We are not succeeding in taking Vicksburg by assault. I recommend bringing up the gunboats and shelling the place.
CAMP BEFORE Vicksburg, May 22, 1863
SIR: We have had a hard day’s work, and all are exhausted. I leave Ewing’s and Giles A. Smith’s brigades close up to the enemy’s works, with Ransom’s brigade on the left, two of Tuttle’s brigades in rear of the batteries, and two brigades in reserve. I have ordered all to construct breastworks, and have a thousand picks and shovels for that purpose. From Ewing’s position a sap may be made to reach the right bastion, and it may be we can undermine and blow it up. My men are too exhausted to do all this to-night.
Steele also assaulted, but failed, and after dark will withdraw behind the first hills.
If Admiral Porter will send two of his best gunboats along this shore, and with his heavy artillery at close range clear the hill in front of my right on the immediate bank of the river, we may secure that flank of the enemy’s works, and thereby turn them. I think you had better send a staff officer to Admiral Porter, and convey to him the fact that the enemy and his works are stronger than we estimated, and that he should bring to bear on Vicksburg every gun at his command. A gunboat fleet should attend each flank of our army, co-operating with it, and his mortars should come within easy range and drop shell by the thousand in the city. I think his mortar-boats may safely come down this shore within 1,000 yards of Steele’s right.
W. T. SHERMAN