War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0178 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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Brigade, Fourteenth DIVISION, of said corps. On the evening of May 21, I was served with a copy of the circular or order directing the assault to be made the next day at 10 a. m. I was informed by my brigade commander [General Lawler] that I would have the advance, and that I could approach any point of the enemy's works I considered the most salient, and in any form I thought proper. Between sundown and dark I went up to within 50 yards of the enemy's lines, and made a personal reconnaissance of the ground on our front and of their lines. My observations satisfied me that the fort next to the railroad could be carried more easily and with less sacrifice than any other point on our front, and I determined to direct my regiment against it. I took my regiment over the hill in front of Maloney's siege battery that night, and had it in readiness for the morning's work. At a little before 10 o'clock by my time, I received the order from General Lawler's assistant adjutant-general to advance, and I did so immediately, supported by the Twenty-first Iowa. I advanced as I intended, directly again the fort, but in passing over the crest of the hill the enemy's fire was so terrific that the left wing of my regiment was driven into the hollow on the left of the fort, but the right wing advanced steadily toward the fort, and within ten minutes from the time we started my men entered it, and held it, to my knowledge, for over an hour. The fort was small, and the open space inside very limited, and but few men could find room in it. When the enemy were driven from the fort, they also retired from the rifle-pits on the right [our right], between that and the railroad. The Eleventh Wisconsin had also advanced against the SECOND fort, some 300 yards from the first one, and I saw the enemy leave that one. They also retired from the pits between the two forts, and went down the hill into the ravine or hollow beyond toward the city, leaving only a few straggling sharpshooters behind. I stood with Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlap, of the Twenty-first Iowa, on the highest and most exposed point near the fort. We saw them leave and conversed about it. I sent word back to General Carr to send me a brigade and I would hold the works. I regarded the thing as easily done. I do not know that my message reached the general.

I then regarded the door to Vicksburg as opened, and so said to Colonel Dunlap, and we were there looking over the ground, congratulating ourselves upon our success, when I was shot in the arm by a sharpshooter from the woods beyond their rifle-pits, and he was killed. I ordered the color-bearer of the Seventy-seventh Illinois to bring up his colors, as mine were down in the hollow on the left, and my own men planted them on top of the fort. Soon after this my own colors were brought up and placed beside them. They remained there to my certain knowledge till 6 o'clock in the evening. Had we been re-enforced at any time before 12 m. by a fresh brigade, I have no doubt that the whole army could have gone into Vicksburg. After that my knowledge of the situation up the was not so good, as I had retired from the field. I stated this opinion to several after I went back. There were no interior works at that time in the rear of the line we held, as I could see far beyond. Maloney's battery of siege guns was about 500 yards directly in the rear of our operations, and commanded a fine view of all our movements. I do not know where General McPherson's headquarters were, but I should think there was no point from which our operations could have been so correctly observed as from this battery.


Late Colonel Twenty-SECOND Iowa.

4. -Letter of Lieutenant Colonel Harvey Graham.

BENTON BARRACKS, MO., September 1, 1863.

Major General John A. McClernand:

Your note of August 26 has just been handed to me by Mr. Jones, and in reply I hasten to say:

1. That on May 22, ultimo, when the combined assault was made upon the enemy's works at Vicksburg, my position was such as afforded me only an opportunity of viewing the doings of Lawler's brigade. Early in the morning of that day my regiment was formed in line on the extreme right of Lawler's brigade, and as we led the advance I can only speak of the successes attending that portion of your command. It is my firm conviction and belief that had the Thirteenth Army Corps been re-enforced by a few brigades, thus enabling you to send sport to the front, the success of your command would have been complete. As it was, success was achieved, but was afterward lost. Victory was in your hands, but was wrested from you by superior numbers.

2. At 10 a. m., I, with some 200 of my command, charged upon the defenses of the enemy, and within thirty minutes had stormed one of the forts and driven the enemy away from the front of their works, and had possession of his intrenchments. This was one of the principal forts of the enemy, and was situated almost directly in front of Malone's battery of Parrott guns. My command held their position there until nearly dark, when, from the want of proper support, they were captured. Sergeants [N. C.] Messenger and Griffith, of Company I, Twenty-SECOND Iowa, entered