with the exception of the same heavy fire of musketry and artillery, kept up until dark along my entire front.After these several decided repulses the enemy seemed to have abandoned the idea of taking by assault, and went vigorously at work to thoroughly invest and attack by regular approaches, and the history of one day is pretty much the history of all.
May 23.This day was unusually quiet, with but little artillery firing until late in the afternoon. The sharpshooters of the enemy were more cautious, and he was evidently staggered by the severe repulse of the day previous. Many of his dead were still lying unburied in sight of our trenches. The fire from the mortar fleet continued heavy and incessant. At night the engineers were busily engaged repairing in the work in front of Lee, Moore, and Hebert, which were badly shattered.
May 24.At an early hour the mortar fleet opened and kept a continuous and heavy bombardment throughout the day. Just before dark the artillery from the rear opened a rapid and heavy fire, but not of long duration. In the afternoon the enemy attempted to mine our works on the Jackson road, but were soon driven off by the use of hand-grenades. During the night the engineers were engaged in increasing and strengthening our works. Before daylight our river pickets captured a barge laden with coal, which was sunk, it being found impracticable to unload it. General Stevenson was ordered to have collected all the ammunition scattered in front of our trenches, and to have the cartridge-boxes of the enemy's dead emptied of their contents, it being important to all, in any way, to our limited supply of ammunition and musket-caps especially, of which latter we stood greatly in need, having a million more of cartridges than of caps, without which latter the former could be of no possible value.
May 25.The enemy appeared in force to-day on the Warrenton and Hall's Ferry roads. The firing was about as usual until about six o'clock, when a cessation of hostilities was agreed to to permit the enemy to bury his dead, killed in the assault of Friday. The following is the correspondence on the subject:
To which communication the following reply was received:headquarters Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Vicksburg, May 25, 1863.Sir: Two days having elapsed since your dead and wounded have been lying in our front, and, as yet, no disposition on your part of a desire to move them being exhibited; in the name of humanity, I have the honor to propose a cessation of hostilities for two and a half hours, that you may be enabled to remove your dead and dying men. If you cannot do this, on notification from you that hostilities will be suspended on your part for the time specified, I will endeavor to have the dead buried and the wounded cared for. Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Commanding General United States Forces in front of Vicksburg:J. C. Pemberton, Lieutenant-General.
During the day about one hundred prisoners were captured, and a working party was sent to throw up obstructions on the fiat below the city. No circumstance worthy of special note occurred between this date and that of the twenty-seventh. The enemy evidently was discouraged by his previous fruitless and costly assaults upon our works in the rear, and he therefore determined, if possible, to attempt to silence our upper battery, and then, by the aid of his gunboats, to effect a lodgment in the trenches immediately above and beyond it. With this design, on the morning of the twenty-seventh, at about nine o'clock, four of his boats engaged our lower batteries; at the same time, the Cincinnati, a turreted iron-clad of the largest class, and carrying fourteen guns, pushed boldly down the river, rounded the peninsula, and was soon hotly engaged with our upper battery at short range. After a spirited engagement of about forty-five minutes, the Cincinnati was rendered a complete wreck, and only escaped total destruction by being run aground on the Mississippi shore, where she is probably still lying. The lower fleet, witnessing her discomfiture, soon drew off, with what damage to themselves it is impossible to say. The firing from our batteries was most excellent, and too much praise cannot be awarded to Colonel Higgins, his officers and men, for their gallantry, coolness, and skill. The enemy still continued to work steadily in completing and strengthening his line ofheadquarters Department of the Tennessee, near Vicksburg, May 25, 1863--3.30 P. M.Sir: Your note of this date, proposing a cessation of hostilities for two and a half hours for the purpose of giving me an opportunity of collecting the dead and wounded, is just received. As it will take some time to send word to all my forces to avail themselves of the opportunity afforded, and to return this to you so that notice may be given to your troops of the cessation of hostilities, I will name six o'clock P. M., to-day, as the hour when we will commence collecting any wounded or dead we may have still upon the field. From that hour for two and a half hours all hostilities shall cease on our side. Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, (Signed)
Lieutenant-General J. C. Pemberton, commanding< Vicksburg, Miss.:U. S. Grant, Major-General.