The American Civil War, day by day - Page 65 - Politics | PoFo

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May 6, Wednesday

Lee’s victorious Confederates cautiously advance in the Wilderness, only to find Hooker has withdrawn during the night before and in the morning. Hooker informs Washington of his movements and Lincoln gains further knowledge by reading Richmond newspapers. In the morning he wires Hooker, “God bless you, and all with you. I know you will do your best.” Late in the afternoon President Lincoln and Halleck leave to meet Hooker. On the Confederate side, A.P. Hill is assigned to command the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, replacing the wounded Jackson.

On the Red River in Louisiana, Porter’s Federal flotilla occupies Alexandria, which the Confederates have just evacuated. There are skirmishes at Warrenton, Virginia, and West Union, West Virginia. A Federal expedition operates from Bowling Green, Kentucky, to the Tennessee state line. Federals scout between the White and St. Francis rivers in Arkansas until the fifteenth; and until the nineteenth from Creek Agency, Indian Territory, to Jasper County, Missouri. During the latter scout skirmishes break out at Martin’s House, Centre Creek, and near Sherwood, which is destroyed.

Former congressman and Peace Democrat Clement L. Vallandigham, arrested yesterday, is tried by a military commission in Cincinnati. He is convicted of expressing treasonable sympathies. In speeches at Columbus and Mount Vernon, Vallandigham has called the war “wicked and cruel” and declared that it is an attempt to destroy slavery in order to establish a Republican dictatorship. He has long been a thorn in the side of the Administration, but now his arrest and conviction presents real problems to Washington.

When the Keokuk sank the day after the April 7 assault on Charleston Harbor by the US Navy, the Union made no plans to refloat her. Surveyed within days, the official report described her as already “full of sand, impossible at that time to put the magazine of powder below her decks” to destroy her. Determined beyond salvage or destruction, she was left where she lay. The Union had a more than ample supply of Dahlgrens, so no plans were made to recover the guns.

The Confederates hadn’t been informed of the hopelessness of a salvage operation, and they needed the cannons. General Beauregard decided to try to retrieve them. After working a few hours a night over several weeks, the decks of Keokuk’s citadels had been removed, exposing the guns, now released from their carriages. To remove them, the old lightship Rattlesnake Shoals was modified with outriggers and block and tackle over her bow. One night in late April—no records will survive to give exact dates for most of the entire operation—the Rattlesnake Shoals was towed into place and anchored to the wreck, and workers tied off the first Dahlgren. Once secured, men hoisted away. Slowly, the gun came up out of the water, muzzle down—and got stuck. The outriggers on the lightship were too low to lift the gun above the citadel. It dangled from the tackle block, its muzzle clanging inside the armored housing like a huge bell clapper. Men inside rushed to stop the thunderous reports of metal on metal, all the while staying out of the way of the nearly 16,000-pound pendulum. Now, racing against time as the eastern horizon grew brighter, the men shifted 1,500 sandbags that had been added for ballast to the lightship’s stern. The change in trim, coupled with the rising tide, lifted the bow, allowing just enough space for the gun’s muzzle to clear the wreck and swing free. Keeping an eye to the horizon and the endless line of Union warships on the blockade, the salvage crew lashed the gun to the deck as the ship headed for the safety of the harbor. The first gun delivered to the safety of Charleston, three nights later salvage crews returned for the second. The mission had been carried out in such secrecy that the Union Fleet’s first inkling of it comes from a piece on it in today’s edition of the Charleston Mercury, well after both guns are safely ashore. Secretary Welles sends an angry letter to the commander of the Federal South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Rear Admiral Du Pont, blaming him for neglecting “the duty of destroying the Keokuk and preventing her guns from falling into the hands of the rebels.”

From Nashville a group of allegedly disloyal citizens are sent into Confederate lines.
May 7, Thursday

President Lincoln and General Halleck, after meeting with Hooker at his Army of the Potomac headquarters, return to Washington in the evening. The President writes Hooker, saying, “If possible I would be very glad of another movement early enough to give us some benefit from the fact of the enemies [sic] communications being broken, but neither for this reason or any other, do I wish anything done in desperation or rashness.” As the exhausted and dispirited Army of the Potomac returns to Falmouth, Stoneman’s cavalry expedition against communication lines between Fredericksburg and Richmond still operates, but with negligible results. It has severed some enemy rail lines and destroyed supply depots, and ridden within two miles of Richmond, frightening the population. But Hooker is dismayed that the cavalry had done little to affect the outcome of the Chancellorsville campaign.

General Jackson has developed a severe cold, and early this morning he complains of nausea and a pain in his abdomen. His surgeon is awakened and diagnoses pneumonia of the right lung, an illness for which there is no medical help. Lee is informed of Jackson’s sudden turn for the worse, but refuses to admit that Jackson’s illness might be fatal. “Tell him to make haste and get well, and come back to me as soon as he can,” Lee says. “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.”

Confederate President Davis wires Pemberton, commanding in Mississippi: “Am anxiously expecting further information of your active operations.... To hold both Vicksburg and Port Hudson is necessary to our connection with Trans-Mississippi. You may expect whatever it is in my power to do for your aid.”

Meanwhile, Federal troops occupy West Point, Virginia, on the Peninsula; there are affairs at Cairo Station and Harrisville, West Virginia.

General Bowen decides that with General Grant’s army in force on the east side of the Mississippi and Port Gibson gone, Grand Gulf is now untenable. During the night he withdraws all forces from that bastion, leaving behind five large guns in his haste.

At the village of Spring Hill, Tennessee, Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn is assassinated by Dr. Peters. It is alleged that the general and Mrs. Peters had a “liaison,” although some deny it.
May 8, Friday

Only a skirmish near Grove Church, Virginia, marks the day militarily.

Lincoln issues a proclamation that being an alien will not exempt anyone from military service if he has declared his intention to become a citizen. Records are replete with names of those who claim to be aliens to escape the draft.

President Davis writes leading citizens of Columbus, Mississippi, “It would be needless to explain to you how far my ability falls short of my earnest desire, or to recount the causes which so often prevent me from affording the full protection to various portions of our common country which is called for by every consideration that can animate manly and patriotic breasts or excite a public officer to greatest exertion.”

With Grand Gulf abandoned by the Confederates, Grant’s beachhead is now secure. He orders McClernand to pursue the retreating Confederates, and instructs his rear echelons—including Sherman’s corps—to move up at the double. He then goes aboard his headquarters steamer and takes a bath (he has not been out of his clothes in a week) and takes some time to deal with an array of visitors who have turned up. One of them is the general’s son Fred, who is having an adventurous time. Without his father’s knowledge, the youngster talked his way onto one of the transports included in the second group to run the Vicksburg batteries—the group from which the three reporters had been captured. Once aboard, Fred refused to go below; instead, he crouched on deck behind a coil of cable and watched the spectacle while shells burst all around him. He soon rejoined his father and landed with him at Bruinsburg. Grant then left the boy sleeping on a gunboat there—hoping, he will say, “to get away without him until after Grand Gulf should fall into our hands.” But Fred catches up with his father again near Port Gibson, arriving in the company of another of Grant’s visitors, Charles A. Dana, the former managing editor of the New York Tribune, and now a special representative of Secretary of War Stanton. The two had started for Port Gibson on foot, but on the way a Union officer made them a gift of a couple of captured plow horses. “The first time I call to mind seeing either of them,” Grant will write with evident amusement, “they were mounted on two enormous horses, grown white from age, each equipped with dilapidated saddles and bridles.”

Dana’s role in Grant’s entourage is a curious one. He had shown up at Milliken’s Bend a few weeks ago, and was instantly recognized by Grant’s staff as a spy sent by the Secretary of War to check out the increasingly hostile press accounts of Grant—stories that portray the general as drunken and inept. Stanton has sent others on this mission as well, including Inspector General Lorenzo Thomas, who is at the moment the guest of Admiral Porter on a gunboat un the river. Some of Grant’s staff were angry about Dana’s assignment, and there was even talk of throwing him in the river, but wiser heads prevailed. Dana was welcomed; all his questions were answered; he was given free access to information, invited to dine at Grant’s mess and treated like one of the family. Dana has responded favorably. He soon discerned Grant’s qualities as a commander, and has communicated his findings at length to Stanton. President Lincoln has been shown the messages, but he doesn’t really need much reassurance. “I think we’ll try him a little longer,” he had said when critics urged Grant’s removal. “He fights.” Grant is pleased to have Dana around. He likes the man. Moreover, as long as the former editor is sending long reports to Stanton, Grant feels no obligation to do so. Dana’s presence thus relieves him of a substantial burden of paperwork.

Another visitor, Governor Richard Yates of Illinois, who is also reported to be a Stanton spy, is sticking close to the headquarters of his fellow Illinois politician, John McClenand. Both men were delighted by the showing of McClernand’s Illinois soldiers at Port Gibson. Those soldiers are of course voters as well, and when Yates and McClernand encounter them in the field one day they can’t resist pausing to make a few remarks. Grant, waiting nearby, watches the speechmaking for awhile, then mildly suggests to the two that it might be time to get back to the War. Grant has little patience with self-promotion, and he knows well that the campaign is far from over. A foothold has been gained, but now his army must push forward to Vicksburg.

Now that he is safely across the Mississippi and consolidating his position around Grand Gulf, Grant makes plans to send one of his corps downriver to help General Nathaniel Banks take Port Hudson. Once that Confederate stronghold falls, Grant can establish a supply line running north from New Orleans. Then Banks and Grant together would tackle Vicksburg. This approach not only has the approval of General Halleck, but of President Lincoln himself. But Grant no sooner enters Grand Gulf than he receives a message from Banks, dispatched from deep inside Louisiana. Although Banks is aware of the cooperative plan, he has suddenly embarked on an independent campaign along waterways west of the Mississippi. Banks writes that it will be May 10 before he can attack Port Hudson. Vicksburg will have to come after that, and Banks will be able to spare only 15,000 men—far fewer than Grant has anticipated—to help in the assault. This puts a different face on things. To wait for Banks’ cooperation will detain Grant at least a month, with reinforcements that won’t reach 10,000 men after deducting casualties and necessary river guards. And meanwhile the Confederates, now off balance, would have a chance to recover, concentrate their forces and undo everything Grant has achieved with his successful crossing. There is one other consideration that must be on Grant’s mind—Banks is Grant’s senior in rank; in a joint operation the Massachusetts politician would be the superior officer. In any case, Grant concludes that he cannot wait. He determines to move independently of Banks, cut loose from his base, destroy the rebel force in the rear of Vicksburg, and invest or capture the city. Grant dutifully writes out a dispatch notifying Halleck of the change in plans, even though he knows well that Halleck’s caution will lead him to disapprove. Grant is, after all, committing himself against an enemy that will substantially outnumber him if Pemberton and Johnston can unite their forces. But communications with Washington is very difficult at the moment; the nearest Federal telegraph station is at Cairo, Illinois, more than 400 miles away. Indeed, Grant is counting on that. The time it takes to reach Washington and get a reply is so great that Grant can’t be interfered with until it is demonstrated whether his plan is practicable.

Success will hinge on adequate sources of supply. Since the landing, Grant has been collecting all the vehicles he can find on nearby plantations. The resulting supply train is a hodgepodge of farm wagons, fine carriages, surreys, buckboards, buggies, and carts, drawn by assorted horses, mules, and oxen. When Sherman, last of the corps commanders to cross the river, finds this wild collection of vehicles clogging the road from Grand Gulf, he forsees chaos, and sends a warning to Grant. Grant’s reply outlines his unorthodox strategy: “I do not calculate upon the possibility of supplying the army with full rations from Grand Gulf. I know it will be impossible without constructing additional roads. What I do expect, however, is to get up what rations of hard bread, coffee and salt we can, and make the country furnish the balance.” Life for the troops is going to be difficult, but they are already used to living off the land. The troops are proving such able foragers that Fred Grant often eats with the enlisted men instead of at his father’s mess because the food is better. Many soldiers, however, lack blankets and tents, and one brigadier reports that nearly a third of his men are marching barefoot. Grant willingly shares the hardships of his men. The night after the crossing, Grant slept on the ground, without a tent, in the midst of his soldiers, with his saddle for a pillow and without even an overcoat for covering. And after Grand Gulf was secured, Grant slept on a hard wooden bench, this time without even the luxury of a saddle.
May 9, Saturday

As Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston lies ailing in Tennessee, he receives a telegram from the Confederate Secretary of War. The message instructs him to start at once for Mississippi “to take command of the forces, giving to those in the field, as far as practicable, the encouragement and benefit of your personal direction.” Johnston wries back: “I shall go immediately, although unfit for service.”

