direct firing, and by saving the men they were fresh night and day to meet close and serious attacks, such as occurred before the termination of the bombardment; besides, the enemy were thus kept ignorant of our real strength as well as the effect of their own shot. It was not long before they apparently came to the conclusion that no impression could be made on our works by their gunboats, nor the erection of new batteries prevented whenever attempted; and the remaining six batteries, of the ten first mentioned, were constructed under their eyes. From the twentieth of May to the middle of June the firing was kept up at intervals, and more or less heavy the latter part of the time. directed mainly at the town, and at localities where they apparently thought troops were encamped. From the fourteenth to the eighteenth of June there was an entire cessation of the attack, the mortar-fleet that had bombarded Fort Jackson and Fort Philip being on the way here to join in the attack. They began to arrive on the eighteenth, and to the number of eighteen or nineteen were in position on the twentieth, on the afternoon of which day the bombardment again opened. Prior to this a new source of anxiety arose. Fort Pillow and Memphis had fallen, and in addition to the attack we were enduring, Vicksburg was threatened by a combined land and naval force from above. From the twentieth to the twenty-seventh the bombardment was pretty constant during the daytime, at times very heavy, but generally ceasing at ten or eleven o'clock at night. On the evening of the twenty-seventh the firing began to increase in fury, and for some time a shower of bomb-shells was rained upon our batteries that severely tried the nerve and courage of both officers and men, still the damage was quickly repaired, and the men held their places at the guns. At daylight, on the twenty-eighth, the enemy recommenced with the same fury, and it was soon perceived that the entire gunboat fleet was in motion, moving rapidly up in front of the batteries and city, and it became apparent that the decisive struggle was at hand. Some thirty-five vessels were soon firing as rapidly as possible, the mortars filling the air with shells, and the sloops-of-war and gunboats delivering broadside after broadside of shot, shell, and grape, according to their distance. Our batteries opened as soon as the vessels were within range, and, for the first time in full force. The roar of cannon was now continuous and deafening, loud explosions shook the city to its foundations, shot and shells went hissing and tearing through trees and walls, scattering fragments far and wide in their terrific flight. Men, women, and children rushed into the streets, and, amid the crashing of falling houses, commenced their hasty flight to the country for safety. This continued for about an hour and a half, when the enemy left; the vessels that had passed the lower batteries continuing on up the river, apparently as the quickest means of getting out of range; those that had not passed, rapidly dropping down. The result of this effort on the part of the enemy was most satisfactory. Not a single gun was silenced or disabled, and, to their surprise, the serious bombardment of the preceding seven days had thrown nothing out of fighting trim. It also demonstrated to our satisfaction that, how large soever the number of guns and mortar-boats, our batteries could probably be successfully held, consequently that the ultimate success of our resistance hinged upon a movement by land. The enemy evidently came to the same conclusion, as, after one week's bombardment with their mortars, and the final attempt, on the morning of the twenty-eighth of June, to silence and take our guns, the attack sensibly decreased in vigor and persistency. Up to the twenty-eighth there had been great pressure on my command, owing to the limited number of men. The situation of the enemy's fleet, and the peculiar shape of the river in this vicinity, combined with the proximity of the Yazoo and the expected descent of a large force from above (as reported), had necessitated a rather heavy line of pickets, extending along a distance of twenty miles. To keep up this line, and sustain a heavy attack at the same time, taxed the energies of my men to a great extent. The arrival of the advance brigade of Major-General Breckinridge's reserve corps was a great respite, and, as the force was gradually increased, thus bringing us to an equality in numbers with that which accompanied the fleet, it was almost felt that Vicksburg was no longer besieged. The general command of these defences was assumed by Major-General Earl Van Dorn on the twenty-eighth of June, Major-General Lovell having been relieved by him from the command of the Department. Being authorized to make requisitions on the reserve corps for whatever force was deemed necessary to carry out the plan of defence, the picket front was, after the twenty-eighth, divided into five divisions, the two extreme ones guarded, by detachments from my brigade (Third Louisiana), the remaining three by detachments from Brigadier-Generals Preston's, Helm's, and Colonel Statham's brigades, reinforced by light batteries from Colonel Withers' artillery. The fleet from Memphis began to make its appearance above on the twenty-sixth of June, and continued to receive accessions until it numbered, in all, forty odd gunboats, mortar-boats, rams, and transports. Firing commenced from this fleet on the twelfth of July, and although at no time as heavy as from the lower fleet, continued, with but little interruption, until the final bombardment of the attack. On the morning of the fifteenth, the daring passage of the ram Arkansas, out of the Yazoo, through the enemy's fleet, seemed to necessitate a prompt descent of those vessels that had passed up on the twenty-eighth, and everything was accordingly placed in readiness for them. A new battery of twenty-four-pounders, just erected, was manned by a light artillery detachment from Preston's brigade, under Lieutenant Gracie, and sharpshooters, from
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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