General Burbridge fully and completely carried out his instructions and has deprived the enemy in Vicksburg of the use of one of his chief avenues of supply.
W. T. SHERIDAN,
Report of Colonel Friend S. Rutherford, Ninety-seventh Illinois Infantry, Third Brigade, of operations December 27, 1862-January 2, 1863.
HDQRS. NINETY-SEVENTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLS.,
ON BOARD STEAMER R. CAMPBELL, HR.,
Near Milliken's Bend., La., Jan. 3, 1863.
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part this regiment took in the recent battle before Vicksburg:
At 3 o'clock on the evening of December 27, 1862, this regiment disembarked from the steamer R. Campbell, Jr., in the Yazoo River, at a point near the lake, 13 miles above the mouth, and remained on the bank until 6 a. m. December 28, 1862, at which time the regiment marched to the general camping ground in front of the fortifications at Vicksburg, where it rested for the day, simply furnishing two companies for picket duty.
On the morning of the 29th, by your order, this regiment was posted on the left of the brigade in front of the enemy's fortifications, for the purpose of preventing the enemy from coming upon the rear of the am attacking force. While in this position twice during the day the enemy threw several shells and round shot, with a view, as is supposed, of driving us from our position. My men stood their ground without finking. No casualties on this day. A heavy rain set in about sundown and continued the whole night. My men, being wholly without shelter, were drenched and must have, suffered considerably, but, i am happy to say, without morning.
On the morning of the 30th, in pursuance of an order from you, this regiment took the right of the right wing, relieving the One hundred and eighth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, which at that time was engaged in a skirmish with the enemy. It gives me great pleasure to say that my men went to the work with alacrity, driving the enemy's pickets entirely out of the woods and quite across the abatis in front of the enemy's fortification. The main force, about a regiment, which was stationed in the rear of these pickets retreated to the inside of their fortifications.
In this skirmish, as I afterward learned, 7 of the enemy were killed and several wounded. The casualties on our side were trivial, 2 men only being slightly wounded; August Selzer, private of Company I, in the left side, and Lorin Ballard, private of Company K, in the left wrist.
Twice during the day the enemy attempted to drive us from our position with shell, round shot, and musketry. The position was maintained until relieved the next morning by the Forty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteers. The right was severely cold, and my men, being still wet the previous night's rain and without fire, endured much suffering.