The Civil War Diary of Henderson George
Diary 1863


  JUNE 1863  
Wednesday June 24th.
Weather very hot and sultry. Troops working on entrenchments. Unusual heavy cannonnading on our Vicksburg front.
Friday June 26th.
As company clerk I began making out muster and pay rolls. All seems to be quiet to-day both on our front and rear.
Saturday June 27th.
Weather very hot and oppressive. Working on master and pay rolls.
Sabbath June 28th.
Finished payrolls. Roundheads working on entrenchments.
Monday June 29th.
Break camp at Haines Bluff and march eastward about eight miles in the direction of Jackson Miss. Bivouac near the the Big Black River.
Weather very hot and sultry. Muster at eight A.M. At noon troops called for action with loaded arms. Move forward about a quarter of a mile. It may be that we are in immediate danger from attack, but it is not apparent to me.
  JULY 1863  
Wednesday July 1st.
All apparently quiet. Found a lot of books in a ravine. Weather hot and su1try. Mosquitoes are our rnost annoying enemies; they will be with us constantly as long as we are in this region.
Friday July 3d.
Many rumors are afloat in camp as to the fate of Vicksburg; the city is said to have surrendered; we know not the exact news because we are several miles in the rear and now following Johnston.
Saturday July 4th.
To-day all Quiet. Gathered some blackberries from a wild patch near by at the risk of snake bite; cooked berries, thought I never ate anything so fine; first fruit tasted in many months. About ten A.M. persistant rumors that Vicksburg had surrendered. About noon news confirmed. Called into line about four P.M., march to the Big Black River.
Sabbath July 5th.
March at two P.M. and bivouac; our advance have come up with the enemy. This is the rebel General Johnston's army who threatened the rear of our Vicksburg beseiging forces. Vicksburg now in our hands the whole Union Army is now in pursuit. There was lively picket fireing and cannonading about sundown. The number of prisoners taken at Vicksburg was about thirty thousand.
Monday July 6th.
No movement to-day; orders to be ready to march at a moments warning. We anticipate lively times soon.
Tuesday July 7th.
All ominously quiet on our front. March at two P.M. cross the Big Black River in the direction of Yazoo city; about nine miles march. Weather exceedingly oppressive and sultry. Thunder storin came on at dusk which lasted until after mid-night; on picket exposed to the storm; the terrific lightning and thunder,the sheets of rain driven by the wind, seemed as though it would swallow us up in our exposed position; we are right on the heels of the enemy.
Wednesday July 8th.
Relieved from picket at ten A.M., join regiment at noon; at two P.M. march in the direction of Clinton; bivouac at midnight; Very tired and thirsty; spent an hour in the woods and adjoining country hunting in the dark for water; found water in a mudhole; horrible stuff; swallow some of it under protest with the thought of sickness. Water in this region generally bad both for man and beast; poisoned ponds have killed some of our horses.
Thursday July 9th.
March at seven A.M. in the direction of Jackson Miss., the Capitol of the State; heavy skirmishing and some cannonading in our immediate front; form line of battle at dusk, lie down on our arms; remain here all night; weather very sultry; mosquitos busy.
Friday July 10th.
March at eight A.M. through fields and thickets; arrive about two P.M. within four miles of Jackson Miss. An hour later form line of battle near the State Lunatic Asylum; advance in battle line with the 79th. N.Y.V. in our front as skirmishers; advance about two miles; no enemy found in force; bivouac on arms for the night.
Saturday July 11th.
Early in the morning advance in line of battle to within a few hundred yards of the enemies works. This movement was accomplished under cover of a low hill. Our Brigade holds the extreme left resting on Pearl River; we are now exposed to an enfilading fire causing our men to lie close to the ground in a scorching sun; notwithstanding some of our men were killed or wounded where they lay. We are grateful for the shades of night.
Sabbath July 12th.
Heavy skirmishing began at daylight and continued throughout the day. Our batteries began to shell the enemies works about seven A.M. orders expected to charge which we felt would be a bloody affair. At 12 noon we are relieved by the second division of our Corps. (9th.) and ordered out on picket on Pearl River.
Monday July 13th.
Remain on picket all night; during the night six companies of the Roundheads were ordered to report to the Brigade; four companies remain viz. A, F, K, & G. G is my company.
Tuesday July 14th.
Still on picket on Pearl River; about about two P.M., I was sent out alone as an out post picket; rather hazardous,but nothing unusual occurred.
Wednesday July 15th.
Still on outpost picket alone; word brought by a scout of the third Iowa Cavalry of the approach of a force of rebel mounted men; preparation by the picket force to meet them should they appear.
Thursday July 16th.
Ten guns captured from the enemy, so rumor says; on our right the enemy attempt to break our linas but were severely repulsed.
Friday July 17th.
Report this morning that the enemy evacuated Jackson last night. Orders at noon to march; move in the direction of Canton, and bivouac at Grants Mill on Pearl River. If the enemy have evacuated Jackson, our campaign is practically ended.
Saturday July l8th.
March early this morning in the direction of the N.O., J. & C.N. R.R. Arrive at Madison Station; burn the station and tear up several miles of R.R. track. To make our work effective, the ties are piled in large heaps and the iron rails laid across these heaps and then set on fire. The heat from the burning ties softens the rails, causing the ends to drop, making the rail crooked and useless.
Sabbath Ju1y 19th.
Continue tearing up the R..R. track until noon; orders to march; Move back to Jackson Miss., a distance of about ten miles. Weather blistering hot and dusty.
Monday July 20th.
Take leave of Jackson Miss. at Four o'clock this morning; march in the direction of Flower Hill, twenty two miles. Terrific heat and dust. This is a heavy march for such weather.
Tuesday July 21st.
March at daylight; pass through Brownsville arriving at the Big Black River an hour after dark. Bivouac in a corn field; distance marched to-day twenty miles. Several eases of sun stroke causing one or two deaths; intense heat and dust; we are in the midst of the hot season.
Wednesday July 22nd.
March at noon after the burial of one or two of our men on account of the heat; cross tha Big Black River and a few miles beyond encamp; heavy rain thoroughly drenching our troops to the skin; put in the hot sultry night in wet clothes.
Thursday July 23d.
Narch early this morning and arrive at Millvale about ten o clock; This is one of our old camping grounds; distance marched about thirteen miles.
Friday July 24th.
All quiet; resting to-day; no enemy near us; men busy cleaning up; this is believed to be the end of a strenuous campaign. We have come through intense heat, dust, storms, malaria, and all sorts of mosquitos. The results have been the surrender of Vicksburg with thirty thousand prisoners; the fight with General Johnston at Jackson, and his retreat. This campaign opens the Mississippi River throughout its length. Millvale is near Haines Bluff on the Yazoo River.
Saturday July 25th.
This fore noon I was on duty with fatigue squad at the landing on the Yazoo River. The indications are that troops will embark soon for the north.
Sabbath July 26th.
Resting in camp.
Monday July 27th.
Resting in camp.
Tuesday July 28th.
Resting in camp.
Wednesday July 29th.
Resting in camp.
Thursday July 30th.
Resting in camp.
Friday July 31st.
To-day on fatigue duty with squad; physically I feel quite under the weather, probabiy from malaria. Troops receive orders to break camp and go on board the stearn wheel Steam Boat, Hastings. This is glad news.