Excerpts From

History Of The 78th Regiment O. V. V. I., From Its "Muster-In" To Its "Muster-Out;" Comprising Its Organization, Marches, Campaigns, Battles And Skirmishes

Rev. Thomas M. Stevenson, Chaplain
Zanesville, Ohio, 1865

transcribed by Thomas J. Joyce, Long Beach, CA, Sep. 2000
used with permission
click here for full text


     The regiment left camp at Memphis the evening of February 20, and embarked on the Edward Walsh in company with the Thirtieth Illinois. The Paymaster was engaged in paying the regiment when the order came to march to the boat. He accompanied the regiment to the boat and finished his work on board.
     The troops remained aboard until the morning of the 22d, before the boat left the landing. All the Division was loaded by Sabbath morning, and left about 8 o'clock, the steamer Continental making the start, then followed the John Dickey, Platte Valley, Louisiana, Edward Walsh, David Tatum, Mary Forsythe and others, in all eleven boats, the flag-boat Superior bringing up the rear. The trip was unpleasant on account of the cold, rainy weather. While lying at the wharf many of the boys in some way eluded the vigilance of the guards, and went off up town, determined to have a farewell spree before going down the Mississippi. Although spirits were freely imbibed, yet very few cases of drunkenness occurred on board.
     After a ride of twenty-six hours we landed at Providence, a distance of three hundred and twenty-five miles from Memphis. We encamped in a cotton field, on the south bank of Lake Providence, about one and a-half miles from the Mississippi river, which is plainly in view, being much higher than the lake and surrounding country. Although it is February, the peach trees are in bloom, and but little fire is needed. The contrast between the climate here and at Memphis is great.
     Lake Providence, about which there is so much talk, is about one quarter of a mile from the town, and is said to be seven miles in length. There are about five hundred negroes digging a canal from the lake to the river; the object being to turn the waters of the Mississippi into the lake, so that our boats can cross the Red river, cut off the rebel supplies from Texas, and flank the batteries of Vicksburg. The course is from the lake into Bayou Tensas, thence to Bayou Mason, thence into Black and Red rivers, and then down into the Mississippi again. The work is progressing rapidly, and is now nearly half done. Negroes are also at work clearing the timber from the Bayous. The lake is about twelve feet lower than the river. Vicksburg is seventy miles down the river, and forty by land.
     Up to March 9th, nothing of interest had transpired; everything has been quiet except the occasional appearance of a few guerrillas in our front. Since our arrival here, the regiment has had much heavy duty. The work on the canal has been going on undisturbed until the 8th, when operations had to be suspended, in consequence of the water in the bayou rising and flowing towards the river. It is supposed to be the work of rebels who have constructed a dam some twelve miles below. Sixteen regiments and a section of artillery were sent down to look after them. Guerrillas are said to be swarming the country in great numbers, but as yet have done little damage. It is reported they have routed Quimby's Division which was encamped about twenty miles from this place; the rebels cut the levee above them and let the water so spread as to prevent their finding suitable camping grounds.
     Lake Providence was, for the first time, honored last week by the launching of a steam craft into its waters. She is intended to ply up and down the lake, and assist in the work of the canal. Flatboats are also being built for the same purpose. It is hoped that before long we may be permitted to take passage on the boats when going to work on the canal and bayou, instead of having to foot it eight or ten miles per day. I believe the work upon the canal will result in a grand failure.
     We have been visited while here by some very severe storms, hail coming down as large as marbles, and the rain in torrents. Sprinkling is unknown in this country; when it comes, it falls in sheets of water. Since our arrival here the Government has been extensively engaged in the cotton business. Every day teams are engaged in bringing in confiscated cotton, and new discoveries are being made of cotton hid in swamps. In a canebrake near where our men are at work two hundred and fifty bales were found. The negroes are also at work picking the cotton. On the plantation where our troops are encamped, one field of cotton is fifteen hundred acres in extent. The men amuse themselves by playing ball and sailing on the lake.
     The following letters written by Captain A. A. Adair give a full history of the regiment at this place:

