June 21, 1863 VicksburgSiege of Vicksburg,
June 21st 1863.
The 34th day of the siege has come with but little change in the situation. In accordance with an order from Gen. Grant, our batteries all along the lines opened on the enemy's works yesterday morning at four o'clock, and continued to pour in the shot and shell into rebel camps and the city until 10 o'clock A.M. It must have made it terribly hot for them. Seventy shells were seen to burst in one of their forts. During all the six hours of cannonading they did not dare to raise their heads to reply from their fort, and the only evidence of any rebels being there was a ball from their rifle pits whizzing over our heads occasionally. The evening previous they fired a few rounds of grape and shell at the 76th from one of their forts on the hill opposite us, but they did not get them close enough to hurt anybody. It stirred us up some however for it was the first salute of the kind we had heard from them for several days. This thing of fighting all day by the month, is getting to be a very irksome business, but the obstinate rascals across the ravine won't hoist the white flag yet, and I think we can endure it a little longer than they can, with their short rations and iron hail storms. They hold on to the beleagured garrison with an endurance and obstinacy worthy of a better cause. There has been no casualties in the regiment since Holtsbury was killed, and the sick list is moderate in number.
Our situation on these high hills, where we can get a purer atmosphere, is much more conducive to good health than in the lowlands and in the neighborhood of the malarious pools and bayous of Young's Point and Milliken's Bend. Our camp equipage left behind at Milliken's Bend, has all been brought over to the Yazoo landing, but only a few tents have been brought here yet, as we have not room enough to lay out a regular camp on the hillside we occupy behind our rifle pits. What tents we have get balls put through them frequently. The boys have dug pits in the side hills, and covered them over with pieces of old tents left behind by the rebels when they were driven in. Cane grows abundantly in the ravines, and by platting a few of them together with bark and placing something under the ends to raise them a few inches from the ground, quite a springy and comfortable bedstead is made, which is much better than lying on the ground, especially when the weather is wet. As there are now no hopes of being able to celebrate the 4th of July with our friends at home, we cherish the hope that we may be able to celebrate it in the city of Vicksburg. Opinions are various as to how much longer the rebels can hold out, some think only a few days while others think they might hold out weeks, but all agree that they must put up the white flag and submit finally to an unconditional surrender. There is the greatest confidence in Gen. Grant's ability to prevent the siege being raised by Johnston, Bragg, or anybody else who may attempt it, and the heavy reinforcements that are coming in make us feel doubly sure that there is no question about holding our position.
Captain Landgraeber, better known by the Soubriquet of the "Flying Dutchman" was severely wounded this morning while standing near his battery taking a survey of the enemy's works. His battery is on the hill we occupy. A detail of 40 men in charge of Captain Wheeler has been at work on the gunboat "Cincinnati" today, making an effort to get off her guns, but they have been discovered by the rebels and one of their batteries is throwing shells at them, so they will probably have to withdraw till after dark. She has 13, 7, 8, and 9 inch guns on her. The river is rising rapidly. Advise your readers to send the soldiers plenty of newspapers, for all are eager for the news and we cannot always buy newspapers here. But hold, I am spinning out too long and must close.
Note: Letter to the Newark True American Found at Vicksburg National Military Park
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