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[46] fences form nearly a right angle, both the lines of which extend to the river, inclosing a sharp bend in the stream by which our gunboats found it so difficult to pass. The most accessible approach apparently to the rebel earthworks is over a clear field, about six hundred yards in width, and which at first sight presents the appearance of an almost perfectly level piece of ground. This spot, however, since our last assault, has been determined to be, although the most inviting, the most treacherous place along the entire line of rebel defences. Our soldiers in their charge found it to be filled with deep, narrow gullies, too small to cover a large body of troops, and too large to make a passage over them, even for infantry barely possible. Horses are out of the question, and were not used at this point. These artificial ravines are completely covered with fallen trees and vines; which are so arranged as to nearly obscure them from sight, and make an advance over them a matter of extreme difficulty. In our charge upon the enemy's lines at this spot it was impossible for our soldiers to keep in regular order of battle. Frequently whole squads of men would sink out of sight only to be resurrected by the assistance of their comrades. Down the right line of the enemy's works all approach to the fortifications is made exceedingly difficult by high bluffs and deep, irregular gullies. The enemy's rifle-pits are, although bearing the appearance of very wide constructions, built upon the most approved modern engineering skill. Here, again, fallen trees have been so arranged as to make it impossible to move artillery or troops in line of battle. The entire distance of rebel works presented for our reduction are nearly eight miles in extent.

Last Saturday evening the order of attack was determined upon at headquarters and communicated to the Generals who were to command the assaulting columns. Most of the details were arranged by General Grover. The point of attack was the extreme north-easterly angle of the enemy's breastworks. Five or six days previous to the assault several pieces of the enemy's artillery, which had been in position behind their fortifications immediately in our front, were dismounted by our guns and abandoned. Those still in position were rendered useless to the rebels by our sharp-shooters. Rebel deserters and prisoners brought into camp speak of our artillery practice as splendid, and say that they were not able to fire a gun more than five or six times before they had to move it, as the accuracy of our range would work it certain destruction. As before mentioned, we commenced preparations for the attack while yet it was scarcely daylight. The plan of the assault was briefly as follows: The Seventy-fifth New-York, under command of Captain Cray, and the Twelfth Connecticut, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Peck, were detailed as skirmishers, forming a separate command under Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock, of the Seventy-fifth New-York. The Ninety-first New-York, Colonel Van Zandt, commanding — each soldier carrying a five-pound hand grenade, with his musket thrown over his shoulder — followed next in order. The skirmishers were to creep up and lie on the exterior slope of the enemy's breastworks, while the regiment carrying the grenades were to come up to the same position and throw over the grenades into the enemy's lines, with a view to rout them and drive them from behind their works. The Twenty-fourth Connecticut, Colonel Mansfield, with their arms in like manner to the grenade regiment, followed, carrying sand-bags filled with cotton, which were to be used to fill up the ditch in front of the enemy's breastworks, to enable the assaulting party the more easily to scale them and charge upon the rebels. Following these different regiments came, properly speaking, the balance of General Weitzel's whole brigade, under command of Colonel Smith, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York. This command consisted of the Eighth Vermont, Lieutenant-Colonel Dillingham, the One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York, Major Morse, and the One Hundred and Sixteenth New-York, Lieutenant-Colonel Van Petten. Next came Colonel Kimble's and Colonel Morgan's brigades, the last of which, with another brigade, (the name of which I was unable to learn,) was under the general command of Colonel Birge. This force was held to support the assaulting column, which was under the immediate command of General Weitzel, who made the attack on the right. General Emory's old division moved in conjunction with General Weitzel on the left, forming a column. The two divisions--General Weitzel's and General Paine's — were under command of General Grover, who, as has been before stated, planned the whole assault after General Banks's order to advance was received by him. Hence the mode of attack was entirely his own. General Weitzel's division was expected to make a lodgment inside of the enemy's works, and in that manner prepare the way for General Paine's division. After the inside of the enemy's fortifications had been reached, skirmishers were to push forward and clear the way, while both columns were to be deployed in line of battle and move toward the town of Port Hudson, where a grand citadel, which forms the last means of rebel defence, is situated.

I have thus far been speaking of General Grover's command exclusively, and the plan above given is applicable only to his movements, as determined upon at the time of its adoption.

About daylight the Seventy-fifth New-York, which had been slowly advancing, approached the enemy's works sufficiently near to see his fire. Previously the columns of the main body of General Grover's command were formed in the woods skirting the enemy's breastworks. The Twelfth Connecticut, during the night, had lost its way in the woods, and the Ninety-first New-York was ordered by General Weitzel to take the place that had been assigned to it and follow immediately in the rear of the Seventy-fifth New-York. After the advance of the Seventy-fifth and Ninety-first regiments, General Weitzel's entire command commenced moving forward. Several days previous our army engineers had been preparing a covered

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Godfrey Weitzel (7)
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