being shot or even seen, to their very works and from one end of the line to the other. It is up and down hill but seldom exposed. It is a prodigious piece of work and will remain for generations as a curiosity and an evidence of the labor necessary to fortify and reduce the place. Bayou at the Indian Mound. Unable to drive the Confederates from their rifle-pits, the Missourians were pinned down. Under the cover of darkness, the regiment recrossed the bayou. After dark the boys sang some patriotic songs. News is that there has been fighting at the [Big] Black and that 30,000 men have left the line in the rear of Vicksburg for that place. Tuttle's division is among the number. We retired at about a 10 P.M. I slept with Serg’t. Wilson and Pierce slept with his cousin.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG ON THE BANK OF THE RIVER LA.
Tuesday, June 23, 1863
Was up at sunrise. After breakfast with [William] P. Follansbe of Bat. A, we went back to the landing and Battery A fired 10 rounds before breakfast out of each gun. We rode half of the way to the landing in an ambulance and the balance of the way in a baggage wagon. Arrived at the landing at about 9 A.M. The Jacob Strader has just come down and I had the good fortune to see Lieut. Web Whittle, who just arrived by the last mentioned boat." He left a letter for Otto at Young's Point. I got the June Atlantic. I helped him [Whittle] to unpack and get his boxes in the wagon from the Grossbeck.We were too late for the Diligence by about an hour. We heard that the battery had left with 2 days' rations. The Diligence took over about 22 boxes of spherical case, all that could be obtained. We got over after waiting until noon for the Ben Franklin. I got our mail on the Grossbeck. As we arrived at the point [Young's], we saw that all of the tents remained as also did the baggage. I brought a package for Whittle and boxes for some of the other boys. We did not time even to eat before the ammunition was in the wagon and we had to go with it to the battery, which we found near our old camp near the canal. The battery has been there since morning. After supper it commenced raining and drizzled all night. We moved ours, the left section, with a detail of infantry about an hour before dusk to within mile of the river bank, where we unhitched and the infantry detail helped us pull our guns to the levee near the bank of the river, directly opposite the Prentiss House or between the Depot and the Prentiss House. The infantry dug a platform for our guns in the little levee to the right of the [Vicksburg Shreveport Texas Railroad] tracks. There is a 20pdr Parrott and a brass Dahlgren about 50 or 6o yds to our left above us, and a 10 pdr rifled about3/4 of a mile back of the river behind the R.R. tracks. All except the last casemate are manned by the Marine brigade. It rained more or less all night, and we slept on a few boards with a rubber over us. We were placed here in case the enemy should attempt to cross in skiffs (which deserters report) they are building for the purpose. The number being built is said to be about 500 to 700. There is a barrel of tar here to illuminate the river should they attempt it. Retired at about 11P.M.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG
Wednesday, June 24, 1863
We were up before sunrise and went to work digging a hole in the levee as a protection against shot. We had bread, coffee and ham for breakfast, dinner the same minus coffee, and supper same as breakfast. Our Parrott on the left commenced firing on the Mill [Payton's] a block below the Prentiss House, which is evidently in use continually. The enemy answered from 5 or 6 different guns. They fired 10 in. shell, ring, grape, canister, 32 pdr shot, etc. A great deal of the firing was directed to the guns above us, but in the afternoon we came in for our share of the attention. We have in the rear of our gun a pile of missiles thrown at us, such as 10 inch solid shot, same in shell, 7 or 8 rifled shell, 24-and 32-pdr solid shot and any amount of pieces of solid shot, grape, and canister. The city at first sight looks but little different from what it did in February last, but as you get accustomed to the city you notice the brick piles, burned homes, etc., which are not at first noticed. The firing from the rear has been quite heavy to-day. The mortars are busy throwing a ball about every 10 minutes We retired quite early. Weather cloudy all day. We at first spread our blankets in the pit we dug and sat in during the day, but could not sleep for the mosquitoes, and we did little better by sleeping on the open ground behind the gun. The 8th Wis. was relieved after dark by the 5th Minn. Oliver and Sam Hadlock came down from camp and brought us some soft bread. Our camp has changed to about 2oo yds. above the convalescent hospital. We had a bath in the river before retiring.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG, RIVER BANK
Thursday, June 25, 1863
Morning as usual pleasant, all quiet until after breakfast when the 20 pdr Parrott on our left opened, but we could not see any strike. All complained of mosquitoes and I must have heard every mortar that exploded during the night as they exploded all over and around us. About 9 A.M. Pierce, Otto and I went down or rather up to where the mortars were and went on board while they were firing. The concussion is not so great as I anticipated but yet sufficient. The 100 pdr Parrott is about 1/2 mile further up on a scow formerly used for a mortar. The 100 pdr kept up a healthy excitement all day doing splendid execution mostly in the blocks behind the Prentiss House, from the river up. Every time we would hear it fire, we would run to the levee and watch where the shots strike. It has done more visible destruction than all the mortar firing for a week. We have not had anything but ham and coffee. An officer of General Bragg brought the news that the Arizona came up from New Orleans bringing the news of the taking of Port Hudson, which news was rumor at Natchez. She came up by way of the Red River I had a good view through the marine glass and I could distinguish men on the guns, clothing, etc. There was some cannonading during the afternoon. After supper and dusk our boys answered and asked questions of the rebels, we can hear them very plainly with but little effort. We heard the Court House bell at 9 P.M. We were to be relieved and relief came at about 10 P.M. by the center section. Just before leaving, the rebels fired on us or in our direction very lively. We rode to camp in [William] King's wagon and arrived about midnight. The Dahlgren gun on the left of the Parrott manned by the Marine brigade received a shot bringing down the casement and covering all with dirt and rubbish. All left the gun, none were seriously hurt. We arrived at camp at about 11:30 P.M., we put our blankets in [Charles W.] Stickney's shebang and remained there until morning.
