Late Tuesday Evening, May 19, 1863

I wrote the following letter to my wife, Ellen:

TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN

On Walnut Hills, above Vicksburg,
May 19,1863

Dearest Ellen,
We made a full circuit, entered Jackson first, destroyed an immense quantity of Railroad & Confederate property, and then pushed for this Point which secures the Yazoo & leaves us to take Vicksburg. We assaulted today but it is very strong. We estimate its present Garrison at 15,000 or 20,000 and Johnston is hovering about with reinforcements. We had a heavy fight. Regulars suffered much, Captain Washington was killed, 5 officers wounded, Charley was wounded in the hand. He saved the colors. He is now in the midst of shells and shot.

Hugh is also under fire, had a hard time. We reached the very parapet, but did not enter the works. We are now encircling the town. I am on the Right. McPherson Center & McClernand Left. We are all in good health & spirits at this moment, & having reached & secured the Yazoo, will soon have plenty to eat. I must again go to the Front amid the Shot & shells which follow me but somehow thus far have spared me. Charley’s wound is in the hand, slight, & he now commands the Battalion. Keep easy & trust to Luck. This is a death struggle & will be terrible. Thus far success has crowned our Efforts and we are on high ground, on a level with the enemy, but they are fortified and we must attack, quicker the better. Grant is off to the Left with McClernand, who did not press his attack as he should.

Bang, pop, go the Guns & muskets & I must go to the Front. I have slept on the ground the last two nights to Hill’s disgust, and he hangs around me like a shadow with a canteen. He is very faithful, but came up to me yesterday under fire with great reluctance.

Yours faithfully,
W.T. Sherman

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