Ewing's, Buckland's, Lightburn's and Giles A. Smith's Approaches

From the Siege of Vicksburg Official Reports of Capts. Frederick E. Prime and Cyrus B. Comstock, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Chief Engineers Army of the Tennessee. New York City, November 29, 1863

The following were the principal approaches made during the siege, beginning at our own right, some of them being begun after the siege was half over, viz: 1st, Thayer's; 2d, Ewing's; 3d, Giles A. Smith's 4th, Ransom's; 5th, Logan's; 6th, A. J. Smith's; 7th, Carr's; 8th, Hovey's; 9th, Lauman's; 10th, Herron's.

These approaches derived their names from the brigade or division commanders who furnished the guards and working parties. The 2d of these was along what was called the Graveyard road; the 5th along the Jackson road; the 6th along the Baldwin's Ferry road; the 7th along the railroad; the 9th on the Hall's Ferry road, and the 10th on the Warrenton road. The 2d, or Ewing's approach, was directed against the northeast angle of the enemy's line, where that line, bending around the ravines at the head of a small stream, takes the form of a bastion. This approach, early begun, was the principal one in front of Sherman's corps, and with collateral work was that on which he expended most labor.

On the Jackson road, where it enters the enemy's line of defense, is a commanding hill, quite strongly salient, which had on it a redan for several guns. The ridge along which the Jackson road runs offered fair ground, and along it McPherson pushed his main approach--the one earliest begun and on which his corps did most work. A.J. Smith and Carr pushed approaches toward salient works, called by the Confederates Forts Pulaski and Beauregard, one to the right, the other to the left of the railroad. Hovey's approach on the square redoubt was not begun until late in the siege. The three last approaches were in front of McClernand's (afterward Ord's) corps.

There was another approach begun by Colonels Woods and Maurer to the right of Thayer's, and near the river. After the work had been energetically pushed by these officers, it met a deep ravine, precluding farther progress. As this approach would not have been used in an assault, it has not been mentioned in the previous enumeration. A brief history of the approaches above mentioned may be of some interest.

This approach, in front of Blair's division, of Sherman's corps, consisted in places of two or three approaches (Ewing's, Lightburn's, and Buckland's), and was the most important one in Sherman's front. It was pushed forward until the enemy annoyed the sappers very seriously with grenades and mines, the grenades being 6 or 12 pounder loaded shells, with short, lighted fuses. We then resorted to mining, and as the explosion of the enemy's mines, crushing our first gallery, had shattered the earth for 30 feet around, a detour was made to avoid this shaken earth. The mine, a heavy one, was completed just before the surrender of the place, but was not charged.

This approach was at first in charge of Lieutenant [Emmett] Headington, of General Ewing's staff, then of Lieut. C. C. Chaffee, ordnance corps, till forced to leave by illness, and afterward in charge of Capt. W. Kossak, aide-de-camp, assisted by Lieutenant Lochbihler, Thirty-fifth Missouri Regiment. Lieutenant Chaffee and Captain Kossak deserve special notice for their zeal and energy. Lieutenant Lochbihler and his pioneer company did good service.

This approach was 200 yards to the south of Ewing's, and pushed forward from a ravine parallel at this point to the enemy's line: which gave cover near that line. It was directed on a salient of the enemy's line, and was close to it when the city surrendered. Captain Kossak had general charge of this work toward the close of the siege.

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