Another courier was to-day sent to General Johnston with the following dispatches:
During the past two days the enemy has passed up the river in transports in large force for a point not yet discovered.
The enemy has continued a spirited fire all day; also his shelling from mortar-boats. Our men have replied rarely. Two large transports came down loaded with troops. They are evidently re-enforcing their present large force. Am I to expect re-enforcements? From what direction, and how soon? Have you heard anything from General Loring? Can you send me musket-caps by courier?
The enemy kept up incessant sharpshooting all yesterday on the left and center, and picked off our officers and men whenever they showed themselves. Their artillery fire was very heavy; plowed up our works considerably, and dismounted two guns on the center. The works were repaired, and the guns replaced last night. The great question is ammunition. The men credit and are encouraged by a report that you are near with a large force. They are fighting in good spirits, and the reorganization is complete.
P. S. -Brisk musketry and artillery fire to-day on center. Three guns there dismounted; will be replaced as far as possible. Officers suffer most from their sharpshooters. Incessant mortar-firing from the river, and last night three of their gunboats engaged the lower batteries.
22nd. -The fire from the enemy's artillery and sharpshooters in the rear was heavy and incessant until noon, when his gunboats opened upon the city, while a determined assault was made along Moore's, Hebert's, and Lee's lines. I cannot better describe this assault than by the following extracts from the official reports of my several DIVISION commanders. General Stevenson says in his report:
On the morning of May 22, many indications showed that they (the enemy) contemplated an assault upon the line of General Lee. A tremendous artillery fire was opened and kept up for about two hours, while the fire of their large force of sharpshooters was heavy and incessant.
At about 1 p. m. a heavy force moved out to the assault, making a gallant charge. They were allowed to approach unmolested to within good musket range, when every available gun was opened upon them with grape and canister, and the men, rising in the trenches, poured into their ranks volley after volley with so deadly an effect that leaving the ground literally covered in some places with their dead and wounded, they precipitately retreated.
The angle of one of our redoubts having been breached by their artillery previous to the assault, when the repulse occurred, a party of about 60 of the enemy, under the command of a lieutenant-colonel, made a rush, and succeeded in effecting a lodgment in the ditch at the foot of the redoubt, and planted two colors on the parapet. It was of vital importance to drive them out, and, upon a call for volunteers for that purpose, two companies of Waul's Texas Legion, commanded, respectively, by Captain [L. D.] Bradley and Lieutenant [James] Hogue, accompanied by the gallant and chivalrous Colonel E. W. Pettus, of the Twentieth Alabama Regiment, musket in hand, promptly presented themselves for the hazardous service. Of their success and the manner in which it was achieved, General Stevenson says:
A more gallant feat than this has not illustrated our annals during the war. The preparations were quietly and quickly made, but the enemy seemed at once to divine our purpose, and opened upon the angle a terrible fire of shot, shell, and musketry. Undaunted, this little band, its chivalrous commander at its head, rushed upon the work, and, in less time than it requires to describe it, it and the flags were in our possession. Preparations were then quickly made for the use of hand-grenades, when the enemy in the ditch, being informed of our purpose, immediately surrendered.
General Forney in his report, speaking of the assault upon our intrenchemnt, says:
On May 22, he assaulted three points on my line as follows: Three times on my extreme left, and extending to General Smith's front; twice on the Jackson road, and twice on the Baldwin's Ferry road, at 11 a. m. and 5 p. m.