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[291] misdirected), also shared in the peril and glory of the assault. But what could valor — the valor of half-a-dozen regiments — avail against such impediments Pemberton had been reenforced, during the 27th, by three fresh brigades from Grenada; and more were constantly coming in. His rifle-pits were filled with sharpshooters, whose every bullet drew blood ; his gunners had the range of the ford, such as it was, and poured grape and canister into our dauntless but momently decimated heroes, who could not advance, and were stung by the consciousness that they were dying in vain. They fell back, by De Courcy's order, quite as rapidly, though not so proudly, as they had advanced : the 17th and 26th Louisiana, by a charge on their flank. capturing 4 flags, with 332 prisoners, and gathering up 500 small arms.

Morgan, who had endeavored to throw a pontoon across, had ordered Col. Lindsey, with his own, Sheldon's, and two regiments of Thayer's brigade, to advance simultaneously with Blair and De Courcy, and ford the bayou farther to the right; but Lindsey failed to execute the order: reporting the narrow point at which the bayou was here fordable covered by a masked battery.

On our right, the 6th Missouri, in A. J. Smith's advance, likewise went forward at noon, and crossed the bayou on a narrow sand-bar; but they found the bank so steep and so thoroughly swept by the enemy's rifles, that they could not force an ascent, but crouched under the bank, occasionally fired down upon by some eager sharp-shooter, till after dark; when they were withdrawn; having lost but 1-1 killed and 43 wounded. But Blair's brigade alone lost 636 men this day; Thayer's, 111 Morgan's division, 875 ; Stuart's brigade, 55: total including that of the 6th Missouri), 1,734: so that this attempt on Vicksburg can not have cost us less than 2,000 men; while Pemberton reports his casualties at only 63 killed, 134 wounded, and 10 missing: total, 207.

Sherman was baffled, but would not give it up. During the rainy night which followed, our men stood or lay without fire in the swamp bordering, the execrated bayou, while their leader visited Admiral Porter on board his flag-boat and concerted new efforts. Next day,1 he scrutinized his own and his enemy's position, and became satisfied that the Rebel lines could not be broken. But might they not be turned? He proposed to the Admiral a combined demonstration against the batteries on their extreme right, upon Drumgould's Bluff, some miles farther up the Yazoo; the Admiral to approach and bombard them, while 10000 choice troops should attempt to carry them by assault: the residue of our army distracting the enemy's attention by menacing his front nearer Vicksburg with a fresh attack.

Porter, as ever, lent a prompt and hearty cooperation; and the troops were accordingly embarked:2 the gunboats being directed to move at midnight slowly and silently up the Yazoo to Drumgould's Bluff; at 4 A. M., engage and silence the Rebel batteries there; then the troops to disembark, storm the bluff and hold it, while cannonades, attacks, and alarms along the bayou, were to prevent

1 Dec. 30.

2 Night of Dec. 31.

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