their touching remarks to the town.
All night long their deadly hail of iron dropped through roofs and tore up the deserted and denuded streets.
It was a feature of their practice that early in the night their favors would be addressed to one part of the city, and afterward changed so as to reach the cases of persons in other parts who had gone to bed in fancied security.
Those who could forget the deadly design and properties of these missiles might admire every night the trail which they made across the western heavens; rising steadily and shiningly in great parabolic curves, descending with ever-increasing swiftness, and falling with deafening shriek and explosion; hurling in many a radius their ponderous fragments.
It is believed by the expert that a mortar shell is the most demoralizing agency of war. Throughout the war the Confederates
had the same horror of them that the other side felt for masked batteries and Black Horse cavalry.
For forty days and nights, without interval, the women and children of Vicksburg
took calmly and bravely the iron storm which, in less volume and in a few minutes, turned back the victorious column of Beauregard
from Pittsburg Landing
They wreaked their worst and utmost on the town, bringing out the most vicious of all war's aspects.
That the ordinary atmosphere of life, the course of conversation, the thread of every human existence took in for nearly two months the momently contingency of these messengers of thunder and murder, is past ordinary comprehension.
How many of them came and burst, nobody can have the least idea.
An account says that on June 22d 150,000 shells fell inside of the city; hut this was probably an exaggeration.
They became at last such an ordinary occurrence of daily life that I have seen ladies walk quietly along the streets while the shells burst above them, their heads protected meanwhile by a parasol held between them and the sun.
Nothing was spared by the shells.
The churches fared especially severely, and the reverend clergy had narrow escapes.
The libraries of the Rev. Dr. Lord
, of the Episcopalian, and of Rev. Dr. Rutherford
, of the Presbyterian church, were both invaded and badly worsted.
One Baptist church had been rendered useless for purposes of worship by the previous shelling.
But what mattered churches, or any sacred place, or sacred exercise at such a time?
There was nothing more striking about the interior of the siege than the breaking down of the ordinary partition between the days of the week, as well as the walls which make safe and sacred domestic life.
During those long weeks there was no sound or summon of bell to prayer.