May 17, 1863 Vicksburg

From the Vicksburg Diary of R.W. Burt
Lieutenant 76th Ohio Infantry

"May 17th Pushing forward through a hilly country we encountered the enemy pickets at 3 P.M. three miles north of Vicksburg. We bivouced that night in a deep hollow, and the rebel shells were frequently reminding us that our presence was not desired. Hardtack was getting scarce, for communication was not as yet opened with Milliken's Bend until the next day. I heard an officer of our Regiment offer one of his men half a dollar for a hardtack, yet nobody feared but that Gen. Grant would soon find a way to renew the supply. On the 19th our Regiment was ordered to the front and pressed forward to an advanced position on the heights commanding the city. I saw Gen. Grant and his staff dashing to the front and giving Col. Charles R. Woods orders where to take his Regiment. Our advance movement was made at double quick over very rough ground and deep ravines in full view of the enemy's works for half a mile of the distance, but we reached the desired position with little loss. Week after week we remained on this hill, occasionally seeing the rebels raising their heads above their works across the deep hollow between us and them, and shots were frequently exchanged. We had to keep very close under the shelter of our rifle pits made for our protection, for whenever we exposed ourselves to the view of the enemy we were sure to draw their fire. One day I was walking leisurely along the summit of the hill in rear of our works when a minie ball struck the ground only a few feet before me, raising the dust and causing me to seek a safer location before another shot should follow, perhaps more to my discomfort."

Note: Found at Vicksburg National Military Park

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