Grant’s advancing army fights skirmishes on this day and the tenth near Utica, Mississippi. Other skirmishes occur near Big Sandy Creek, Mississippi, and at Bayou Tensas near Lake Providence, Louisiana. Operations May 9-18 along the Amite River and Jackson Railroad involve several skirmishes in Louisiana. Fighting also breaks out in Stone County, Missouri; and near Caney Fort, Tennessee. Federal oil works at Oiltown, West Virginia, are destroyed.
May 10, Sunday

In a small house near Guiney’s Station, south of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Stonewall Jackson’s wife tells her husband that the doctor doesn’t think he will live through the day. “Very good, it is all right,” he says, adding that he has always wanted to die on a Sunday. “It will be an infinite gain to be translated to heaven.” His mind seems to wander. He shouts orders to subordinates, instructing A.P. Hill to prepare for action. In midafternoon, while the room is filled with bright spring sunshine, he says in a firm but quiet voice: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” And he dies.

Lee immediately issues General Order No. 61: “With deep regret the commanding general announces the death of Lieutenant-General T. J. Jackson. Let his name be a watch-word to his corps who have followed him to victory on so many fields. Let his officers and soldiers emulate his invincible determination to do everything in the defense of our loved Country.” Sorely grieved, Lee doesn’t know how to replace him. Flags dip in mourning throughout the South as Jackson’s remains are taken to Richmond and lie in state at the Confederate Capitol. All the city’s businesses are closed, and crowds of tearful mourners come to gaze at his coffin. Afterwards, solemn honor guards escort the body back to Lexington, Virginia, where he taught at the Virginia Military Institute before the war, and there he is laid to rest in the shade of the trees.

But the fighting continues: skirmishes at Caledonia and Pin Hook or Bayou Macon, Louisiana; action at Horseshoe Bottom on the Cumberland River; skirmishes at Phillips Ford on Red Bird Creek, Kentucky.

On the Ouachita River, four Federal gunboats shell the Confederates at Fort Beauregard, Louisiana.

Though Grant may be living rough in the field, he is probably sleeping better than Pemberton in his Vicksburg headquarters. As soon as the Confederate commander fathomed Grant’s intentions, he sent a call for help to General Joseph Johnston at Tullahoma, Tennessee. Johnston—still ailing from the severe wound he received at the Battle of Seven Pines outside Richmond almost a year ago—cannot spare Pemberton any troops, but he offered some excellent advice: “If Grant’s army lands on this side of the river, the safety of Mississippi depends on beating it. For that object you should unite your whole force.” He repeated his counsel the next day; and then, knowing that Pemberton’s reluctance to leave Vicksburg undefended in order to pursue Grant reflects the cautious policy of President Davis, Johnston added: “Success will give you back what was abandoned to win it.”

Grant is already taking steps to prevent such a concentration of forces against him. He has started his army on a forced march northward to get between the defenders of Vicksburg and the Confederates at Jackson; two brigades are already there, and two more have been sent by General Johnston. Grant intends to destroy the force at Jackson, then wreck the rail hub through which any Confederate reinforcements must pass. Grant’s scouts report that Pemberton’s troops are digging entrenchments west of the Big Black River, which Grant will have to cross to get at Vicksburg. Evidently, Pemberton expects Grant to head straight for the city, and Grant makes a diversion in that direction to keep him thinking that way. When Sherman’s XV Corp embarks at Milliken’s Bend to join the army at Grand Gulf, the transports detour to the Yazoo and the troops fake a landing at Haynes’ Bluff.

In Tennessee, accompanied by his physician, General Johnston boards a train for Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson is only 300 miles away, but the Federals’ threaten all the direct routes; Johnston will have to go through Atlanta, Montgomery, and Mobile, roughly doubling the distance.
May 11, Monday

Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, again creates a problem for the President. In an argument over an appointment, Chase tenders his resignation. Lincoln turns it down, but, coming as it does after the Cabinet crisis of the preceding December, it foretells more trouble in the official family.

In Mississippi, confused by General Sherman’s feint, General Pemberton cannot decide whether to heed President Davis’s advice to stay in Vicksburg or Johnston’s advice to come out and fight. Trying to do both, he moves cautiously out of the town with about 20,000 troops, but he leaves roughly 10,000 men behind. He concentrates his forces near the railroad town of Edwards Depot, thirteen miles east of the port city, and there he waits for Grant’s attack. Meanwhile, he has ordered up from Port Hudson a brigade of 2,500 men commanded by Brigadier General John Gregg. As instructed, Gregg’s men move up through Jackson and then march west for about fifteen miles to the town of Raymond. Pemberton has warned Gregg to look for a Federal feint in his direction, but predicted that General Grant’s main attack will come at the Big Black River. Thus Gregg will be in a perfect position to strike Grant’s flank and rear. Pemberton has failed to make even elementary arrangements for scouting the Federal movements, and so doesn’t know that Grant is marching hard not for the Big Black and Vicksburg but for Jackson. McPherson’s 10,000-man XVII Corp is in the lead, and Gregg’s understrength brigade is directly in its path.

Federal cavalry raids the New Orleans & Jackson railroad near Crystal Springs, Mississippi. There is skirmishing at Warrenton, Virginia; La Fayette, Tennessee; and Mount Vernon and Taylor’s Creek or Crowley’s Ridge, Arkansas. Other Federal cavalry operate over the next four days from La Grange, Tennessee, to Panola, Mississippi, as part of the campaign against Vicksburg.
May 12, Tuesday

Early in the morning, General McPherson’s 10,000-man XVIII Corps of Grant’s army and General Gregg’s 2,500-man brigade make contact at Raymond, Mississippi. Gregg has been ordered to fall back to Jackson to the west if he encounters a superior force, but he assumes that McPherson’s vanguard is a smaller unit making the feint he has been told to expect. So, at noon, Gregg attacks. The opposing forces are separated by a sluggish stream, called Fourteen-Mile Creek, that runs roughly east-west. Gregg sends two his his regiments, from Texas and Tennessee, south across the creek to pin down the approaching Federals, while four regiments are dispatched to ford the creek to the east and hit McPherson’s right flank. Gregg’s tactics work well at first, despite the Federals’ numerical superiority. McPherson’s lead brigade is unable to maintain its formation in the tangled woods lining the creek bank and is soon halted by fire from the concealed Confederates. As more Federal troops come up, the Texans and Tennesseans launch a furious attack, slamming into an Indiana regiment. In the thick woods, the lines of battle soon become disorganized. Neither side is able to fix bayonets, the Confederates because they have none and the Indianans because there isn’t enough time. After a brief melee with clubbed muskets and fists, the Federals break for the rear, pursued by the Confederates. Panic spreads rapidly among the Federals, and for a few minutes it seems as if their entire line will crumble. Then Major General John A. Logan, commander of McPherson’s 3rd Division, appears on the scene.

