War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0176 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

Lauman's and Herron's front the enemy was not so courteous; in Lauman's front especially they made sorties several times, resulting in loss of men and retardation work to ourselves. (See Appendix E. *)

SIEGE MATERIAL AND WORKS.

The larger part of fascines, gabions, and sap-rollers was prepared by the pioneer companies of the different DIVISION. Material for the watting of gabions was abundant, grape-vines being chiefly used, though these made gabions that were inconveniently heavy, from the fact that vines of too large size were taken. Captain Freeman, aide-de-camp, experiment with cane as material for wattling, and found by crushing the joints with a mallet the rest of the cane was split sufficiently to allow it to be woven between the stakes of the gabion and yet be strong, making sap-rollers which should be impervious to Minie balls and not too heavy for use on the rough ground over which the saps ran. The difficulty was obviated by Lieutenant Hains, engineers, who caused two barrels to be placed head to head and secured, and the sap-roller to be built up of cane fascines around this hollow core. The aggregate length of our trenches was 12 miles; eighty-nine batteries were constructed during the siege, the guns from those in rear being moved forward as the siege advanced, there being two hundred and twenty guns in position on June 30, according to the reports to the chief of artillery. These guns were mainly siege or field guns, a few heavy ones, however, being obtained from the Navy, one battery of these guns, on the right, in front of Wood's brigade, being manned and officered by the Navy. These batteries were sometimes constructed under the supervision of the pioneers of the DIVISION to which the battery belonged, and sometimes by the officer who was to command the finished work. The style of work was very varied, both reveting and platforms depending on the materials which could be obtained at the time. In some cases they were well and neatly reveted with gabions and fascines, and furnished with substantial plank platforms, while in others reveting of rough boards, rails, or cotton bales was used, and the platforms were made of boards, rails, or cotton bales was used, and the platforms were made of boards and timber from the nearest barn or cotton-gin house. From the feebleness of the enemy's artillery fire, our parapets often were not more than 6 or 8 feet thick. In all close batteries the gunners soon found the necessity of keeping the embrasures closed against rifle balls by plank shutters, sometimes swung form a timber across the tom of the embrasure; sometimes nearly placed in the embrasure closed against rifle-balls by plank shutters, sometimes swung from a timber across the top of the embrasure; sometimes merely placed in the embrasure, and moved when firing. Whenever an approach gave opportunity for fire, loop-holes were either formed in the parapet, made by using sand-bags, or in a timber laid along the parapet. These timbers were rarely displaced by the enemy's fire; they would have been dangerous if that artillery fire had been heavy. In close approaches the sap was reveted with gabions, empty barrels, or with cotton bales, or sometimes left unreveted, it being difficult to prevent the working parties from sinking the sap to the depth of 5 or even 6 feet when the enemy's fire was heavy, and reveting then was unnecessary. Indeed, when the enemy's grenades were most annoying, it was impossible to keep detailed working parties at their posts, and it

---------------

*See extracts from Captain Freeman's report, p. 193.

---------------