NEAR PROVIDENCE, LA., March 19, 1863. }

     We are still in the land of the living with heat and gallinippers plenty.
     On Saturday last orders were received to have three days' rations in haversacks, and be ready to go aboard the transports, (which were lying in wait for us,) the next morning. Accordingly, rations were drawn, cooked and put in our haversacks; details were made to load the boats and everything was taken down and packed up; fully expecting to be on our way for the Yazoo Pass, (which was currently reported to be our destination,) by daylight next morning.
As is generally the case whenever we go to move, it commenced raining, and continued until we got on the boat, which was about 3 o'clock, P. M. when it commenced clearing up. Being so regular I suppose it must be military.
Everything had been loaded and we were all on our respective boats, which had been assigned us, before dark, and were waiting for the time to roll around when we would put out. Most of the boats were occupied by two regiments; but one boat, (the Gladiator,) only had the "Brigade headquarters," and the Seventy-Eighth on board, making it much more comfortable for us than when coming down from Memphis. One regiment of our Brigade, the Thirtieth Illinois, was compelled to remain behind, there being no transportation for it at that time; but it was to follow as soon as possible. On our going to the boat the Thirtieth was in line, and gave us parting salutes and cheers as we passed by, thus showing the good feeling that existed between them and the Seventy-Eighth.
     While thus situated a boat arrived from the fleet below, countermanding the movements we had in prospect, and compelling us to remain where we were, and await further orders. Of course every one was wondering what was up, and it was soon reported the rebels were evacuating Vicksburg and going to reinforce Johnston to operate against Rosecrans, which appeared to gain considerable credence; but whether it is so or not, I cannot say.
Next morning, however, the boat returned to the fleet to see what was to be done, and in the meantime we were making ourselves as comfortable as we could. Whenever we are put on boats a guard is always placed so as to keep the men on, but as the boat was lying close to the shore the boys would jump off despite all the guards could do. In cases of that kind guards are not overly attentive, and do not care whether the boys get off or not.
     On the evening of the 16th, and while we were lying at the landing awaiting orders, the levee was cut and the water of the raging Mississippi was turned into Lake Providence. When it was known it was the intention to do so, a lot of the boys volunteered, and it was but a short time before the water made its appearance on the other side, all being anxious to see it done before we left. Two trenches were dug about thirty feet apart, leaving the water to wash out the space between. And against morning all was clear, and the water gushing through at a furious rate, putting one in mind of the dams in the Muskingum in time of high water. By this time, I expect some of the old secesh back in the country are wondering what's up, and are beginning to skedaddle.
     We had remained on the boat all that day, and until about ten o'clock the next, when orders came for us to go into camp above Providence, keeping all the Division together. The Gladiator having the least on, and being already fired up, General Logan went aboard and had her cruise along up the shore until a suitable camping ground could be found, the other boats following shortly after. All was unloaded, our new camp cleaned off, and the tents up before dark. We are now about five miles above Providence, in a corn field, and but a short distance from the river, affording us a good view of all the boats passing up and down.
     Rumors are prevalent that our Division will go to reinforce Rosecrans, should it prove true that the rebels are reinforcing Johnston from Vicksburg. And we are all anxious that it may be so, for we are getting tired of this country; it is a little too hot for comfort, and then the gallinippers! Oh! dear, they are enough to torment any one to death. They are beginning to let us know they are about, by buzzing around and occasionally taking a fellow a dip along side the lug, and of course always leaving their mark. They are a different and much larger species than you have in the North.
The Yazoo Pass was undoubtedly the place we were destined for, and there has certainly something of importance turned up which prevented our going, but I do not believe we will remain here long. I think we will either go back to Tennessee, or go down in front of Vicksburg. I hope it will be the former, for then we will stand a chance of coming in contact with Ohio regiments in which there are companies from old Morgan.
     In this camp we are not at a loss for water, as we can dig down only three feet and get a supply of good, clear water, right at home. Rails are also plenty, making first rate fire wood.


