literally lived upon the country, having left Grand Gulf May 8 with three days' rations in their haversacks, and received little or nothing till after our arrival here on the 18th.
The several corps being in position on the 19th, General Grant ordered a general assault at 2 p. m. At that hour Blair's DIVISION moved forward, Ewing's and Giles SMITH's brigades on the right of the road, and Kilby SMITH's brigade on the left of the road; artillery disposed on the right and left to cover the point where the road enters the enemy's intrenchments. Tuttle's DIVISION was held on the road; Buckland's brigade deployed in line to the rear of Blair, and the other two brigades in the road under cover.
At the appointed signal the line advanced, but the ground to the right and left of the road was so impracticable, cut up in deep chasms, filled with standing and fallen timber, that the line was slow and irregular in reaching the trenches. The Thirteenth Regulars, on the left of Giles SMITH, reaching the works first, planted its colors on the exterior slope. Its commander, Captain Washington, was mortally wounded, and 5 other officers were wounded more or less severely. Seventy-seven out of 250 are reported killed or wounded. Two other regiments reached the same position about the same time-the Eighty-THIRD Indiana, Colonel Spooner, and the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois, Colonel Eldridge. They held their ground, and fired upon any head that presented itself above the parapet, but it was impossible to enter. Other regiments gained position to the right and left close up to the parapet, but night found them outside the works, unsuccessful. As soon as night closed in, I ordered them back a short distance, where the shape of the ground gave them partial shelter, to bivouac for the night.
The 20th and 21st instant were consumed in perfecting our system of supplies, opening roads, and putting our artillery in new and move
commanding positions, but we could see the enemy similarly employed. During these days our pickets were kept up close, and the enemy was kept uneasy by the appearance of assault at several points.
On the 21st, General Grant issued his orders for a general assault by all the army at 10 a. m. on the 22nd, the assault to be rapid by the heads of columns. I placed Blair's DIVISION at the head of the road, Tuttle's in support, and left General Steele to make his attack at a point in his front about half a mile to the right. The troops were grouped so that the movement could be connected and rapid. The road lies on the crown of an inferior ridge, rises over comparatively smooth ground along the edge of the ditch of the face of the enemy's bastion, and enters the parapet at the shoulder of the bastion. No men could be seen in the enemy's works, except occasionally a sharpshooter would show his head and quickly discharge his piece. A line of select skirmishers was placed to keep them down; also a volunteer storming party of about 150 men, carrying boards and poles to cross the ditch. This, with a small interval, was followed by Ewing's brigade; this by Giles SMITH's,
and Kilby SMITH's bringing up the rear of Blair's DIVISION.
All marched by the flank, following a road selected the night before, by which the men were partially sheltered until it was necessary to take the crown of the ridge and expose themselves to the full y, known to be lying concealed behind his well-planned parapet. At the very minute named in General Grant's orders, the storming party dashed up the road at the double-quick, followed by Ewing's brigade, the Thirtieth Ohio leading. The artillery of Wood's, Barrett's, Waterhouse's, Spoor's, and Hart's batteries kept a concentric fire on the bastion, which was doubtless constructed to command this very approach.