throw shell into the city — some of them having a range of 3 1/2 miles. We still held military possession of the peninsula opposite, which we had vainly tried to coax the Mississippi
to cross; and a 3-gun battery on the levee annoyed the Rebel
garrison, finally burning up their foundery, wherein they were casting shot and shell.
The Cincinnati had been sunk1
by the Rebel
batteries; but there were five large gunboats left--two above and three below the town.
And so, keeping a sharp lookout for an attack by Jo. Johnston
on his rear, Grant
sat down to digging his way into Vicksburg
from the east, with a force not very much superior in numbers to that which he had so badly beaten at Champion Hills and the Big Black, and whose capture was now but a question of time.
was notoriously short of both provisions2
and ammunition--42,000 percussion caps
having been smuggled in to him after the investment; yet lie was ultimately reduced to ten per man. Of his 30,000 men, 6,000 were in hospital.
sick or wounded, leaving probably not more than 15,000 thoroughly fit for duty.
His hopes of relief were slender; for the Big Black in our rear, with the sharp, wooded ridges among which our besiegers were encamped, afforded strong defensive positions, which were carefully improved.
The sheltering woods rendered our camps much cooler than the naked, dusty city; while the deep ravines gave birth to many welcome springs of cool, sparkling water.
Thus our soldiers actually improved in health as they dug their way into Vicksburg
; so that, while Grant
could hardly have put 20.000 men into line of battle the day after the unlucky assault, he had many more effectives a month later; beside which, he had been reenforced by Lauman
's division, and by two others from Memphis
, under Gen. C. C. Washburne
, one drawn from Missouri
, under Gen. F. J. Herron
, and two divisions of the 9th corps, under Maj.-Gen. J. G. Parke
Our first mine was sprung under a principal fort opposite our center, on the 25th, throwing down a part of its face: a bloody struggle following for its possession, in which we but partially succeeded.
Three days later, another face of the same fort was blown off; and now the enemy were obliged to recede a little, constructing or strengthening other defenses behind it; and thus the siege went on — the rugged ground rendering tedious approaches unnecessary — and fort after fort being mined, while counter-mines were run by the enemy — the diggers of either army often hearing the sound of each other's picks, which gave token that only a thin screen of earth divided them.
Had it been essential to dig down those serried heights, which constituted the Gibraltar of the Rebellion
, the work would doubtless have been done; but Famine mines more surely