     MR. EDITOR: - On the 22d inst. our Brigade (which is called the "Flying Brigade" by General Logan) received marching orders to go aboard the boats immediately, having three days' rations in our haversacks. All were conjecturing as to our destination, some saying we were going up the river and others down.
     But it soon became known which route we were to take. As is usual, it commenced to rain before we got on the boats, making it very unpleasant as well as disagreeable for us, for the hurricane deck is always the most desirable place on the boat in good weather. The Seventy-Eighth (of course) was the last regiment on board; seven companies going on the Gladiator, with the Brigade headquarters, while the other three, with the artillery, went on the Iatan, the Twentieth and Sixty-Eighth on the Louisiana, and the Thirtieth Illinois on the Fanny Ogden.
     Darkness was upon us before we got started, and most of us were wrapped in nature's sleep, not knowing which way we were going until a little after daylight, when it was found we were making a landing at Eagle Bend, twenty miles above Vicksburg, on the Mississippi side. It was soon ascertained that the object of our mission was to reinforce General Sherman, who had started from that point a few days before to make his way across to the Yazoo river to operate in the rear of Vicksburg. Should he need reinforcements we were to be there in readiness for him.
We remained on the boats until the morning of the 25th, when we went into camp about a mile back of the river, sending the sick and everything pertaining to our camp equipage back to our old camp, taking nothing with us but our knapsacks, dog-tents, camp kettles, and a few mess pans. The roads were utterly impassable for teams, not even a horse being able to get along, and consequently the artillery was sent back also. Should we be needed it was said we would have hard times getting along, and it was best not to take anything but what would be really necessary.
No troops were at this point except a few "pioneers," who were building up the road. A stream of water came in here from the river, forming a bayou, upon which were steam tugs plying to and fro, assisting General Sherman in his undertaking. We expected to remain there two or three days, and commenced building houses out of a sort of willow; but orders came that night for us to return to our Division again. The Thirtieth Illinois started back about midnight, there being no transportation for the other regiments at that time, we having to wait until the boats could come down after us.
Before leaving we heard that Sherman's forces were coming back again, being unable to accomplish their purpose. It was reported that the rebels were felling timber into the bayou faster than he could take it out; and while doing so he took five hundred prisoners, coming upon them unawares, capturing arms and equipments. Whether these reports are true, I am unable to say.
     The next morning everything was packed up early, expecting to get orders to go at any time, but we had to remain until 3 o'clock before our boats arrived, when we skedaddled to the river and were off in a little while, the Seventy-Eighth being aboard the Fanny Ogden, and the Twentieth and Sixty-Eighth on the Gladiator, getting back to our old camp on "Vista Plantation," near Perry's Landing, and about five miles above Lake Providence, about dark.
Our things, when they were sent back, were piled up and no care taken of them at all, and when we came into camp all were anxious to get their things and put up the tents; but in hunting around they accidentally fell upon a lot of sanitary stores that were unguarded, and thinking they were sutler goods waded in and demolished the contents, which consisted of spirits, drawers, potatoes, fish, liquors, etc. Consequently, the next morning a search was made, and those found having any of the articles were taken up to headquarters and put under arrest. It seems hard that the boys have got to suffer for the negligence of the officers; but they might as well eat up such things as to leave them for the officers, for there is generally where such things go.
     While we were gone, all our bedding was carried off by other regiments, and a cotton gin and some other buildings being handy, the next morning the boys determined to have some boards to sleep on, and commenced to break for the scene of operations, delegations being on hand from the three Ohio regiments (the Thirtieth Illinois being supplied before we came,) and it was not long before the boards and shingles began to fly thick and fast, and persons were coming back with arm loads. While this was going on some person slipped into the gin and set it on fire, which soon reduced it to ashes. This brought out General Logan, who commenced pouring out his wrath on the "Flying Brigade," and it was not long before orders were issued compelling all who had got shingles and boards at these buildings to take them up to our regimental headquarters. Company E was well represented, myself being one of the number, for we are never slow in such undertakings. That being done, each had to give in his name, when we were all sent up to Logan's headquarters, taking our boards and shingles with us, whooping and yelling like mad. But we had hardly got up there when we were ordered to pile them up separately, and go to our quarters; but shortly after we were told to go up and get our lumber, when lo! it was found that the boards were measured, the shingles counted, and each man's pile taken account of. There was a good deal of sport made of it, and every company had to share it.
     Since then General Logan ordered General Leggett to assess the amount of property destroyed, and tax the officers and men of his Brigade with it, and have it put upon the next muster rolls, so it can be deducted from their pay, but to exempt all regiments whom he knew not to be guilty. Accordingly the assessment was made, which was put at $2,000, and is to come off the three Ohio regiments, the Suckers all being exempt.
     It is now the principal gossip of the regiments, and if they are to pay for the destruction of property done by some unknown person, it will be apt to raise a "muss," and cause them to destroy much more than they otherwise would have done; and it is believed by most of those who were there at the time, that it was burned by the old secesh himself, for he was there and was heard to say, when they commenced tearing down the old gin, "that the boards on that building wouldn't do them much good," and immediately started towards it; and in fifteen minutes time it was in flames. I mention this just for the purpose of showing what injustice is practised upon the soldiers in the army. The leaders can order the levee to be cut and millions of property may be destroyed by it, but if any property is burned, and it can be traced to the soldiers, they have got to pay for it, and the proceeds pocketed by some one just honest enough to keep it. Such doings as that won't win, and it is time it was stopped. If all rebel property was destroyed as soon as we came to it, this war would be ended much sooner than it will be the way things are carried on now.
The Ohio boys of the Second Brigade are always able to "hold their own," and the title of "jayhawkers" has been given them by General Logan, who says he believes if they were put in front of Vicksburg they would have it torn down and be sleeping over it in less than three days.
     Since I last wrote you the weather has undergone quite a change. Last night a regular old "nor'-wester" came upon us, preceded by rain, which knocked the tents in every direction, and had the boys up at work with hatchets and axes, staking down their houses for fear of having them carried away. The officers' quarters of Company E were among the unfortunate.
     Boats continue to pass here daily loaded with soldiers, going both up and down the river. We had reports yesterday that a part of Logan's Division was to leave to-day for some point up the river; if it is so it will not likely be the "Flying Brigade" this time. We are in perfect ignorance as to what is going on, for we are unable to get any news at all, and our letters are generally about two weeks old before we get them. Yours truly,

