MAY 19-JULY 4, 1863.--The
Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
April 17.--Arrived at Milliken's Bend with Third Division, the Seventh having arrived about one week previous, and Sixth Division remaining at Lake Providence. In accordance with orders received from major-general commanding, I made a survey of the road from Milliken's Bend to Richmond.
April 18.--Returned from Richmond at 9 a.m. Plat and report submitted to general commanding.
April 19.--In accordance with orders received from the major-general commanding, commenced building a corduroy road from Milliken's Bend to Richmond. One regiment (Thirtieth Illinois Infantry) detailed.
Apri1 20.--Constructing road. Additional regiment (Twentieth Ohio Infantry) detailed.
April 21.--Constructing road. Two additional regiments (Sixty-eighth and Seventy-eighth Ohio Infantry) detailed.
April 22 and 23.--Constructing road with four regiments.
April 24.--Road completed and corps moving; Third Division encamped at Richmond. The road-bed of above-mentioned road was thrown up 20 feet wide and 1 foot high, covered with rails taken from adjoining fences, upon which was then thrown 3 inches of earth: ditches upon each side 3 by 3½ feet.
April 25.--Returned from Richmond to select landing place for barges and camping ground for Sixth Division, on Bushy Bayou.
April 26 to 30.--On march to Hard Times Landing.
May 1--Crossed the river and disembarked at Bruinsburg; Third Division engaged in battle at Port Gibson.
May 2.--Entered Port Gibson, and in afternoon crossed Bayou Pierre on raft bridge, constructed under personal supervision of Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson and Mr. S. R. Tresilian. Arrived at south fork of Bayou Pierre about dark, where we found the suspension bridge in flames. The fire was extinguished and bridge repaired by Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, assisted by Lieut. Col. John A. Rawlins and myself.
May 3.--Command commenced moving at daylight. Encamped at Hankinson's Ferry, Big Black River. Here the pontoon bridge, consisting of three floats or barges, had been destroyed or very much damaged.
May 4.--Made a survey of road from Hankinson's Ferry to Rocky Springs. Plat and report submitted.
May 5.--Copying map, repairing bridge, and accompanied Major-General McPherson on reconnaissance 4 miles beyond Big Black, on Warrenton road.
May 6.--Staking out small earthwork at Hankinson's Ferry.
May 7.--Accompanied advance (Third Division)to select camping-ground at or near Rocky Springs.
May 8.--Made survey and examination of lower Utica road from Rocky Springs to Meyer's plantation.
May 9.--Corps moved forward to Meyer's plantation.
May 10.--Made a survey of road from Meyer's plantation to point 3 ½ miles beyond Utica. Command moved forward to point 4½ miles northeast of Utica.
May 11.--Made survey of Raymond road to point 61/2 miles southwest of Raymond and Edwards Depot road (4 miles), as also a thorough examination of all side and connecting roads. Command moved forward a short distance and encamped at Roach's plantation.
May 12.--Battle of Raymond. Skirmishing commenced about 10 a.m. Enemy repulsed and in full retreat at 3 p.m. Encamped in and around Raymond.
May 13.--Accompanied cavalry advance on Clinton road. Confederate cavalry in force on Mississippi Springs road. Occupied Clinton without opposition.
May 14.--In accordance with orders received from the major-general commanding, left camp at 2 a.m. with Seventh Missouri Infantry, for the purpose of destroying railroad track. Moved along the railroad westwardly about 2 miles, tearing up the track, burning cattle-guards, bridges, &c. Returning, arrived in Clinton about 7 a.m., and then moved eastwardly along the railroad toward Jackson, tearing up the track, burning bridges, cattle-guards, &c. About 10 a.m., when about 4 or 5 miles from Jackson, received an order from the major-general commanding to report the Seventh Missouri Regiment to its command and report in person to him, which I did, finding the general in Jackson. Accompanied the Sixth Missouri Cavalry about 4: miles out on Canton road.
May 15.--Commenced retrograde march at daylight, passing through Clinton. Encamped about 3 miles east of Bolton Station, on a branch of Baker's Creek. Made survey and plat of road from Clinton westwardly to this point.
May 16.--Examined roads in vicinity of Bolton Station and from said point westwardly; also reconstructed small bridge about 1 ½ miles north of Bolton Station, recently burned by General McClernand's command. Commenced survey of the road from Bolton westwardly, but battle of Champion's Hill commenced. I pushed on and arrived upon the field at 10 o'clock. After repulse of Confederate army, accompanied the advance in pursuit, arriving at Edwards Station about 8 p.m.
May 17.--Made a survey of the battle-field, and then accompanied the command to Big Black, arriving there about 2 p.m. Commenced construction of cotton bridge about dark, composed of a framework of timber, filled with cotton bales (forty-seven in number), and covered with boards taken from an adjoining cotton-gin. Bridge 110 feet long by 10 feet wide.
May 18.--Bridge completed at 8 a.m. Command commenced moving at same hour. Accompanied the advance. We moved on plantation toad due north to Bridgeport road, and then on Bridgeport road westwardly toward Vicksburg. Headquarters about 1 mile from rebel lines.
May 19.--Opening attack on Vicksburg. Engaged all night in selecting and throwing up works for protection of batteries.
May 20.--Moving up slowly. Artillery doing well; dismounted three of the enemy's guns.
May 21.--Engaged all night in throwing up works beyond white house and constructing battery for 30-pounder Parrotts, which were placed in position to-day.
May 22.--General assault ordered at 10 a.m. Artillery opened promptly, under cover of which our troops advanced, but were repulsed at every point.
May 23.--Orders issued for construction of regular approaches.
May 24.--Captain Powell placed in charge of approaches on General Ransom's front, and Captain Sands in charge of construction of batteries on General Quinby's front. I have taken personal charge of central approach along Jackson road.
May 25.--Flag of truce in, in consequence of which we did very little work.
May 26.--Commenced on main sap with 300 men. Same number went on and relieved day detail at 7 p.m.
May 27.--Three hundred and eighty feet under cover. Same number [of men] engaged in deepening and widening trench. Made survey of our front. New battery on General Ransom's front completed, and line of rifle-pits south of Jackson road being pushed rapidly.
May 28.--Engaged in making sketch of our front, in accordance with orders received from the major-general commanding. Detail upon main trench reduced to 200 men. Enemy more active this morning. They placed a 6-pounder in position on Fort Hill, which was silenced by our guns in about 30 minutes.
May 29.--Main trench completed up to a point 750 feet beyond white house, 8 feet wide by 7 feet deep, with beam and parapet.
May 30.--In compliance with orders received from the major-general commanding, left at 3 a.m. for Big Black River, accompanied by 300 detailed men from General Ransom's command and pioneer company of Third Division. Arrived at Bridgeport, on Big Black River, at 11 a.m. At 3 p.m. commenced moving westwardly along Bridgeport road, obstructing the road by felling trees across same. From Tiffin I sent the pioneer company southwest, on Bovina Station road, with orders to return on Hebron road, obstructing said roads in same manner. Burned the bridges across Clear Creek, and small creek next west of Hebron road.
June 1.--Commencing at Clear Creek, obstructed the road westwardly to our rear picket line, and then moved on into Vicksburg, arriving at 3 p.m.
June 2.--Engaged on main trench. Detail reduced to 150 men. The Third Division pioneer company engaged in making gabions, fascines, &c.
June 3.--Detail on main trench reduced to 100 men. Trench finished up to and through advanced battery, with side rifle-pits, &c.
June 4.--Engaged on advanced battery, putting in embrasures, revet-merits, &c. This work is irregular in shape, of 3,000 square feet, two embrasures on north and one on west face, and open to and covered by batteries in the rear.
June 5.--Advanced battery finished, and main trench carried about 20 feet southwest, with lead-sap down to the road. Detail reduced to 75 men.
June 6.--Two 24-pounder howitzers and one 6-pounder placed in advanced battery, within 100 yards of Fort Hill. Carried the main trench down to and lead-sap across the road.
June 7.--Have a constant detail of 70 men, under immediate charge of General Leggett or staff officer. Work progressing finely.
June 8.--Captain [Adoniram J.] Merritt placed on duty as assistant engineer. Placed traverse over main trench, and built magazine immediately south of advanced battery.
June 9.--Carried lead-sap across the road last night. Am confined to my bed by sickness this morning.
June 10 to 13.--Sick and confined to bed.
June 14.--Visited the work this morning. I find the trench was not carried far enough across the road before making the turn, and was then run too far to the right. Corrected it by cutting away south side and putting up two traverses.
June 15.--Work progressing as usual. Captain Powell's (General Ransom's front) work being pushed forward. He commenced advance work on hill north of advanced battery.
