at heavy loss, had also crossed the bayou at the narrow passage lower down, but could not ascend the steep bank; right over their heads was a rebel battery, whose fire was in a measure kept down by our sharp-shooters (Thirteenth United States Infantry), posted behind logs, stumps, and trees, on our side of the bayou.
‘The men of the Sixth Missouri actually scooped out with their hands caves in the bank, which sheltered them against the fire of the enemy, who, right over their heads, held their muskets outside the parapet vertically and fired down.
So critical was the position that we could not recall the men till after dark, and then one at a time.
Our loss had been pretty heavy, and we had accomplished nothing, and had inflicted little loss on our enemy.
At first I intended to renew the assault, but soon became satisfied that, the enemy's attention having been drawn to the only two practicable points, it would prove too costly, and accordingly resolved to look elsewhere for a point below Haines' Bluff, or Blake's plantation.’ * * * *
Two succeeding efforts to secure a new position from which to attack failed, and two days afterward, as Pemberton
was moving reenforcements into Vicksburg
and out to Sherman
's front, the expedition was abandoned, with a total loss of about two thousand men in killed and wounded.
On returning to the mouth of the Yazoo
there with orders to relieve him.
He thus concludes his account:
‘Still my relief, on the heels of a failure, raised the usual cry at the North of “repulse, failure, and bungling.”
There was no bungling on my part, for I never worked harder, or with more intensity of purpose in my life; and General Grant, long after, in his report of the operations of the siege of Vicksburg, gave us all full credit for the skill of the movement, and described the almost impregnable nature of the ground; and although in all my official reports I assumed the whole responsibility, I have ever felt that, had General Morgan promptly and skillfully sustained the lead of Frank Blair's brigade on that day, we should have broken the rebel line, and effected a lodgment on the hills behind Vicksburg.
General Frank Blair was outspoken and indignant against Generals Morgan and DeCourcey at the time, and always abused me for assuming the whole blame.
But had we succeeded, we might have found ourselves in a worse trap, when General Pemberton was at full liberty to turn his whole force against us.’
And so, according to General Sherman
himself, bad as the assault at Chickasaw Bayou
turned out to be, success