Tuesday, May 19, 1863

Walnut Hills, Mississippi, Outside Vicksburg

Until we reached this spot, I never thought this expedition would be a success. I could never see the end clearly until now. This is a campaign. This is a success if we never take the town.

All last night McPherson’s troops were arriving by the main Jackson road, and McClernand’a by another near the railroad, deploying forward as fast as they struck the rebel works. My corps has the right of the line of investment; McPherson’s the centre; and McClernand’s the left, reaching from the river above to the railroad below. Our lines connect, and invest about three-quarters of the land-front of the fortifications of Vicksburg.

On the supposition that the garrison of Vicksburg was demoralized by the defeats at Champion Hills and at the railroad crossing of the Big Black, General Grant ordered an assault at our respective fronts. General Blairs Division made the assault, with troops that included army regulars. My troops reached the top of the parapet, but could not cross over. The rebel parapets are strongly manned, and the enemy fought hard and well. My loss is pretty heavy, falling chiefly on the Thirteenth Regulars, whose commanding officer, Captain Washington, was killed, and several other regiments are pretty badly cut up. We, however, held the ground up to the ditch till night, and then drew back only a short distance, and began to counter-trench. On the graveyard road, our parapet is within less than fifty yards of the rebel ditch.

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