previous next

Doc. 191.-capture of Jackson, Mississippi.

Jackson, Miss., May 14, 1863.
The Union army have undisturbed possession of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, and the headquarters of the department of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana. The Federal flag floats grace-fully from the dome of the State House, Yankee soldiers are patrolling the streets, prisoners are gathering at the guard-house, the sick in the hospitals are being paroled, negroes are grinning horribly from the sidewalks, citizens look silently and sullenly at us from behind screens and closed window-blinds, and all the details of military government are in full operation.

My last was written at Raymond, on the evening after the battle. We encamped there Tuesday night, and early Wednesday morning started for Clinton, a small town on the Vicksburgh and Jackson Railroad. It was considered indispensably necessary for the success of our movement upon Vicksburgh that we should have possession of the railroad and the city of Jackson. We reached Clinton at nightfall and went into camp.

During the night the Seventh Missouri regiment, under Captain Tresilian, of General Logan's staff, moved out on the railroad east and west of Clinton and destroyed it, tearing up the rails and burning every bridge and the timbers across every cattle-guard for four miles each side of the village. The telegraph office and the post-office were seized and rifled of their precious con-tents. From this source most valuable information of the enemy's future movements was obtained. In the express packages left by the train of cars which steamed out of town just as our advance came in sight, several orders from General Johnston were found, and a package of confederate scrip.

At Clinton a hundred prisoners were found, occupants of rebel hospitals. These were paroled and taken in charge by the citizens.

At daylight Thursday morning the army was on the road to Jackson, moving in line of battle. General Crocker's division, formerly Quinby's, had the advance. He threw out a strong advance-guard and a heavy line of skirmishers on his right and left flank, and moved in the direction of Jackson.

All was quiet for the first five or six miles, until we reached a hill overlooking a broad open field, through the centre of which, and over the crest of the hill beyond which, the road to Jackson passes. On the left of this hill the enemy had posted his artillery, and along the crest his line of battle. From the foot of the acclivity, and not a mile removed, we could see the long line of rebel infantry awaiting in silence our onset. Slowly and cautiously we moved up the hill until we came within range, when all at once, upon the heights to the right, we discovered a puff of white smoke and heard the report of booming cannon, followed by the shrill scream of an exploding shell. The first Missouri battery was moved to the left of a cotton-gin in the open field, midway between the enemy's line of battle and the foot of the hill, and played upon the rebel battery with telling effect. The duel was kept up with great spirit on both sides for nearly an hour, when all at.once it ceased by the withdrawal of the enemy's guns. Meantime General Crocker had thrown out two brigades to the right and left of his battery--Colonel Saubon's and Colonel Holmes's — supported by Colonel Boomer's brigade at proper distance. He had pushed forward a strong line of skirmishers, and posted them in a ravine just in front, which protected them from rebel fire. After a little delay they were again advanced out of cover, and for several minutes a desultory fire was kept up between both lines of skirmishers, in which, owing to the topographical nature of the ground, the enemy had the advantage.

At last General Crocker, who was on the ground and personally inspected the position, saw that, unless the enemy could be driven from his occupation of the crest of the hill, he would be forced to retire. He therefore ordered a charge along the line. With colors flying, and with a step as measured and unbroken as if on dress-parade, the movement was executed. Slowly they advanced, crossed the narrow ravine, and, with fixed bayonet, rose the crest of the hill in easy range of the rebel line. Here they received a tremendous volley, which caused painful gaps in their ranks. They held their fire until they were within a distance of thirty paces, when they delivered the returning volley with fearful effect, and, without waiting to reload their muskets, with a terrific yell they rushed upon the staggered foe.

Over the fences, through the brushwood, into the inclosure, they worked their way, and slaughtered right and left without mercy. The enemy, astonished at their impetuosity, wavered and fell back, rallied again, and finally broke in wild confusion. The brave Union soldiers gained the crest of the hill, and the rebels fled in utter terror. Our boys reloaded their muskets and sent the terrible missiles after the fleeing rebels, adding haste to their terrified flight. They cast muskets and blankets to the ground, unslung their knapsacks and ran like greyhounds, nor [615] stopped to look back until they reached the intrenchments, just within the city.

Meantime General Sherman, who had left Raymond the day before and taken the road to the right just beyond the town, came up with the left wing of the enemy's forces and engaged them with artillery. They made a feeble resistance, and they, too, broke and ran, taking the road leading south from Jackson.

After a delay of half an hour, to enable our wearied soldiers to take breath, our column moved forward again.

We reached the fort, and found a magnificent battery of six pieces, which the enemy had left behind him, and a hundred new tents, awaiting appropriation.

The hospital flag was flying from the Deaf and Dumb Institute, and this was crowded with sick and wounded soldiers, who, of course, fell into our hands as prisoners of war. Opposite and all around this building were tents enough to encamp an entire division, and just in front of it, hauled out by the roadside, two small breech-loading two-pounder rifles, used to pick off officers.

Further down the street we found a pile of burning caissons, and on the opposite side of the street, directly in front of the Confederate House, the stores, filled with commissary and quarter-master's stores, were briskly consuming.

Directly in front of us the State House loomed up in ample proportions. Two officers of the Seventh division took the flag of the Fourth Minnesota infantry, and galloping rapidly forward, hoisted it from the flag-staff surmounting its broad dome. The beautiful flag was seen in the distance by the advancing column, and with cheers and congratulations it was greeted.

We had captured Jackson, the hotbed of the rebellion. Guards were established, a provost-marshal appointed, and the city placed under martial law. The citizens, particularly those who sustained official relations to the State and rebel governments, had left the city the evening before; but there were many soldiers left behind, and a large number in hospital who fell into our hands.

The State Treasurer and the Governor were gone, taking the funds and State papers with them. A large amount of government and military property fell into our hands; but private property was altogether unmolested. The offices of the Memphis Appeal and Jackson Mississippian were removed the preceding night — the former to Brandon and the latter to Mobile.

We now have quiet and undisturbed possession of Jackson.

One portion of the rebel force has moved out on the Canton road, and the other on the road south of the city, whence they will both doubtless make a detour around Jackson, outside of our lines, and unite at Edwards's Station, on the Vicksburgh and Jackson Railroad, where the citizens say they will give us battle.

Our loss in the gallant charge by General Crocker's division this morning will reach fifty killed and two hundred wounded. This is, of course, mere estimate, as no reports are yet handed in. For the same reason I am unable to give you the names of the sufferers. Several days must necessarily elapse before this information can be made public. This division will return to Clinton to-morrow, leaving General Tuttle to occupy the city.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stonewall Jackson (4)
Frederick Crocker (4)
Tuttle (1)
Tresilian (1)
T. W. Sherman (1)
Saubon (1)
Quinby (1)
Logan (1)
Albert Sidney Johnston (1)
Eleazur B. Holmes (1)
Doc (1)
Brandon (1)
Boomer (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 14th, 1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: