to carry the position to the summit of the hill; Steele's division to support him and hold the country road. I had placed General A. J. Smith in command of his own division (First) and that of M. L. Smith (Second), with orders to cross on the sand-spit, undermine the steep bank of the bayou on the farther, and carry at all events the leave parapet and first of rifle-pits, to prevent a concentration on Morgan.
It was near 12 m. when Morgan was ready, by which time Blair's and Thayer's brigades, of Steele's division, were up to him and took part in the assault; and Hovey's brigade was close at hand. All troops were massed as close as possible, and all our support were in head.
The assault was made and a lodgment effected on the hart table-land near the country road, and the head of the assaulting columns reached different points of the enemy's works, but there met so withering a fire from the rifle-pits and cross-fire of grape and canister from the batteries that the column faltered, and finally fell back to the point of starting, leaving many dead, wounded, and prisoners in the hands of the enemy. For a more perfect understanding of this short and disparate struggle I refer to the reports of Generals Morgan, Blair, Steele, and others, inclosed.
General Morgan's first report to me was that the troops were not discouraged at all, through the losses in Blair's and De Courcy's brigades were heavy, and he would renew the assault in half and hour; but the assault was not again attempted.
I urged General A. J. Smith to push his attack, through it had to be made cross a narrow sand bar and up a narrow patch, in the nature of a breach, as a diversion in favor of Morgan, or real attack, according to its success.
During Morgan's progress he passed over the Sixth Missouri under circumstances that called for all the individual courage for which that admirable regiment is justly famous. Its crossing was covered by the Thirteenth U. S. Regular as skirmishers up to the near bank of the bayou, covered as well as possible by allen trees, and firing at any of enemy's sharpshooters that showed a mark above the levee.
Before this crossing all the ground opposite was completely swept by our artillery, under the immediate supervision of Major Taylor, chief of artillery. The Sixth Missouri crossed over rapidly by companies, and lay under the bank of the bayou, with the enemy's sharpshooters over their heads within a few feet-so near that these sharpshooters held out their muskets and fired down vertically upon our men. The orders were to undermine this bank and make a road up it, but it was impossible; and after the repulse of Morgan's assault I ordered General A. J. Smith to retire this regiment under cover of darkness, which was successfully done. Their loss was heavy, but I leave to the brigade and division commanders to give names and exact figures.
While this was going on Burbridge was skirmishing across the bayou at this front, and Landram pushed his advance, through the close abatis or entanglement of fallen timber, close up to Vicksburg.
When the night of the 29th closed in we stood upon our original ground and had suffered a repulse. The effort was necessary to a successful accomplished of my orders, and the combinations were the best possible under the circumstances. I assume all the responsibility and attach fault to no one, am generally satisfied with the high spirit manifested by all.
During this night in rained very hard, and our men were exposed to it in the miry, swampy ground, sheltered only by their blankets and rubber shawls; but during the following day it cleared off warm.