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´╗┐Title: War Experiences and the Story of the Vicksburg campaign from "Milliken's Bend" to July 4, 1863 - being an accurate and graphic account of campaign events taken from the diary of Capt. J.J. Kellogg, of Co. B 113th Illinois volunteer infantry
Author: Kellogg, John Jackson, 1837-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "War Experiences and the Story of the Vicksburg campaign from "Milliken's Bend" to July 4, 1863 - being an accurate and graphic account of campaign events taken from the diary of Capt. J.J. Kellogg, of Co. B 113th Illinois volunteer infantry" ***

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[Illustration: Capt. J. J. Kellogg]

                            WAR EXPERIENCES

                            And the Story of

                         The Vicksburg Campaign


                      "Milliken's Bend" to July 4,

                Being an accurate and graphic account of
                Campaign Events taken from the diary of

                          CAPT. J. J. KELLOGG

              Of Co. B, 113th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

                             COPYRIGHTED BY
                          CAPT. J. J. KELLOGG

                           THE DAY WE STARTED
                                FOR WAR.

                Recollections of Captain J. J. Kellogg.

The day we left home for the war was an eventful one, and the incidents
crowded into that day will never be effaced from my memory.

There was a rally that afternoon, upon which occasion we added some
important names to our company roll. Some of the boys who then enlisted
in our ranks were prominent in our local society and passed current in
the ranks of our best young people. Others came out of their obscurity
for the first time on that occasion, and were first known and noticed on
the day of their enlistment. I had never intimately known Isaac Haywood,
who was afterwards my bunkmate, until that day. I first made the
acquaintance of Tom Wilson then, but it would require too much space to
name all the comrades I then met. And when the great struggle finally
ended, how few of those fair-haired, bright-eyed boys were permitted to
return to their old homes. Only a small squadron of lithe-limbed,
bronze-faced fellows came back. I loved Ike Haywood on sight. I think I
was mainly attracted towards Ike because of his eccentric ways, odd
manner of speech and his wonderful good nature. Dame Nature had gotten
Ike up without especial regard to good looks, but had braced, propped
and generally supported his irregular features with wonderful bones and
sinews, all contained in a close knit wrapper of inflexible cord and
muscle. Like other unusually powerful men, Ike was usually the very soul
of good nature; but when fully aroused and forced on the aggressive he
was known and acknowledged to be a holy terror. He had long powerful
arms and hands, broad shoulders, thick neck, surmounted by a
bullet-shaped head with small ears. He had thin red hair, faded red
mustache, was squint-eyed and wore a half smile on his peach blossom
face, and his under lip sort of slouched down at one end. He looked
funny at all times, but more particularly was he comical when he tried
to be in sober earnest.

Tom Wilson, on the contrary, was a handsome boy and a school teacher by
profession, but I can't waste time and space in extended personal
descriptions of my comrades.

The war excitement had fully aroused the patriotic citizens of our city,
and the simple message which the gallant Major Anderson had sent under
the first flag of truce to Governor Pickens at Charleston in which he
asked, "Why have you fired upon the flag of my country?" found an echo
in every loyal heart, and we young men found ourselves asking in fierce,
hot whispers, "Why have you fired on the flag of my country?"

The fragment of a company had already been enlisted there and forwarded
to camp at Cairo, and that day the citizens had made a supreme effort to
fill its ranks at least to the minimum. I can describe but faintly the
patriotic turmoil of that day. I only remember that along every highway
leading into town came overloaded vehicles in apparently unending
procession, bearing their burden of human freight. Flags fluttered from
windows, and business fronts were swathed with patriotic bunting. The
thundering discharge of an old anvil seemed to jar the universe at each
discharge. At stated intervals the brass band also played loudly and
harshly from the band stand, and the recruiting squad paraded the
streets with fife and drum. A reverend gentleman spoke at the city hall,
and as he waxed warm and eloquent, more than a score of men walked up to
the desk and signed the enlistment rolls.

Tom and Ike and I subscribed our names on the roll together. When Tom
Wilson got up and declared his intention to enlist everybody cheered
vociferously. In the little speech he made with trembling voice he
reminded his friends that he must surrender to their care his aged and
helpless mother during his absence. That she gave her husband and his
father to the country in the Mexican war, and he had hoped the privilege
would have been accorded him to tenderly care for her in the decline of
her life, and that he was the only slender reed she had to lean upon in
the world, etc., etc. Ike and I followed Tom, and in turn several others
followed us. The crowd yelled and cheered themselves hoarse, and coming
forward irrespective of rank or social position, cordially shook our
hands and spoke encouraging words to us. When the rally ended we had our
full complement of men, and were ordered to be ready to go to the front
when our train which had been ordered should arrive that night.

In the evening the citizens gave us a farewell banquet with an
interesting program. A glee club sang patriotic songs; a student of the
high school declaimed "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; a Mexican war
veteran volunteered suggestions as to the best means and methods of
avoiding camp diseases in active military service, and as to the best
and most approved treatment of severed arteries, fractured limbs and
contused heads. An old Mississippi steamboat captain with a glow of ripe
cherry mantling his cheeks and nose, spoke at some length recommending
whiskey and quinine if obtainable, but whiskey anyhow for river and
swamp fevers, and gunpowder and whiskey for weak knees. Though strongly
urged, neither Tom Wilson nor myself spoke, but Ike couldn't excuse
himself satisfactorily when solicited, and though greatly against his
inclination, he was fairly lifted to his feet by his new comrades, and
as nearly as I can remember said substantially, as follows:

"Feller citizens, the time has arrove when every galloot that cares a
tinker's darn for the Union orter go to the front. I'm goin' fer one. I
haint got much book larn'n but I reckon I can soon larn to cock a cannon
or lug a musket 'round and in this racket, I b'leve I've got edication
'nuf to know which way to shute. I never have ranked very high in this
community, and don't 'spect to get much higher than a brigadier in this
war, but I'm goin' to help our fellers drive them rebels from pillar to
post, and if necessary drive 'em right into the post, but what we git
'em b'gosh. This supper you women have given us was luscious, and I
b'leve I shall taste it clear through the war. I want to bid all the
folks and more specially you fellers who could go to the war just as
well as not and won't, goodbye. If yer ever tackled in the rear while
we're down there in the front, let us know and we'll come up and help
you through."

At the conclusion of the banquet exercises, each newly enlisted man
hurried away from the hall to arrange for his departure. The families
and friends of those living at a distance, were nearly all in town to
witness the departure of friends and loved ones. The streets of the town
were crowded with excited citizens and visitors. There was the faithful
mother with tearful eyes and blanched cheeks clinging to the arm of her
soldier boy and bravely struggling to calm the throbbings of her aching
heart. The sad eyed father and sorrowing brothers and sisters were
standing near, each vainly trying to say encouraging words. A group of
half tipsy recruits joked and laughed and sang snatches of patriotic
songs with thick and wobbling tongues. Across the street in the shadow
of the maples, a boy and girl paced to and fro with slow and measured
steps. Maybe afterwards that girl when her hair was frosted with age
remembered that last promenade with bitter tears, and again maybe the
grim old war kindly gave back to her at the last her boy, lithe-limbed
but bronzed by the sulphurous breath of battle.

I saw Tom Wilson hurry home after the banquet, and I knew he had gone to
stay with his old mother and assist her in preparing his meagre
belongings for departure, and I knew what the agony of that parting
would be when the supreme minute of departure actually came. And when I
called for him on my way to the depot, I saw him unclasp her loving arms
from his neck and lay her almost unconscious form tenderly upon the
lounge. He kissed her pale lips, and with a great sob hurried out across
the threshold of his humble home. At the gate we met Mrs. Haywood, who,
having bade her own son goodbye, was making her way to the Wilson home
to try and comfort and be comforted in their common sorrow. We bade Mrs.
Haywood a tender farewell, and we promised to watch over her boy through
the days of his absence, and she in turn assured Tom that she would care
for and protect his dear old mother to the best of her ability. When
Mrs. Haywood had passed into the house, Tom turned and watched the
window anxiously until he saw again the dear old face with its
straggling gray locks framed there, and then with our modest bundles
under our arms and hats drawn down over our flushed, sad faces, we went
slowly down to the depot. And when almost to the depot, Tom could still
see that window with its precious living picture. With streaming eyes
she had watched him drifting out of her life. Tom was her only child. He
was all she had on earth to cling to and love. For many years his meager
earning had supported the home. Ever since the death of his father the
boy had been her idol. And now in her old age, not only was she to be
deprived of his presence and companionship, but also of the simple
little income his labor had produced. And she at last saw her darling
drifting away from the shores of her simple life out into the blue
depths of the Union army, maybe never to return. She had given the
country the father, now the country had taken the only son. The measure
of her sacrifices was more than full and almost more than she could

Arriving at the depot, many farewells were said to us by both friends
and strangers, as the processions of men, women and children swept along
the platform ere the coming of our train. The queenly Miss Frankie Bell,
whom we young fellows had always considered with her wealth and beauty
too high and mighty to ever deign to notice one of us common fellows,
actually sobbed when she pressed our hands, and pledged poor Tom Wilson
that his aged mother should be her especial charge during his absence
and should want for no comfort which her means could obtain. And when I
saw the glad look her assurances had brought out on Tom's face, and knew
so well her ability to do all she promised, she all at once became in my
estimation the grandest and most angelic woman I had ever beheld. And at
last the low rumble of our train was heard in the distance, and the
click of the strumming rails warned the anxious waiting friends that the
final farewells were now in order and must be said quickly. Ike at the
last moment appeared upon the scene, actually staggering under his great
load of boxes and bundles. He was sweating and puffing like a porpoise,
and said as he came up to us, in his usually droll way. "Got a few
things here mother fixed up for us to chaw on the way down to war."

