Next day the United States troops formed a close investment; we were really besieged, and the outer world became a sealed treasure to the sixteen thousand unfortunate Confederates inside of Vicksburg
It was lucky for the ‘amour propre
’ of our General-in-Chief
, that his peer, Grant
, did not mass his troops into columns of attack, and walk right in on the Jackson
road the second day he drew up his sixty thousand men before the city, which he could have done if he had pushed his artillery in to take our works in reverse.
Of course he would have had to sacrifice men, but not near as many as he lost in his charges on the stockaded breastworks to the left of the same road, and by disease in his camps.
The morning the charges were made, I started by the way of the graveyard valley to the right of our line near the Jackson
road, and met a soldier, about fifty years old, shot through both cheeks; the blood had clotted his long beard, and he was then trying to staunch the flow of the crimson flood.
In his disengaged hand he carried a shotgun that had been struck by a ball, and the barrels splintered by it. I condoled with him about his wound, and asked him where he was going.
He replied that he was going to get another gun. Of such was the Southern
A little way further up the valley I came across a Missouri Major
, trying to get a piece of artillery to the stockade; he had got the gun in a ditch, and from want of concert between Major
, mules, drivers, and drink, that all hands seemed to be filled up with, it seemed likely that the gun would remain in status quo
. I volunteered to assist; the Major
met me half-way by offering the bung-hole of his little keg of whisky.
As an amendment, I proposed to lubricate the mules by giving the drivers a drink, which was agreed to. After getting the mules stretched out into line, I instructed the drivers to whip up when the Major
sounded his yell, and never to stop until the gun landed in the rear of the works.
One old white-haired darkey, whose temples sported a silk plug hat, who was riding the lead mule, allowed ‘he'd go with that dar gun to them folks fighting sure.’
Well, he did it, but just as he got to the works the gun upset, and niggers, Major
, and Engineer officer ‘dissolved into thin air;’ that is, they ceased putting on any heroic airs.
It was hot at that point, for the Federals
were making their second charge on the stockaded breastworks built across the valley of death.
The rattle of minnie balls, the bursting of shrapnel shells was sharp and continuous.
The dust flew in specks where the leaden messengers hit the ground, the whole air was full of excitement.
I saw but one