Attack on Confederate Works

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“Siege of Vicksburg, attack on the Confederate Works, May 22nd, 1863. Our sketch represents the terrible but fruitless assault made on Pemberton’s last line of defense around the city of Vicksburg. On May 22nd, 1863, a tremendous assault was made on the grass-covered fortifications held by the Confederate army. These works consisted of a chain of forts about eight hundred yards apart, connected by deep intrenchments and extending for seven miles. Lawler’s brigade rushed up amid a cross fire, and with heavy loss planted the Stars and Stripes on the edge of a parapet; but the enemy gathered there, and the Federals were overpowered. Landrum’s brigade came to the relief, but faltered. McClernand ordered up Benton and Burbridge on the right. Sherman and McPherson also advanced, and at point after point the old flag fluttered for awhile on the works. On the extreme right Steele’s division, with Blair on his left, advanced as Pemberton fell back, and, like the others, could only display the bravery of the men. Covered by the ravines which intersected the ground the Federal troops would get near the works and make a gallant rush onward, reach the parapet, yet when the edge of the fort was gained the interior was swept by a line of the rifle pits in the rear and a partition breastwork, so that the Federals, even when in the fort, were almost as far from victory as before. In one case a party of twelve Iowans led by a youth named Griffiths, took and held a fort, but all finally fell under the fire of their assailants except Griffiths, who, with musket and revolver, captured fourteen Confederates when had discharged their pieces, and brought them off. The Confederates used for almost the first time hand grenades, which they rolled down the sides of the works on the assaulting party in the ditch or clinging to the side. This dreadful day swept away thousands of gallant Federals. The siege now began in earnest. No army could stand such losses. Closer were the lines drawn around the enemy. Siege guns were mounted. The mines began their work, and the fortifications were assailed from beneath."— Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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