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The Union force consisted of the Eleventh Illinois, Colonel Schofield, Colonel Coatcs's Eighth Louisiana, (colored,) and two hundred of the First Mississippi cavalry, Colonel Ed. Osband, (colored.) The enemy had eight regiments, under command of Ross and Richardson. The fight commenced at eight A.m., and lasted nearly till dark, when the enemy retired. Three hundred of the Eleventh Illinois were surrounded in a small fort of the bluff outside the town. A storm of shot and shell was poured upon them all da}', when a summons was sent to them to surrender. They replied that they didn't know what surrender meant. The remainder of the Union force was in town, where they were met by the enemy, who had gained cover of some of the buildings. The contest raged for three hours, when the enemy retired.
Two gunboats were in the river, but could render but little assistance. The colored soldiers fought bravely, and sometimes with desperation. The Eleventh Illinois lost twenty-five —nine of whom were killed. Among them was a lieutenant whose name we could not learn.
The Eighth Louisiana lost nearly one hundred in killed, wounded, and missing. The First Mississippi cavalry lost two Lieutenants and several men. Our whole loss is set down at one hundred and thirty—that of the enemy at three hundred.
LIEUTENANT INGERSOLL'S ACCOUNT
Camp Eleventh Illinois Infantry, Vicksburgh, I
Dear C. : I am not much in the mood for letterwriting to-day, but I will try and write a short one to you. My last was written, I believe, before we reached Yazoo City, on our way down from Greenwood. Colonel Coates received orders while at Sulon to proceed to Yazoo City, take possession of the place, and send to Vicksburgh for camp equipage. When within about six miles of the city, (by land, about fourteen by the river,) Colonel Osband's First Mississippi cavalry, A. I)., was disembarked, with instructions to proceed by land to the rear of the town and take possession of all the roads leading therefrom, in order to gobble up any persons that might attempt to escape, and also to reconnoitre and ascertain what was going on in the vicinity. Major Cook, with a detachment of the First Mississippi cavalry, went out on the Benton road, leading west from Yazoo City. When out about sis miles, he came upon what he supposed to be a small scouting-party, but which proved to be the advance pickets of General Ross's Texas brigade. He dashed upon them, driving them back into their camp, when they opened upon him with artillery. The Major, having only about sixty men, was forced to get out of that rather lively. A detachment of Ross's brigade followed him up, and they had a running fight till they reached the hills surrounding the city, where the Major made a stand, occupying a small redoubt on the Benton road just outside the city. A despatch having been received by the Colonel, giving a statement of affairs, the Eleventh Illinois,
which had just disembarked, was ordered up to the front on the double-quick, and we arrived there none too soon. The enemy fell back as soon as they saw reinforcements coming up. We skirmished with them till dark, when they fell back to their camp. We remained in the fort all night The Eighth Louisiana occupied a fort, or rather redoubt, (there are seven of them around the city,) to the right of us about three quarters of a mile. The next day company A was ordered to report at headquarters for provost-guard. This was the twenty-ninth of February. From that time up to the fifth of March, we skirmished with the enemy every day, and our cavalry pickets were drawn in nearly every night.
A flag of truce was received by Colonel Coates from General Ross, on the fourth of March, asking if the fortunes of war should place some of his men in our possession as prisoners, what should be their treatment, etc. To which a reply was given, that such treatment depended upon the treatment our men (cither white or black) received at his hands.
About seven o'clock on the morning of the fifth of March, the enemy drove in our cavalry pieket, and attacked the infantry picket, which had been strengthened during the night, iu considerable force, but were unable to force them to retire, and were compelled to bring up their artillery to dislodge them. Our forces then retired into the fort, ready to welcome whoever or whatever might be sent They had not long to wait. The enemy formed their lines, which consisted of General Ross's Texas brigade, and General Richardson's Tennessee brigade, (the latter had arrived during the night,) on the ridge northeast of the redoubt held by the Eleventh Illinois, commanded by Major McKee, and a detachment of the First Mississippi cavalry, under command of Major Cook, who occupied the trenches outside of the redoubt All this time the enemy were peppering away at the fort with a battery of six rifled pieces, and doing some damage, planting the shell inside the fort with great accuracy. After the enemy had formed, they charged down the hill and across the ravine with a yell, our boys sending a shower of bullets among them, till they got under shelter of the blurts around the fort. They took their position on three sides of the fort, under shelter of the bluff, and within one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards.