We had to laugh at him. On his shoulder he carried a dry goods box
crammed full. From his waist belt dangled an old battered coffee pot and
cracked skillet. In his left hand he carried a mammoth cloth satchel
wadded so full that ghastly stumps of a roast turkey were protruding
from its gaping mouth. To the smiling bystander he said with a comical
squint, "The feller who won't provide for his own household is wus than
an infidel, b'gosh." It was plain to be seen that Ike had fully
anticipated and provided for his most pressing wants during our trip to
the front. As the train came wheezing up to the platform, the perfect
shower of goodbyes, farewells, Godspeeds and kisses, hugs and hand
pressures were hastily enacted, the locomotive tolled mournfully for a
brief space, the conductor shouted, "All aboard," the engine began to
wheeze and cough, and the train crawled slowly away into the shadows of
the night. The citizens cheered the vanishing cars, and we sent back an
answering cheer, which hardly rose above the rumble of the receding
train. We watched the lights of the old home town until they were
finally quenched in the thick midnight gloom, as we were whirled away
toward the scene of conflict. We were destined for Cairo, where the
other part of our company awaited us. When we had gotten out beyond the
limits of the old home town we suffered a reaction, and those who had so
recently wept now talked and laughed excitedly. The long faces began to
broaden, and the compressed lips curl into smiles. Some one led off with
"John Brown's Body, etc., etc." and by the time they got his body
mouldering in the grave everybody was singing and they sang hysterically
and wildly.

When all had howled themselves hoarse, they raided their well-filled
lunch baskets and ate like famished wolves, notwithstanding the fact
that every soul of them had been crammed and wadded with food at the
banquet that evening. If the mothers and friends of those boys could
have seen them in their wild carousal they would have thought them
heartless and dissembling wretches but such judgment would have been
wholly unjust. This line of action was the result of the relaxation of
the overwrought nerves and muscles. Every old veteran of the civil war
will recall many occasions where the relaxation of overwrought nerves
made him act very foolishly.

The effect of that hour of final leave taking upon the depot platform
upon our boys was not wholly unlike that afterwards sustained on the
battle line just preparatory to an engagement, when an occasional double
leaded message jarred the sensitive membrane of a fellow's ears as it
scooted by with a cold hiss or a shell shrieking and seething in its mad
flight through the upper air; such occasions not only try men's nerves,
but they try men's souls. Finally things settled down and everyone
sought repose and some manner of rest. I watched from the car window,
the lights flitting past as the train forged steadily ahead. Station
after station had been passed while we caroused and slept. For the men
were sprawled out through the coaches in every conceivable position, now
forgetful in their heavy slumber of both home and friends. Late in the
night a sudden jerk of the engine tumbled me off my seat, and this was
the first knowledge I had that I had actually been asleep. As I rubbed
my sleepy eyes, I saw the outlines of an angular form picking his way
towards me, and carefully over-stepping the sleeping forms that lay in
his path. He carried a big satchel, and made manifest his mission when
sufficiently near me. It was Ike, and he opened his remarks by saying
"Thought 't was 'bout time we foddered up." He lounged down beside me.

"I was taking it pretty comp'table back yonder till the durned old
engine just yanked me off my roost," he said.

He explored the inside of the old satchel, and brought out a goodly
supply of provender. "The boys must have sung themselves to sleep," said
I for want of something better to say.

"Yes," drawled Ike, as he sliced off two huge chunks of roast turkey
breast. "They kept John Brown's body moulderin' in the grave till it
seemed to me the corpse got mighty stale. I tell ye, Jack, we may fetch
the rebs down with our muskets," he continued, "an frighten them with
wild whoops, but we'll never charm 'em much with our singin', I reckon,"
he mused as he busied himself spreading our lunch on the opposite seat.

"I guess the boys had to do something extraordinary to overcome the sad
sensations the parting engendered," said I.

"Prob'ble," said Ike, as he bolted a ponderous chunk of roast turkey. "I
felt 'siderable like yelpin' myself, but couldn't see as 'twould add
anything much to the infernal racket, so I jes held my yelp."

I partook freely of the tempting lunch thus offered, and blessed the
careful forethought of Mrs. Haywood which had supplied us such a luxury.
Eating revived my spirits amazingly, and though not depressed by parting
with relatives, as my relatives were all far away, yet I was terribly
saddened by the goodbye from my best girl.

"Who knows," said I, "but what the war will soon wind up without much
more fighting and bloodshed and we within a few weeks will go rattling
back home over this road all safe and sound?"

"I don't know," said Ike, "mor'n you do, but I can't get the igee out of
my head that we will yet see some of the dog blastedest fightin' and
killin' afore we fellers return home that ever jarred the gable end of
this 'ere universe. I tell you, Jack Kellogg," he continued, as he
hurriedly imported the lunks, chunks and slabs of provender into his
capacious mouth, "ef ther ain't no blood on the moon fore long then my
cackalation has jumped a cog. I tell you this here thunderin' fuss of
ringing bells, blowin' whistles, drummin' and fifin' and shootin' great
guns and husselin' a lot of us fellers off down here atween two days,
aint none of Mrs. Winslow's soothin' syrup, by a gol durned sight. It
all means bloody noses an' black eyes, I tell ye, and there'll be vacant
cheers 'nuff t' seat a concert hall fore it' all done with, I tell ye."

This was a long speech for Ike to make, but he made it in such an
earnest manner with such impressive gestures and vigorous delivery that
I was greatly impressed with the belief that his statements were
probably true.

At many of the stations through which our train passed straggling
soldiers were waiting to go to their commands, and boarded our train.
And under the dim light of the station lamp we saw the weeping mother
hold her soldier boy close to her aching heart as they kissed the last
long, good-bye kiss. Those affecting scenes so often re-enacted before
us contributed in no small degree to intensify the solemnity of that
hour. At one station standing on the depot platform was an ominous
looking box, and in the few minutes we were delayed there we learned
from an old gentleman that it contained the remains of his boy which he
was taking back to mother and the old northern home for burial. His
soldier boy had been killed in a skirmish with the rebels down in

On the evening of the third day from home the train which bore our
detachment pulled slowly into Cairo. In every direction as far as eye
could discern, we saw an unbroken blaze of camp fires. An ear-splitting
din of strange and unusual sounds filled the air. Mule drivers were
haranguing their teams in blasphemous eloquence, as the poor creatures
floundered through the bottomless roads, and liberally applied the
merciless lash to the backs of those poor patient, overloaded creatures.
The roll and beat of drums blended and echoed and swelled, filling the
night with weird hoarse thunder. Distant headquarter bands were
concerting noisily, and newly arrived commands went splashing along the
muddy highways to some destination beyond the line of our vision. Staff
officers and orderlies galloped their smoking steeds hither and yonder
at wonderful speed. Black ambulances toiled slowly along the crowded
tracks with their freight of the sick and suffering. Steamboats ablaze
with signal lights coughed, whistled and wheezed out on the dark bosom
of the Mississippi, while the volley of brays from the mule corral smote
our ears like the concluding blasts of the very last trumpet.

"The hull United States seems to be goin' to roost down here," observed
Ike as he leaned out of one of the car windows and observed the

"Beats a camp meeting," chipped in somebody else.

"Don't seem to be much discipline in this end of the army," said

"I reckon they'll have to cheese this racket 'fore they catch any fish,"
another remarked.

And all these and many other comical remarks were made by our boys, as
they contemplated the new situation from the cars and patiently awaited
orders to go to camp.

It was indeed a great relief to us when an orderly bestriding a jaded,
mud-bespattered horse finally rode up and informed us that he would take
us to camp. Accordingly we disembarked, fell into line and set out for
our campground.

After a deep wading, tiresome zigzagging along miserable roads, devious
and uncertain paths and blind trails, across sloppy and splashy
summer-fallows, for what seemed an interminable distance, we at last
reached camp.

In anticipation of our coming, the camp boys had prepared us a
regulation army supper consisting mainly of beans, bacon, rice and hard
tack, with the usual black coffee accompaniment. Notwithstanding the
rude coarse rations, the hungry recruits laid to and ate with a
wonderful relish and offered no excuses. To be sure, as the supper
progressed, many humorous observations were made by the boys, touching
the kinds and quality of Uncle Sam's menu and the manner of its service.
Notwithstanding the coarse rations offered and the fact that every
mother's son of them had been continually gormandizing ever since we
left home, each did ample justice to his first army supper. Haywood
discovered the corpse of a lightning bug embalmed in his plate of beans,
and another equally as observing and curious fished the remains of an
unknown beetle out of his rice. A detachment of daddy long legs charged
to and fro across the bacon platter, and divers bugs and insects swarmed
around the sputtering candles. One recruit soaked his hard tack in his
coffee until it bloated up like a toad, and Ike, while wrestling with a
piece of swine belly, allowed he probably "wasn't the first feller that
had had holt of that."

