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.

June 28, 2013

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

JUNE 28TH.—The boys of the 20th left at Vicksburg joined our regiment to-day. We were very anxious to hear how the siege was progressing, and, to our surprise, learned that it was going right on as usual, without our assistance. It was interesting to hear of the blowing up of Fort ‘Hill by our division, but we did not ascertain the number killed, though the explosion


Hoisted two or three.

And blew a darky free

From slavery to freedom.

This negro, blown up with other chattels in the fort, was dropped into our lines and taken to General Logan’s headquarters, none the worse for his trip. When asked what he saw, he said, “As I was comin’ down I met massa gwine up.” Nothing, however, was gained by blowing up the fort, except planting the stars and stripes thereon, by our troops who made the charge after the explosion ; but our colors were removed, for safety, after dark. While our men lay all the afternoon on the side of the fort, the rebels threw into their ranks hand-grenades which killed and wounded quite a number. Our boys, however, would occasionally catch them and toss them back to the place from which they came, just in time to explode among their owners.

Living out here in the woods is quite different from camping before Vicksburg. Yet all is life and bustle wherever we are, from reveille at daybreak, to tattoo at night. Each man must answer to his name in ranks at roll-call in the morning, and must be properly dressed. Some of the most ludicrous scenes of army life are to be witnessed at this exercise. A few of the old fashioned, steady fellows, as a general thing appear quite thoroughly dressed ; but as you go down the ranks from the head where they stand, you will begin to find, now and then, a man who has but one boot or shoe on, with the other but half way on. Another boy will be putting on his blouse—having grabbed it in the dark—of course wrong side out. Another has tossed his blouse over his shoulders, and is trying to hide close to his right-hand man. Still another, trying to get his pants on between his bed and the line, has caught a foot in the lining, and hops along like a sore-footed chicken. I saw one fellow come out, at the foot of the company, wrapped only in a blanket. The orderly, however, sent him back to be better uniformed; he could not play Indian at morning roll-call. The last one of those who have overslept, makes his appearance holding on to his clothes with both hands. Some answer to their names before taking position in the ranks, and in fact, even some before they are fairly out of bed. A company which has for its orderly a person who is a little lenient, fares well ; but if he is inclined to strain his authority, he is bound to have its ill will. After roll-call, some of the half-dressed return to bed for another snooze, while the rest complete their toilet. After that comes the splitting of rails, building of fires, and a general rush for breakfast, which winds up the duties of the morning.

Map of the Siege of Vicksburg

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