waiting for the arrival of the mortar fleet which had taken such an effective part in the reduction of Forts Jackson
and St. Philip
. Eighteen of these were in position June 20th, and the garrison had not only this new danger to confront them, but unknown perils from the north, Fort Pillow
having fallen, and the river being open for hostile expeditions throughout its entire course in the Confederate States
, save only at Vicksburg
In spite of all gloomy forebodings the Confederate
garrison worked on with unabated courage, finally completing their ten batteries under fire.
Without reinforcements they endured a bombardment from the mortars and gunboats every day from the 20th to the 27th, at times very heavy and frequently lasting until late at night.
On the 28th General Van Dorn
, department commander, arrived, and with him the advance of Breckinridge
's division, which occupied the city.
Guns were brought up from Mobile
, and elsewhere, and put in battery. Smith's brigade remained at the batteries and with details from Breckinridge
's division guarded the flank approaches, a duty which was shared by Withers
' light artillery, while Starke
's cavalry served on outpost duty on the Yazoo
and Mississippi rivers
The batteries now mounted 29 guns, of which two were 10-inch Columbiads, the rest being old style 42 and 32 pounders.
The fire from the enemy's boats began to increase in fury on the night of the 27th, when for several hours a shower of bomb-shells fell from the batteries that sorely tried the courage of the gunners.
But they kept their places and easily repaired all damage.
‘At daylight on the 28th,’ reported General Smith
, ‘the enemy recommenced with the same fury, and soon the gunboats were moving rapidly up in front of the city, and the fire of thirty-five vessels was directed upon the batteries.
The mortars filled the air with shells, and the ’