CAMP UPPER LANDING YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Friday, June 26, 1863
We were up at about sunrise. After breakfast we put up our shelter tent. I got boards for [Timothy] Upton to sleep on, who is very sick, so is Jno. Hadlock, Sam Newton and Simpson of our squad, but not so bad. Squad One has so many sick that they cannot send a man on detail, [Walter E.] Hinman of that squad is especially bad off,so is Tom Boyd of squad 5. Besides all that the detail has gone over to the rear of Vicksburg to get their pay when the regiment is paid off. I take a team for today. It keeps the well men pretty busy, when so many are sick. Lieut. Roberts has been sick on the Patton, I think, at Lake's Landing, Yazoo river ever since the 22d, so there is only one commissioned officer, Lieut. Rumsey to see to everything, assisted by the orderly. For the dinner we had pickled cabbage, meat and stewed tomatoes which Web Whittle gave us. Pierce stewed them and we went halves. After supper we went in swimming and bought some bread on our way back. We retired at 9:30 P.M. Weather very warm all day though relieved occasionally by a breeze.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG, YOUNG'S POINT.
Saturday, June 27, 1863
We were up at about sunrise. Morning as usual clear and promising a hot day. After breakfast Edward Kingsbury and I out of our squad with 4 others went to the river and got 22 sacks Of oats and 22 bales of hay, all of which we had to carry up the steep hill or bank making exceedingly hot work. We received a letter from Creighton to-day dated the 16th, nothing especially new in it except in reference to Mott. I helped put up posts for picket rope. After dinner the Luminary lay at the landing, she had been reported as sunk. We had supper early and left at or a little after 5P.M.to relieve the center section opposite Vicksburg. There is news of the report of a capture of rebel dispatches and mail carrier by [Major General Frederick] Steele's command, with [Pemberton's] dispatches to Johnston stating that he can hold out but 10 days longer and wishes to know what to do. Otto remained in camp having a team to take care of and Jim Dutch went in his place. I went on guard from 9 to 11 P.M. but Jim Dutch going on from 10 to 1 served 1 hour of my time. Dutch and I bunked together.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG, YOUNG'S POINT.
Sunday, June 28, 1863
We got up at about 7 A.M., were awakened for breakfast. Had a good sleep after 2 A.M., the time the mosquitoes allowed us to sleep. They kept up a regular fire 15 intervals most all night. I noticed that J.M. Paxton's Mill or foundry [sic] does not run any more on account of shots received yesterday and day before from the 20 pdr Parrott [Groshon's] above us. The enemy divided their attention between the gun above us and the regiment below us, firing pretty steadily. We could plainly see the men work the guns below the depot and count the friction primers they wasted which were from 5 to 15 at every shot. After supper Oliver and Otto came down bringing bread for our squad. Our detail has returned from Chickasaw landing and reports a fight yesterday in which our troops got possession of the stockade and breastworks of the enemy. There were two flags on the enemies [sic] works, but were ordered back, nothing else of importance. We remained up until after 11:3o, when we retired. Splendid moonlight evening that we are enjoying.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG LOUISIANA
Monday June 29,1863
We were up at the usual hour or rather later about 7 A.M. Weather cloudy during most of the day. The rebels fired quite briskly during the morning and at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes in the P.M. We have but little news as we sit and read or sleep most of the time. I read several articles in the May Atlantic. After supper Oliver came down with bread for all and some peaches that Otto sent down. He also informed us that Web Whittle was on a visit in our camp and would probably be out here tomorrow. I found a silver pen-holder with a gold pen back of our place of resort. Read Autocrat at [sic] the Breakfast Table until 11P.M. Went on guard from 9 to 11 after which we made our bed and retired. Weather quite agreeable all day there being a brisk breeze blowing. The caissons were taken back at about 9 A.M. Oliver came down in Jim Whittle's place, and brought one day's rations so we are to stay here one day longer.
DE SOTO, OPPOSITE VICKSBURG, LA.