Logan is a 36-year-old former attorney and Congressman from Illinois who has proven during two years of war to be an exception to the rule that political appointees make poor soldiers. Though not a tall man, Logan is an impressive figure, sharp-featured and powerfully built, with a booming, orator’s voice, and his troops regard him with awe. Logan spurs his black horse into the midst of his wavering line, and with “the shriek of an eagle” rallies the men and launches a counterattack. The outnumbered Confederates resist fiercely, but step by step are driven back across the creek. In the dense growth along the bank, the enemy ranks are so close to each other for a time that the “rifles of the opposing lines crossed while firing.” Many of the wounded suffer powder burns from weapons fired at point-blank range. By the time Gregg’s regiments to the east launch their flank attack, Logan’s Federals are in command along the creek. Still, Gregg will not recall his men. At the Federals they go, “yelling like savages.” Their courage is to no avail. Decimated by volleys in front and flank, the Confederates falter, then fall back. By 2 pm Gregg’s brigade is retreating toward Raymond, pursued by the Federals. It is a costly little victory. The Federals have lost 442 men. The Confederates’ toll is 514, with the Texas and Tennessee regiments accounting for 345 of the casualties.

Come afternoon the discouraged Gregg, aware at last of the size of McPherson’s force, abandons Raymond and heads for Jackson. Yesterday, when Gregg arrived in Raymond, the anxious townspeople had welcomed his men as saviors, and they were preparing a great picnic for the brigade when the battle started. The hot, hungry Union soldiers find the feast waiting there when they enter the town on Gregg’s heels, and they wolf down the food before continuing the pursuit toward Jackson.

Skirmishing occurs at Greenville, Mississippi; Linden, Tennessee; and Bloomfield, Missouri. Other operations include through the 14th, those about Buck’s and Front Royal fords, and from Snicker’s Ferry to Upperville, Virginia. Through the 26th there are operations from the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad with several skirmishes near Carrsville, Virginia. In Tennessee Federals carry out a reconnaissance from Murfreesboro toward Liberty and Lebanon.

Confederate Major General S.B. Buckner assumes command of the Department of East Tennessee.
May 13, Wednesday

General Johnston arrives in Jackson, Mississippi. He finds himself in the backwash of defeat. General Gregg’s weary men are straggling into town; Federals are on the outskirts. General Pemberton is at Edwards Depot, cut off from Jackson by Union forces so that Johnston has great difficulty communicating with him. More troops are coming in from Port Hudson, as well as from Tennessee and South Carolina, and Johnston will soon have 12,000 men in Jackson. But General Grant is approaching with at least 20,000 troops under Generals McPherson and Sherman. Johnston, still sick, is too dispirited to risk another defeat. In a dispatch to Richmond, he reveals his dismay: “I am too late.”

There are skirmishes at Mississippi Springs and at Baldwin’s and Hall’s ferries, Mississippi. Other fighting breaks out near Woodburn and South Union, Tennessee; and through the 18th a Federal scout operates from Newtonia to French Point and Centre Creek, Missouri.

Lincoln asks General Hooker to come to Washington if he is not too busy.

Davis, concerned over Vicksburg, learns of further trouble from Governor Z.B. Vance of North Carolina. The governor expresses his anxiety over desertion in the Confederate Army and reports the steps he has taken to reduce it. He puts the cause to homesickness, fatigue, hard fare, lack of furloughs, and inability to enter regiments of their choice.
May 14, Thursday

In a drenching rain, General Johnston begins to withdraw from Jackson, Mississippi, to the north. His scouts report the approach of two Federal corps, Sherman’s from the southwest and McPherson’s from the town of Clinton, eight miles west of Jackson. Johnston leaves behind General Gregg, with two brigades and a regiment of mounted infantry, to cover his retreat. Gregg stations the brigades of Brigadier General W.H.T. Walker and Colonel Peyton H. Colquitt astride the Clinton road and assigns the 3rd Kentucky Mounted Infantry and a handful of sharpshooters to guard the southwest approach.

Around noon McPherson’s soldiers, slogging along in the rain on a road covered by a foot of water, come up against Walker’s and Colquitt’s brigades. McPherson has trouble getting into position; his artillery sinks into the mud, and Confederate cannon fire cut down many in his ranks. Then, just as McPherson is ready to attak, the rain starts coming down so hard he is forced to delay, fearing that his troops’ cartridge powder will be too wet to fire. The Confederates use the time to throw up entrenchments on the outskirts of Jackson, and when at last McPherson’s men get underway, they find themselves fighting a determined foe in a formidable position. For a while they make little progress. But the Federals greatly outnumber the Confederates, and the division commander leading the attack grows impatient at the standoff. Calling up four regiments, he sends them forward in a bayonet charge. Although under heavy fire, the troops advance “at double quick, cheering wildly.” For a few minutes the Confederates bravely stand their ground, grappling hand to hand, but the Federal advance is relentless. At last, the defenders give way.

To the south, Sherman’s men have little trouble brushing aside the Kentucky infantrymen, Federal troops sweeping into Jackson “with bayonets fixed and with exultant shouts.” Soon men of an Indiana regiment are flying their flag from the dome of the state capitol. As the Federals press on into the city, Captain Samuel Byers of the 5th Iowa pauses for a moment. “I noticed a man in a field quite alone, digging in the ground,” he will write. “Out of curiosity I went to him and asked what he was doing alone when the regiments were all hurrying away. A brown blanket covered something nearby. He pointed to it and said that two of his brothers lay dead under that blanket. He was digging a grave for them. He went on with his work and I hurried to overtake my command.”

For a rearguard action, the Battle of Jackson has been surprisingly bloody. Federal losses total 300, while Gregg’s Confederates have lost 200 men, most of them from Colquitt’s brigade. The departure of Gregg’s troops from Jackson has been so precipitate that some residents aren’t even aware of it until Federal soldiers suddenly appear. The streets and hotel corridors are filled with convalescent Confederates and, according to one report, with deserters. Moreover, someone has opened the doors of the state prison, and in all the confusion inmates join Federal soldiers in an orgy of looting. Jackson is a manufacturing town, priszed by the Federals less for what they can extract from it than for what they can deny the Confederates. At General Grant’s order, large parts of the city are put to the torch. Foundries, machine shops, factories, arsenals, and public stores are fired as fast as the flames can be kindled. More important, both of the rail lines passing through Jackson are destroyed. Sherman’s soldiers tear up the tracks, start fires with the ties, and then, to ensure that the rails will never be used again, heat them over the flames until they are soft enough to be twisted around trees.