About twelve o'clock General Ross sent a flag of truce with the demand for a surrender. Major McKee, not liking the style of the thing, returned it without an answer. When Major McKee started to meet the first flag of truce, Major Cook, supposing the flag to have been raised first on our side, called to Major McKee and said: "Major, for God's sake, what are you going to do? You are not going to surrender?" The Major's reply was: "Ask my men if I ever surrender."
At the same time that General Ross took position around the fort, two regiments of General Richardson's command, the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Tennessee, deployed to the right into a large corn-field, and on the low ground to the north of the city. Colonel Coates ordered company A out to meet them and check them as much as possible, while he sent to the Eighth Louisiana for reenforcements. We went out on the run. The men deployed in the outskirts of the town, getting behind the fences and buildings for protection. But we found two regiments most too heavy for our company, and fell back from one street to the other, the boys giving them the best they had. Prisoners taken say that they suffered severely coining through the town. We were driven back till on a line with headquarters, when we made a stand, having the advantage of a strong position, and having been reenforced by a detachment from the Eighth Louisiana, A. D., about one hundred and fifty strong, determined to hold it to the last. Company A being statione'd to the best advantage, I went to headquarters to see what was going on there. Colonel Coates was in the street giving orders as cool as though nothing unusual was going on. The bullets were flying around him as thick as hail. The enemy had taken possession of the houses on both sides of the street above headquarters, and were firing from the windows and doors. The pillars in front of the building used for headquarters (formerly a bank) were speckled with the marks of bullets. It seems almost a miracle that the Colonel was not struck a dozen times. He escaped with only a couple of holes through his coat, and a slight scratch on the face. He was standing on the steps in front of headquarters, or in the street, all the time during the fight About three o'clock the Colonel told Adjutant Dean and myself to take what men we could get together, go around to the left of the town and attack them on the flank, to make a diversion if possible from that part of the city. We took a few of company A that were the nearest, (the whole company being out skirmishing where they had been all day,) and a small squad from the Eighth Louisiana, with an officer from the same regiment. We went around to the left, attacking them on the flank and rear, yelling at the same time like so many Indians. Captain Kenyon (of the Colonel's staff, and Captain of company K, Eleventh Illinois,) took about twenty men that had been cut off from the fort while out skirmishing in the morning, and driven back into town, and attacked them on the right about the same time. The enemy thinking no doubt that we had been reenforced, started for the hills, every man for himself. Wo followed them as close as wo thought advisable, considering our small force. Lieutenant Brewster moved up Main street with a twelve-pound rifled gun, which had been sent to us from one of the gunboats, with men to work it, (the captain of the gun had deserted it at the commencement of the fight, leaving it in the hands of the enemy; our men charged up the street and retook it.) From that time to the close of the fight, Adjutant Dean and Lieutenant Brewster handled the gun, sending to the gun
boat for a new squad of men to work it, doing good execution. Wc had no idea of driving the enemy out of the town when we made the demonstration. We were expecting reenforcements from Liverpool, which had been sent for, and we wanted to keep them busy until they arrived.
As soon as the enemy retreated out of the town, those attacking the fort gradually fell back, till out of cover of the bluffs, when they broke and ran, our boys having opened a heavy fire upon them. Thus ended our fight at Yazoo City.
A second flag of truce was sent on the sixth instant, from Brigadier-General Richardson to Colonel Coates, stating that ho had sent an ambulance surgeon and ambulance corps to bury his dead, and take care of the wounded, and proposing to Colonel Coates that each of them send a commissioner between the picket-lines to effect an exchange of prisoners, etc. The first point was answered that his dead had been decently buried, his wounded properly and tenderly cared for, consequently no necessity for his surgeon, etc, and declined receiving them. To the second proposition, would answer, that a cartel had been agreed upon, in which certain parties and places were named for such exchange, and as neither Brigadier-General Richardson, confederate States army, nor Colonel Coates, United States volunteers, were named as such parties, nor Yazoo City the point for such exchange, would respectfully decline your proposition.
The gist of the joke in this last was, that at that time we had none of his men as prisoners!
I don't hanker after any more street-fights. Our entire loss is about one hundred and twenty-five. The Eleventh lost ten killed, including one commissioned officer, and thirty-five wounded and missing. Company A lost five wounded and ono missing. He was probably wounded and taken prisoner. Three of them were from Stephenson County. Sergeant C. H. Lutz in the wrist, Samuel Stoner in the leg, and L. Iman in the shoulder. They have been sent to St. Louis, together with "Joe" Pratt. The}' were all doing well when they left here. [Iman since reported dead.—Ed. Jour.]
The morning after the fight orders came from Vicksburgh to embark immediately for that place. We left Yazoo City on the morning of the seventh, arriving there on the ninth.