June 16.--Detail at work on main trench and rifle-pits leading from last angle south along crest of hill. The advanced batteries of General Quinby were completed to-day. Began another trench running south, 32 degrees west, along front of curtain of Fort Hill, commencing at a point on main trench, about 25 yards from ditch of Fort Hill. Constructing battery for 9-inch guns near General Logan's headquarters.
June 17.--Building platforms for 30-pounder Parrotts in advanced battery, the enemy having opened with two 20-pounder Parrotts on Ransom's front. Work on trench and rifle-pits progressing as usual.
June 18.--Sap roller burned last night. The working party leaving it alongside cotton-bale, the rebels threw over fire-balls, setting cotton on fire, which communicated to sap-roller before it could be removed. Detail increased to 150 men. The night detail was taken off during mysickness, and, in consequence of near approach to enemy's works, it is not considered advisable to put it on again.
June 19.--Work progressing as usual. Captain Merritt in charge of working par[y of left sap, which is a side cut, covered by our guns in the rear, and running almost parallel with parapet of Fort Hill.
June 20.--Work on main trench progressing as usual. Placed new sap-roller on work to-day. In evening commenced work on Navy (9-inch) battery with a detail of 100 men, putting up heavy parapet, with embrasures reveted with gabions. The enemy have opened with a large mortar in hollow south of Fort Hill, with which they are shelling the Navy battery.
June 21.--Work on trenches progressing as usual. The enemy are using hand-grenades (6 and 12 pound shells) with effect. Being within a few feet of the ditch of Fort Hill, I made a call for all the miners in the command to report to me in person. General Ransom has completed his advanced work, and General Quinby has commenced building Battery Archer for Navy guns.
June 22.--We reached the rebel fort to-day at 10 o'clock with main trench, and cleared away a place to commence mining operations. Experienced considerable annoyance to-day from rebel hand-grenades thrown among the workmen.
June 23.--Thirty-five miners having reported, divided them into three reliefs, of eight hours each; and placing them under charge of Lieutenant Russell, of the Seventh Missouri Infantry, went to work at 9 a.m. Had pushed the gallery (3 by 4) 12 feet under Fort Hill.
June 24.--Captain Merritt sick and confined to his tent. Driving the gallery as rapidly as possible. Have penetrated to a distance of 40 feet, and commenced on branch gallery to left. Can hear the rebels at work on counter-mine very distinctly. Appear to be above and to the left of our gallery.
June 25.--Last night during my temporary absence the miners became frightened at noise made in rebel counter-mine and quit work. Had them rush it ahead this a.m., and finished it before 9 o'clock. Deposited 1,500 pounds of powder in three different branch mines (500 in each): and 700 pounds in center; 2,200 pounds in all. Fuses so arranged as to explode them all at the same instant. Mine tamped with cross-timbers, sand-bags, &c.. and all ready to explode at 1 p.m. As per order, the mine was fired at 3.30 p.m. Perfect success. Troops rushed in and took possession of crater, and detail of pioneer troops went to work under my direction clearing away entrance to same.
June 26.--Having orders to arrange crater for two guns, with proper protection for infantry support, commenced construction of covered gallery in center of crater, from which to lead mines or counter-mines, as the case might require. Finished it before dark, with a loss of 7 of pioneer company wounded. The rebels' hand-grenades (6 and 12 pound shells) being very destructive, the men were called back and placed behind rifle-pits, thrown up across center of crater, where they were perfectly protected against grenades thrown by the enemy, and still be able to hold the crater.
June 27.--Entire force at work on left trench. Sent the detail of miners over to advanced work of General Ransom. Work progressing lively on Battery Archer, and small work for howitzer in front of rebel mortar.
June 28.--It being impossible to continue work on crater until rebels are driven from outer face of said work, we have concluded to spring another mine under parapet to left of crater, for the purpose of uncovering their work. Commenced work on said gallery, running northwest from covered gallery in crater.
June 29 to July 2.--Sick and confined to tent.
July 1.--The mine under left curtain of Fort Hill was fired to-day at 1 o'clock. Perfect success, blowing some 7 or 8 rebels, who were engaged in countermining, within our lines.
July 3.--Flag of truce in; no work done.
July 4.--Vicksburg surrendered at 10 o'clock.
For a more full and complete understanding of engineering operations of
corps, I will most respectfully refer to reports and plat of survey of our
front by Mr. Tresilian, engineer officer of Third Division, Seventeenth
Army Corps, and which have been forwarded direct to chief engineer of the
department. The accompanying sketch* (24
KB) will more fully illustrate the operations upon main or
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