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[31] three miles below Vicksburg, where the battery was first under fire and had its first lesson in real fighting. The occasion for this was incidental to the passage of Farragut's fleet up the river. Farragut had received most urgent letters from the Navy Department urging upon him the clearing of the Mississippi, Vicksburg being then the only point in the possession of the Confederates. Although he felt that it was impossible to take the city without a large land force, he prepared at once to make the attempt. Sending on in advance a flotilla of mortar boats under Commander D. D. Porter he followed with his fleet of three ships and seven gunboats accompanied by ten transports carrying General Williams' Brigade of four regiments and two batteries—the 2d and the 6th Massachusetts.

To quote from J. S. Knowlton's diary: ‘Our mortar boats commenced bombarding the city of Vicksburg at 4 P. M. We were ordered around the backside of the woods so as to get unperceived to the nearest point to Vicksburg. We marched over five miles and came to a halt on the railroad about three quarters of a mile from the point where we were to go into action. Here we dismounted and slept by our horses until the mortar boats began firing which was a signal for us to start. The firing soon became very severe, which indicated that the fleet had started. We pushed down the railroad, shot and shell falling thick and fast all around us, cutting off trees and plowing the soil at an enormous rate. We soon reached the shore and concentrated our whole fire upon three batteries of the enemy's right wing. Their batteries could be seen blazing from all points of the city. We made some good shots, putting our shell plumb within the enemy's works. They kept up a continual firing on our fleets sending their shots with great rapidity. At 5 P. M., the fleet having passed, we were ordered back to camp, having been engaged an hour and a half. Not a man in our company ’

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Farragut (2)
Zebadiah Williams (1)
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