"Ike, how do you like the grub?" asked Tom, when he had lounged down
beside a stump, after eating.

"Better'n I 'spected," said Ike, "Haint got used to them tacks yet, but
the pepper'n salt was passable."

Then we stowed away our luggage, finding places for our traps and boxes,
and selecting sleeping places. Observing that two blankets could be
utilized by two persons bunking together better than one blanket could
serve one lone person, they paired off and mated up like spring geese.
As might naturally be supposed, Ike and I bunked together. We spread our
blankets at the roots of a tree where Haywood allowed we would be a
little above high-water mark, and by the time the numerous regimental
bands and bugles were sounding tattoo, we were well tucked away for the
night, and though this was an entirely new experience to us, we were
only too glad to stretch ourselves out in the open air between two
coarse army blankets. As we pulled the drapery of our couch about us,
Ike got a sniff of carbolic acid upon our blankets and asked me if I
"catched onto the deathly fragrance of our bed clothes." I told him I
noticed a peculiar smell.

"Smells like a woodpecker's nest," continued Ike. "Guess they've been
packing limberger cheese 'r suthin' in 'em.

"No," said I, "but I suppose the blankets have been treated with some
preparations of disinfection."

"Took us fer a lot of lepers, I spose," said Ike.

"Hardly that," I replied, but I explained to him that it was my
understanding that all army blankets were perfumed in this way for
protection against moths and perhaps for sanitary reasons.

"Prob'ble," Ike murmured drowsily, and his next breath was a hoarse

I was very tired, but could not at once go to sleep, and for some time I
remained awake amid my strange surroundings and looked out into the
night and listened to the wild weird noises of the camp. Above me,
through the tangle of twigs and vines appeared the starlit sky; the
campfires shone on either hand far out into the night, and away over the
fields and forests came the good night bugle calls, the soldier's
lullaby, softly saying "go-to-sleep, go-to-sleep, go-to-sleep, soldier,
sleep, go-to-sleep." From the mule corral came volley upon volley of
subdued, tongue-tied braying, and the old steamboat engines coughed down
at the river landing. Those strange sounds at last sent me also to
dreamland, but I believe my last sleepy thoughts were tapping at the
window of my old northern home.

I have already related in this article more than one day's experience in
my war life, unlike what I intended to do at the onset, but all is so
closely linked together that I felt I must add the first night in camp
to the article to make it complete, and so I have added more.

The reveille on the succeeding morning brought us tired fellows out all
too soon. It seemed that scarcely ten minutes had elapsed since
retiring, when the wild blasts of bugles, jarring drums and screaming of
fifes aroused us from slumber. Ike rolled up onto his elbow and
remarked to me, "Them fellers out there are jovial cusses, aint they,
pounded their drums and things all times of the night." I told him I
guessed this was one of the calls.

"Might have waited 'till we got fixed up a little fore they called,"
said Ike, sitting up on the blanket. "I supposed we come to stay all
night," with a questioning squint at me.

"No," I told him, "this is a different kind of a call. The thundering
they gave us last night just as we went to bed was what they call
tattoo, and meant to go to bed. The few whacks of the drum and snorts of
the bugle afterwards meant to put out the lights, and this racket means
to fall in for roll call."

"Wal, I swow," said Ike, pulling on one of his boots. "They treat us
like a lot of kids, don't they? But I say, you don't pretend to imagine
if a feller should take a cramp 'r some other pain in the night, he
couldn't strike up a light to find his pills nor nothin', do ye?"

I told him I thought not, because in war times, if every soldier was
allowed to fire up in the night at will the enemy could shoot us just as
well as in the day time.

"B'gosh, there's sense in that," replied Ike, as we fell in for roll

That day we elected our officers.


                               CHAPTER I.

                            SCENES ENROUTE.

IT was May 7, 1863 when Company B, 113th Illinois Vol. Infantry, to
which I belonged, started from Milliken's Bend, La., with the balance of
Grant's army for the rear of Vicksburg. That day we marched 14 miles and
at night camped on a beautiful plantation and procured raw cotton from a
nearby gin to sleep on.

By noon of the 8th we had reached the banks of Woody Bayou and halted
there for dinner. That night we had arrived at the plantation of
Confederate General Fiske and appropriated some of his fresh beef for
supper. We made 19 miles that day.

The 9th we pursued our march along Roundaway Bayou through a beautiful
fertile country covered with vast fields of corn and other crops, and
splendidly built up. We crossed some streams upon pontoon bridges, and
saw our first alligators in that bayou. We also saw scattered along the
roadside many dead horses and mules, and passed the smoking ruins of
many plantation buildings. We ate our dinner on the grounds of
Confederate Judge Perkins. We passed through magnolia groves in full
bloom, and along miles of blossoming rose hedge; beautiful and fragrant
beyond description. At night we arrived at Lake St. Joseph and camped on
its shores. All along our route the houses were deserted by all whites
and able bodied colored people, only the sick, the aged and decrepit

On the 10th we continued our march along the shores of Lake St. Joseph.
Out on the surface of the lake numerous old gray-backed alligators lay
sleeping, and ever and anon a musket would crack and one of those old
gators would clap his hand on his side and go out of sight with a
splash. A number of dead gators with bullet holes in their bodies had
floated ashore. Today we passed immense fields of grain, one corn field
comprising 1,400 acres; and also passed the smoking ruins of plantation
houses more frequently. At 4 o'clock we got to Hard Times Landing, on
the Mississippi river, opposite Grand Gulf and encamped for the night.

The 11th until 4 o'clock we laid off waiting for ferryage across the
river and while some went fishing, others spent the time in any
amusement or recreation they chose, but at that hour a gunboat arrived
and we fell in and went on board of gunboat Louisville and were ferried
across to Grand Gulf, where we went into camp with our brigade at the
foot of the high bluff. The camp was full of happy contrabands who
patted juba and danced nearly all night to the music of a cane
instrument unlike any other musical instrument I ever saw.

At an early hour on the 12th we marched away over the hills for Rocky
Springs. This country was rough and sterile and not nearly as productive
as Louisiana. At the end of 18 miles we went into camp for the night in
a beautiful grove on a hill close to a spring of pure, cold water. We
killed some sheep and chickens for supper, but where they came from only
the Lord and some of our boys knew.

The 13th we continued our march through Rocky Springs, across Big and
Little Sandy creeks, and through a vastly finer country than yesterday.
We arrived at the town of Cayuga that night and made our quarters in a
church, and when the church bell rang furiously about midnight, we were
told No. 10 wanted the Corporal of the guard.

The 14th we got a very early start but it soon began to rain and very
soon we were wading in red sticky mud. We ate our dinner, well sheltered
from the rain, in another country church, and at night we got quarters
in a deserted plantation house. There we got supper and made our coffee
in an old fashioned fireplace. We also, at least two of us, slept on a
bedstead like white folks that night, but the bed bugs perforated us
numerously. We were then 30 miles from Jackson and 14 miles from the
advance of Grant's army. During the night the enemy molested our pickets
and we got out to the tune of the long roll, but no blood was shed.

The 15th we continued our march to Raymond, arriving there at 2 o'clock
p. m. There we halted an hour and visited our wounded friends and
acquaintances of the 20th Illinois, then at that point, who had been
wounded that day in the battle of Raymond, after which we pushed on 8
miles farther to Clinton and made our camp in the college grounds on the
hill. At Clinton we found and paroled a large number of rebel sick in
hospitals. Our boys visited the sick and wounded rebels in these
hospitals and gave them crackers, tobacco and coffee or any little
delicacies they happened to have, the same as they would have treated
their own comrades, and many a poor sick Johnnie's eyes grew moist in
those rebel hospitals because of the kindness of the Yanks to them that

The 16th we remained in camp at Clinton until noon, and then in
compliance with orders, when Steel's division came through from Jackson,
we fell into his line of march and marched away towards Boulton, and
camped that night within a mile of that town. I desire to mention here
that in the early morning today General Grant with a few mounted
attendants went through Clinton at a rapid pace towards Black river or
Champion Hills.

The 17th we proceeded towards Black river with Steel's division, passed
through Boulton at 10 a. m., and shoved so close to a body of the enemy
that our commander threw us into line of battle with ambulances close on
our heels and trains trailing in the rear. But a few scattering shots
resulted, however, and we arrived at Black river at 7 p. m., and there
rejoined our brigade. We crossed Black river on a pontoon bridge,
proceeded 2 miles farther towards Vicksburg and camped in the woods by
the roadside.

Early the 18th we resumed our march for Vicksburg, 24 miles away, and
when within 4 miles of said city we rubbed against a rebel force, and in
line of battle pushed them gently back to their works, behind which they
disappeared. We then went into camp on one of the walnut hills behind
our heavy picket line. And what a noisy night was that, my countrymen!
The pickets on both sides kept up a steady fusilade throughout the
night. I undertook to pool my blankets with our Major (Williams) that
night, and we made our bed on the exposed slope of the hill. Hardly had
we get cleverly stretched out for a snoose when a rebel bullet struck
the cold clammy earth just about three-fourths of an inch northeast of
the lobe of my left ear. Some Mississippi soil was precipitated into my
face thereby. I called the major's attention to the fact and proposed a
change of base to the other slope of the hill about 10 rods away. The
major made light of my proposition and said, "Lie still and go to sleep
and you won't hear 'em strike." I waited a few minutes longer until a
few more bullet chugs smote upon my ear, when I got up hastily and with
my blanket went and lodged on the other slope of the hill. I'm no
coward, but I didn't want to be accidentally killed without knowing
something about it.

