The Union force consisted of the Eleventh Illinois, Colonel Schofield, Colonel Coates's Eighth Louisiana, (colored,) and two hundred of the First Mississippi cavalry, Colonel Ed. Osband, (colored.) The enemy had eight regiments, under command of Ross and Richardson. The fight commenced at eight A. M., and lasted nearly till dark, when the enemy retired. Three hundred of the Eleventh Illinois were surrounded in a small fort of the bluff outside the town. A storm of shot and shell was poured upon them all day, when a summons was sent to them to surrender. They replied that they didn't know what surrender meant. The remainder of the Union force was in town, where they were met by the enemy, who had gained cover of some of the buildings. The contest raged for three hours, when the enemy retired. Two gunboats were in the river, but could render but little assistance. The colored soldiers fought bravely, and sometimes with desperation. The Eleventh Illinois lost twenty-five--nine of whom were killed. Among them was a lieutenant whose name we could not learn. The Eighth Louisiana lost nearly one hundred in killed, wounded, and missing. The First Mississippi cavalry lost two Lieutenants and several men. Our whole loss is set down at one hundred and thirty--that of the enemy at three hundred.
Lieutenant Ingersoll's account
camp Eleventh Illinois infantry, Vicksburgh, Mississippi, March 15, 1864.dear C.: I am not much in the mood for letter-writing to-day, but I will try and write a short one to you. My last was written, I believe, before we reached Yazoo City, on our way down from Greenwood. Colonel Coates received orders while at Sulon to proceed to Yazoo City, take possession of the place, and send to Vicksburgh for camp equipage. When within about six miles of the city, (by land, about fourteen by the river,) Colonel Osband's First Mississippi cavalry, A. D., was disembarked, with instructions to proceed by land to the rear of the town and take possession of all the roads leading, therefrom, in order to gobble up any persons that might attempt to escape, and also to reconnoitre and ascertain what was going on in the vicinity. Major Cook, with a detachment of the First Mississippi cavalry, went out on the Benton road, leading west from Yazoo City. When out about six miles, he came upon what he supposed to be a small scouting party, but which proved to be the advance pickets of General Ross's Texas brigade. He dashed upon them, driving them back into their camp, when they opened upon him with artillery. The Major, having only about sixty men, was forced to get out of that rather lively. A detachment of Ross's brigade followed him up, and they had a running fight till they reached the hills surrounding the city, where the Major made a stand, occupying a small redoubt on the Benton road just outside the city. A despatch having been received by the Colonel, giving a statement of affairs, the Eleventh Illinois, which had just disembarked, was ordered up to the front on the double-quick, and we arrived there none too soon. The enemy fell back as soon as they saw reinforcements coming up. We skirmished with them till dark, when they fell back to their camp. We remained in the fort all night. The Eighth Louisiana occupied a fort, or rather redoubt, (there are seven of them around the city,) to the right of us about three quarters of a mile. The next day company A was ordered to report at headquarters for provost-guard. This was the twenty-ninth of February. From that time up to the fifth of March, we skirmished with the enemy every day, and our cavalry pickets were drawn in nearly every night. A flag of truce was received by Colonel Coates from General Ross, on the fourth of March, asking if the fortunes of war should place some of his men in our possession as prisoners, what should be their treatment, etc. To which a reply was given, that such treatment depended upon the treatment our men (either white or black) received at his hands. About seven o'clock on the morning of the fifth of March, the enemy drove in our cavalry picket, and attacked the infantry picket, which had been strengthened during the night, in considerable force, but were unable to force them to retire, and were compelled to bring up their artillery to dislodge them. Our forces then retired into the fort, ready to welcome whoever or whatever might be sent. They had not long to wait. The enemy formed their lines, which consisted of General Ross's Texas brigade, and General Richardson's Tennessee brigade, (the latter had arrived during the night,) on the ridge northeast of the redoubt held by the Eleventh Illinois, commanded by Major McKee, and a detachment of the First Mississippi cavalry, under command of Major Cook, who occupied the trenches outside of the redoubt. All this time the enemy were peppering away at the fort with a battery of six rifled pieces, and doing some damage, planting the shell inside the fort with great accuracy. After the enemy had formed, they charged down the hill and across the ravine with a yell, our boys sending a shower of bullets among them, till they got under shelter of the bluffs around the fort. They took their position on three sides of the fort, under shelter of the bluff, and within one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards. About twelve o'clock General Ross sent a flag of truce with the demand for a surrender. Major McKee, not liking the style of the thing, returned it without an answer. When Major McKee started to meet the first flag of truce, Major Cook, supposing the flag to have been raised first on our side, called to Major McKee and said: “Major, for God's sake, what are you going to do? You are not going to surrender?” The Major's reply was: “Ask my men if I ever surrender.” At the same time that General Ross took position around the fort, two regiments of General Richardson's command, the Fifteenth and Seventeenth