129                                HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.

           After a slow fire from our artillery had failed to elicit any reply from the rebel works, our lines slowly advanced until at every point they were in front hardly one thousand yards from the redoubts. The ground over which we crossed in this movement was singularly rough, a series of hills and hollows, not high but steep. As we neared the hostile redoubts we found that they commanded every crest and swept every ravine. Yet at 2 o'clock a general charge was ordered

.            About the same success – or want of success – attended the charge along the whole line. We have up to this time advanced so close to the enemy's works that he cannot safely use his guns, and our heavier artillery is being pushed up and planted in such a way that I trust to-morrow will see some good results. Communication is open to the Yazoo by way of Haines' Bluff, and supplies now come to us from the upper river

.            As I write, the slow and sullen booming of the gunboats both above and below, show that they too are joining in the great fight. The situation grows dramatic and solemn, and the end is near at hand.

May 21.

           The stronghold of the rebel power on the Mississippi is now completely invested by the army of General Grant. The fragments of the insurgent forces which escaped from the victories of Port Hudson, of Jackson, of Champion or Midway Hills, and of Big Black, have retired within the strong but small circle of defenses which surround the city, at a distance of about two miles from the heart. There a stubborn resistance is now being made, the redoubts and rifle-pits giving the rebels an advantage in the way of safety, but none, I think, in the way of moral strength. Presumptively the advantage is with the attacking party, and especially in this case, where our army, since its bold move from Young's Point, by the way of Grand Gulf, has been uniformly and brilliantly successful.

           To-day our forces are busy from right to left, over the entire line, in creeping more closely to the formidable works of the enemy. At several points our sharpshooters are so near the redoubts, and so well sheltered by the remarkably rough ground, that they totally prevent the enemy from using his guns. They are near enough too, to indulge in jocose conversation with the rebels in their rifle-pits.

           At the same time our heavier artillery is being pushed up slowly in such a way as to bear effectually on the enemy's works. The ground is such that the hills occupied by us are just about as convenient and commanding as those occupied by them. What works they have within the line we are now attacking, is not certainly known but they cannot be extensive, for their present line is quite near the city. If the rebels retire from their present position, they subject the city to destruction.

           Below and above Vicksburg our mortar fleet is grumbling and thundering, very slowly but steadily, and we can see the huge shells bursting over the town. A warm place to live in now.

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