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 18, 2013

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

MAY 18TH.—The army last night made pontoons, on which this morning the Black River has been crossed. McClernand is on the left, McPherson in the center, and Sherman on the right. In this position the three great corps will move to Vicksburg by different roads. We are nearing the doomed city, and are now on the lookout for fun.

Sherman’s men inflating rubber pontoon on which to cross Big Black River

As we crossed the river and marched up the bank, a brass band stood playing national airs. O, how proud we felt as we marched through the rebel works, and up to the muzzles of the abandoned guns that had been planted to stay our progress. Every man felt the combined Confederate army could not keep us out of Vicksburg. It was a grand sight, the long lines of infantry moving over the pontoons, and winding their way up the bluffs, with flags flying in the breeze, and the morning sun glancing upon the guns as they lay across the shoulders of the boys. Cheer after cheer went up in welcome and triumph from the thousands who had already crossed and stood in waiting lines upon the bluff above. This is supposed to be the last halting place before we knock for admittance at our goal—the boasted Gibraltar of the west.

Our division has made a long march to-day, and we have bivouaced for the night without supper, and with no prospect of breakfast, for our rations have been entirely exhausted. Murmurings and complaints are loud and deep, and the swearing fully up to the army standard. General Leggett walked into our camp, and in his usual happy way inquired, “Well, boys, have you had your supper?” “No, General, we have not had any.” “Well, boys, I have not had any either, and we shall probably have to fight for our breakfast.” “Very well, General ; guess we can stand it as well as you,” came the ready answer from a score of us, and resignation settled back upon the features of tired and hungry, but unsubdued, patriot soldiers.

“You may study the hopeful, bright brows of these men,

Who have marched all day over hill and through glen,

Half clad and unfed; but who is it will dare

Claim to find on those faces one trace of despair?”

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