The Federal troops also find and liberate fellow soldiers held captive in an unusual Confederate prison—the ruin of a covered bridge on the Pearl River. One prisoner is Colonel Thomas Clement Fletcher, commander of a regiment of Missouri Zouaves. He had been wounded and captured last December during General Sherman’s ill-fated offensive at Chickasaw Bluffs. Conditions for Fletcher, and for the nineteen other officers and 380 enlisted men crowded within the rickety structure, were miserable. During the previous winter the prisoners had to endure the cold without benefit of beds or blankets. Afraid that the bridge might burn, the Confederates allowed no fires, or even candles, inside. Exposure and disease caused frequent deaths among the inmates. Almost every day, “two or three were carried out dead, and sometimes the dead lay at the entrance of the bridge unburied for four days.” Fletcher is one of the lucky inmates; having survived the ordeal, in 1865 he will become the first postwar governor of Missouri.

Come night, Grant sleeps in the same hotel room that Johnston used last night. But Grant has no intention of remaining in the Mississippi capital. It is time to strike at his real target. In this endeavor, he now has a stroke of luck: He gets a look at Johnston’s plans. Some time before, a Mamphis citizen was exiled from that city with much publicity by General Stephen A. Hurlburt, Grant’s commander there. Hurlburt publicly labeled the man disloyal to the Union and ordered him not to come back. But the expulsion was staged; the miscreant is in fact a Federal spy, who quickly obtained a job as a Confederate courier. As fate would have it, he was selected by Johnston to carry a message to General Pemberton. The spy instead brings the message to McPherson, who shows it to Grant. “I have lately arrived,” Johnston’s note reads, “and learn that Major General Sherman is between us with four divisions at Clinton. It is important to re-establish communication, that you may be reinforced. If practicable, come up in his rear at once. To beat such a detachment would be of immense value. The troops here could cooperate. All the strength you can quickly assemble should be brought; time is all-important.” Johnston is mistaken about Sherman’s position, but now that Grant knows what both Confederate generals are going to do, he is perfectly willing to send them some forces to fight. Confident that a command of sufficient size, aggressively led, can smash the Confederates when they try to spring their trap, Grant has the letter resealed and sent on its way. Then he issues immediate orders to General McClernand, who is south of the rail line between Jackson and Vicksburg, to move north and place his XIII Corps between the two Confederate forces.

Pemberton, meanwhile, is in a quandry back at Edwards Depot. If he does as Johnston urges, he will leave Vicksburg uncovered, thus violating both Jefferson Davis’s directives and his own inclinations. He delays acting, and late this day calls a council of war—the first he has convened—and asks his generals which course they prefer. After a vigorous discussion, a majority favor Johnston’s plan, but several prefer a third option—to head south and cut Grant’s supply line. To be sure, this too will leave Vicksburg unprotected; nevertheless, Pemberton judges “the only possibility of success to be in the plan of cutting the enemy’s communications.” They are unaware, of course, that Grant is fully prepared to continue the campaign even if his supply line is cut. Pemberton orders troops dispatched south toward Raymond.

South of Vicksburg, General Nathaniel Banks leaves Alexandria, Louisiana, for operations against Port Hudson, above Baton Rouge. Port Hudson is the only other major Confederate bastion on the Mississippi. In the area of Boyce’s Bridge on Cotile Bayou and near Merritt’s Plantation on the Clinton Road there is brief fighting. Skirmishes occur at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, and in Virginia near Warrenton Junction.

Hooker has written Lincoln of his problems with the Army of the Potomac, which has delayed further operations since the Battle of Chancellorsville. Lincoln, in turn, writes the general that he will not complain if Hooker keeps the enemy at bay but will not restrain him from renewing the attack. He warns Hooker that he has intimations that “some of your corps and Division Commanders are not giving you their entire confidence.”

Eight days after General Hooker’s withdrawal from Chancellorsville north across the Rappahannock, General Lee travels to Richmond to confer with President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate cabinet. The atmosphere is one of deepening melancholy: Stonewall Jackson has just been laid to rest in a Lexington graveyard; there is a tenuous stalement in the East; and in the West, the Federals under General Grant are relentlessly maneuvering toward Vicksburg. For three days, Lee will argue his plan for an invasion of the North before a fretful audience. Jefferson Davis is uneasy about the idea, and Postmaster General John Reagan, a blunt Texan whose concerns lie west of the Mississippi, strenuously insists that Lee instead send troops to the relief of Vicksburg. Yet such is the power of Lee’s magisterial presence that the group eventually approves his proposal by a vote of five to one.

The campaign to come is dictated by the logic of Confederate circumstances. For all the glory of Lee’s brilliant victory at Chancellorsville, he well knows that he has achieved little more than a postponement of the day when the Army of the Potomac will again press his outnumbered and undersupplied army back toward Richmond. The problem of what to do next, Lee will later explain, resolves itself into a choice of one of two things: either to retire to Richmond and stand a siege, which must ultimately end in surrender, or to invade Pennsylvania. The considerations that last September prompted Lee’s march into Maryland—a drive that was blocked at Antietam—remain valid nine months later. A successful invasion might encourage Northern Peace Democrats in their agitation to end the war under terms reasonably favorable to the Confederacy; it might also induce British and French intervention on behalf of the Confederacy.

A more immediate impetus is provided by the chronic shortage of supplies in the South. Hampered by an inadequate and inefficient railroad system, and operating in a war-ravaged region partly occupied by the enemy, Lee is unable to provide adequate food and clothing for his army or forage for its horses. As he tells General Henry Heth, “The question of food for this army gives me more trouble and uneasiness than anything else.” An invasion of Pennsylvania will provide his soldiers access to the rich farmlands of that state and allow the people of Virginia time to stockpile supplies.
May 15, Friday

Using several roads, Grant’s forces converge on Edwards’ Station east of Vicksburg, General McClernand coming from the south and PcPherson marching out of Jackson to support him. Sherman and two divisions remain in Jackson to destroy Confederate supplies and installations. Pemberton’s main force is near Edwards’ Station and a strong garrison is at Vicksburg. Portions of the two armies are only four miles apart at nightfall.

