previous next

[155] fifty prisoners, with all the enemy's artillery (eighteen guns) with much ammunition and valuable public stores.

Disposing the troops on the outskirts of the town, in obedience to a summons from General Grant, I met him and General McPherson at the hotel near the State House, and received orders to at once occupy the line of rifle-pits, and on the following day to destroy effectually the railroad tracks in and about Jackson, and all the property belonging to the enemy. Accordingly, on the morning of the fifteenth of May, Steele's division was set to work to destroy, the railroad and property to the south and east, including Pearl River bridge, and Tuttle's division that to the north and west. This work of destruction was well accomplished, and Jackson, as a railroad centre or government depot of stores.and military factories, can be of little use to the enemy for six months. The railroads were destroyed by burning the ties and warping the iron. I estimate the destruction of the roads-four miles east of Jackson, three south, three north, and ten west.

In Jackson the arsenal buildings, the government foundry, the gun-carriage establishment, including the carriages for two complete six-gun batteries, stable, carpenter, and paint-shops, were destroyed. The penitentiary was burned, I think by some convicts which had been set free by the confederate authorities, also a very valuable cotton factory. This factory was the property of the Messrs. Greene, who made strong appeals based on the fact that it gave employment to very many females and poor families, and that, although it had woven cloth for the enemy, its principal use was in weaving cloth for the people. But I decided that machinery of that kind could so easily be converted into hostile uses, that the United States could better afford to compensate the Messrs. Greene for their property and feed the poor families thus thrown out of employment than to spare the property. I therefore assured all such families if want should force them, they might come to the river, where we would feed them until they could find employment or seek refuge in some more peaceful land. Other buildings were destroyed in Jackson by some mischievous soldiers (who could not be detected) which was not justified by the rules of war, including the Catholic church, and the confederate hotel — the former resulting from accidental circumstances and the latter from malice.

General Mower occupied the town with his brigade and two companies of cavalry, and maintained as much order as he could among the mass of soldiers and camp followers that thronged the place during our short stay there; yet many acts of pillage occurred that I regret, arising from the effect of some bad rum found concealed in the stores of the town.

On the morning of the sixteenth I received a note from General Grant, written at Clinton, reporting the enemy advancing from Edward's Depot, and ordering me to put in motion one of my divisions toward Bolton, and to follow with the other as soon as I had completed the work of destruction ordered.

Steele's division marched at ten A. M., and Tuttle's followed at noon. As the march would necessarily be rapid, I ordered General Mower to parole the prisoners of war and to evacuate Jackson as the rear of Tuttle's division passed out. I paroled these prisoners because the wounded men of McPherson's corps had been left in a hospital in charge of Surgeon Hewitt to the mercy of the enemy, that I knew would renter Jackson as we left. The whole corps marched from Jackson to Bolton, near twenty miles, that day, and next morning resumed the march by a road lying to the north of Baker's Creek, reaching Bridgeport on the Big Black at noon. There I found Blair's division and the pontoon train. The enemy had a small picket on the west bank in a rifle-pit, commanding the crossing, but on exploding a few shells over the pit they came out and surrendered, a lieutenant and ten men. The pontoon-bridge was laid across under the direction of Captain Freeman, and Blair's and Steele's divisions passed over that night, Tuttle's following next morning. Starting with the break of day we pushed rapidly, and by half-past 9 A. M., of May eighteenth, the head of the column reached the Benton road, and we commanded the Yazoo, interposing a superior force between the enemy at Vicksburgh and his forts on Yazoo. Resting a sufficient time to enable the column to close up, we pushed forward to the point where the road forks, and sending forward on each road the Thirteenth regulars to the right, and the Eighth Missouri to the left, with a battery at the forks, I awaited General Grant's arrival. He came up very soon and directed me to operate on the right, McPherson on the centre, and McClernand on the left. Leaving a sufficient force on the main road to hold it till McPherson came up, I pushed the head of my column on this road till the skirmishers were within musket-range of the defences of Vicksburgh. Here I disposed Blair's division to the front, Tuttle's in support, and ordered Steele's to follow a blind road to the right till he reached the Mississippi. By dark his advance was on the bluffs, and early next morning he reached the Haines's Bluff road, getting possession of the enemy's outer works, his camps, and many prisoners left behind during their hasty evacuation, and had his pickets up within easy range of the enemy's new line of defences, so that by eight A. M. of May nineteenth, we had compassed the enemy to the north of Vicksburgh, our right resting on the Mississippi River, with a plain view of our fleets at the mouth of Yazoo and Young's Point; Vicksburgh in plain sight, and nothing separated us from the enemy but a space of about four hundred yards of very difficult ground, cut up by almost impracticable ravines and his line of intrenchments. I ordered the Fourth Iowa cavalry to proceed rapidly up to Haines's Bluff and secure possession of the place, it being perfectly open to the rear. By four P. M. the cavalry was on the high bluff behind, and Colonel Swan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Tuttle (5)
Frederick Steele (4)
J. B. McPherson (4)
U. S. Grant (3)
Chas W. Blair (3)
Mower (2)
Stonewall Jackson (2)
Jacob L. Greene (2)
Frank Swan (1)
J. A. McClernand (1)
Hewitt (1)
Robert L. Freeman (1)
Bolton (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 19th (1)
May 18th (1)
May 15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: