previous next

[633] also exhibited the most terrible fighting and the same obstinate resistance. Our troops here, as well as on the right and left, did all that men could do, and held every inch of ground they gained. The enemy were driven, foot by foot, out of their rifle-pits and intrenchments, into their main works, from whence they will never come out, except as prisoners of war. As I before stated, every obstacle that could be placed in the way of our advance, and every art that could render our columns subject to slaughter, was used by the enemy, and with terrible effect. The Allies at Sebastopol bombarded for months and months, from batteries constructed by all the science that military engineering could bring to bear, and with guns of the heaviest calibre, before the assault was attempted; but here we have a case of line after line of intrenchments being carried by troops that have not, in a majority of cases, been one year in the field. The old soldiers in the army of the Potomac cannot do better than we have done here with nine months men.

The lower battery at Port Hudson had been abandoned some days since and the heavy guns spiked, as the position was too much exposed to the fire of our mortars and the broadsides of the heavy ships. Between it and the other works there is a ravine, which also helped to necessitate the abandonment of that work on account of their concentrating all their available force in the main position. When we consider what was accomplished in a few hours, the result may be called a victory of no small proportions. It has never been done before in this war. But the end is not yet; we are to witness fighting at Port Hudson before which that of yesterday will sink into insignificance. It may have occurred to day, and probably did, and I am confident that we are to-night much nearer the accomplishment of our task than we were this time yesterday. The details of this first day's work will be interesting, but no more than I have given has yet reached us. Every day now will bring exciting intelligence until the finale comes and the announcement reaches us that Port Hudson has fallen. What I have related is from an eye-witness who was fortunate enough to get a passage down in the only vessel that left there last evening. He also saw much of the operations of the fleet, which I will give hereafter.

As I predicted would be the case in my letter to you of yesterday, if it was attempted to carry Port Hudson by storm, our loss in killed and wounded is very heavy. The least estimate I have heard is between two and three thousand, which I am led to believe is about correct. When all is taken into consideration, it is not larger, however, than we should expect, and it falls below what I supposed we would sustain. When masses of troops march up to an enemy's works like those of the rebels at Port Hudson, subjected as our men were to a concentrated fire from weapons of all descriptions, the field becomes a slaughter-pen. It is a one-sided affair, until we come to close quarters inside the works, when the chances are equal. Very few names have yet been received of the killed and wounded, although a despatch that I saw says that our loss in officers has been very heavy. It will be many days before any reliable information is received as to the names of those who have suffered. We may have none until the entire affair is over, and perhaps it is better that we should not. The following are those we have heard from:

killed.--General Chapin, no confirmation as yet, General Nickerson, no confirmation as yet; Colonel Clarke, Sixth Michigan; Colonel Cowles, One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New-York, by a bayonet wound; Colonel Payne, Second Louisiana, white regiment; Colonel----, Thirtieth Massachusetts; Captain Hubbard, on General Weitzel's staff.

wounded.--General T. W. Sherman, severely, in the leg — amputation probable; General Neal Dow, slightly, in leg; Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, Second Zouaves, severely, in body.

I am informed that General Banks is determined to carry the position by storm, if he loses ten thousand men in doing so. He will have Port Hudson if it can be had, and he will not sit down and wait for it to come to him, but he will go to it. His army are in the highest spirits; the loss sustained has had no other effect upon their condition than to encourage them to new exertions. They will support the flag and the Commander-in-Chief to the extent of their power, and he knows now the men he has to depend upon, and with them he will add new laurels to the already fine reputation of the Nineteenth army corps.

Heavy reinforcements are being sent up the river to-night, which will greatly add to the strength of the army before Port Hudson, and much more than cover the loss sustained yesterday. Among them is the Ninetieth regiment New-York volunteers, Colonel Morgan, of Key West notoriety, commanding. He is, I understand, by reason of seniority, to have command of a brigade.

The fight commenced as early as seven o'clock yesterday morning, or rather became general about that time. It continued during the greater part of the day, excepting about an hour near noon. At seven o'clock last evening it was raging along the entire line with intense fury, and was going on this morning. Despatches received this afternoon at four o'clock, say that our position was still improving, with every prospect of success.

Our artillery, of which we have a very large and effective force, was splendidly served and did most terrible execution. General Arnold is deserving of the highest praise for the admirable condition of this arm of the service in this department. Our shot and shell fell in a continuous stream upon the enemy; they were compelled to take shelter from our deluge of ten, twenty, and thirty-pounder projectiles and the shrapnel and canister.

We have no means of ascertaining the loss of the enemy; it has no doubt, however, been frightful. Massed as they were to resist our advance, they were mowed down in heaps. The ground was literally covered with their dying and


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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Port Hudson (Louisiana, United States) (7)
Sebastopol (Louisiana, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
G. Weitzel (1)
A. J. Smith (1)
T. W. Sherman (1)
Squire Payne (1)
Nickerson (1)
John Morgan (1)
George C. Hubbard (1)
Neal Dow (1)
Cowles (1)
Clarke (1)
Chapin (1)
N. P. Banks (1)
Jackson Arnold (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: