War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0173 Chapter XXXVI. THE SIEGE OF Vicksburg, MISS.

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This was the approach in front of McPHERSON's corps, on which most work was done. It followed the ridge along which the Jackson road runs, and approached a high, commanding salient, called by us Fort Hill, which, if once in our possession, would have made this part of the enemy's line untenable. The enemy resisted our approach here more strongly than at any other point, burning sap-rollers, using mens, and throwing grenades. Counter-mines)see extract from Captain Hickenlooper's report, appendix B*) were used by us, one heavy one being fired June 25, destroying a part of the enemy's parapet. An attempt was made to hold the crater, but after heavy loss from the hand-grenades mine was begun, and was to have been fired when the place was assaulted, but the enemy's men being heard at work near it, and it the mine was loaded and fired July 1, destroying the enemy's parapet at this point, and a crater 30 feet in diameter, the charge being about 1,800 pounds, a portion of it damaged powder. It was afterward ascertained that this explosion crushed the enemy's galleries and disabled about 25 men-indeed, half a dozen men were blown into our works. No attempt was made to occupy this crater, as a similar attempt of June 25 had failed with severe loss. The enemy's salient here being too high for our men to be able to return the grenades which they threw upon us so freely, and having no Coehorn mortars Mr. Tresilian's, civil assistant engineer, had some wooden mortars made by skirnking iron bands on cylinders of tough wood, and boring them out for 6 or 12 pound shells. There mortars stood firing well, and gave sufficiently good results at 100 or 150 yards distance. (See extract form Mr. Tresilian's report,

Appendix C. +)

We afterward learned that the enemy, lying closely packed in the salient, suffered severely from this fire. Captain Hickenlooper, of General McPHERSON's staff, assisted by Captain Merritt and Mr. Tresilian, was in charge of this approach.


This approach followed generally the line of the Baldwin's Ferry road, injudiciously leaving it in one place to avoid hard digging. When this approach reached the immediate vicinity of the salient on which it was directed, its progress was much impeded by the enemy's artillery fire, grenades,&c. The enemy also attempted to blow up the sap-roller with a mine, but failed by underestimating the distance and using too feeble a charge. They succeeded in burning one sap-roller by lodging a fireball against it. The work was, however forward, and a mine had been commenced when the place surrendered. (See Appendix D. #)


This approach beginning on the railroad, followed its cut for 100 yards, and was directed to a work just to the left of another deep cut.


*See June 25-28, of his report, p. 202.

+See events of July 1, in his report dated August 17, 1863, p. 208.

#See events of June 19-July 1, in Hain's report, pp. 183-186.