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GEN. Ransom's Charge. 469
ing column. Colonel Humphreys, leading the 95th, fell, stunned by the concussion of a shell. His color-bearer also fell. Colonel Nevins of the 11th was killed. Lieut-Col. Wright of the 12d, was seriously wounded. While waving his sword over his head, cheering on his men, utterly reckless of danger, he was struck in the arm above the elbow. Lieut. Whittle, acting adjutant of the same regiment, was also among the bravest of the brave. He moved up to the assault with a smile, saying: "Come on, my brave fellows, rebel bullets can not hit us." When wounded, he saluted his general and asked permission to retire. It seemed as if every officer, conspicuous on the field, was either wounded or killed. General Ransom rushed to the head of his brigade, seized the colors of the 95th, and waving them, shouted: "Forward, men! we must and will go into that fort! Who will follow me?" The splendid column again moved up to the impassable ditch and fought desperately across the breast-works for half an hour, when General Ransom, satisfied that the position could not be taken, thus addressed his men: "Men of the 2d brigade! we cannot maintain this position. You must retire to the cover of that ravine, one regiment at a time, and in order. The 17th Wisconsin will remain to cover the movement. The 72d Illinois will move first and move now. Move slowly. The first man who runs or goes beyond the ravine shall be shot on the spot. I will stand here and see how you do it." The movement was executed by every regiment as if upon parade, and the brigade re-formed without confusion or a single straggler. The Mercantile Battery of Chicago, in the charge of the 22d also added to its previous laurels. The battery was drawn up within twenty feet of the rebel works and fired into their embrasures, using shrapnel as hand grenades and setting on fire the cotton piled around their earth-works. This position they held until relief came. So severe was the fire that they were unable to draw off their guns, but tumbled them down a steep hill into a ravine from which they subsequently removed them. Not a man of the battery was either killed or wounded. As a reward for their bravery, General McClernand presented them with two Napoleon guns, captured at Big Black River Bridge. Lieut. White brought up one of the pieces of the battery by hand almost to the very walls of the fort, and double shotting the piece, poured a most destructive fire into the enemy.
On the 29th, Dr. Stevenson, a gallant surgeon of the 17th Illinois, visited the very front line of skirmishers, and disdaining the advice of the men in the rifle-pits, refused to lie down. Presently a rebel sharpshooter saw him and fired at him, mortally wounding him. On the same day Capt. Rogers, of Co. D, 1st Illinois artillery, better known as McAllister's battery, sighted one of his guns and then leaped upon the parapet to witness the effect of his shot. A rebel bullet struck him directly in the forehead and the gallant officer fell, dying almost instantly.
In the assault of the 22d, but few troops succeeded in reaching the vicinity of the rebel entrenchments. Of the regiments composing the 1st brigade, 3d division, General J. E. Smith, the 20th Illinois alone crossed an open space in front of a formidable fortification, exposed to a furious fire, and planted its colors in close proximity to the rebel works. The 45th Illinois crossed in the afternoon and took position on the right of the 20th, and there the two regiments remained within thirty feet of the rebel fort until the following day, when they were recalled.
As an instance of the accuracy of aim to which our boys attained, it is related that a rebel sharpshooter had taken up a position in a tree, protected by a cotton-bale, from which apparently secure perch he was accustomed severely to annoy our troops. Major Taylor asked the Chicago boys if some of them could not hit that cotton bale. One of the guns was pointed at the tree and the trunk was cleft just below the crotch in which rested the cotton bale, bringing both bale and rebel to the ground.
On the night of the 22d of June, the rebels made a sortie from their works upon our advance in front of General Lauman's division. The 14th Illinois was in the trenches as a working party and support. No videttes were out and the men were surprised and driven from the trenches. The next night the 41st Illinois and some other regiments took possession of the ground from which the 14th had been driven. They were hardly at work before the rebels again sallied out, and approaching the trenches, demanded the immediate surrender of our troops on pain of annihilation. Almost simultaneously with the insolent demand, the Colonel commanding the 41st ordered the artillery to open upon them. A furious fight ensued, resulting in driving the rebels back to their works.
GALLANTRY OF THE LEAD MINE REGIMENT. 471
On the 30th of June, McPherson's corps made an assault on the rebel works, for which they had been preparing for several days.^ A little before 4 o'clock, a heavy cannonading commenced all along the lines, and the whole army was drawn up in battle array. The rebel Fort Hill, in front of General Logan, which he had been steadily approaching, was undermined on the night of the 21st, and the trains were all ready to spring. The 45th Illinois regiment, more familiarly known as the Washburn Lead Mine Regiment, Col. Jasper A. Maltby commanding, was assigned to the post of honor, and ordered to occupy the breach and hold it, eost what it might. The mine was sprung, creating a wide embrasure in the embankment, into which the glorious Lead Mine Regiment plunged. Fighting their way through like Spartan heroes, regardless of the terrible fire which was rapidly thinning their numbers, they planted their flag and there maintained it. Col. Maltby*was wounded, and the gallant Lieut. Colonel, Melancthon Smith, of Rockford, was mortally wounded by a ball which passed through his head, touching the brain. Major Lander B. Fish, who a short lime before had been promoted from a captaincy, was killed by a bullet through the heart. Sergeants Breezer and Lewis were killed. Capts. Frohock and Boyce were severely wounded, and eight sergeants, three corporals and forty-one privates were also wounded in the charge through the embrasure. There have been few more gallant actions in the war than this charge, and few if any charges which have been made so desperately and determinedly. The other Illinois regiments which participated in the splendid movement were the 25th, 31st, 124th, 23d and 56th, and over all General Logan, worshiped by his men—a man of iron will and lion-like courage, who seemed under the blasts of war to change into a demi-god.