                              CHAPTER II.

                         THE CHARGE OF MAY 19.

ON the 18th of May, 1863, Vicksburg was completely invested. A year
before the first attempt was made against this fortified city, and in
reply to a demand of surrender at that time the rebels said:
"Mississippians did not know and refused to learn how to surrender to an
enemy." Now we'uns had arrived and proposed to teach them how to
surrender to an enemy.

Some time before daylight on the morning of the 19th we were quietly
aroused and instructed to prepare our breakfasts without noise or
unnecessary fire or light. Every man of my company proceeded, by the aid
of twigs and dry leaves, to make just fire enough on the protected slope
of the hill, to boil his tin cup of coffee and broil a slice of
diaphragm um et swinum for the morning meal. We did not at first know
what the program for the day was, but before we had dispatched our
breakfast it was whispered to us by those who claimed to have access to
headquarters that we were scheduled to charge the enemy's works in the
early morning. I hadn't had a good view of the Vicksburg fortifications
the day before, and now in the first faint light of the morning, while
the men were eating and making preparations for the charge, I crept
cautiously out on the crest of the hill, and so far as I could without
exposing myself, contemplated the defenses against which we had to
charge. Three strong bastioned forts on the right, center and left on
high grounds within a line of entrenchments and stockades confronted us.
It required but a brief inspection to satisfy me that more than likely
we wouldn't go into town that day. I confess that my observations did
not in any great measure increase my confidence in our ability to take
the place by assault. When I returned to my company I saw many of the
boys entrusting their valuables with hasty instructions to the few lame
and sick ones, who must needs stay behind and care for the company
effects while we were gone. I felt like turning over my stuff also, but
happened to recollect I had no valuables. From the outlook I was
satisfied very many of us would not answer to roll call that night, and
I felt that I might be one of the silent ones. A more beautiful May
morning than that of the 19th I had never seen. The pickets had ceased
firing, the birds sang sweetly in the trees, and the cool morning breeze
was fragrant with the perfume of flowers and shrubs. It was hard to
believe that such a beautiful morning as that would bring such an eve as
followed it. When the sun was well up then the various bodies of our
troops were quickly marched to their respective positions in what was to
be the charging line. My regiment was marched forward and to the right
of our night's position, to the base of the last range of the Walnut
hills, and we were instructed then that when all of our batteries fired
three volleys in rapid succession our whole assaulting column was to
move forward and charge the enemy's works. The space intervening between
our line and the enemy's fortification over which we must pass was badly
cut up by ravines and hills and covered by brush and fallen trees. When
the signal for the general assault came my regiment, the 113th Illinois,
belonging to Giles A. Smith's brigade of Blair's division and Sherman's
army corps, was among the first to make a determined attack. While
awaiting the signal to go in we had been practicing, over a big sycamore
log behind which we were crouching, a few long range shots at the rebel
stockade, but when the three rapid artillery discharges came we first
stood up, then we scaled the log and pushed forward. On our immediate
right was the 6th Missouri, and I being on the right of our regiment
went in side by side with the men of their left. A lieutenant on the
left of that regiment was in his shirt sleeves and wore a white shirt;
he and I went side by side for several steps, when he lunged forward
upon the ground, and in the quick glance I gave him I saw a circle of
red forming on his shirt back. The leaden hail from the enemy was
absolutely blinding. The very sticks and chips scattered over the ground
were jumping under the hot shower of rebel bullets. As I now recall that
experience I can but wonder that any of us survived that charge. The
rough and brush strewn ground over which we had to charge broke up our
alignment badly, and every soldier of our command had to pick his own
way forward as best he could without regard to touching elbows either to
the right or left.

When about two-thirds the way across the field I found myself with one
corporal of my company considerably in advance of the rest of our men,
and we two knelt down behind a fallen tree trunk to watch and wait their
coming. When thus on our knees a canister shot entered the bottom of the
corporal's shoe and lodged in his ankle joint, and while I was assisting
my comrade in cutting off his shoe and prying out the bullet, most of
our company passed by us. When I again stood up, I could see a fragment
of our line only, to my left, with which I recognized our colonel and
regimental colors. I started towards our flag, but had gone only a few
steps when one of the enemy's shells exploded in front of me, and when
the smoke had lifted a little I saw that our regimental flag and the
colonel had gone down. From under the end of a log beneath where the
shell had exploded rose up a comrade, Darrow by name, his red shock of
hair powdered and plastered with the dust and dirt of the explosion and
his eyes flashing with indignation. "Ain't it awful?" said I to Darrow,
and the profane wretch replied indifferently, "They're shootin' damn

I went on towards the enemy's works looking for the men of my company
and when within half gunshot of the rebel stockade, in a shallow gulley
where the freshets had some time worn a little ditch, I found a squad of
seventeen of my regiment hugging the ground and keeping up a steady fire
on the rebel works. I lay down with them at the upper end of the line
where the cover was the least, because it was the only place left for
me, and I thought of the words of old French General Blucher, who was a
veritable giant and always stuck up half his height above the
entrenchments, Napoleon said to him one day when under fire, "Now,
Blucher, you can afford to stoop a little?" "Damn your bit of a ditch,"
said Blucher, "it ain't knee deep!"

And there lying flat on our backs and loading our pieces in that
position, with the merciless sun blistering our faces, we passed that
day of dreadful fighting. Once during the day, when some of our forces
made an advance demonstration off to our right, we saw the slender blue
line advance for a distance and then, repulsed, retire, leaving the
field thickly strewn with the blue sheaves Old Death had gathered so
quickly. Then a rebel battery was run up behind the enemy's work in our
front and enfiladed our lines. Then how gloriously our little squad did
pepper that battery when they would run it up in sight. We silenced the
battery, but by our carelessness we lost one of our number killed, shot
in the center of the forehead, and five others wounded. Often that day
the bullets from front and rear passed so closely above our prostrate
bodies that the short cane stalks forming a part of our cover, were cut
off by them and lopped gently over upon us.

But we fared better than other regiments of our brigade. On our left
Sherman's regiment, the 13th regulars, lost 77 out of a total of 250
men; their commander, Captain Washington, was mortally wounded and
every other officer of the regiment more or less severely wounded. Also,
the 83rd Indiana and the 127th Illinois on our right suffered more than
we, but such a long dreadful day it was without food or water, under the
excessive heat of the sun, lying flat in that old gully, but hardly
daring to move a limb or change our position for fear of attracting a
rebel volley. As the sun sank in the west and we saw night approaching,
our fears were excited for our safety. We well knew if we remained where
we were until nightfall the enemy would sally out of their works and
capture us, so we held a parley and agreed that at a given signal all of
us who could would scatter and run for some near cover in the rear,
where resting briefly we would run on to other covers still further to
the rear, until the dusk of approaching night would finally shield us,
and we carried out that program so faithfully that all who made the run
escaped unscathed. My first sprint took me to an old dry sycamore stump
a few rods away, behind which I threw myself just in time to escape
being numerously punctured. When I got good and ready I ran again, and
again, until I could no longer discern through the gathering shadows the
long long line of rebel stockade behind me, and then I stopped and took
one long breath--bigger than a pound of wool. Not one of my comrades
could I then see. They had scampered away like a bevy of partridges and
were swallowed up in the gloom of night. When I was making my way
rearward through a patch of cockleburs up the slope of the hill, I heard
a wounded man groaning nearby, and I went to his assistance. He was shot
through the leg above the knee, and I had to stop some of the incoming
stragglers to assist me in taking him back to the field hospital. When
we got him down into the first ravine, he begged so piteously for water
we laid him down and with my canteen I groped along in the darkness
until I heard the trickling of a spring and managed to catch enough
water to stay the poor fellow's thirst until we got him back to a
surgeon. Then it was night, in the shadow of those great forest trees,
of the blackest description. None dare make a light or fire. In every
direction could be heard soldiers calling for their comrades without
responses. I didn't know where the headquarters of my regiment was, and
I could find no one who could tell me. I was both thirsty and hungry. I
was heartsick and tired. It was getting awfully cold. I sat down at the
roots of an old forest tree and tried to sleep. All night long I heard
the stretcher bearers bringing in the wounded, and I thought I would
freeze before morning.


                              CHAPTER III.

                           SHARPSHOOTING FROM
                             WALNUT HILLS.

WITH the first faint flush of day the morning of the 20th, I was up and
taking soundings for the locality of my company headquarters. I was as
stiff as an old foundered horse, and my head ached and felt swelled. The
battle was still being waged by the advance pickets of the contending
forces, but the fearful rumble of yesterday's battle had subsided
entirely. Nothing appeared in that early morning, at first, to recall
the horrors of yesterday, but as the daylight began to pour in amongst
the trees, and the mists of night lifted, some evidences of the fray
came into sight. The smoke that filled the heavens during that conflict
had rolled together into one great window and hung away out on the rim
of the horizon. The light breath of wind wafted from over the
battlefield, it seemed to me, savored of blood. At the rear of the field
hospital a score of legs and arms were stacked up awaiting burial and
some blood stained stretchers laid where the tired stretcher bearers had
carelessly abandoned them. The faithful surgeons had plied the knife,
and worked on, ever since the assault began, and now at the dawn of
another day were not nearly done.

Old Sol was splashing his crimson and gold over the blue of the eastern
concave when I finally found my company quarters, and the men were
already blazing away at the enemy from the crest of the nearby hill. In
the headquarters tent I found three delicious smoked hams, from which I
at once carved three or four slices and ate them raw. From the lacerated
appearance of those hams it was apparent that other famishing men had
dined there before me. Think of making a meal on raw smoked ham and
water. I hadn't a mouthful of bread or anything that would take the
place of bread, not even slippery elm, to chuck in with that ham. We
were hungry when we got to Vicksburg on the 18th, because we had been
living on half rations and what we could cramp on the march ever since
we left Grand Gulf. I had one last hardtack when I got to Vicksburg that
I saved and carried for several days, and it looked like a medallion off
a prize cook stove. The luster arising from the sweat and grime on that
hardtack was too dazzling for anything. The worms lurking within it came
out occasionally and admired their reflections mirrored upon its
surface. Men got very hungry on that march to the rear of Vicksburg. It
will be remembered that Grant cut loose from his base of supplies when
he left Grand Gulf. I heard men say that they partially subsisted by
chewing newspaper advertisements of provisions. Such a delicious
breakfast as that raw ham I never ate before nor since. I was never more
thankful for a meal. I blessed the hog that furnished the ham and the
swain who salted and smoked it.

My breakfast dispatched, I joined my company behind a slight breastwork
on the crest of the hill, where we blazed away at the rebel stockade
with little, if any, intermission all day long. Heavy ordnance was
brought into play as well as muskets, and gave and took solid shot and
shell to our heart's content. All that day our army was hurrying up
additional heavy ordnance onto the besieging line its whole extent, and
each new piece, as it came up to its position joined its hoarse bark to
the din of all our other war dogs. Such a jolly old racket it was to be

All day long the loopholes in the rebel stockade were spitefully
spitting red fire in our faces, which fire we returned with a vengeance.
We made a good deal of noise all that day and the next with very little
execution, because both the enemy and ourselves were under cover. Some
funny things happened in those first days of the investment. When we
arrived at the rear of Vicksburg on the afternoon of the 18th a picnic
party of about thirty ladies, mostly rebel officers' wives, was
intercepted and forbidden to return to the beleaguered city. They plead
and threatened, tearfully, scornfully, impertinently, to effect their
release, but all to no purpose. They were informed that the city was
then besieged, that the lid, as it were, was on, that none could now go
in but armed men, and none could come out but prisoners. What could they
do but submit? We were 30,000 strong. They were three ciphers less. We
outnumbered them by a crushing majority. General Grant ordered them to
be quartered in a large furnished double house, which the owners had
abandoned upon our coming, and there under a safety guard they drew
their U. S. army rations from day to day during the forty-two days of
the siege and raised Ned generally. An old discordant piano happened to
be in their prison, and they pounded the poor old thing until it would
bellow like the bull of Bashon. One day General Grant and an adjutant
general rode up in front of the house, and while there upon their
horses, one of the ladies, who was promenading backward and forward
across the piazza, observing that Grant was smoking a cigar, said to
him, "Soldier, give me a cigar." "With pleasure, madam," said the
General, handing her a weed. Adjutant General Robbins, understanding
that the little lady was wholly unacquainted with the name or rank of
the distinguished individual whom she was so flippantly addressing,
said: "Madam, allow me to make you acquainted with General Grant, of the
United States army." The poor frightened woman turned pale, stared
wildly at the General, dropped her cigar, and fled inside the house. As
the officers rode away, about thirty noses were flattened against the
windows as those beautiful captives peered fearfully out to catch a
glance of that terrible General whom the south feared most "of all."

When the Waterhouse battery was throwing an occasional shot or shell
against the stockade trying to effect a breach in it, a voice behind the
enemy's works would call out at every shot, "A little more to the
right," or "A little more to the left," as the case might be, evidently
trying to make light of our shooting. The battery officer thought he
pretty nearly located the owner of the voice, and trained his gun for
the next shot upon that point. After firing for several seconds nothing
was heard, and just as we had about made up our minds the derisive cuss
was killed he yelled, "For God's sake cease firing." He had evidently
had a close call.

On the night of May 21st we were informed that tomorrow morning we would
again assault the works by the engagement of the whole line. It was
arranged for the assault to take place at precisely 10 o'clock on the
morning of the 22nd. So determined was Grant to have the attack by the
various corps simultaneous that he had all of the corps commanders'
watches set by his own.

When we were formed in the line of assault and my company, B, 113th
Illinois Volunteer infantry, was at rest in place, an officer of Grant's
staff came to us with the proposition that any three men who would
volunteer to go in the storming party, then forming to be sent in
advance against the enemy's works, should have sixty days furlough home.
We looked into each others faces for some seconds. We were speechless
and felt a dread of what might develop. We knew that as a general thing
the man who volunteers and goes into the storming party "leaves all hope
behind." It means nearly sure death. Like the Irishman I didn't want to
go "and leave my father an orphan." Finally there was a movement. Old
Joe Smith, white headed, rough visaged and grizzled by the storms of a
half century, stepped to the front and calling back to his bunkmate
said, "Come on, Lish," and Elisha Johns filed out by his side. Then
after a brief interval Sergt. James Henry volunteered for the third
place. Company B's quota was now complete, and those brave fellows
hurried away to take their places in the ranks of the storming party.
Some reader of these lines may ask, "Why didn't General Grant detail men
for the storming party?" Because, when soldiers enter upon a service
that gives them only one chance in a hundred to survive it, the
commander doesn't like to bear the responsibility of their deaths, and
tenders them the precious privilege of voluntarily dying for their
country. We looked upon our three comrades as already dead or wounded
men, but strange to relate, although a majority of that gallant band
fell in that action, not one of our brave fellows was injured by the
missiles of the enemy, and all of them received from General Grant their
furlough home as promised.

This storming party, provided with boards and rails to bridge the ditch
outside the stockade when they got to it, led the advance or attacking
column. And while we stood in line breathlessly awaiting the order to
move forward ourselves, I watched that little force of 150 men rush
forward towards the battlements of the enemy. How they scurried forward,
leaping over the logs and brush lying in their pathway as they pushed on
through that leaden and iron hail of death! A scattering few seemed to
reach the salient of the bastion and laid down against their works in
time to preserve their lives, but as it appeared to me through the
clouds of sulphurous smoke a greater part of the blue forms were
scattered along their line of advance stretched upon the earth
motionless in death. It had come our turn now to face the lead, and we
were ordered to fix bayonets.


                              CHAPTER IV.

                           CHARGE OF MAY 22D.

WHILE waiting the charge of the storming party and watching their
progress across the field to the enemy's works, I noticed a group of
general officers close to our left, composed of Grant, Sherman and Giles
A. Smith, with their field glasses, watching the little storming party
painting a trail of blood across that field. Those distinguished
commanders, unlike ourselves, were standing behind large trees, and
squinted cautiously out to the right and left, exposing as little of
their brass buttons as possible, and I think I saw them dodge a couple
of times. I thought of the convincing speech the officer made to his
command on the eve of the battle, when he assured them that he might be
killed himself, as some balls would go through the biggest trees.

General Ewing's brigade led the assault after the storming party had
sped their bolts, and advanced along the crown of an interior ridge
which partially sheltered his advance. This command actually entered the
parapet of the enemy's works at a shoulder of the bastion, but when the
enemy rose up in double ranks and delivered its withering fire his
forces were swept back to cover, but the brave and resourceful old Ewing
shifted his command to the left, crossed the ditch, pressed forward, and
ere long we saw his men scrambling up the outer face of the bastion and
his colors planted near the top of the rebel works.

