Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27, 1863

May 27, 1863

---Vicksburg -- As Gen. Sherman is anchoring the right flank of his lines on the Yazoo River, his troop movements are bedeviled by a couple of well-placed heavy guns.  Sherman asks Admiral Porter to send around a gunboat to take them out.  As the USS Cincinnati arrives, the Rebel guns open fire on her.  Porter, on a tugboat, directs the fire of a few mortar boats in support, but lost sight of the ironclad as the vessel turned into a bayou.  But several telling shots sank the ironclad, losing 25 men killed and wounded, and 15 missing.
Gen. Banks

The May 27 Assault on Port Hudson
---Assault on Port Hudson – Gen. Nathaniel Banks orders his army of 30,000 to attack the Rebel fortifications at Port Hudson, Louisiana.  Admiral Farragut brings up his gunboats and mortar boats, which lob shells into the fort.  Banks’ attack is poorly coordinated, however, and assault forces under Grover, Weitzel, Augur, and Thomas Sherman are sent forward at different times, so that the Rebel commander, Franklin Gardner, is able to shift forces to strengthen the line being attacked.  In the morning, Weitzel and Grover strike the northern side of the fortress, but their attack bogs down.  The Confederate line has salient that can bring crossfire to almost any spot.  A combined regiment of black soldiers---the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guards, , are sent in where there was a strong salient, and the white soldiers had gotten bogged down.  Three Arkansas regiments defend here.  The 1st Regiment, led by a negro commander, Captain Andre Cailloux, rushes forward, passing up the bogged-down white regiments, and reach the wall of the salient; however, without supports, they are unable to hold the position---and when their commander Capt. Cailloux is killed by a cannon round, they fall back.  Over 300 of the 1,000 black soldiers were shot down in the attack.  Later in the day, Augur and Sherman’s divisions were to go forward against the southeastern and southern faces of the Port Hudson lines.  However, Augur is ready before Sherman is, and he waits.  Gen. Banks finds Sherman and his staff sitting down to lunch.  Angrily, he fires Sherman---but Sherman places himself at the head of his column anyway.  Sherman himself is badly wounded, as are both of his successors, and this assault bogs down.  Augur’s men meet a similar fate.  Out of the 13,000 men who partake in the assaults this day, nearly 2,000 of them are shot down.  Rebel losses amount to about 250.  Gen. Banks settles into a regular siege after this.  Confederate Victory.

Losses:    U.S.     1,950+                   C.S.    250

---Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his journal about the internal politics in the government and the impact of the Vicksburg campaign on the mind of the public:

May 27, Wednesday. No decisive news from Vicksburg. The public mind is uneasy at the delay, yet I am glad to see blame attaches to no one because the place was not taken at once. There have been strange evidences of an unreasonable people on many occasions during the War. Had Halleck shown half the earnestness and ability of Farragut, we should have had Vicksburg in our possession a year ago.

Troop of the Louisiana Native Guard

---Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, writes in his journal of his progress on the long, drawn-out journey through the South:

27th May (Wednesday).—Arrived at Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, at daylight, and left it by another railroad at 5.30 A.M.

All State capitals appear to resemble one another, and look like bits cut off from great cities. One or two streets have a good deal of pretension about them; and the inevitable “Capitol,” with its dome, forms the principal feature. A sentry stands at the door of each railway car, who examines the papers of every passenger with great strictness, and even after that inspection the same ceremony is performed by an officer of the provost-marshal’s department, who accompanies every train.[1] The officers and soldiers on this duty are very civil and courteous, and after getting over their astonishment at finding that I am a British officer, they do all they can to make me comfortable. They ask all sorts of curious questions about the British army, and often express a strong wish to see one of our regiments fight. They can hardly believe that the Coldstream is really dressed in scarlet. To-day they entered gravely into a discussion amongst themselves, as to whether British troops would have taken the position at Fredericksburg. The arguments on both sides were very amusing, and opinion was pretty evenly divided.

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