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