Tuesday, June 30,1863
Was up quite late, about 7 A.M. While eating breakfast Otto came down with Lieut. [Web] Whittle from camp to see the town, etc. He was well pleased with the prospect and he spoke of an attack to be made in a few days by McPherson, part of Ord's and Sherman's command which is to have for its result the taking and holding of the enemies [sic] present line of works We watched the several guns that pay us attention and could see when the men went to it and loaded it and when the primers failed, etc. As we saw the smoke we would all jump into our holes and waited until the shot had passed. During the morning a shot struck about 2 or 3 yds to the right of our gun entering and exploding in the levee, but doing no injury. Toward evening a mortar shell struck to the right of the Marine Hospital and we saw it scatter horses, mules, etc., in promiscuous confusion. We saw several others strike in the same vicinity but did not explode. After sundown the rebels and our men began to talk over the river, asking and answering questions. Col. [Andrew J. Weber] of the 11th Mo. , who was wounded in the head by a grape shot from the enemy died the same day. We were relieved by the right section about 9 P.M. and arrived at camp at 11 after quite a pleasant ride by moonlight. Found Otto up and waiting. We retired soon after.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Wednesday, July 1, 1863
We were up at 4. A.M., that is Pierce and I, we went to the river and had a bath. Sunrise bright and clear. After breakfast I commenced a letter to Creighton. Squads 1 and 5 have built a shelter of leaves for their teams, the center section following suit and we went to work at a similar structure. I helped to dig post holes and put in crotches over which poles are laid and covered with brush. We got the frame work up by dark. Mailed letter to Creighton, read papers of the 25th.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
July 2, 1863
Morning as usual. Immediately after breakfast we went to the cottonwoods and cut 4 poles and 2 wagon loads of brush. I went on guard from 11 to 1 P.M. We had potatoes: stewed with fresh meat for dinner. Had fried potatoes for supper. Worked at covering the shelter tent for the horses and it broke down, we were obliged to finish it after supper. I have not felt very well to-day being troubled with a headache. I bought a dozen of lemons for $1., kept 1/2 dozen and let the boys have the other 6 at 10 cts apiece. To-day we have experienced the hottest day of the season so far, it is perfectly awful and unendurable. Toward dusk it lightened considerably and we were in hopes that it would rain, but it will all pass over and without one drop of rain. Retired at 10, got up at 11 and stood guard until 1 A.M.
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Friday July 3, 1863
Was up at 5 and went on guard at 7 A.M. Got a bucket of spring water before breakfast. I got permission to go with [Andrew J.] Grant and look for his and [Miron C.] Ross's horses that have been lost several days. Oliver and Sam Hadlock went out on the Richmond road and Grant and I rode down to Warrenton or rather the landing opposite, about 5 miles from camp. We did not find the horses there or on the road. The Cheeseman arrived, but as she was not to leave until 6P.M. we concluded not to cross back, get our dinners and await Rumsey's orders. After dinner we read the papers of the 24th which contains the reported removal of [Maj.] Gen. [Joseph] Hooker and the appointment of [Maj.] Gen. [George G.] Meade in his place. We hope it is not true. Chas. Otis who has been absent from the Bat. ever since the Shiloh fight, being detailed and a prisoner part of the time, arrived here to-day having been recently exchanged. Oliver and Sam Hadlock returned without the lost horses of course, but had a good dinner in the country. After supper went in swimming. We received orders to harness which was done. The center section relieved the right section at the Point tonight. It is generally expected that there will be a grand attack on the enemy by tomorrow and we are to be prepared should they attempt crossing in skiffs as it is rumored. Received a couple of papers from Creighton, Tribune of the 16th and Journal of the 22d, the latter has an Obituary notice of Newell's death. Tribune has a notice of the complimentary dinner given by the M. L. U. to Lieut. Whittle. Morning cloudy, cleared up at about 11 and remained so until 4 P.M. when it clouded up all around and all prepared for rain, which has not yet come. Retired after 9:30
CAMP YOUNG'S POINT, LA.
Saturday, July 4, 1863
We were up at the usual hour, morning cloudy. After breakfast about 8A.M., Lieut. Clifford Stickney rode by from below, but stopped to inform us that Vicksburg had surrendered and would be in our possession by 10A.M. to-day." He informed us that at 4P.M. yesterday orders came to cease firing and that the rebels had asked for an armistice until 10A.M. at which time they would surrender on condition that the officers be allowed their side arms and the prisoners be paroled in Vicksburg. This piece of news was generally credited because Stickney being signal officer had the best means of information and also because the grand attack we expected to hear as day dawned did not occur though some of the boys heard firing during the night. One thing after another confirmed the fact of the surrender. The center section opposite the city saw wagon loads of ammunition thrown into the river and the big shot rolled down the hill into the river, We celebrated the day with a good dinner. We had sweet cake and butter crackers (Sanitary stores) besides fried meat, beef soup, pickled cabbage and a good corn starch pudding with a splendid sauce. Pierce made the pudding, Whittle furnished the milk, and bought a dozen of eggs which with the starch made a splendid pudding, and what is best we had plenty of it.