country was speedily freed from his presence, and Brashear City was recaptured July 22.
During the siege, the colored troops held the extreme right of our line on the river, and shared in all the dangers of May 27 and of June 14, sustaining, besides, several desperate sorties of the enemy, particularly directed against them, with bravery and success. The new regiments of General Ullmann's brigade, which had been raised during the campaign, also shared the labors of the siege and the honors of the final victory.
Colonel B. H. Grierson, commanding the Sixth and Seventh Regiments of Illinois Cavalry, arrived at Baton Rouge in April, from La Grange, Tenn., and joined us with his force at Port Hudson, covering our rear during the siege and rendering most important service. His officers and men were constantly on duty, regardless of toil and danger. They covered our foraging parties, dispersed the cavalry forces of the enemy, which they concentrated, and contributed in a great to the reduction of the post. Our deficiency in cavalry his assistance of the utmost importance. With the exception of this command, much reduced by long journeys, our mounted force consisted of infantry mounted on the horses of the country, collected during the campaign.
The co-operation of the fleet, under Rear-Admiral Farragut, on the waters west of the Mississippi, as well as at Port Hudson, was harmonious and effective, and contributed greatly to the success of our arms. A battery of heavy guns was established in the rear of the works by one of the officers of the navy, the fire of which was most constant and effective.
The signal corps, under command of Captain [W. W.] Rowley, and subsequently under Captain [W. B.] Roe, and the telegraphic corps, under Captain Bulkey, rendered every assistance possible to these branches of the service. By means of signals and telegraphs, a perfect communication was maintained at all times, night and day, between the fleet, and the army and with the different portions of the army.
The rebels admitted, after the close of the siege, that they had lost in killed and wounded during the siege 610 men; but they underrated the number of prisoners and guns they surrendered, and their loss in killed and wounded was larger than was admitted by them. It could not have been less that 800 or 1,000 men. Five hundred were found in the hospitals. The wounds were mostly in the head, from the fire of sharpshooters, and very severe.
A small portion of the troops composing the garrison at Port Hudson were ordered to Vicksburg, to strengthen the command of General Pemberton, subsequent to the attack in March. This gave rise to the report that the place had been evacuated, and it was only after the unsuccessful assaults of May 27 and June 14 that the strength of the fortifications and garrison was appreciated, and all parties were satisfied that our force was insufficient to effect the capture by assault. The uncertainty as to the movements of Johnston's command, which was known to be in the rear of Vicksburg, and the constant expectation that some part of his force would attack us in the rear, made it necessary that every consideration should be disregarded which involved the loss of time in our operations, and the general systematic attacks upon the works of the enemy were executed at the earliest possible moment after the necessary preparations had been made.
The siege lasted forty-five days, of which twenty-one days was incessant and constant fighting. It was conducted constantly with a view to the capture of the garrison as well as the reduction of the post.