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

Post image for A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg–Osborn H. Oldroyd.

A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg–Osborn H. Oldroyd.

May 6, 2013

A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg–Osborn H. Oldroyd

MAY 6TH.—This day has been a hot one, but as our duties have not been of an arduous nature we have sought the shade and kept quiet. While in camp, the boys very freely comment upon our destination, and give every detail of progress a general overhauling. The ranks of our volunteer regiments were filled at the first call for troops. That call opened the doors of both rich and poor, and out sprang merchant, farmer, lawyer, physician and mechanics of every calling, whose true and loyal hearts all beat in unison for their country. The first shot that struck Sumpter’s wall sent an electric shot to every loyal breast, and to­day we have in our ranks material for future captains, colonels and generals, who before this war is ended will be sought out and honored.

It can not be possible that we are to be kept at this place much longer, for it is not very desirable as a permanent location. Of course we are here for some purpose, and I suppose that to be to prevent the enemy from assailing our line of supplies. As they are familiar with the country they can annoy us exceedingly without much loss to themselves. But after we have captured Vicksburg, and the history of Grant’s movements is known, we shall then understand why we guarded Hankinson’s Ferry so long. One of the boys said he thought Mr. Hankinson owed us something nice for taking such good care of his ferry for him. The variety of comments and opinions expressed in camp by the men is very curious. Some say we are going to surround Vicksburg, others think Grant is feeling for the enemy’s weakest point there to strike him, and one cool head remarked that it was all right wherever we went while Grant was leading, for he had never known defeat. Confidence in a good general stiffens a soldier—a rule that ought to work both ways. Surely no leader ever had more of the confidence of those he led than General Grant. He is not as social as McPherson, Sherman, Logan and some others, but seems all the while careful of the comfort of his men, with an eye single to success. Great responsibilities, perhaps, suppress his social qualities, for the present; for each day presents new obstacles to be met and overcome without delay. The enemy are doing all they can to hinder us, but let Grant say for­ward, and we obey.

Unable to sleep last night, I strolled about the camp awhile. Cause of my wakefulness, probably too much chicken yesterday. I appeared to be the only one in such a state, for the rest were

“Lost in heavy slumbers,

Free from toil and strife,

Dreaming of their dear ones,

Home and child and wife:

Tentless they are lying.

While the moon shines bright.

Sleeping in their blankets,

Beneath the summer’s night.”

Previous post:

Next post: