The Civil War Diary of Henderson George



We are now steaming down the Mississippi River, and our destination is Vicksburg.

It is not a pleasure trip; our boat is loaded with soldiers and in our crowded condition there is little in the way of comfort, convenience, or accommodation. As we steam along there is constant danger of being fired on from the banks of the river by the enemy, or sunk by his artillery. The pilot in the pilot house is protected from bullets by iron boiler plates placed around him, but the soldiers crowding the boat have no protection. We pass gun boats patrolling the river,but are they able to protect us from stray bullets as we steam down the tortuous channel of muddy waters.

The fleet bearing our Division of the ninth Army Corps, lies to at night. On Sabbath morning June l4th., four days run from Cairo, the guns of the beseiging and beseiged armies of Vicksburg are heard thundering in the distance. At ten o'clock A.M., we land on the west bank of the river in sight of the beseiged city. Immediately on landing orders are received by our troops to cook three days rations and be ready for action at any moment.

Next morning at five o'clock the day after landing, troops are called to arms and march across "the neck," to opposite the city to the ferry, a distance of about four miles. It is rumored that we are to cross the river below the city, under fire of the rebel guns. The thundering artillery of the beseiging and beseiged forces fill our ears while we anticipate soon to be under fire.

Order countermanded and our troops march back where our boat landed. At noon of the l6th., our regiment is ordered aboard the steam boat, Silver Moon, which Immediately steamed across the Mississipi to the mouth of the Yazoo, and up the Yazoo river a few miles landing us on the south bank at a place called Haines Bluff; marching a few miles south of this point brings us to the rear of the beseiging army now investing Vicksburg. Our troops are placed in position for the purpose of protecting the rear.

It is reported that the rebel General Johnston is concentrating a force a few miles east of Black River, with the object of making an attempt to raise the seige, and relieve the city. Our troops are now on the ground and entrenching with the object of meeting his attack.

Dating from the 16th. to the 23d. of June, our front, which is facing from the rear of the beseiging arrny is quiet. The army of General Johnston up to this time has made no attack, as was for a time so confidently anticipated.

The condition of the enemy defending Vicksburg from reports through deserters must be extremely critical; also the fact that food supplies are known to be about exhausted. If General Johnston fails to raise the seige within the next few days Vicksburg must fall; there appears not a ray of hope.