Skirmishes occur at Fort Smith, Arkansas; and at Big Creek, near Pleasant Hill, Missouri. A Federal expedition operates from West Point to King and Queen County, Virginia. There is a scout through the 22nd from Parkersburg into Calhoun County, West Virginia. From this day to the 28th operations on the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad southeast of Richmond include several skirmishes.
May 16, Saturday

General Pemberton, having dispatched troops south toward Raymond, Mississippi, is shaken from his decision. He receives another, more urgent message from Johnston, who is still north of Jackson, calling once again to move toward him. This time Pemberton decides to follow orders. He instructs the troops already marching south to turn northward and rendezvous with Johnston’s force at the town of Clinton. They are about halfway there when the Federal intercept them, at a hill on the farm of a man named Sid Champion. Pemberton has 23,000 men at Champion’s Hill to face the 32,000 Federals of McCLernand’s and McPherson’s corps. Sherman’s corps is en route from Jackson, and Grant has galloped ahead to take command of the battle. Although the Confederate defense has to be hastily improvised, the terrain Pemberton selects can scarcely be better. He deploys his three divisions a mile east of meandering Baker’s Creek to cover the bridges on the Jackson and the Raymond roads. His line, taking the shape of a fishhook, extends from the Raymond road four miles northeast to the crest to where the Jackson road crosses Baker’s Creek. Major General Carter L. Stevenson commands Pemberton’s left, and Major General William W. Loring the right. Champion’s Hill is the key to the position. It is one of the highest points in this section, and commands all the ground in range.

The battle begins in the south, where Major General Andrew Jackson Smith’s Federal division, marching west on the Raymond road, comes under the fire of Loring’s artillery. Both sides deploy skirmishers, and a hot fight ensues. But the bloodiest encounter is to the north. Grant intends the bulk of McClernand’s XIII Corps to strike the angle of Pemberton’s line at Champion’s Hill from the east, while Logan’s division of McPherson’s corps attacks from the north. As usual, McClernand displays little initiative, and only one of his divisions comes into action. Fortunately for the Federals, this division is commanded by the ambitious and combative Brigadier General Alvin P. Hovey, who fought so hard at Port Gibson. At 10:30 am, hearing the opening volleys of Logan’s troops to his right, Hovey sends his two brigades in a headlong charge up Champion’s Hill. Holding the Confederate left, General Stevenson’s line is stretched so thin at this point that some regiments are separated by as much as 300 yards. Taken by surprise, the Confederates give way. Driving the enemy before them, General George F. McGinnis’ Federal brigade crests the hill and comes face to face with half a dozen Confederate artillery batteries. Just before the guns spew out their lethal charges of canister, McGinnis orders his regiments to fall prone. The iron balls whistle harmlessly overhead, and before many of the Confederate gunners can reload or limber up, the blue ranks are upon them.

By 1 pm, the Confederate left is crumbling. Realizing that his army faces disaster, Pemberton issues a frantic call for reinforcements from Bowen’s and Loring’s divisions to the south. Both generals refuse to respond, protesting that there are masses of Federal troops to their front. Pemberton repeats his orders, and at 1:30 Bowen marches toward the sound of the guns. Incredibly, Loring refuses to move. Bowen then launches a counterattack against Hovey’s troops on Champion’s Hill, with Colonel Francis M. Cockrell’s Missouri brigade on the left and Brigadier General Martin Green’s Arkansas brigade on the right. Screaming the rebel yell, Bowen’s men strike with “terrific fierceness,” and soon it is Hovey’s bluecoats who are falling back. Hovey’s division retreats “slowly and stubbornly, contesting with death every inch of the field they had won.”

Grant, meanwhile, orders the nearest troops to hand—two brigades from XVII Corps under Colonels George Boomer and Samuel Holmes—to rush to Hovey’s aid. Although the soldiers have traveled twelve miles under the hot sun they start on the run; knapsacks, haversacks, blankets, everything except their guns and cartridge boxes are thrown to the side of the road. As they move up, scores of wounded men—“almost whole companies”—are streaming down off the hill. The men do not seem demoralized. Some of them are laughing, and yelling at at the newcomers, “Wade in and give them hell!” As the Federal reinforcements approach the summit, they see a solid wall of men in gray, their muskets blazing in the Federals’ faces and their artillery batteries roaring as if it’s the end of the world. For over an hour, the two sides load their guns and kill each other as fast as they can.

On the Federal right flank atop Champion’s Hill, the men of the 34th Indiana are in their first big fight. Some of the soldiers, badly shaken, are starting for the rear when General Logan appears on the field. He reins up in front front of the outfit, shouting that he has been wounded five times and never turned his back to the foe yet. When the adjutant of the 34th protests that “the Rebels are awful thick up there,” Logan roars, “Damn it, that’s the place to kill them—where they are thick!” The men of the 34th rally, and Logan leads them forward.

Around 2:30 pm McClernand finally bestirs himself and orders Brigadier General Peter J. Osterhaus’ division forward. Hovey has driven Pemberton’s left flank back until the Confederate line faces almost due north; now Osterhaus’ advance from the east threatens Bowen’s right flank. It is crucial that Loring’s division come into action. But it is only after Pemberton personally delivers the order to his recalcitrant subordinate that Loring gets moving, and now it is too late. The defense of Champion’s Hill has collapsed, and the men are “rushing pell-mell from the scene of action.” All attempts to rally them are in vain. Realizing that all is lost, Pemberton issues orders for a general retreat. But Logan’s Federals have cut the Jackson road, and the only route of escape across Baker’s Creek is on the Raymond road bridge on Pemberton’s southern flank. Pemberton orders Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman to hold his position one mile east of the crossing “at all hazards.” Had the Federals facing Tilghman’s brigade launched an attack, the Confederate army might well have been destroyed. As it is, the battle sputters out in an artillery duel. One of the last casualties is the brave Tilghman. He is dismounted beside a battery and is sighting one of the guns when a Federal shell explodes nearby. A jagged iron fragment tears through Tilghman’s chest, killing him instantly. Although most of Pemberton’s defeated army safely crosses the Raymond road bridge, Loring and the 6,500 men of his division are cut off. Heading south through the thick woods and swamps bording Baker’s Creek, Loring searches in vain for a ford. Along the way he abandons all of his artillery and most of his supplies. Eventually he turns east.

The battlefield is a scene of carnage, littered with the bodies of soldiers and horses, the wreckage of cannon, and spent ammunition. It has been the bloodiest and most decisive engagement thus far in the Vicksburg campaign. Federal effectives for the battle of Champion’s Hill or Baker’s Creek numbered about 29,000, with 410 killed, 1,844 wounded, and 187 missing for 2,441 casualties. Confederate effectives are estimated at under 20,000, with 381 killed, about 1,800 wounded, and 1,670 missing for a total of 3,851 casualties. Many more on both sides will die of their wounds. Following the battle, as Alvin Hovey rides along the depleted ranks of his division, he spies the flag of his old regiment, the 24th Indiana. “Where are the rest of my boys?” he asks the few men gathered around the colors. “They are lying over there,” replies a soldier, pointing to the corpse-strewn hillside. Hovey turns his horse and rides away, weeping.

