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[222] the assault at all points at the same moment--ten o'clock in the morning. At the appointed time, the cannon from the encircling lines burst forth in a deafening roar. Then came the answering thunders from the mortar-boats on the Louisiana shore and from the gunboats anchored beneath the bluff. The gunboats' fire was answered from within the bastions protecting the city. The opening of the heavy guns on the land side was followed by the sharper crackle of musketry--thousands of shots, indistinguishable in a continuous roll.

the men in the Federal lines leaped from their hiding places and ran to the parapets in the face of a murderous fire from the defenders of the city, only to be mowed down by hundreds. Others came, crawling over the bodies of their fallen comrades — now and then they planted their colors on the battlements of the besieged city, to be cut down by the galling Confederate fire. Thus it continued hour after hour, until the coming of darkness. The assault had failed. The Union loss was about three thousand brave men; the Confederate loss was probably not much over five hundred.

Grant had made a fearful sacrifice; he was paying a high price but he had a reason for so doing-johnston with a reenforcing army was threatening him in the rear; by taking Vicksburg at this time he could have turned on Johnston, and could have saved the Government sending any more Federal troops; and, to use his own words, it was needed because the men “would not have worked in the trenches with the same zeal, believing it unnecessary, as they did after their failure, to carry the enemy's works.”

on the north side of the city overlooking the river, were the powerful batteries on Fort Hill, a deadly menace to the Federal troops, and Grant and Sherman believed that if enfiladed by the gunboats this position could be carried. At their request Admiral Porter sent the Cincinnati on May 27th to engage the Confederate guns, while four vessels below the town did the same to the lower defenses. In half an hour five

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