Saturday, December 29, 2012

Battle of Chickasaw Bayou

The Union troops along the Chickasaw Bayou just north of Vicksburg were ready to attack on December 29th, 150 years ago today. As the regiments swarmed forward in the first attack, the troops quickly became confused in the difficult terrain of the swamps and bayous. Many were lost and did not even make it across the bayou that separated them from the Confederates. The assault was a complete failure. The one regiment at least did make it into combat, the 4th Iowa, going through the line of Confederate rifle pits, but completely crumbled when it hit the main line. They were driven back after a valiant fight. Colonel James Williamson was wounded, and later given a medal of honor for his gallant conduct.

General Sherman ordered another attack, but it did no better. Sherman wrote in his report of the defeat:
The men of the Sixth Missouri actually scooped out with their hands caves in the bank, which sheltered them against the fire of the enemy, who, right over their heads, held their muskets outside the parapet vertically, and fired down So critical was the position, that we could not recall the men till after dark, and then one at a time. Our loss had been pretty heavy, and we had accomplished nothing, and had inflicted little loss on our enemy.
Sherman had lost 1,776 men, the Confederates only 207. Sherman decided that there was no chance for a breakthrough here, and he reembarked his men on their transports. Yet again the Federals had been foiled in their efforts to capture Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi. "Well," Sherman wrote to his wife, "we have been to Vicksburg and it was too much for us and we have backed out."


Mumbles said...

I always loved learning about the Civil War, but moving to the South and being able to bring my boy to battlefields and historic buildings has made it all come to life for us. I'm enjoying your site!


Joshua Horn said...

Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. Glad you are enjoying it.


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