Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 14, 1863

June 14, 1864

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 23

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 18

---Second Battle of Winchester, Virginia – Day 2:  Gen. Ewell sends Early’s division to the west of the town, and Allegheny Johnson’s division to the east.  The Rebels occupy an eminence called Bower’s Hill, where they place 20 cannon.  When these guns open up, they command a number of Union positions.  Maj. Gen. Milroy, still under the mistaken impression that they have somehow put the Rebels to flight, does not realize that Early and Johnson have maneuvered so that they nearly have the Yankees surrounded.  Gen. Hays brigade of Louisiana troops charges the works of West Fort, and the Federal defenders abandon the fort and head to Fort Milroy.  Ewell wants Early to continue the attacks, but darkness falls, preventing further action.  Meanwhile, Johnson advances around the east side of Winchester, and then angles northwest, with the idea of cutting off all Union retreat routes.  Milroy orders a withdrawal, and the Yankees manage a stealthy withdrawal under cover of darkness.

---Charles H. Lynch, of the 18th Connecticut, records his ground-level view of the battle this day:

June 14th. Last night our position was changed from the south to the east side of the town, on the Berryville road. The night was a very dark, stormy one, with severe lightning and thunder. . . .

The enemy had possession of a large brick house a short distance in front of our position in the pits. Their sharpshooters made it hot for us. A charge on the house was ordered. The enemy ran, but we captured a few prisoners. Later in the day the rebs again took possession of the house making it hot for us in the pits. We had to lie low or zip would come a bullet, and at times many of them. Colonel ordered a section of a battery. Two guns putting a few shells through the house, the enemy left it. No more trouble came from that point, the house was ruined. About 6 P. M. General Milroy called in all his forces and formed them around the Star Fort, the largest fort. A fierce battle came on. It was a hot place. The roaring of the big guns, explosion of shells, rattling of musketry, was something fearful. The charging of both sides was hot work. We drove the enemy back and they also forced our lines back. Darkness put an end to the carnage and I had passed through the battle unharmed. The end of the second day. The casualties were great as I could not help seeing. It gave me an opportunity to see what a horrible thing war really was. We were fighting Jackson’s old corps, now commanded by General Ewell, reported to number forty thousand.

---Gen. Robert Rodes, of Ewell’s corps, advances and occupies Martinsburg, Virginia, just a few miles from Harper’s Ferry.

---Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding the Union’s Army of the Potomac in Virginia, is finally convinced that Lee is moving west, and so abandons the position opposite Fredericksburg, where he thought the rest of the Rebel army lay.  He puts the I, III, and XI Corps in motion, to pursue Lee, wherever he might be.

---Sarah Morgan, of Louisiana, hears of the movements around Vicksburg and Port Hudson:

Sunday, June 14th.

The excitement about Port Hudson and Vicksburg is intense. When I heard on Friday that the last attack was being made on the former place, I took to my prayers with a delirium of fervor. If I was a man, if I had the blessed privilege of fighting, I would be on the breastworks, or perchance on the water batteries under Colonel Steadman’s command. But as I was unfortunately born a woman, I stay home and pray with heart and soul. That is all I can do; but I do it with a will.

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