Our brigade was formed in a ravine threatening the parapet, 300 yards to
the left of the bastion, and we had connected with Ransom's brigade.
From that formation we fixed bayonets and charged point blank for the
rebel works at a double quick. Unfortunately for me I was in the front
of the rank and compelled to maintain that position, and a glance at the
forest of gleaming bayonets sweeping up from the rear, at a charge, made
me realize that it only required a stumble of some lubber just behind me
to launch his bayonet into the offside of my anatomy, somewhere in the
neighborhood of my anterior suspender buttons. This knowledge so
stimulated me that I feared the front far less than the rear, and forged
ahead like an antelope, easily changing my double quick to a quadruple
gait, and most emphatically making telegraph time. During that run and
rush I had frequently to either step upon or jump over the bodies of our
dead and wounded, which were scattered along our track. The nearer the
enemy we got the more enthusiastic we became, and the more confidence we
had in scaling their works, but as we neared their parapet we
encountered the reserved fire of the rebels which swept us back to
temporary cover of a ridge, two-thirds of the way across the field, from
which position we operated the rest of the day. When we got back there
we had been fighting and maneuvering for more than three hours. Once
during the assault I remember the 116th Illinois was on our left. Gen.
Giles A. Smith was between me and that regiment; Colonel Tupper, its
commander, was making a speech to his men and advising them to take the
works or die in the attempt. I thought then, and I have had no reason to
change my mind since, that Tupper was gloriously drunk. General Smith
snatched off his hat and yelled, "Three cheers for Colonel Tupper." I
caught off my cap and together we gave one full grown "Hurrah" and about
half another, when the explosion of a monster shell inconveniently near
us adjourned the performance sine die. I saw also at another time during
the fight, a captain coming back from the front on the run; he had been
wounded in the wrist. A man was trying to lead him off the field, but
couldn't keep up with the fleet footed captain. He was vainly trying to
clutch the wounded man's coat tails as he pursued him, and though under
a deadly fire at the time, more than a hundred of us who beheld the
race, laughed heartily. When we got behind the ridge we were ordered to
lie down, and it felt good to know that we had even a little ridge of
solid earth between us and the enemy's bullets. We lay there on our
backs and looked back into the throats of the artillery as it shelled
the enemy's works over our heads. We could see the balls distinctly as
they were discharged from the cannons, and they looked like bumble-bees
flying over us, only somewhat larger. While we were thus watching the
flight of the balls, one of them struck and cut off the top of a tall
sapling standing between us and the cannon; the ball by that means was
depressed, and instead of going over us came directly for us and into
our midst. Every one who saw it thought, as I did, that the ball was
coming straight at him. I rolled over to avoid it; I heard the dull thud
of its striking and a scream of agony, and I stood up and looked. That
ball had struck and carried away the life of Morris Bird, a private of
Company H, and the only son of a widowed mother. I saw a private of the
4th Virginia, which regiment was sheltered there with us also, rise to
his feet to fire his gun, when one of our cannon balls took off his
head, and it was a clean decapitation, too. The enemy shelled us
incessantly the rest of the day after we gained this position, and it
cost us many brave men.

One close call of an exploding shell knocked me senseless and took off
the right arm of Louis Cazean, a private of my company. They told me
afterwards that poor Cazean, when he lifted up the fragments of his
shattered right arm dangling from the white cords and tendons, said,
"Boys, I'd give five hundred dollars if that was my left arm instead of
my right." When I regained my senses I found Sergeant Whitcomb of my
company bathing my head with water and trying to force some commissary
whiskey down my throat. He didn't have near as much trouble getting the
whiskey down me after I came to and found out what it was. For a long
time the rumbling in my head was deafening and painful, but gradually
subsided and the concussion left me a whole skin and with no deleterious
effects. And the day wore on until night closed in upon us, and then we
lay down and slept on our arms accoutered as we were.

Through some bungling, when the other regiments were ordered to retire
during the night to the rear of the Walnut hills, my regiment was
omitted from the list, and when we received our order to fall back in
the morning we had to go out under the fire of the 25,000 enemies. That
blunder cost us some brave men; for the rebels availed themselves of the
splendid opportunity to fire upon our retiring lines. We had failed to
take Vicksburg by assault, notwithstanding the bravery of our men;
notwithstanding that many stands of colors were planted on the enemy's
works; Sergeant Griffith with eleven men of the 22nd Iowa regiment
entered a fort of the enemy, and his men all fell in the fort except the
sergeant, who captured and brought off thirteen confederate prisoners,
and Captain White of the Chicago Mercantile battery immortalized himself
by carrying forward one of his guns by hand to the ditch, and double
shotting it, fired into an embrasure of the work, disabling an enemy's
gun in it and cutting down the gunners.

The rebels had more than 25,000 men behind their works, and why they
didn't kill every soul of us I cannot imagine. How glad we were to get
back of the Walnut hills on the 23rd, and to go into camp with the
assurance that no more assaulting efforts would probably be required of
us. When we sat around the campfire down in the ravine that night we
compared notes of experiences during that bloody battle and talked about
our dead and wounded comrades. Old Joe Smith, who was one of the
storming party volunteers, said, "Boys, I had sweet revenge on the
brutes yesterday. I got right into the crotch of a fallen tree close to
their works, so that I was protected in front and on both flanks, and I
laid my gun across the log so that I had constant aim on their works,
and when one of them fellers got up to shoot I would see his gun barrel
come up first, and I would have a dead liner on him when his head popped
up and I could salt him every time, pretty near." "But," said Joe,
"there was one feller kept gitting up right opposite me and his face was
so dumbed thin I couldn't hit 'im." After supper we were detailed to dig
rifle pits, and had talks with rebels across the bloody chasm.


                               CHAPTER V.

                           IN THE RIFLE PITS.

WE failed to take Vicksburg by assault. We not only failed to take it,
but we failed to break their lines of defense and make permanent
lodgment anywhere along our front, General McClernand to the contrary
notwithstanding. For ten hours that day we fought the entrenched enemy
and had not won the battle. Our forces had charged the parapets and
bastioned forts valorously but death was the sole reward of their great
valor. We lost 3,000 men while the sheltered confederates, within their
formidable works lost only 1,000. I desire to add that Admiral Porter
co-operated in the assault, and shelled the water batteries and town
from his mortar boats stationed in the river, and from his gun boats. So
fierce was his attack on the water batteries, which were engaged at 440
yards, and so great was the noise of his gun and so dense the smoke that
Porter heard and saw nothing of our land operations.

We were quartered along one of the Walnut hillsides after the assault of
the 22nd, and we went industriously to work fitting up our huts and
bowers in the best sheltered and most available spots along the hill
slope. I put in a half day of solid work building me a cane palace
which, when I had it enclosed and nearly finished, was instantaneously
wrecked by a piece of rebel shell which an overhead explosion
precipitated into the top of my beautiful enclosure ripping it downwards
and wrecking it completely. I took up what was left of my bedding and
belongings and built in a safer locality.

On the 24th my company was detailed for picket duty, and we occupied the
advance rifle pits already dug, and industriously dug others in advance
of those, under cover of the night. That night myself and comrade went
without orders onto the battle field, armed only with spades, and buried
three of our dead comrades who were killed in the assault of the 19th.
It was a dangerous business, and only the intense darkness protected us
from the enemy. We could only bury them by throwing dirt upon the bodies
just as they lay upon the ground. Five days of exposure to the heat and
sun had produced in those bodies a fearful state of decomposition, and
the stench was dreadful, but we accomplished our task after a fashion.
After the surrender of Vicksburg I went to the spot and beheld the
partially covered bodies of our comrades which we had tried to bury in
the darkness that night. Both feet and heads were bare then. Whether we
had so left them, or whether the rains and winds had partially
resurrected them I could not tell. I never took part in that kind of a
job again. It was too dangerous, for when we returned to our lines it
was so dark we could not determine the point where our men were, and
caused an alarm by coming out at the wrong place. We were challenged and
came near getting shot at.

On the morning of the 25th the rebels sent out a flag of truce and asked
permission to bury their dead, which was granted. Squads from both
armies were sent out, and for at least two hours the work of burying the
dead went on. The dead were buried by simply throwing earth onto the
bodies where they had fallen. I walked out onto the battle grounds and
observed the victims lying scattered over the field as far as the sight
could reach. The bodies were bloated and swollen to the stature of
giants. I saw some few men ripping open the pockets of the dead with
their jackknives and taking therefrom watches, money and other valuable
things, reeking with putrefaction, and transferring them to their own
pockets. I picked up a photograph or tintype of a woman and two children
which some soldier had lost, and I also found a splendid Springfield
rifle which I appropriated and carried to camp. When it was dark enough
that night to safely do so we were relieved from advance duty by other
troops when we returned to camp.

Today, May 26th, it was rumored in camp that rebel General Johnson was
approaching with a big force to relieve Vicksburg, and that a large
force of the besiegers had gone out to meet him. Whatever excitement the
rumor caused was allayed by the arrival of the northern mail. All the
time our artillery, now said to comprise 1,300 guns, kept thundering
away at Vicksburg.

