Page images
PDF
EPUB

our

rear except as we made a few of in silence, save when broken by wood and banded them for close use powder. Not one note of music upon the lines.

had been heard, not even the call Our rifle-pits were pushed in every of a bugle. But the cannonading available direction, closer and still had otten been terrific. After our closer to the rebel lines. No night guns were planted, from two to four but witnessed some gain made, and and six times every twenty-four an opening upon them from some hours, it would seem that our artilnew and nearer point. New bat- lery strove to realize pandemonium. teries also, well protected, at shorter From our heaviest guns to range, continually surprised and smallest brass pieces, how they harassed them, while our covered would break out of comparative ways of approach were everywhere, stillness, and boom, and shriek and connecting batteries and trenches, tear together, some of them just at till our work could be prosecuted as our heads, more with their shells safely by day as by night.

screaming over us, till heaven and Meantime, the enemy in our rear earth seemed crashing together and were not inactive. We knew we all was ablaze with hurtling death! were between two fires, and the be- So the last week in May and siegers were in a measure them- nearly all of June wore away'. selves besieged. The least possible Not a a moment that our sharpslip or oversight on our part might shooters were silent, not many be disastrous. Johnston was an when the spiteful answering " zip” able and wily foe. He had crossed from the long, dirt lines of the the Big Black behind us and was enemy before us, was not heard. only from fourteen to twenty miles Not a foe was in sight. But someaway. Consequently, our over- how from among those sand-bags worked besieging force had to be the smoke wou

would curl and the weakened by heavy detachments minié would come, and woe to under Blair, Osterhaus, and others, the exposed head! Our casualties sent to the rear to reintrench out- were not great, but they were conward, while Kimball, with a bri- tinuous. With bullets all the time gade from the Sixteenth Army in the air, somebody had to be hit, Corps, later a full division from men off duty as well as on.

I saw the same corps under Sovy Smith, Captain DeGolyer of a Michigan and still later two divisions from battery skirmish safely with a secthe Ninth Army Corps under Gen- tion of it, at one time fully exposed eral Parke, arrived and took the at less than half rifle range, to be place of our absent rear guard and fatally wounded by a descending relieved us from our fears.

spent ball, later, while resting in During all this time--in fact from his tent, far in the rear. Most of before the Battle of Raymond-our the losses of my own regiment durarmy had marched, fought, worked ing the siege were of those off duty.

In our

The 18th of June, General Mc- able weariness; come with its 4th Clernand was relieved of the com- on its front and all its pulsing patmand of the Thirteenth Army riotism ; come demanding a finish Corps by General Grant, and Gen- somewhere, an end of this terrible eral E. O. C. Ord was assigned to thing; and the end came.

The it. Then, for the first time in the 3d of July, Grant says about ten campaign, was there harmony be- o'clock, my memory would say tween the commanding general and later, the unusual occurred. What his lieutenants. About this and it was, we hardly knew, and so we everything else of general interest, asked, • What is that?” it was a great relief for us volun- immediate front, at several points teer soldiers, sweltering in the on their rear lines, dirty rags that trenches, to talk. Meanwhile, we might once have been white were could feel that the hold upon the displayed on short sticks. The beleagured city was tightening ,- firing ceased ; and while we looked that the end was approaching and wondered, first the top of a Several points were being under- hat, then a whole hat, such as it mined. Particularly was this the was, appeared and moved along as case in front of McPherson, just to though borne by a head beneath it. the right of the Jackson road, and We had stopped firing and began on the evening of the 25th of June, to lift up our heads to see. Almost 1,200 pounds of powder were ex- in a moment, the blue and the gray ploded in the hope of effecting an were confronting each other in their entrance through the rebel works. long lines almost within reach, locatThe result was very damaging to ing by their presence every trench us, however; a good many noble and danger point from which the lives were sacrificed and no advant- leaden death had just been so fierceage gained.

ly leaping: “ How are you, John?” On the ist of July, the experiment and “ How are you, Yank?"

rang was repeated at their expense ; one pleasantly along the line as from of their forts was blown into the air brothers, and in a few moments with its occupants, most of whom the inevitable commerce in coffee, were buried where they fell, as we hardtack, and tobacco, had asserted subsequently proved, but one of itself, as though that was the only whom, a negro, was blown inside thing remaining to do.

Once a our lines, and was sketched for shot or two were heard, and every Harper's Weekly, by Theodore head went down on both sides. Woods, artist then with Some stentorian voice cried out, This colored man I personally saw, “Down heads!" and the command as he came into General Logan's was easily obeyed; but some one command.

commanded still louder, "Cease July had come ; come with its firing !” and we straightened up to fearful heat; come with indescrib- look down no more at Vicksburg.

an

us.

At 3 o'clock that afternoon, Gen- was ended; the strain was over and eral Grant, accompanied by Gen- there behind those earthworks lay erals McPherson, Ord, Logan, and our vanquished foe. He must be A. J. Smith, passed down a covered vanquished, else why so still. way just at the left of my regiment To my own command, about nine and debouched near the rebel lines, o'clock, came an order to black a few rods distant, to be met by boots and prepare for inspection, three horsemen, who rode slowly the first order of the day; no deover the enemy's works and proved tail ; no fatigue ; how strange! A to be Pemberton, Bowen and Mont- moment later, and from a house on gomery. A conference

A conference was had our left burst forth the strains of of an hour or more, in plain view, “The Star Spangled Banner" from under a willow oak of about a foot our brigade band, of whose existin diameter, which, as Pemberton's oak, has probably furnished more timber than any other tree on the continent. The conference ended, the rest of the day was uneventful: The air was thick with rumors, but they were not deadly, like minnies, por deafening, like shells. Silence for the first time with many of us began to get in its emphasis. The lines seemed to move apart from each other as the night crept on, farther than they had been for weeks, and we actually felt lonely. But few could sleep: a peculiar leaden sensation stole over us all, which forbade slumber. We were mentally alert, keenly so.

REV. R. L. HOWARD. the physical that oppressed us, – that feeling as though we each ence we were most oblivious, so long weighed a ton.

had it been since we had heard it. And so the Fourth drew on. With It was so sudden, so unexpected, the morning, came a change; an so wonderfully sweet, so perfectutter reaction ; not heavy, but lightly sympathetic, so gloriously tri-, we were. We scarcely involved umphant, that it made captives of gravitation. We needed to anchor us all. We trembled with emotion, ourselves lest we should go up. we wept, many of us, like children. We knew nothing more, but it was And just then, in our front a movethe Fourth of July and we felt that ment was noticed. The enemy we were victors. The long battle were astir. Glistening bayonets

[graphic]

It was

could be seen over the top of the three fourths of a mile of the line works as of marching men, and before which we had been so long a moment later, over those same fighting, and look in the faces of works, keeping time to our music, the half-famished prisoners. Their came the vanquished host in arms,

wasted frames and pallor, as well and formed their lines at the subdued

as their lips, bore testimony to the word of command; we heard the low order, “Stack arms,” and the

straitness of the siege, while the rattling click of obedience, and for many graves by twos and threes, miles, as we could see them from

put in everywhere in places shelour post of vantage, the disarmed tered from our fire, where the men foe returned over their so long and in the trenches had buried their stoutly-defended line of works into slain comrades, attested at once to the fallen city.

their valor, and the terrible punishSoon we were ordered to “ fall ment we had inflicted upon them. in," as the First brigade of Logan's When we learned later, as we did division of McPherson's

corps

from casual statements and not from took possession, and were on our

their records, that whole organizamarch past their gun stacks, over tions had been wiped out in the their sand-bags and trenches, and siege, and put that with the 31,600 through their own wan and dirty prisoners and their previous losses, ranks into the city. The day was

the whole campaign on our part excessively hot, the way was long looked like exceeding temerity, it and dusty, but it was the Fourth not rashness, and the issue as from of July, and victory, and when the God and not of man. flag of the Forty-fifth Illinois was

But it was accomplished, the thrown out from the cupola of the Confederacy was hopelessly dividCity Hall, we shouted and shouted ed, the river once more—as four again as it is given to but few mor- days later Port Hudson fell tals for cause to shout.

• flowed unvexed to the sea ;" the So ended the siege of Vicksburg, inspiriting effect upon our people, with 31,600 prisoners, 172 cannon,

and the moral effect upon Europe and about 60,000 muskets, besides were immense; Grant's fame was a large amount of ammunition. It raised high enough above criticism was mine to have charge that after- to enable him to finish the war, and noon and night, for I was then in Sherman educated to march to the command of my company, of about

sea.

A MAINE BOY IN THE TENTH OHIO CAVALRY.

Dedicated to his Brother, Bradbury Smith, of Companies G and A, Ninth Maine

Infantry.

I am the youngest son of George by rail to Cincinnati, thence by boat Stillman Smith, formerly of Calais, down the Ohio river and up the Maine, who married Elizabeth Page Cumberland river to Nashville, Bradley, youngest daughter of the Tenn. Here we camped a few Rev. Caleb Bradley of Westbrook, days, when we marched to Laverne, Maine, popularly known as “ Par- beyond Murfreesboro, to the front, son Bradley.” I was born in Calais, and performed our first outpost and December 31, 1847, and named picket duty. We then went on an Frank. I enlisted October 15, 1862, expedition called the “ Snow Hill at Sandusky, Ohio, as private in scout." I was very ill, barely able the Tenth Ohio Cavalry, Company to mount my horse. We rode all D, Captain J. D. Platt, Colonel day, and at night I was detailed as Smith commanding, measuring five a vidette. The next day, the pursuit feet, five inches in height, and weigh- was resumed after " Morgan." I ing 115 pounds. The regiment was rode with my company, although stationed in barracks at Cleveland, very sick, there being no place for Ohio, when I joined it, and re- a sick man except in the saddle. I mained there till February, 1863. rode in great distress till afternoon, The barracks were barn-like struc- when I partially lost consciousness, tures, and some of the time were but remember being taken from my very cold with heavy winds, mak- horse, wrapped in my blanket and ing guard duty very trying. While laid beside the road under a tree, here, I caught a bad cold and the one of the men volunteering to reconsequences were serious. The main with me. The troop passed weather was so cold that the guards on and went into camp at dusk, were relieved once an hour. Here when Sergeant Waldron we received horses and equipments, back, put me on my horse, brought consisting of Sharp's carbines, me to camp and placed me in an single breech-loader, Colt's ambulance wagon. That night my volver, and sabre, were taught com- blankets were stolen off me. The pany drill, aud occasionally had a troops being on the march, I folregimental drill. Although I suf- lowed in the ambulance, and was fered from the effects of my cold delirious considerable of the time. and from diarrhæa, I kept on my In a few days, the scout was over, duty until we left Cleveland, ex- and we returned to camp and I was cepting one occasion, when ex- sent to the general hospital at Murcused by the captain. In Febru- freesboro, sick now with typhoid ary, the regiment was transferred pneumonia ; here I remained sev

came

re

« PreviousContinue »