     The Lake Providence expedition being abandoned, an effort was made to gain the rear of Vicksburg by the Yazoo Pass, which also failed, after almost incredible labor and hardships. Many boats in attempting this were seriously damaged, and were compelled to go North for repairs. The rebels defeated the success of the expedition by felling timber in the main channel; which obstructions our forces removed in part, but finding it impracticable abandoned the effort and all the troops returned to Sherman's Landing, but nothing disheartened.
     Sherman's great canal, intending to change the channel of the Mississippi river, also proved a failure. The only way left to gain the rear of Vicksburg was to run the blockade with a sufficient number of boats to supply and transport the army across the river below Grand Gulf. General Logan's Division was called upon to furnish volunteers to attempt the hazardous undertaking. The following men volunteered from the Seventy-Eighth Ohio: Captain Hugh Dunne, second in command of steamer J. W. Cheeseman; Sergeant James McLaughlin, Company D, engineer on Empire City; Corporal Henry Baugus, Company B; Henry H. Smith, Company F; Alexander White, Company F; Burke Clark, Company D; Abel Arter, Company D; Daniel Christman, Company E.
     Six boats were put in readiness, and about midnight, started. The first passed part of the batteries before the rebels got aroused; soon the batteries opened, and one hundred and eighty pieces of heavy artillery, which lined the shore for about seven miles in extent, broke forth in the most awful grandeur, which lit up the heavens and seemed to shake the very pillars of the universe. Nothing but the interposition of a prospering Providence saved the boats, which were all more or less injured, in successfully passing the batteries.
The whole army, then fifty-five thousand strong, set out upon its march to Bruinburg, below Grand Gulf, where it crossed the river, fought five successive battles, and drove an enemy outnumbering the Union army, into the walls of Vicksburg.
     The following letters were written by Surgeon Reeves and the author, which give a correct history of the regiment and its operations:

