Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22, 1863

May 22, 1863
Battle of Vicksburg, Day 2 – Grant, having given his soldiers two days of rest, comes up with a better plan of attack, having all three corps attack in concert.  Artillery bombards the fortifications during the night, from 220 cannon, and the large guns from Admiral Porter’s river flotilla.  The ground attack is scheduled to begin at 10 AM.  Led by 150 volunteers with scaling ladders, Sherman’s men drive down the Graveyard Road once again, as on May 19, but his corps is unable to breach the Rebel line.  McPherson launches his attack along the Jackson Road, into the Confederate center, and some of his troops even get within 100 yards of the Confederate line.  McClernand’s attack on the left is less effective; at one point he requests more troops, claiming he has captured two forts, which is a lie.  The attacks bog down, and it is clear to Grant that he must lay siege. 

Losses:    U.S.   3,199                     C.S.   500 (or less)

Union assaults on Vicksburg fortification
Union troops attempting the Vicksburg parapet

---John Beauchamp Jones, a clerk in the Confederate War Department, writes about the public rumors of Vicksburg’s investment:

We have sad rumors from Vicksburg. Pemberton, it is said, was flanked by Grant, and lost 30 guns, which he abandoned in his retreat. Where Johnston is, is not stated. But, it is said, Vicksburg is closely invested, and that the invaders are closing in on all sides. There is much gloom and despondency in the city among those who credit these unofficial reports. It would be a terrible blow, but not necessarily a fatal one, for the war could be prolonged indefinitely.

The Attack of May 22 at Vicksburg

---Col. Judson Kilpatrick of the Federal cavalry makes a name for himself by leading a raid throughout several counties in Virginia, assisted by a gunboat.  Kilpatrick’s raid captures large number of livestock, and puts to the torch large stores of grain and flour.
---Gen. Sherman’s troops land at Haines Bluff, north of Vicksburg, thus enabling the U.S. Navy to establish a base for supplying Grant’s army.

—Gen. Ulysses S. Grant telegraphs news of his investment around Vicksburg to General-ion-Chief Henry W. Halleck in Washington: 

NEAR Vicksburg, May 22, 1863,
VIA MEMPHIS, May 25.    

General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:
   Vicksburg is now completely invested. I have possession of Haynes' Bluff and the Yazoo; consequently have supplies. To-day an attempt was made to carry the city by assault, but was not entirely successful. We hold possession, however, of two of the enemy's forts, and have skirmishers close under all of them. Our loss was not severe. The nature of the ground about Vicksburg is such that it can only be taken by a siege. It is entirely safe to us in time, I would say one week, if the enemy do not send a large army upon my rear. With the railroad destroyed to beyond Pearl River, I do not see the hope that the enemy can entertain of such relief.
    I learn that Jeff. Davis has promised that if the garrison can hold out for fifteen days he will send 100,000 men, if he has to evacuate Tennessee to do it.
    What shall I do with the prisoners I have?

    U. S. GRANT,


  1. Union soldiers were given the charge to live off the land. Looting, plundering, and raiding they found resources to sustain them. Apparently Confederates set fire to their crops to avoid resupplying the Union, but the guns just don't burn as fast enough.

  2. It would have had been hard to be a Union troop in this battle. Vicksburg, even though the Union was slowly surrounding her, was heavily fortified. This shows that Grant's troops had very high morale. They wanted to win this battle. This brings me to a topic that I would want to investigate more: Southern Morale vs. Northern Morale. Which side had the stronger desire to win?

    Jory Johnson