I have endeavored to give you a short sketch of the fight. You know my fondness for letterwriting, so it is entirely unnecessary for any apologies. Had it not been for the coolness and bravery of Major McKee, who had command in the fort, also Major Cook, First Mississippi cavalry A. D., who had command of a detachment from this regiment, and the determination of Colonel Coates to hold the place as long as he had a man to fight with, this letter would probably have been written in Libby prison and to a different metre. We learned by a gunboat officer who arrived here yesterday morning from Yazoo City, that the enemy reported having lost over four hundred killed, wounded, and missing. They must have suffered severely in getting a position around the fort.
While the rebs had possession of part of the town, (and it was the largest part too,) they plundered promiscuously. Lieutenant Brewster lost all his papers, and all his clothes but what he had on. He was lucky more than once that day in saving those and in being able to carry them off himself. It seemed as though he and Adjutant Dean were bulletproof. Captain Kenyon and Lieutenant Pcrriont, both on the Colonel's staff, exposed themselves almost recklessly, and escaped without a scratch. You have got to see a street-fight to comprehend it. I can't describe it. Company A did itself credit, as it always tries to do. Okton Inoeusoll.
Dkmopolis, Ala., March 11,1S64. To AdjutanUOeneral Cooper:
General Lee telegraphs that Ross and Richardson attacked Yazoo City on the fifth instant, capturing many stores and destroying much cotton about being shipped.
The enemy retired to the city and held it until reen forced. They were driven out of the city, which was recaptured, while stores were being destroyed. We have quite a number of prisoners. Our loss was about fifty killed and wounded. The enemy still occupy Yazoo City and Liverpool, intrenching at the latter place.
Sherman issued a general order at Canton, in which he speaks of many regiments in his army entitled to furlough. L. Polk,
PROCLAMATION BY JEFF DAVIS.
TnE Senate and House of Representatives of the confederate States of America have signified their desire that a day may be recommended to the people, to be set apart and observed as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, in the language following, to wit:
"Reverently recognizing the Providence of God in the affairs of man, and gratefully remembering the guidance, support, and deliverance granted to our patriot fathers in the memorable war which resulted in the independence of the American colonies, and now reposing in Him our supreme confidence and hope in the present struggle for civil and religious freedom, and for the right to live under a government of our own choice, and deeply impressed with the conviction that without him nothing is strong, nothing wise, and nothing enduring; in order that the people of this Confederacy may have the opportunity at the same time of offering their adoration to the great Sovereign of the universe, of penitently confessing their sins, and strengthening their vows and purposes of amendment in humble reliance upon his gracious and almighty power:
"Tho Congress of the confederate States of America do resolve, that it be recommended to the people of these States that Friday, the eighth
day of April next, bo set apart and observed as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that Almighty God would so preside over our public counsels and authorities, that he would so inspire our armies and their leaders with wisdom, courage, and perseverance, and so manifest himself in the greatness of his goodness and majesty of his power, that we may be safely and successfully led through tho chastenings to which we are being subjected, to the attainment of an honorable peace; so that while we enjoy the blessings of a free and happy government, we may ascribe to him the honor and the glory of our independence and prosperity."
A recommendation so congenial to the feelings of the people will receive their hearty concurrence; and it is a grateful duty to the Executive to unite with their representatives in inviting them to meet in the courts of the Most High. Recent events awaken fresh gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of nations. Our enemies have suffered repeated defeats, and a nefarious scheme to burn and plunder our capital, and to destroy our civil government by putting to death the chosen servants of the people, has been baffled and set at naught. Our armies have been strengthened, our finances promise rapid progress to a satisfactory condition, and our whole country is animated with a hopeful spirit and a fixed determination to achieve independence.
In these circumstances it becomes us, with thankful hearts, to bow ourselves before the throne of the Most High, and, while gratefully acknowledging so many mercies, confess that our sins as a people have justly exposed us to his chastisement. Let us recognize the sufferings which wo have been called upon to endure, as administered by a fatherly hand for our improvement, and with resolute courage and patient endurance let us wait on him for our deliverance.
In furtherance of these objects, now therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the confederate States of America, do issue this, my proclamation, calling upon the people of the said States, in conformity with the desire expressed by their representatives, to set apart Friday, the eighth day of April, as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer ; and I do hereby invite them on that day to repair to their several places of public worship, and beseech Almighty God " to preside over our public counsels, and so inspire our armies and leaders with wisdom, courage, and perseverance, and so to manifest himself in the greatness of his goodness and in tho majesty of his power, that we may secure the blessings of an honorable peace and of free government, and that we, as a people, may ascribe all to the honor and glory of his name."
Given under my hand and the seal of the confederate States of America, at the city
[l. S.] of Richmond, on this twelfth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four. Jefferson Davis.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
GENERAL ORDERS, SO. 100.
War Department, AnjrTANT-GF.SERAL's Opfick, 1
The following is an order by the President of
the United States:
Kxkcctivk Mansion, Washington, March 14, 1S61.
In order to supply the force required to be drafted for the navy, anil to provide an adequate reserve force for all contingencies, in addition to the five hundred thousand men called for February first, 1804, the call is hereby made and a draft ordered for two hundred thousand men for the military service, army, navy, and marine corps of the United States.
The proportional quotas for the different wards, towns, townships, precincts, or election districts, or counties, will be made known through the Provost-Marshal General's Bureau, and account will be taken of the credits and deficiencies of former quotas.
The fifteenth day of April, 18(U, is designated as the time up to which the numbers required from each ward of a city, town, etc., may be raised by voluntary enlistment; and drafts will be made in each ward of a city, town, etc., which shall not have filled the quota assigned to it within the time designated for the number required to fill said quotas.
The drafts will bo commenced as soon after the lifteenth of April as practicable.
The Government bounties, as now paid, continue until April first, 18IH, at which time the additional bounties cease. On and after that date one hundred dollars bounty only will be paid, as provided by the Act approved July twenty-second, 1801. Abraham. Lincoln.
Oilicial: E. D. Town-send,
Doc. 112. TREATMENT OF REBEL CONSCRIPTS.
The following is a copy of the report of the Joint Committee of the two Houses of the Genral Assembly of Virginia, appointed to investigate the charges of abuse and inhumanity to conscripts at Camp Lee, near Richmond, Va.:
Richmond, March, 1SG4.
The Joint Committee, appointed "to inquire and report whether any, and if any, what abuses or inhumanity may have been practised or tolerated at Camp Lee in the treatment of conscripts," have performed the duty assigned them, and beg leave respectfully to submit the following report:
Before entering upon the investigation required by the resolution of the General Assembly, your Committee deemed it becoming to apprise the Secretary of War of their purpose, and to request of him authority to visit Camp Lee, in order to obtain information and to enable tl\em more thoroughly to prosecute their inquiries.
To this application the Secretary promptly and courteously replied, giving the authority asked for, and expressing the pleasure he felt at the interest manifested in the conscripts by the General Assembly in the resolutions of inquiry which they had adopted and under which your Committee were acting. The letter of Mr. Seddon, together with his written authority to visit Camp Leo-Accompanying it, your Committee regard of sufficient importance and as due alike to the subject and the Secretary of War, to refer to and make a part of their report, and they accordingly append them, marked A and B. They think it proper to remark also in this connection, that they found the proposed investigation of the subjects committed to them had been in part anticipated by the action of the Secretary of War, before the passage of the joint resolution by the General Assembly, who, upon learning that rumors had obtained currency of suffering among the men at Camp Lee for want of wood, ordered an officer to go out and investigate the matter and make immediate report. Your Committee havo been furnished with a copy of that order, and the reports thereon of Colonel Shields, the commandant of the post, and of the several officers in chargo of the troops at Camp Lee, which are of interest and value as illustrating and explaining the subject and as constituting a part of the evidence upon which your Committee relied in arriving at their own conclusions. These documents are appended, marked 1 and in consecutive order.
It will be perceived that the complaints which reached the Secretary of War assumed the general form of "suffering for want of wood," the inquiries directed by him were confined to that specific charge; and so far as the investigation under the order of the Secretary upon this head are concerned, the reports of the commandant at Camp Leo, and of his subordinate officers, seems to your Committee satisfactor}', and fully acquit these officers of any neglect of duty in attending, as far as practicable, to the wants and comforts of the men in supplying them with fuel. Their statements, made in the reports to the Secretary of War, were confirmed to us in the examination we made at the interview we had with these officers. It appears that the men were furnished with all the wood allowed by the army regulations. The supply was stated to be ample in ordinary weather, but during an extremely rigorous spell of cold, such as occurred about the middle of Februarj', it was admitted that the quantity of wood was not adequate. That some discomfort was experienced by some of the conscripts for want of sufficient fire is quite probable, but we could ascertain no individual case of the kind, and find nothing in the circumstances and evidence to fix culpability upon the officers in charge of the troops at Camp Lee, much less to sustain the allegation made through the press of inhumanity and cruelty to the conscripts, or of any extraordinary degree of suffering resulting in loss of limb or death, or even of illness from cold. It may be proper here to state, however, as a fact developed in the course of our investigation that many of the newly arrived conscripts do suffer for the want of clothes and blankets. This is not the fault of the commander or his officers. It results from the circumstance that conscripts recently enrolled are sometimes hurried to camp without an opportunity being afforded them to visit home and provide themselves with clothes and blankets, and make other preparations for camp-life, but often from their own neglect to do so after ample notice. If there! be blame anywhere, it is attributable to the i carelessness or indifference of the enrolling offi-1 ccr in the country to the wants and comforts of the conscripts, or to defects in the provisions or execution of the law.
