Logan's Approach to
the Third Louisiana Redan
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
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 was the approach in front of McPherson's corps, on which most work
was done. It followed the ridge along which the Jackson road runs, and
approached a high, commanding salient, called by us Fort Hill, which, if
once in our possession, would have made this part of the enemy's line
untenable. The enemy resisted our approach here more strongly than at any
other point, burning sap-rollers, using mines, and throwing grenades.
Counter-mines (see extract from Captain Hicken-looper's report, Appendix
B(*) were used by us, one heavy one being fired June 25, destroying a part
of the enemy's parapet. An attempt was made to hold the crater, but after
heavy loss from the hand-grenades which the enemy threw into it, the
attempt was abandoned. Another mine was begun, and was to have been fired
when the place was assaulted, but the enemy's miners being heard at work
near it, and it being feared that they might crush our galleries, which
were not lined, the mine was loaded and fired July 1, destroying the
enemy's parapet at this point, and giving a crater 30 feet in diameter,
the charge being about 1,800 pounds, a portion of it damaged powder. It
was afterward ascertained that this explosion crushed the enemy's
galleries and disabled about 25 men--indeed, half a dozen men were blown
into our works. No attempt was made to occupy this crater, as a similar
attempt of June 25 had failed with severe loss. The enemy's salient here
being too high for our men to be able to return the grenades which they
threw upon us so freely, and having no Cohorn mortars, Mr. Tresilian,
civil assistant engineer, had some wooden mortars made by shrinking iron
bands on cylinders of tough wood, and boring them out for 6 or 12 pound
shells. These mortars stood firing well, and gave sufficiently good
results at 100 or 150 yards distance. (See extract from Mr. Tresilian's
report, Appendix C.(+)) We afterward learned that the enemy, lying closely
packed in the salient, suffered severely from this fire. Captain
Hickenlooper, of General McPherson's staff, assisted by Captain Merritt
and Mr. Tresilian, was in charge of this approach.