On the morning of the 29th my regiment was sent out to the Chickasaw
Bayou to get some big cannon. We found on arriving at the bayou four 32
pound parrots on the opposite side, which we proceeded by means of ropes
to pull across on temporary pontoon bridges. Although we supplemented
the strength of the bridges with thick plank laid lengthwise, and pulled
the guns across on the run, still their immense weight broke almost
every plank in the bridges as we snaked them across. Had we allowed one
of them to stop a second midway on the bridge it would have crushed
through and gone to the bottom of the bayou. We got the guns onto the
firing line, as the darkeys would say, "just in the shank of the
evenin'." We supplied large detail each night for digging rifle pits for
the first few days, and then on alternate nights. Each tier of rifle
pits brought the contending forces closer together, so they could easily
converse with each other, and until prohibited by a general order, the
soldiers of the blue often met the gray between the lines and swapped
knives, buttons, papers and tobacco in a most cordial and friendly way.
One day by mutual verbal agreement the rebel company and union company
opposite each other in the rifle pits stacked arms and met in a good
social way. Pat, a union soldier was acting as guard of the stacks of
guns. All at once Pat laid down his gun, snatched up a spade and sent it
flying into the rebel rifle pits. "What are you throwing that spade for,
Pat?" said our Lieutenant. "Because," said Pat, "One of thim grayback
divils hit me with a clod." Night after night during the forty-two days
of that siege we furnished details to dig in the rifle pits, until our
lines of rifle pits got so close to the enemy's that the dirt we cast
out with our spades was mingled with that cast out of their pits. Many a
night when it was so dark the rebel sharpshooters could not discern me,
have I gone out between the lines and there perched on a stump, listened
to the remarks freely indulged in by both Yank and Johnnie. At that time
we were sapping and mining digging under their forts and blowing them
up. On the 28th of June we blew up a fort opposite McPherson's center to
the left of the Jackson road. The explosion threw down part of the fort
and threw up a good deal of the other half. A negro was lifted gently
from that fort by that explosion over into a line of rifle pits occupied
by our troops. The boys picked up the frightened darkey and some one
said, "Where did you come from?" "Dat fort over dar," he said. "Was a
good many blown up?" was asked him. "'Spec' dar was, massa," he said, "I
met a good many goin up w'en I was comin' down." One night I heard a
rebel from their pits say to our men, "Say, Yanks, what you'uns digging
that big ditch for?" referring to the sappers and miners zigzag ditch by
which they approached and blew up the rebel fort. A voice answering from
our pits said, "We intend to flood it and to run our gunboats up that
ditch and shell h--l out of your old town." One night a voice said, "Is
any of the boys of the 6th Missouri in the rifle pits over there?"
"There's lots of 'em," was the answer. "Is Tom Jones there?" "He is,"
said our man, "Is that you Jim?" "Yes," came the answer, "and say Tom,
can't you meet me between the lines? I've got a roll of greenbacks and I
want to send them to the old folks in Missouri?" And so Yank Tom went
out and met Rebel Jim, his brother, got the greenbacks, and after a
brief visit returned safely to our picket quarters.

And every night during the continuance of that long siege our numerous
mortar boats down on the Mississippi tossed their cargoes of bombshells
into the beleaguered city. When we watched them at night we first heard
the distant thunder of the discharged mortar, and soon after saw the
ponderous bomb mounting up into the sky, spinning out its fiery web
along its wild track from its first appearance until it stood still for
a second, then gracefully curved downward and dropped swiftly down, down
into the doomed city, then as you listened, after a breath came the
jarring report of its explosion. A detail of two men was made from my
company one day to work on a mortar boat, and assisted in the work of
firing the mortar. After charging the mortar they said all hands got
into a skiff and rowed away, where they awaited at a safe distance until
the gun was discharged by a time fuse or slow match, and then returned
to reload. One of our men so detailed thoughtlessly laid his coat down
in one corner of the mortar boat, where it lay all through the day, and
when he picked it up at night it was a mass of ribbons and shreds,
absolutely torn to pieces by the concussion of those fearful discharges.

As the siege progresses all sorts of rumors get afloat in camp. One is
that the Vicksburg people are reduced to eating mule meat. I would have
kicked when it came to that. Also that Johnson was coming with 50,000
men to raise the siege. But the rumors made no difference; our 1300
cannon kept pounding away, and we dug rifle pits continually.


                              CHAPTER VI.

                          THE CLOSING SCENES.

IT was stated that within a week after the investment of Vicksburg, its
garrison was reduced to 14-1/2 ounces of food for each man a day. And
the rebel commander declared he would hold the town until the last dog
was eaten. I guess Pemberton kept his word, for after their surrender I
don't remember of seeing a single dog in the city of Vicksburg. How the
tables were turned on poor Fido to be sure--that the biter should not
only be bitten but eaten. A lieutenant on the 6th Missouri who had been
taken a prisoner during the assault of the 19th, on June 5 was paroled
by the rebs and returned to us. He said the living over there when he
left was anything but invigorating; that good juicy mule cutlets were
eagerly sought for by the elite of the city and brought fabulous prices;
the tomcat-weinerwurst was a luxury there that was seldom enjoyed by the
best families; that the squad in which he was quartered while a prisoner
on the day before his parole had boiled victuals composed of a pair of
gumboots for meat, some croquet balls for potatoes and an old green
umbrella cover for greens; said he didn't enjoy those extra dishes at
all; and preferred just common fare only. We used to twit the Johnnies
with eating mule meat in some of our games of blackguard with them in
the rifle pits, but until the surrender we didn't know we had been
twitting upon facts. We had the advantage of the rebel garrison in many
ways because we were sheltered from the blistering heat of the sun by
the forest shade, and had plenty to eat and the cool springs in the
ravines furnished us an abundance of pure water, while the enemy was
wholly unsheltered in their defensive works, reduced to almost
starvation rations and a scarcity of good water. One day we captured a
Johnnie skulking down in the ravine with a dozen canteens over his
shoulder after water for himself and comrades.

The prices of foodstuffs in Vicksburg before the end of that siege were
awful; flour was $1,000 a barrel; meal, $140 a bushel; beef, $250 a
pound, and everything else in proportion. It is a wonder that poor
people managed to eat at all. All the while the beleaguered garrison was
sustained in their hardships and privations by the belief that Johnson
would surely come to their relief, which belief was doomed to
disappointment and sadly misplaced. Though 'tis stated upon good
authority, that Johnson did finally march towards the Big Black and
actually dispatched a messenger to Pemberton on the night of July 3rd
notifying him that he was then ready to make a diversion to enable him
to cut his way out. Before the messenger got there Vicksburg had been
surrendered. The days of this long siege were kept from becoming
monotonous by a hundred and one duties we had to perform, and
innumerable exciting incidents that daily happened. All the time the
firing was continuous on our side, and almost so on the part of the
enemy. Every minute, almost, a tick-a-ka-tick of minie bullets was
registered by the twigs and leaves above and around us. Many of our boys
were killed or wounded in their bowers and beds by the stray bullets.
Referring to my journal, I find June 4, a man of the 6th Missouri shot
while lying in his bed; June 10, two of our men wounded at night in bed
by stray bullets; June 11, heavy picket firing, men continually getting
wounded in camp by stray bullets; June 13, a man of Company A shot in
rifle pits, died while bringing him into camp; June 14, three men
wounded in camp; June 15, today walking with my comrade, John Gubtail,
over the crest of a hill, suddenly fell prostrate at my feet. I thought
he was trying to act funny, but he got up in a few minutes and showed me
a bullet hole through his cap and a shallow furrow across his scalp
where the bullet had ploughed. The rebel sharpshooter had just missed
his target partially. We went down to lower ground then.

One day Mrs. Hoge, of sanitary fame, and the mother of the colonel of my
regiment, came into our camp and after getting all the soldiers of my
regiment there not on duty, assembled for an audience, she made a
stirring speech. Among other things she said, "Before you left Chicago
we ladies presented your regiment with a flag, and your colonel when he
received that flag pledged himself that it should ever be defended, and
sustained with honor. What has become of that flag? I desire to see how
well you have kept that promise." The color sergeant brought it to her.
Said she, "There are suspicious looking holes and rents in this flag.
How is that?" "That flag," said the color bearer proudly, "has been many
times carried in the front when we went across the edge of battle, and
those marks were made by bullets and fragments of shell, and madam, two
men who carried it before me, fell with it in their hands, and both are
dead from the effects of their wounds." "Enough," said the old lady,
"You have redeemed your pledge, and I will tell the women of Chicago who
presented that flag to you, when I go back, how nobly your pledge has
been redeemed." Then she asked some of us who knew the song, to come
forward and sing with her "The Star Spangled Banner." I was one who with
others thus volunteered, and amid the thunder of artillery firing and
the click of minie bullets over our heads we sang that song with Mrs.
Hoge, as she held the flag in her arms.

One day when we had our men out in the rifle pits at the extreme front
we saw a union flag lying in a slight ravine a little ways in front of
our rifle pits, which had been abandoned by some regiment in one of the
charges, and at the risk of his life one of our boys crawled out and
brought in the flag. It proved to be the regimental colors of the 4th
Virginia, and when we were relieved from duty we marched up to the
colonel's tent of the 4th Virginia and called him out, and I with a few
simple, and I thought well chosen remarks restored the lost colors of
his regiment to him and wound up by saying, "Take back your flag
colonel, and next time when you are in battle hang on to it." He took
the flag spitefully from me, turning very red in the face, said nothing
about setting up the cigars or drinks and without thanking us even,
vanished into the bowels of his tent. We boys were all mad, and if we
had known how he was going to act we would have left the flag out there
on the battlefield where they had abandoned it. I thought afterwards,
that perhaps my presentation speech wasn't just to his taste.

On June 20th my regiment was changed in the line to the mouth of the
Yazoo river on the banks of the Chickasaw Bayou. We established our new
camp at that point, little thinking at the time what an unfortunate move
it was for us. In the formation of these new quarters my tent position
came down close to the waters of the stagnant bayou, and when I was
driving stakes for my new home, a great green headed alligator poked his
nozzle above the surface of the bayou waters and smiled at me. Upon
examination of the ground along the bayou shore, I discovered alligator
tracks where they had waltzed around under the beautiful light of the
moon upon a very recent occasion, so I built my bunk high enough to
enable me to roost out of reach of those hideous creatures at night.

