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 31, 2013

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

MAY 31ST.—We were aroused by the bugle call, and in a few minutes on the march again. Halted at noon on a large planta­tion. This is a capital place to stop, for the negroes are quite busy baking corn-bread and sweet potatoes for us. We have had a grand dinner at the expense of a rich planter now serving in the southern army. Some of the negroes wanted to come with us, but we persuaded them to remain, telling them they would see hard times if they followed us. They showed indications of good treatment, and I presume their master is one of the few who treat their slaves like human beings.

I must say—whether right or wrong—plantation life has had a sort of fascination for me ever since I came south, especially when I visit one like that where we took dinner to-day, and some, also, I visited in Tennessee. I know I should treat my slaves well, and, while giving them a good living, I should buy, but never sell.

We left at three o’clock P. M., and just as the boys were ordered to take with them some of the mules working in the field, where there was a large crop being cultivated, to be used, when gathered, for the maintenance of our enemies. As our boys, ac­cordingly, were unhitching the mules, some “dutchy” in an officer’s uniform rode up, yelling, “mens! you left dem schackasses alone!” I doubt whether he had authority to give such an order, but whether he had or not he was not obeyed. When we marched off with our corn-bread and “schackasses,” some of the darkies insist­ed on following. We passed through some rebel works at Haines’ Bluffs, which were built to protect the approach to Vicksburg by way of the Yazoo river. Sherman had taken them on the nine­teenth instant, when our boats came up the river and delivered rations.

May has now passed, with all its hardships and privations to the army of the west—the absence of camp comforts; open fields for dwelling places; the bare ground for beds; cartridge boxes for pillows, and all the other tribulations of an active campaign. Enduring these troubles, we have given our country willing service. We have passed through some hard-fought battles, where many of our comrades fell, now suffering in hospitals or sleeping, perhaps, in unmarked graves. Well they did their part, and much do we miss them. Their noble deeds shall still incite our emulation, that their proud record may not be sullied by any act of ours.

Camped at dark, tired, dirty and ragged—having had no chance to draw clothes for two months.

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