Vicksburg capitulated on the 4th of July, the anniversary of American independence—a day most appropriate of all to witness the culmination of the great events which had been transpiring around the doomed city. On the 3d, General Grant received a communication, under flag of truce, at the hands of General Bowen, from General Pemberton, proposing an armistice to arrange terms for capitulation. The rebel General desired that three commissioners should be selected from each army to carry out this arrangement and thus "save the further effusion of blood, which must otherwise be shed to a frightful extent." General Grant curtly replied that the effusion of blood could be ended at any time by an unconditional surrender of the city and garrison, and declined the appointment of commissioners, as he had no other terms to propose. General Bowen, the bearer of General Pemberton's letter, was received by General A. J. Smith, and expressed a strong desire to see General Grant. The latter declined, but requested General Smith to say that if General Pemberton desired to see him, an interview would be granted between the lines in General McPherson's front. A message was soon sent back to General Smith appointing 3 o'clock as the hour. At that hour the interview took place. The rebels insisted on being paroled and allowed to march beyond our lines> officers and all, with eight days' rations. General Grant sent in a written reply submitting his proposition, which was to the following effect: He was to march in one division as a guard, and take possession at 8 A. M. on the next day. As soon as paroles could be made out for officers and men, they should be allowed to march out of our lines, the officers taking with them their regimental clothing, and staff, field, and cavalry officers one horse each. Any amount of rations could be taken and thirty wagons for transportation. To these terms General Pemberton replied, accepting them in the main, but proposing the following amendments: That he should be allowed to evacuate the works in and around Vicksburg, and to surrender the city and garrison under his command, by marching out with his colors and arms and stacking them in front of his present lines, after which General Grant was to take possession. Officers were to retain their side arms and personal property, and the rights and property of citizens were to be respected.
To this General Grant immediately replied as follows:
"headquarters Department Op Tennessee, )
"Lieut.-Gen. J. C. Pembertony Commanding forces in Vicksburg:
"general:—I have the honor to acknowledge your communication of the 3d of July. The amendments proposed by you cannot be acceded to in full. It will be necessary to furnish every officer and man with a parole signed by myself, which, with the completion of the rolls of prisoners, will necessarily take some time. Again, I can make no stipulation with regard to the treatment of citizens and their CAPITULATION OF VICKSBURG. 473
private property. While I do not propose to cause any of them any undue annoyance or loss, I cannot consent to leave myself under restraint by stipulation. The property which officers can be allowed to take with them will be as stated in the proposition of last evening. Officers will be allowed their baggage and side arms, and mounted officers one horse each. If you mean by your proposition for each brigade to march to the front of the lines now occupied by it and stack their arms at 10 o'clock A. M., and then return to the inside and remain as prisoners until properly paroled, I will make no objections to it.
"Should no notification be made of your acceptance of my terms by 9 o'clock A. M., I shall regard them as having been rejected and act accordingly. Should these terms be accepted, white flags will be displayed along your lines to prevent such of my troops as may not have been notified from firing upon your men.
"I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"U. S. Grant, Maj.-Gen. U. S. A."
To this General Pemberton returned the following brief but satisfactory answer:
"headquarters, Vicksburg, July 4, 1863.
"Major-General IT. 8. Grant, Commanding U.S. forces, &c.:
<( General:—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, and in reply, say that the terms proposed by you are accepted. ** Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"J. 0. Pemberton, Lieut.-General.n
As soon as the ceremony of stacking arms was over, General McPherson and staff, accompanied by his division generals, rode into the city and took formal possession. General McPherson proceeded to the court-house, and Col. Coolbaugh and Lieut-Col. Strong, of his staff, went up, and at 11^- o'clock flung to the breeze the Stars and Stripes on the cupola of the building, gave three cheers, and sang the "Battle Cry of Freedom."
At 12 o'clock Logan's splendid division, with Ransom's brigade, passed High Hill Fort, the scene of their recent gallant actions, and marched into the city. At the head of the column was the heroic Lead Mine Regiment, bravest of the brave, under command of Capt. Seeley. Col. Maltby rode at its head, but too ill to take command. The veteran 20th followed, under Major Bradley, and the Commercial College Regiment, led by Col. Sloan of Chicago, and the gallant 31st, whose chief, Col. Reese, fell at the storming of the fort on the 25th. After General Logan's division came General Ransom's brigade, a noble body of men led by a noble leader, with their ban