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Following up these advantages, Banks, on the 8th of May, had advanced to and occupied Alexandria on the Red River, immediately after its capture by the naval force of Porter in one of tis excursions from before Vicksburg. The co-operation of the two armies below and above Port Hudson was thus secured by an interior line of communication, while, what was of the utmost consequence, the rebel supplies from the west of the Mississippi were effectually cut off. In view of these various operations, under such men as Farragut, Porter, Grant, and Banks, the fall of the rebel stronghold at Vicksburg and Port Hudson was looked for confidently at an early day.
Immediately after his occupation of Alexandria, Banks moved down the Red River, making Semmesport on the Atchafalaya his rendezvous, where, crossing the Mississippi, he landed with a portion of his army, on the 21st May, at Bayou Sara, a few miles above Port Hudson. On the 23d, a junction was effected with the advance of Gens. Augur and T. W. Sherman, who had brought up their forces from Baton Rouge. The Union line now occupied the Bayou Sara road at a distance of five miles from Port Hudson. Augur had an engagement with a portion of the enemy at Port Hudson Plains, on the Bayou Sara road, in the direction of Baton Rouge, which resulted in repulsing the rebels with heavy loss.* On the 25th of May, the enemy was
* Brigadier-General Thos. W. Sherman was severely wounded in the right leg with a solid shot, while leading the attack. He was removed to New Orleans, amputation was performed, and Gen. Sherman was relieved by the war department from active service.
compelled to abandon his first line of
works. Two days later, a general assault was made, which was kept up during the day. The rebels were driven into their works, and our troops moved up to the fortifications, holding the opposite sides of the parapet, with the enemy on the right. "Our limited acquaintance with the ground," according' to Banks's statement, "and the character of the works, which were almost hidden from our observation until the moment of approach, alone prevented the capture of the post."*
The great strength of the rebel position at Port Hudson rendered a regular investment necessary. The garrison was completely cut off from supplies, and would be ultimately starved out, if not compelled to surrender by assault. Banks, on the 14th of June, made a proposal to the rebel commander to submit to necessity and spare useless slaughter; but he refused. Several unsuccessful assaults were made by our troops, which did not, however, prevent the pushing forward the siege. A storming party was called for and rap idly filled up; but, happily, their ser-' vices were not required. The rebel general Gardner, having learned that Vicksburg had fallen, on the 4th of July, felt that he too could and ought to follow such an example. Accordingly, on the 8th of July, Port Hudson was unconditionally surrendered into the hands of Gen. Banks. The next day formal possession was taken of the
* Gen. Banks took occasion to praise, in high terms, the conduct of the negro troops ucder his command. "They require only good officers, commands of limited numbers, and careful discipline, to make them excellent soldiers."
ATTACK ON ARKANSAS POST.
works. The surrender included 6,233 prisoners, 51 pieces of artillery, 2 steamers, 4,400 pounds of cannon powder, 5,000 small arms, and 150,000 rounds of ammunition.
It was a severe and heavy blow to the rebel cause, and, added to the disaster at Vicksburg, caused great dis
content and much murmuring throughout the " Confederacy." On the other hand, the heart of the nation rejoiced, and loyal men everywhere resolved to make every effort for the speedy putting an end to the rebellion, and for restoring to our afflicted country the blessings of peace, unity, and concord.
OPERATIONS IN MISSISSIPPI: GRANT AND PORTER: SIEGE AND FALL OF VICKSBURG.
