Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, May 2, 1863

MILLIKEN'S BEND, May 2, 1863.

As I wrote you on Wednesday, I went up Yazoo with two ironclad boats, four or five mosquitoes, or small stern wheel gun-boats, and ten transports carrying a part of Blair’s division for the purpose of making a simulated attack on Haines' Bluff to divert attention from Grant's movements on Grand Gulf. The first night we spent at our old battle ground of Chickasaw Bayou, and next morning moved up in sight of the batteries on Drumgould's Hill. We battered away all morning and the enemy gave us back as much as we sent. The leading gun-boat got fifty-three shots in her, but her men being in iron casemates were not hurt. A wooden boat had a shot through the engine room. I was in the Black Hawk which was a wooden boat with two thirty pound rifles on the bow. We kept up a brisk cannonade for about five hours and then hauled out of range. I then disembarked the men in full view and made all the usual demonstrations of attack and remained so till night when the men were recalled. Next morning we made renewed examination, and I had just given orders for a new cannonade when a messenger came up from Grant saying they had had hard work at Grand Gulf and were compelled to run below, but that he would land at Bayou Pierre and turn back on Vicksburg, ordering me to come with two of my divisions to Perkins' plantation about forty miles down the river. I sent down orders for Tuttle's and Steele's divisions to march at once and yesterday afternoon we renewed the cannonade and kept it up till night when he ran down to our camp and moved up to Milliken's Bend. Steele's and Tuttle's divisions have gone out and I start to-morrow to overtake and pass them. I have nothing positive from below. Blair's division remains here. . . .

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 258-9.  A full copy of this letter can be found in the William T Sherman Family papers (SHR), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556, Folder CSHR 2/04.

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