War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0175 Chapter XXXVI. THE SIEGE OF Vicksburg, MISS.

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On July 1 the approaches were in the condition described above. The hand-to-hand character of the fighting now slowed that in the closer approaches little farther progress could be made by digging alone; the enemy's works were weak, and at ten different points we could put the heads of regiments under cover within from 5 to 100 yards of his line. The assault would be but little easier if we waited ten days more, and accordingly it was decided to assault on the morning of July 6. Orders were at once issued to prepare the heads of approaches for the easy debouch of troops, to widen the main ones, so that the troops planks and sand-bags, stuffed with pressed cotton, for crossing ditches. These preparations were in progress when the place surrendered, July 4.


At the assaults of May 19 AND 22, the enemy used artillery fire freely. Alfred, as our batteries were build and opened, their artillery fire slackened, until toward the close of the siege it was scarcely used at ll, the enemy contenting himself with occasionally running a gun into position, firing two or three rounds, and withdrawing it again as soon as our fire was concentrated on it. A 10-inch mortar was fired a good deal at first from a ravine behind the enemy's line, in McPHERSON's front, and afterward from a work in Herron's front, but did little damage. On the surrender of the place their artillery was found to be considerably uninjured; nevertheless, if at almost any point they had put ten of FIFTEEN guns in position, instead of one or two to invite concentration of our fire, they might have seriously delayed our approaches. We attributed during the siege the silence of their artillery to the lack of captured artillery ammunition were reported to chief of ordnance of General Grant's army. (See Appendix.)A small portion of this judiciously used, would have rendered our approach much slower. As it was, we had little besides musketry fire to contend with in the distant son with our own, probably from a deficiency of percussion-caps. The mines used by the enemy were feeble ones, their charges always Light, and rarely doing other damage than making the ground where they had been exploded impracticable for our own, as we did not use gallery frames or sheeting. Indeed, their active defense was a far from being vigorous, the object seeming to be to wait for another assault, losing in the mean time as few men as possible. This indifference to our approach became at some points almost ludicrous. We were accustomed to cover the front of our mighty working parties by a line of pickets or a covering party, and the enemy, while we were not neared than 100 yards to their line, would throw out their pickets in front of it. On one occasion, in front of Ord's corps, our pickets, in being posted, became intermixed with the enemy's and after some discussion the mise, these lines in places not being more than 10 yards apart. (See extract from Lieutenant Hain's report, appendix D. June 20. *)As the enemy could have stopped our work by remaining in his lines and firing an occasional volley, the advantage of this arrangement, novel in the art of war, was entirely on our side, and was not interfered with. In.


*See p. 184.