     The gallant army under General Grant has just obtained a glorious victory - a victory which fully justifies the confidence their commander seems to have felt when he entered upon the daring campaign to Vicksburg by the way of Grand Gulf and Jackson.
     Yesterday morning the position of our army was briefly this: Part of Sherman's Corps occupied Jackson - the particulars of the capture of that town you have already learned. The larger part of McPherson's Corps lay at the same place. McClernand's was two miles south of Bolton, and sixteen miles west of Jackson, while Ransom's Brigade of McArthur's Division, (McPherson's Corps) and Blair's Division of Sherman's Corps were approaching Raymond on their march from Grand Gulf. The little town of Raymond lies eight miles south of Bolton, and about twenty south-west from Jackson.
     The enemy had massed his forces at Edward's Station, nineteen miles east of Vicksburg on the railroad, with the intent to cut our long lines somewhere between Raymond and Bolton, and thus at once deprive us of supplies and beat us in detail. But his designs were discovered and splendidly defeated.
     Yesterday morning news came to General McClernand that the enemy were advancing on him from the north-west in the manner just indicated, and he immediately ordered General A. L. Lee, who had that moment arrived and reported for duty in the Thirteenth Army Corps, to reconnoiter the approach. With a squad of cavalry General Lee galloped off five or six miles toward Edward's Station, scoured the country to and fro, discovered the enemy's pickets in that direction, and returned with a map of the ground over which the battle was next day to be fought.
     In the meantime General McPherson's command moved rapidly down from Jackson and arrived toward nightfall near Bolton, while Ransom's Brigade and Blair's Division reached Raymond. Thus our widely extended front was suddenly closed on the center, in such a way as to be ready for either attack or defense. At the same time General Sherman moved from Jackson north of the railroad toward Edward's Station, in such course as to keep within supporting distance, and to prevent the rebel force under Joe Johnston (driven northward out of Jackson) from making a junction with their friends at Edward's Station.
     At daylight this morning our movement toward Edward's Station began. Hovey's Division of McClernand's Corps, followed by McPherson on the right, and advancing on the road from Bolton; Osterhaus' Division, followed by General Carr's, on the center; and Smith's Division, with General Blair's as a reserve, on the left, by the first road from Raymond to Edward's Station.
     The battle opened on the left about 8 o'clock, with artillery directed on Smith's advance. It seemed that the rebels were attempting to turn our left, and get in our rear in the direction of Raymond. But Smith held his road firmly, and the enemy slowly retired, while we slowly advanced.
     The enemy next massed his forces on our right center, where Hovey's Division was coming up, and here the battle began to rage in deadly earnest. For a time the result seemed doubtful; the rebels pressed on in the most determined manner, while Hovey's brave boys returned their attacks with the most persistent valor. For a moment we gave back at that point, but Hovey, being reinforced by two Brigades of Crocker's Division, the enemy were driven, and the day went in our favor. A portion of the rebel force began their retreat by the Vicksburg road. McPherson swung around his right, and cut off and captured about fifteen hundred prisoners, and a battery of ten guns. Our left, McClernand's Corps and Blair's Division, and Ransom's Brigade now pressed forward, and the complete defeat and demoralization of the enemy was assured. Our artillery was hastened forward from point to point, over the numberless hills of this most rugged country, and poured its deadly fire into the flying columns of the rebels. At sunset, as we entered Edward's Station, we found there a great debris of stores abandoned by the enemy in his flight - among them a train of cars loaded with ammunition and set on fire, and a depot of provisions also partly consumed. We managed to save from these ninety thousand rounds of musket ammunition, a large quantity of fixed ammunition for field pieces, and a good supply of sugar.
     Our captures in this splendid fight foot up to about two thousand eight hundred prisoners, nineteen guns, and about ten thousand serviceable Enfield rifles, together with all the stores I have mentioned.


     AT THE BRIDGE, May 17. - At daylight this morning our victorious army moved on from Edward's Station, by the main road to the Big Black, McClernand's Corps in the advance, led by Carr's Division. It was known that the rebels had constructed earthworks to defend the bridge, and that these works must be taken. The distance was but three miles, and we had hardly advanced one before the skirmishing in front commenced. The enemy slowly retired, and we pressed on until we reached a point about one mile from the river, when the rebel batteries, some eighteen guns, opened on us. They had a good range of the road, and the shells flew and burst about us in lively style.
     Carr immediately formed in line of battle and advanced on the center and right, with half of Osterhaus' Division on the extreme right and half on the left. Smith's Division came rapidly up and formed on the extreme left.
     The action had hardly began when the gallant Osterhaus was slightly wounded, while busy in getting the First Wisconsin Battery in position on the left center. Captain Foster, commanding the battery, was at the same time hurt - a case shot bursting among the party, and both were obliged to leave the field. General McClernand immediately ordered General A. L. Lee to take command of the Ninth Division, and the battle began. It was soon terminated. After an artillery duel of an hour or so, varied with some sharp skirmishing, General Carr's Division, with the portion of Lee's which was on the right, made a gallant charge upon a weak spot on the enemy's left, and took the works. So suddenly and effectively was this done that the whole of Bowen's Brigade was cut off and captured, while our left, advancing at the same time, took two regiments of rebels who were trying to escape down the swamp and across the river in that direction. Every gun in the works was taken - in all eighteen - and the number of prisoners amounted to about three thousand. The haste with which the surrender was made was something ludicrous. The moment our charge began on the right fifty white flags appeared behind the works, extemporised by hoisting bunches of cotton on the end of bayonets. Alas! that the regal fiber should fulfill so meek a mission! We immediately advanced up to the captured works, and, planting a section of heavy guns near the river, began to shell the rebels who had got across it, and had burned the bridge which took them over, as well as set fire to the immense railroad bridge and trestle work.
     The enemy left a regiment of sharpshooters on the west bank of the river to annoy us and delay our crossing, but General Lee, with a pioneer corps and a company of skirmishers, protected by the fire of Lamphear's Seventh Michigan Battery, reconnoitered the bank, and commenced the construction of a floating bridge. At 9 o'clock to-morrow it will be completed, and we shall move forward.
Meantime Sherman's Corps is crossing on pontoons above, and will go to Vicksburg by the upper road toward Haines' Bluff, while McClernand and McPherson will move on the Jackson road.
Our losses in the battle of yesterday were heavy - probably three hundred killed, and the usual sad proportion of wounded. Pemberton was in command of the rebel force. Major General Tilghman was killed. In the battle to-day our losses were but slight - our captures immoderately large.

