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[156] being assured that the place had been evacuated, despatched Captain Peters to go in and secure the place.

I inclose Colonel Swan's report, with one from Lieut. Clark, from which you will see that the Fourth Iowa cavalry first got possession of the enemy's battery, (evacuated, of course, when we were in full possession of the Benton road,) and delivered it over with its guns, magazine (filled) and material to the gunboat De Kalb, at the time (four P. M., May nineteenth) lying two miles below in Yazoo River. Also on that day communinication was opened with our fleet at Young's Point and the mouth of the Yazoo, and bridges and roads made to bring up ammunition and provisions from the mouth of the Chickasaw, to which point supply-boats had been ordered by General Grant. Up to that time our men had literally lived upon the country, having left Grand Gulf May eighth with three days rations in their haversacks, and received little or nothing until after our arrival here on the eighteenth.

The several corps being in position on the nineteenth, General Grant ordered a general assault at two P. M. At that hour Blair's division moved forward, Ewing's and Giles Smith's brigade on the right of the road, and Kirby Smith's brigade on the left of the road, artillery disposed on the right and left to cover the point where the road enters the enemy's intrenchments. Tuttle's division was held on the road, Buckland's brigade deployed in line to the rear of Blair, and the other two brigades in the road under cover. At the appointed signal the line advanced, but the ground to the right and left of the road was so impracticable, cut up in deep chasms, filled with standing and fallen timber, that the line was slow and irregular in reaching the trenches. The Thirteenth regulars, on the left of Giles Smith, reached the works first, planted its colors on the exterior slope; its commander, Captain Washington, was mortally wounded, and five other officers were wounded more or less severely. Seventy-seven out of two hundred and fifty are reported killed or wounded. Two other regiments reached the same position about the same time — the Eighty-third Indiana, Colonel Spooner, and the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois, Colonel Eldridge. They held their ground and fired upon any head that presented itself above the parapet; but it was impossible to enter. Other regiments gained position to the right and left close up to the parapet; but night found them outside the works unsuccessful. As soon as night closed in, I ordered them back a short distance, where the shape of the ground gave them partial shelter, to bivouac for the night.

The twentieth and twenty-first instant were consumed in perfecting our system of supplies, opening roads, and putting our artillery in new and more commanding positions, but we could see the enemy similarly employed. During these days our pickets were kept up close, and the enemy was kept uneasy by the appearance of assault at several points. On the twenty-first General Grant issued his orders for a general assault by all the army, at ten A. M., on the twenty. second, the assault to be rapid, by the heads of columns. I placed Blair's division at the head of the road, Tuttle's in support, and left General Steele to make his attack at a point in his front about half a mile to the right. The troops were grouped so that the movement could be connected and rapid. The road lies on the crown of an interior ridge, rises over comparatively smooth ground along the edge of the ditch of the right face of the enemy's bastion, and enters the parapet at the shoulder of. the bastion. No men could be seen in the enemy's works, except occasionally a sharp-shooter would show his head and quickly discharge his piece. A line of select skirmishers was placed to keep them down. Also a volunteer storming party of about one hundred and fifty men carrying boards and poles to cross the ditch. This, with a small interval, was followed by Ewing's brigade, his by Giles Smith's and Kirby Smith's bringing up the rear of Blair's division.

All marched by the flank, following a road selected the night before, by which the men were partially sheltered, until it was necessary to take the crown of the ridge and expose themselves to the full view of the enemy, known to be lying concealed behind his well-planned parapet. At the very minute named in General Grant's orders, the storming party dashed up the road at the double-quick, followed by Ewing's brigade, the Thirtieth Ohio leading. The artillery of Wood's, Barrett's, Waterhouse's, Spoor's, and Hart's batteries kept a concentric fire on the bastion, which was doubtless constructed to command this very approach.

The storming party reached the salient of the bastion, and passed toward the sally-port, when rose from every part commanding it a double rank of the enemy that poured on the head of the column a terrific fire. It halted, wavered, and sought cover. The rear pressed on, but the fire was so terrific that very soon all sought cover.

The head of the column crossed the ditch on the left face of the bastion, and clamb upon the exterior slope where the colors were planted, and the men burrowed in the earth to shield themselves, from the flank fire. The leading brigade of Ewing being unable to carry that point, the next brigade of Giles Smith was turned down a ravine, and by a circuit to the left, found cover, formed line, and threatened the parapet about three hundred yards to the left of the bastion, and the brigade of Kirby Smith deployed on the off slope of one of the spurs, where, with Ewing's brigade, they kept up a constant fire against any object that presented itself above the parapet.

About two P. M. General Blair reported to me that none of his brigades could pass the point of the road swept by the terrific fire encountered by Ewing's, but that Giles Smith had got a position to the left in connection with General Ransom, of McPherson's corps, and was ready to assault.

I ordered a constant fire of artillery and infantry


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