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[148] two to three feet in depth, and from ten to twenty feet in width, from the river above the railroad to the river below. Following the inside line of the bayou the enemy had constructed rifle-pits, with the bayou to serve as a ditch on the outside and immediately in front of them. Carr's division occupied the right in investing this place, and Lawler's brigade the right of his division. After a few hours' skirmishing, Lawler discovered that by moving a portion of his brigade under cover of the river bank, he could get a position from which that place could be successfully assaulted, and ordered a charge accordingly. Notwithstanding the level ground over which a portion of his troops had to pass without cover, and the great obstacle of the ditch in front of the enemy's works, the charge was gallantly and successfully made, and in a few minutes the entire garrison with seventeen pieces of artillery were the trophies of this brilliant and daring movement. The enemy on the west bank of the river immediately set fire to the railroad bridge and retreated, thus cutting off all chance of escape for any portion of his forces remaining on the east bank.

Sherman, by this time, had reached Bridgeport, on Black River above. The only pontoon train with the expedition was with him. By the morning of the eighteenth he had crossed the river, and was ready to march on Walnut Hills. McClernand and McPherson built floating bridges during the night, and had them ready for crossing their commands by eight A. M. of the eighteenth.

The march was commenced by Sherman at an early hour by the Bridgeport and Vicksburgh road, turning to the right when within three and a half miles of Vicksburgh, to get possession of Walnut Hills and the Yazoo River. This was successfully accomplished before the night of the eighteenth. McPherson crossed Black River above the Jackson road, and came into the same road with Sherman, but to his rear. He arrived after nightfall with his advance to where Sherman turned to the right. McClernand moved by the Jackson and Vicksburgh road to Mount Albans, and there turned to the left to get into Baldwin's Ferry road. By this disposition the three army corps covered all the ground their strength would admit of, and by the morning of the nineteenth, the investment of Vicksburgh was made as complete as could be by the forces under my command.

During the day there was continuous skirmishing, and I was not without hope of carrying the enemy's works. Relying upon the demoralization of the enemy in consequence of repeated defeats outside of Vicksburgh, I ordered a general assault at two P. M. on this day.

The Fifteenth army corps, from having arrived in front of the enemy's works in time on the eighteenth to get a good position, were enabled to make a vigorous assault. The Thirteenth and Seventeenth corps succeeded no further than to gain advanced positions, covered from the fire of the enemy.The twentieth and twenty-first were spent in perfecting communications with our supplies. Most of the troops had been marching and fighting battles for twenty days, on an average of about five days rations, drawn from the Commissary department. Though they had not suffered from short rations up to this time, the want of bread to accompany the other rations was beginning to be much felt. On the twenty-first my arrangements for drawing supplies of every description being complete, I determined to make another effort to carry Vicksburgh by assault. There were many reasons to determine me to adopt this course. I believed an assault from the position gained by this time could be made successfully. It was known that Johnston was at Canton with the force taken by him from Jackson, reinforced by other troops from the east, and that more were daily reaching him. With the force I had, a short time must have enabled him to attack me in the rear, and possibly succeeded in raising the siege. Possession of Vicksburgh at that time would have enabled me to have turned upon Johnston and driven him from the State, and possess myself of all the railroads and practical military highways, thus effectually securing to ourselves all territory west of the Tombigbee, and this before the season was too far advanced for campaigning in this latitude. I would have saved Government sending large reinforcements, much needed elsewhere; and, finally, the troops themselves were impatient to possess Vicksburgh, and would not have worked in the trenches with the same zeal, believing it unnecessary, that they did after their failure to carry the enemy's works. Accordingly on the twenty-first orders were issued for a general assault on the whole line, to commence at ten A. M. on the twenty-second. All the corps commanders set their time by mine, that there should be no difference between them in movement of assault. Promptly at the hour designated, the three army corps then in front of the enemy's works commenced the assault. I had taken a commanding position near McPherson's front, and from which I could see all the advancing columns from his corps, and a part of each of Sherman's and McClernand's. A portion of the commands of each succeeded in planting their flags on the outer slopes of the enemy's bastions, and maintained them there until night. Each corps had many more men than could possibly be used in the assault, over such ground as intervened between them and the enemy. More men could only avail in case of breaking through the enemy's line, or in repelling a sortie. The assault was gallant in the extreme on the part of all the troops, but the enemy's position was too strong, both naturally and artificially, to be taken in that way. At every point assaulted, and at all of them at the same time, the enemy was able to show all the force his works could cover. The assault failed, I regret to say, with much loss on our side in killed and wounded; but without weakening the confidence of the troops in their ability to ultimately succeed.

No troops succeeded in entering any of the enemy's works, with the exception of Sergeant

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