Though I had built high enough to escape the prowling alligators I had
not built high enough to get above the deadly malaria distilled by that
cantankerous bayou. We soon learned what a loss we had sustained in
exchanging the pure cold springs of the Walnut hills for the poisonous
waters of our new vicinity. At first the blue waters of the Yazoo fooled
us. It was as blue and clear as lake water, and we drank copiously of
it, but felt badly afterwards. We didn't know we were drinking poisoned
water until an old colored citizen one day warned us. Then we looked the
matter up, and found that the interpretation of the word Yazoo was "The
river of death," and that its beautiful blue waters were the drainings
of vast swamps and swails. We learned too late, however, for the safety
of our men, and lost in the next few weeks nearly half of our regiment
from malarial or swamp fevers. In the meantime Vicksburg was starving.


                              CHAPTER VII.

                        SURRENDER OF VICKSBURG.

MEANWHILE the siege was prosecuted with vigor; no let up. Night and day
the steady pounding of the artillery went on, and the bomb shells sailed
up in flocks from the mortar fleet on the Mississippi. General Grant
daily watched and directed the work of his mighty army, and knew the
great fortress was surely crumbling. Often during those long hot days of
June, I saw General Grant, perhaps attended by one or two orderlies,
worming his quiet way through and along our trenches, carefully noting
all the operations of our forces. None but those who personally knew him
would have recognized in that stubby form, with its dusty blue blouse,
the great General whose mighty genius was running the whole job. Our
forces had erected in our lines a skeleton framed observatory, which
those properly authorized and who knew how to safely mount it often
ascended, and with their field glasses made observations of the enemy's
works. In order to keep the common soldiers and citizens from getting
shot by the enemy's sharpshooters, a guard was stationed at its base to
warn and compel people to keep down, but there was so little for this
guard to do that he got careless. One day in the midst of his
carelessness and inattention he happened to look up at the observatory,
and there at the very top stood a soldier. The guard was mad, and loudly
and profanely commanded the intruder to come down. He said, "What you
doing up there?" No answer. "You come down out of that, you fool; you'll
get shot." No answer. "If you don't come down, I'll shoot you myself."
Then the soldier slowly and deliberately descended to the ground, pretty
vigorously cursed by the guard and relegated to the fiery regions, as he
descended, and as the supposed trespasser when he reached the ground,
started away, a comrade said to the guard, "You've played thunder, I
must say." "What have I done?" said the other. "You've been cussing
General Grant black and blue." "You don't say," said the frightened
guard, "I didn't know it was him. I will apologize," and he ran after
and caught up with the General and said, "I hope you will pardon what I
said, General. I didn't know you." "All right, my boy," said Grant, "but
you must watch closely or some one will get shot there."

When our division commander, Frank P. Blair, went along our lines,
unlike Grant, he was usually attended by his whole staff and an escort
of hundreds of cavalry, and the dust they kicked up enshrouded half of

As soon as July 1st we began to hear rumors of preparations in progress
to assault the rebel works again on the 4th of July, if the place was
not sooner surrendered. There was no denying the fact, Joe Johnson had a
tremendous big force in our rear and might actually take a notion to
attack us, and the boys were getting tired of digging rifle pits. We had
all welcomed the rumor of another contemplated assault on the 4th, but
General Pemberton himself forestalled our calculations. Early on the 3rd
the rebels sent a white flag outside of their works and the rebel
General Bowen bore it to our lines. The news spread through our midst
like wild fire, and we had little doubt it had something to do with the
surrender of the post. The bearer of this flag of truce was the bearer
of a letter from Pemberton directed to General Grant, in which he
proposed the appointment of three commissioners by him to meet a like
number from Grant to arrange terms for the capitulation of Vicksburg.

General Grant wrote an answer to Pemberton, in which he offered to meet
him between the lines to arrange such terms, but declined the
appointment of commissioners as Pemberton proposed. We, who occupied our
advance rifle pits, climbed up on the edges and while we dangled our
feet down in the holes sat up straight and looked the Johnnies square in
their faces as they popped up above their works. It all looked and
seemed so funny to see the widespread resurrection of both Yanks and
rebs. In many places the opposing lines of pits were so close together
that conversation was carried on between us and the foemen during the
armistice. An old grizzly reb straightened up out of a nearby pit. He
sported long, gray Billy goat whiskers and his shaggy eyebrows looked
like patches of hedge rows. Just opposite him on our side another old
graybeard stood up in his pit and the two old warriors surveyed each
other for several minutes; then old Johnnie said, "Hello, you over
thar!" "Hello yourself," said old Yank. "Is that your hole your stan'nen
in over thar?" said Johnnie. "I reckon," said Yank. "Wal, don't you know
Mister, I've had some tarned good shots at you?" "I reckon," said Yank,
"but s'pose ye hain't noticed no lead slung over thar nor nothin'?"
"Yes," said Johnnie, "you spattered some dirt in my eyes now 'n' then."
"So'd you mine," said Yank. And in that strain those two old veterans
talked and laughed from their respective roosts as though trying to
shoot each other was the funniest thing in the world. About 3 o'clock
that afternoon we saw some Union officers go out of our lines and part
way over to the rebel works sit down under a tree on the grass.

We afterwards learned those men were Grant, Rowlins, Logan, McPherson
and A. J. Smith. A short time afterwards some men in gray uniform came
out of the rebel works and met our men under the tree. Those men were
Pemberton, Bowen and a staff officer, we also learned afterward. I was
so far from them that I could not discern their features and could
hardly tell their uniforms, but I watched as did thousands of our men
with intense interest that long parleying, under that distant tree,
until the conference broke up and the parties returned to their
respective commands. That night we knew the city had virtually
capitulated and only awaited the settlement of terms.

On the 4th of July at 10 o'clock a. m. the Confederate forces marched
out in front of their works, stacked their arms, hung upon them all
accouterments and laid their faded flags on top of all. It was one of
the saddest sights I ever beheld, and I can honestly say I pitied those
brave men from the bottom of my heart. Our brave fellows, though, never
uttered a shout of exultation during the whole ceremony of surrender. We
marched into the city afterwards that day, raised the flag upon the
court house and gave ourselves a general airing in Vicksburg. As our
forces marched through the town the rebel women scowled, made faces and
spit at us, but we survived it all and kept good natured. One fat old
colored woman was just jumping up and down for joy, and she cried out as
we marched by, "Heah day come. Heah day is. Jes' you look at 'em, none
your little yaller faced sickly fellers, but full grown men, wid blood
in 'em," etc., etc. I saw many Union men and Confederates walking and
conversing together, but the rebel officers generally held aloof and
acted as though they were miffed at something.

There were surrendered in men that day 15 generals, 31,000 soldiers, 172

After the surrender I went over their works and fields. I saw the great
holes in the ground where our bomb shells had exploded, big enough to
contain a two-story building. I saw caves in the hillsides where people
had lived during the siege. I saw the ground in places so littered with
shot and unexploded shells from our batteries that it was difficult to
walk without stepping on them. I saw the trees, many of them, actually
girdled by our shot. I picked up one little shell and thought I would
take it home with me as a relic. It looked like a mammoth butterfly egg,
but it was heavy and had a sinister complexion. Many of our men were
injured by those shells, in picking them up and dropping them carelessly
onto their percussion points, and so I improved the opportunity one day
to give mine to a relic hunter. After the surrender my regiment was
moved from the mouth of the Yazoo up onto the Vicksburg hill, but we
failed to recover our health. Our men were dying daily, and finally we
were ordered to Corinth, Mississippi July 29th, and embarked on
transport "Silver Wave" for our new destination, the well men in the
regiment not being sufficient and able to care for the sick.

                                THE END.


                           Transcriber Notes:

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the
speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page 4, "ond" was replaced with "and".

On page 4, "smille" was replaced with "smile".

On page 4, "Governer" was replaced with "Governor".

On page 6, "partiotic" was replaced with "patriotic".

On page 7, "departue" was replaced with "departure".

On page 7, "and and" was replaced with "and".

On page 8, "threshhold" was replaced with "threshold".

On page 8, "winodw" was replaced with "window".

On page 10, "had" was replaced with "hand".

On page 11, "over wrought" was replaced with "overwrought".

On page 13, "depresstd" was replaced with "depressed".

On page 15, "wierd" was replaced with "weird".

On page 17, quotation mark was added before "Better'n I 'spected".

On page 18, "wierd" was replaced with "weird".

On page 19, a closing quotation mark was added after "they called,".

On page 19, "of a of a" was replaced with "of a".

On page 27, a period was added after "MAY 19".

On page 30, a quotation mark was added before "Damn your bit".

On page 33, "windrow" was replaced with "window".

On page 36, a quotation mark was added after "With pleasure, madam,".

On page 36, "road" was replaced with "rode".

On page 37, "centtury" was replaced with "century".

On page 46, a period was added after "RIFLE PITS".

On page 48, "putrifaction" was replaced with "putrefaction".

On page 49, "parrotts" was replaced with "parrots".

On page 50, a quotation mark was added after "of your old town.".

On page 53, a period was added after "THE CLOSING SCENES".

On page 54, "watter" was replaced with "water".

On page 60, a question mark was added after "What you doing up there".

On page 60, a question mark was added before "What have I done?".

On page 60, "dont" was replaced with "don't".

On page 60, a comma and a question mark was added after "I will

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "War Experiences and the Story of the Vicksburg campaign from "Milliken's Bend" to July 4, 1863 - being an accurate and graphic account of campaign events taken from the diary of Capt. J.J. Kellogg, of Co. B 113th Illinois volunteer infantry" ***

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