To get his troops back to Vicksburg, Pemberton has to cross the Big Black River, ten miles west of Champion’s Hill. To cover the retreat, earthworks have been erected on the east bank near the town of Bovina, where the Southern Mississippi Railroad crosses the river, and he places a newly arrived Tennessee brigade, commanded by Brigadier General John C. Vaughn, behind the earthworks. General Stevenson’s exhausted men, who bore the brunt of the early fighting at Champion’s Hill, are sent over the bridge as soon as they arrive; others cross on a little river steamer. Safe on the other side, they fall to the ground and sleep. Bowen’s men, tired but alert, are added to the force defending the earthworks. This is Pemberton’s last hope of delaying Grant’s march on Vicksburg, and he takes pains to make his position a strong one. From a bow-shaped parapet of logs and cotton bales along the river, the defenders command a shallow bayou littered with fallen trees, and an open field beyond.

Fighting elsewhere includes skirmishes near Carthage, Missouri; at Elizabeth Court House and Ravenswood, West Virginia; Tickfaw Bridge, Louisiana; Berry’s Ferry and Piedmont Station, Virginia; and Charles Town, West Virginia.

Democrats protest the conviction of Vallandigham.
May 17, Sunday

As General McClernand’s men approach the defenses at the Big Black River, Mississippi, just after daybreak, they are full of confidence, while the outnumbered Confederates, many of them still groggy with sleep, are sick of fighting. The main Federal attack is entrusted to a huge brigadier general named Michael Lawler, an Irish-born battler of awesome repute. Grant once says of him: “When it comes to just plain hard fighting, I would rather trust old Mike Lawler than any of them.” Dana, reporting to Stanton, assessed Lawler a bit differently: “He is as brave as a lion, and has about as much brains.” At the Big Black River there is more need for courage than for brains, and the 250-pound Lawler quickly confirms his reputation for valor. Galloping back and forth, he deploys his four regiments of Iowa and Wisconsin men at the northern end of the Confederate line and, without waiting for orders, launches a bayonet attack. It is a hot day, and he is fighting in his shirtsleeves. He wears his sword in its customary position, looped over his shoulder; his belly is too big for him to wear it around his waist. As Lawler charges ahead on his horse across the open field toward the bayou, his men race after him through “a terrible fire of musketry from the front and a galling fire from sharpshooters on the right.” Lawler’s regiments halt at the edge of the bayou, pour a volley into the defenses, then splash through the knee-deep water and onto the breastworks. The exhausted, dispirited Southerners are in no condition to resist. Many men wave bits of cotton on their ramrods in token surrender, while others hurry to get across the bridge before it is burned. They are, in fact, still crossing when both the bridge and the little river steamer are ordered burned by Pemberton. A few men drown trying to swim the river. Those left behind are taken prisoner. In all, Confederates losses are about 200 men killed and wounded, and 1,751 captured. Federal casualties—mostly Lawler’s men—amount to 39 killed, 237 wounded, and three missing. Pemberton has ridden up from Bovina, where he spent the night, just in time to see the end of the battle. He now orders his men to fall back to Vicksburg, twelve miles to the west.

It is a triumphant moment for the Federal forces, and an unspeakably gloomy and bewildering one for the Confederates—not only for the defeated soldiers but also for the stunned citizens of Vicksburg. It is a Sunday no one in that town will ever forget. Vague rumors of the defeats have spread, and clusters of people gather on corners after church. No one has any real news, but all suspect the worst. And then, in all the dejected uncertainty, the stir of horsemen and wheels begins. At first just a few exhausted men drift through the streets. But soon, straggler after straggler comes by, then groups of soldiers worn and dusty with the long march. The pathetic trickle begins about noon and quickly swells to a flood. Until late in the night, the streets and roads are jammed with wagons, cannons, horses, men, mules, stock, sheep. The townspeople have seen much of war by now, but nothing like this. They bring out food and water for the weary men, and ask helpless questions. Mixed in with the ragged remnants of the army are great numbers of frightened civilians from the countryside, fleeing the advancing Federals. Soldiers, refugees, and townsfolk all have one thing in common—they know who to blame. “It’s all Pemberton’s fault,” says one soldier after another.

Pemberton is at this moment working furiously to stave off the approaching Federals. He has been urged by Johnston to evacuate Vicksburg and march to the northeast. “Instead of losing both troops and place,” Johnston says, “we must save the troops.” But Pemberton calls a second council of war, and afterward reports to Johnston that his officers have voted unanimously against withdrawal. “I have decided to hold Vicksburg as long as possible,” he says.

Meanwhile, Banks’ 24,000 Federals move into position with operations on the west side of the Mississippi across from Port Hudson. There is skirmishing near Bridgeport, Mississippi; Dumfries, Virginia; and on the Bradyville Pike, Tennessee. A Federal scout operates from La Grange, Tennessee.
Pemberton is at this moment working furiously to stave off the approaching Federals. He has been urged by Johnston to evacuate Vicksburg and march to the northeast. “Instead of losing both troops and place,” Johnston says, “we must save the troops.” But Pemberton calls a second council of war, and afterward reports to Johnston that his officers have voted unanimously against withdrawal. “I have decided to hold Vicksburg as long as possible,” he says.

Once again, Johnston is the voice of reason. And once again, no-one is listening to him.... :roll:
@Potemkin, the problem with this Johnston is that you can't be sure whether this is the voice of reason or just his natural inclination. Though in this case Pemberton would have definitely been wiser to have listened him instead of his subordinates and President Davis.
Doug64 wrote:@Potemkin, the problem with this Johnston is that you can't be sure whether this is the voice of reason or just his natural inclination. Though in this case it definitely would have been better if Pemberton had listened him instead of his subordinates and President Davis.

There can be only one outcome if Pemberton retreats into Vicksburg and bars the door - his eventual defeat at the hands of Grant. He then loses both Vicksburg and his entire army, an outcome the South cannot afford. The only rational course of action is to cut his losses and abandon Vicksburg to save his army. A bitter humiliation, of course, but what choice does he have?
@Potemkin, I would guess that Pemberton's thinking is to fall back into Vicksburg and hold it, requiring Grant to spread out his own army to invest the town while Johnston builds up his own forces for a rescue. Of course, this requires Pemberton to believe that Johnston will be able to come to his rescue. All in all, even considering just what he knew, IMHO he would have been wiser to pull out and around to join Johnston, then their joint (and larger) army hit Grant's army in Vicksburg quickly enough that it hasn't had time to really dig in--a Union army with its back to a river it can't evacuate across if the Confederates break through the Union entrenchments. Alternatively, the combined Confederate forces could invest Grant in Vicksburg, with artillery on the Mississippi both north and south to prevent more than a trickle of supplies. Vicksburg could have ended up like the Anzio amphibious landing in WWII--a German POW camp supplied by the Allies (for awhile, at least). But nope, Pemberton, decided to be cautious.
Doug64 wrote:@Potemkin, I would guess that Pemberton's thinking is to fall back into Vicksburg and hold it, requiring Grant to spread out his own army to invest the town while Johnston builds up his own forces for a rescue. Of course, this requires Pemberton to believe that Johnston will be able to come to his rescue. All in all, even considering just what he knew, IMHO he would have been wiser to pull out and around to join Johnston, then their joint (and larger) army hit Grant's army in Vicksburg quickly enough that it hasn't had time to really dig in--a Union army with its back to a river it can't evacuate across if the Confederates break through the Union entrenchments. Alternatively, the combined Confederate forces could invest Grant in Vicksburg, with artillery on the Mississippi both north and south to prevent more than a trickle of supplies. Vicksburg could have ended up like the Anzio amphibious landing in WWII--a German POW camp supplied by the Allies (for awhile, at least). But nope, Pemberton, decided to be cautious.

Indeed. I suppose I can't really blame Pemberton for his caution - he had, after all, just received a severe mauling at the hands of the Union forces. But excessive caution, in the long run, can be just as disastrous as excessive recklessness.
Potemkin wrote:Indeed. I suppose I can't really blame Pemberton for his caution - he had, after all, just received a severe mauling at the hands of the Union forces. But excessive caution, in the long run, can be just as disastrous as excessive recklessness.

Especially if you're the weaker force--turtling up only works if you both have the shell and the resources to outwait your enemy.
May 18, Monday

With his enemy reeling, General Grant hurriedly orders four bridges constructed across the Big Black east of Vickburg and pushes his men westward. Sherman has now arrived from Jackson, and Grant sets out with him to the north of Vicksburg, to establish a base there on the bluffs, which the Confederates have recently abandoned. Both men are so eager that they gallop far ahead of their troops. At last they stand on the bluffs, where Sherman has the pleasure of looking down from the spot coveted so much by him last December. Then Sherman turns to Grant and makes a speech that so impresses Grant that he will recall it distinctly 25 years later. Until this minute, Sherman says, he has doubted the wisdom of Grant’s strategy. This, however, is the end of one of the greatest campaigns in history, even if Vicksburg should somehow elude capture.

General Pemberton still commands a powerful force—some 30,000 men, fewer than Grant’s 45,000, but more than enough to defend Vicksburg. And Johnston has about 20,000 troops near Jackson. Furthermore, most of the 10,000 troops Pemberton left behind in Vicksburg are fresh. These men have been manning the defensive line to the south of town. Now they march into the city, past the beaten and bedraggled soldiers, to bolster the threatened sections of the line to the north and east. Some of the women come out to greet them, asking if the soldiers will stand by and protect them. The fresh soldiers reassure the women, promising to die for the ladies—never to run—never to retreat. A seven-mile line of defensive works has been constructed around the town, anchored at each end on the river. Winter rains have washed away some of the earthen emplacements, but now the soldiers are put to work rebuilding. The effort starts while the dust is still settling at the Big Black River—and none too soon. Grant, whose three corps are now arrayed before the town’s defenses, suspects that the enemy’s morale has been shattered. He believes that “he would not make much effort to hold Vicksburg.”

Minor fighting elsewhere includes affairs at Hog Island, Bates County, Missouri, and near Cheneyville, Louisiana. Skirmishes break out near Island No. 82 above Greenville, Mississippi, and on Horn Lake Creek, Tennessee. Operations lasting a day or two occur around Fayetteville, West Virginia, and near Merritt’s Plantation and on the Bayou Sara Road, Louisiana.

President Davis calls for civilians and militia to join General J.E. Johnston in Mississippi. He urges Johnston to link up with Pemberton and attack the enemy.

In Britain’s House of Lords, debate on decisions of the American prize courts bring demands that Britain actively defend the rights of her shipowners. Lord Russell says that the Crown finds no objections to the prize courts’ proceedings and that Britain has no wish to interfere in the American Civil War.
May 19, Tuesday

When General Grant assaults the Vicksburg defenses, he receives a rude welcome. In 48 hours an astonishing transformation has occurred among the Confederates. Protected by strong fortifications, strengthened by fresh troops, they have swiftly recovered their spirits—and their effectiveness. Grant has ordered an assault with all his forces: McClernand on the east, McPherson and Sherman on the north. McClernand’s and McPherson’s troops, some of whom are still hurrying into position as the attack begins, have great difficulty advancing through the thick underbrush, felled trees, and steep ravines; they are soon pinned down by Confederate fire. The burden of the attack falls on Sherman’s XV Corps, which moves off from positions closer to the Confederate defenses at the north end of the line. Even then, only the brigade commanded by Colonel Giles A. Smith make any headway. Ignoring a flesh wound in his hip, Smith leads his five regiments against a Confederate strongpoint known as the Stockade Redan. Most of Smith’s men are halted by the fire that scythes through their ranks, but an Illinois regiment and the 1st Battalion, 13th US Infantry manage to gain a foothold in a ditch north of the stockade. The 13th is Sherman’s old Regular Army outfit, and one of its captains is his brother-in-law, Charles Ewing. Ewing seizes the battalion colors after three men have failed trying the plant the flag on the Confederate works. As he brings it back to his line, a Minié ball passes harmlessly through his hat and another wounds him in the hand, while the banner itself is pierced by 55 bullets. Another Illinois regiment with Smith’s brigade is pinned down all afternoon in canebrakes; as the hours pass, Confederate fire cuts down cane stalks one at a time, to fall gently on the Federals. As darkness falls and provides cover, the regiment falls back with the other units that have been similarly pinned down. Grant has lost 942 men, Pemberton 250. It is now clear what the Federals are up against.

Major General Loring, cut off during Pemberton’s retreat from Champion’s Hill three days ago, joins General Johnston’s Confederates at Jackson. Though Pemberton blames Loring for the defeat at Champion’s Hill, Johnston comes to Loring’s defense, and the errant general is never censured or otherwise punished.

General Johnston issues orders for General Franklin Gardner to evacuate Port Hudson, Louisiana, and retreat to Jackson, Mississippi.

Federal scouts operate from La Grange, Tennessee, and there is a skirmish near Richfield, Clay County, Missouri. In Virginia a Federal force operates from Gloucester Point into Matthews County.

Secretary of War Stanton, on orders of President Lincoln, directs that former Ohio congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, convicted of aiding the Confederates, be sent beyond the military lines of the United States and not be permitted to return, under threat of arrest.
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