The fault lies here, and not, as your Committee are assured, in the administration of the laborious and responsible department, under the management of the commander, Colonel Shields, whose high character, urbane manners, delicate feelings of humanity, and eminent qualifications for his post forbid the conclusion that he would exercise his authority otherwise than in the most considerate and humane manner toward the conscripts under his charge, or would practise or tolerate any other than a proper care and attention to their wants and necessities. As far, therefore, as your Committee could pursue their investigation—and it was as searching as the nature of the case and their sources of information admitted—they could discover no instanco of a death, cruelty, inhumanity, or even of extreme suffering or hardship. Hardships there undoubtedly are and have been; but only such, and not more severe than are incident to camp fare and a soldier's life. We are informed by the surgeon, Dr. Palmer, of a case where a man fell in a fit; but he was known to be subject to fits, and they were not produced by exposure to the cold, as the surgeon believes. It happened during the severe weather, in February, and probably gave origin to the report of inhumanity at the camp, which was so widely propagated and excited the sensibility of the General Assembly and the people.
Your Committee did not consider themselves limited in their inquiries to the rumor of suffering among the conscripts for the want of wood. Their duty embraced a wider scope. It was to examine whether any abuses or inhumanity was practised or tolerated at Camp Lee in the treatment of conscripts in any way or in any form. The General Assembly of Virginia had a special interest in the investigation, as the camp is near her capital, and the place of rendezvous for her conscript soldiers. Over them she was bound to exercise a parental care. Your Committee, therefore, proceeded to Camp Lee, and take pleasure in stating were received with politeness and courtesy by Colonel Shields, the commandant, and all the officers at the post. Every facility and opportunity were afforded them for examination and inquiry into the condition of the camp, and of the wants, necessities, accommodations, and comforts of the men. Colonel Shields him
self, and all of his officers, frankly and with alacrity responded to every inquiry addressed to them touching the matter to which we directed our inquiries.
We were allowed unrestricted access to every place we desired to visit and an officer accompanied us, to show us through the hospital, the barracks and quarters of the men, which we inspected as closely as time and our inexperienced habits in relation to such matters would enable us. We found the hospital clean, well provided with comfortable beds and bed-clothing, and, we do not doubt, the patients are attentively nursed and attended with skilful medical treatment. The large building appropriated as the principal quarters of the men, we would remark, is, by reason of the open floors being made of green plank, and the small fire-places, difficult to be warmed sufficiently to be comfortable in extremely cold weather. lint otherwise the quarters are dry and well cleaned, and as well adapted to the sleeping uses of the healthy soldier as could be expected. Camp Lee is situated upon an elevated plain, remarkably dry, and represented to bo unusually healthy. Although it was generally understood at camp that the Committee had made the visit to ascertain if there existed or had been practised any abuses, yet no complaints were made, nor in answer to inquiries could we learn that any existed upon which complaint could be founded. No facts, at least, were brought to our knowledge.
Your Committee take pleasure in reporting this as the result of their inquiries. They believe that the investigation will have a good effect, and was, under the circumstances and gravity of the charges, alike due to our conscripts and the officers of the post. It will show to our people that the General Assembly arc not insensible to the wants and sufferings of our noble soldiers, in whatever field or camp they arc called to render service to their country; nor faithless to her solemn obligations to extend a parental care over them, and to shield and protect them whenever oppression and distress may come upon them. It will accomplish more. It will relieve the minds of distant families and friends as to the supposed maltreatment of husbands, sons, and brothers in Camp Lee, and mitigate something of that repul.siveness and dread with which that military post is viewed by conscripts who are sent there, pursuant to military regulations. G. \V. Lewis,
Chnirmnn of Senate Com. B. H. M.VOKIDEK,
CUuiruian of House Cora.
Doc. 118. PROCLAMATION OF AMNESTY DEFINED.
BY THE PRESIDENT OP THE UNITED STATES OP
WnEREAS, it has become necessary to define the cases in which insurgent enemies are en