Attack on Arkansas Post — Fort Eindman taken —'Complete success — Grant's movements — P] an as to Vicksburg — Canal project a failure — Porter sends the Queen of the West to run the batteries — Success — Col. Ellet on the Red River — Projects of approach to Vicksburg, by Tensas River, Moon Lake, etc. — Unsuccessful — Porter's effort by Steele's and Black's bayou — Another gun boat gets past Vicksburg — Grant puts his forces in motion towards New Carthage — Porter resolves to take eight gun boats and three transports past the batteries — Success of tho daring undertaking — Other transports follow — Attack on Grand Gulf— Grant marches on Port Gibson — Victory — Col. Grierson's great cavalry raid — Grant's determination to secure his rear — Advance of our troops — Defeat of the rebels at Raymond and Jackson — Pemberton's efforts — Grant's plan of action — Battle of Champion's Hill, or Baker's Creek — Pemberton at the Big Black — Rebel rout complete — The army crosses the river and invests Vicksburg — Co-operation of the fleet under Porter — Lieut. Walker at Yazoo city — Assault on the works at Vicksburg—Another, three days later — Failure of both — Regular siege operations begun — Grant reinforced largely — Mortar batteries — Condition of Vicksburg — Explosion of the first mine — Assault — Second mine sprung—Pemberton proposes to surrender on July 3d — Vicksburg given up and entered by Grant on the 4th of July— Grant reports the result — Porter's share — Sherman's march after Johnston — Greatness of our success.
It had been arranged between Gen. W. T. Sherman and Admiral Porter, just before Gen. McClernand's arrival to take command (see p. 250) of the Army of the Mississippi, that an attack should be made upon Arkansas Post. It was desirable to do this for several reasons; the blow would fall entirely unexpected by the rebels; a victory would be of great service to rouse the spirit of the army after the failure of operations heretofore against Vicks
burg; and the works there, called Fort
On Friday, January 9th, three ironclads under Porter's personal direction, with all the light draft gun boats of the
fleet, moved up the White River, about fifteen miles, when, turning to the left, they passed through a cut-off", eight miles long, into the Arkansas River. Toward the close of the afternoon, preparations were made to land about three miles below Arkansas Post, which is about fifty miles from the mouth of the river. This was accomplished during the evening and part of the next day, and the troops advanced by divisions, so as to invest the fort and be ready to join the attack on the morning of the 11th January. Fort Hindman, against which they were marching, was a rather formidable work, being a regular square bastioned fort, the sides 300 feet in length, with casemates, and surrounded by a wide and deep ditch; it mounted twelve guns, including three Columbiads and four Parrotts, with outer defences; and there were in it about 5,000 men. Situated at a sharp bend of the river, it effectually controlled the passage of the Arkansas, protected Little Rock, the capital of the state, about 100 miles above, and sheltered the Post, where it was built, and the surrounding fertile country.
On the afternoon and during the evening of January 10th, the gun boats opened fire upon the fort, at the distance of about 400 yards, and kept it up for some time. About noon, the next day, a joint attack was begun by the naval and land forces, and was pressed so vigorously that, in the course of three hours, the rebels gave up the contest as hopeless; the white flag was hoisted, and our troops rushed into the works. The. victory was complete; over 5,000 prisoners, twenty p ?ces of
cannon, 8,000 stand of arms, and a large quantity of ammunition and stores were taken: and the rebels were cut off from further use of a position where they could do mischief. The loss on the part of McClernand was about 600, of whom 120 were killed. Porter's loss was slight, and the iron-clads and other vessels, though frequently struck, received no serious injury.
On the 16th of January, an expedition in light draft steamers, under Gen. Gorman and Lieut. "Walker, ascended the White River to Duvall's Bluff, about fifty miles from Little Rock, and found the enemy's posts deserted. In consequence of the country being flooded by heavy rains the roads were unfit for cavalry and artillery movements, and hence an overland advance upon Little Rock was compelled to be given up. The expedition returned to Napoleon on the 19th of January.
Having effectually destroyed the rebel works and their surroundings, McClernand with his forces reached Napoleon on the 18th of January, and prepared to take his share in the attack upon Vicksburg. The next day, the transports moved down the river, and being detained by a severe storm, did not reach their destination, Young's Point, until the 21st of January. This Point is on the western side of the Mississippi, about nine miles above Vicksburg, and nearly opposite the mouth of the Yazoo River. The gun boats also dropped down to their stations, and by the end of the month, Grant had gath ered his forces from Cairo and up the river, and with an increase of the iron clads under Porter, was prepared tc