Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

July 3d, 1863.

We are encamped six miles from Haines Bluff, on a ridge of ground, in a perfect wilderness. I have hardly seen level ground enough, in this State, for a regiment to camp on. I find blackberries in abundance, and, therefore, am content. They have formed a large share of my diet, and have been both food and medicine. Scurvy and diarrhea have entirely disappeared. That which we most need and cannot get is pure water. The streams have all run dry, and unless it rains soon, every spring within reach of us will fail. Water is now so scarce every regiment except the Seventeenth has placed a guard over its own spring, and will not allow others to use it. If we stay here long, we will be compelled to dig wells.

We are now twelve miles from Vicksburg and eight miles from the Big Black. I can still hear the thunder of artillery, morning and eve, at the former place. If Grant celebrates the Fourth inside of Vicksburg, as report says he intends to do, he must do something decisive soon. He may be doing that very thing this minute. When I began writing, his cannon kept up a continual roar. It has almost ceased. Perhaps he is now storming their works.

Our men are still throwing up fortifications. The whole country for fifteen miles around Vicksburg is little less than a fortification. The inhabitants around here did not run away at our approach. Most of them are intensely loyal just now. The reports of want and destitution with which the papers are filled, and which I doubted, are true. Many families draw all their supplies from our Quartermaster. Soon all must do so.

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