May 20, 1863. }

     On the 18th our army crossed the Big Black and marched on Vicksburg, Sherman coming in and taking possession of Haines' Bluff, McPherson arriving on the Jackson road, and McClernand advancing toward the close of his march on the road to Baldwin's Ferry.
     Yesterday morning General Grant began to "move upon the enemy's works," - a line of redoubts extending from the rear of Haines Bluff to the Warrenton road, a distance of eight or ten miles.
The attack was made with Sherman on the right, McPherson extended from his left to the railroad, and McClernand from his left on the railroad to the extreme left. At daylight our troops moved up, but the action did not begin until about noon, save an occasional shot from our artillery as it came within range.
     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.


     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.


     To-day a general charge upon the enemy's works was ordered and made, though I cannot yet learn that at any point the works were completely carried. The singularly rough nature of the ground makes it almost impossible to tell what we have to encounter, and rapidly fatigues the men. But we advance in this way steadily, and at each charge our sharpshooters obtain a better position for their operations. Our artillery hastens to get better position, small intrenchments being thrown up to protect it; and thus we have the curious spectacle of hostile redoubts already frowning upon each other, at a distance of but a few hundred yards.
     The guns of the rebels reply to our shelling but seldom. They are evidently husbanding their ammunition, for they can now get no further supply. Their redoubts are constructed for field guns, and within the last three weeks Grant has captured about seventy of these.
     In the meantime we have a new base of supplies from the Yazoo, through which reinforcements, provisions, ammunition and heavy guns can be sent as rapidly as we please.
     The rebel force within Vicksburg cannot now be more than twenty thousand. Before the fight at Jackson, they may have had forty-five thousand, but part of that number we forced up northward toward Canton - say ten thousand. At the battle of Midway Hills, (or Champion Hills,) on the 16th instant, their effective force was perhaps thirty-five thousand men. Of these at least ten thousand were killed, wounded or captured, or driven to escape northward or southward, in such a way as to prevent them from returning to Vicksburg. At the fight on Big Black, on the 17th, we captured nearly three thousand, and scattered many more in such a way that they are more likely to have straggled home through the woods than to have reported for duty.


     I have arrived at the Yazoo, near Chickasaw Bayou, after riding from the extreme left of our army. Of course rumors are plenty of the operations of to-day. One is that our mortars and gunboats have silenced two of the upper water batteries, and that vessels now pass Vicksburg without being fired on. Another is that in the attempted charge of to-day the Thirty-First Illinois got up to the enemy's works, and there found a stockade so high that they could not scale it, and so they stopped and lay down under it, unable to go further, yet protected from the enemy's fire. At this moment a rebel redoubt on the left tried to get a raking fire on them, when our artillery, concentrating its shots upon the redoubt, suddenly battered it to silence, knocking one of its guns some thirty feet into the air.


June 1, 1863. }

     The regiment at present has gone with others on a scout after General Joe Johnston, who is reported to be gathering a force in our rear, but up to Saturday they had seen nothing of him. He was not at the point reported to our men. Our forces, we understand, were pushing on toward Yazoo City, to capture a small force of rebels reported there, and also to take their fleet of transports and stores at that place. We look for the return of the regiment in a day or two. They are very anxious to meet Johnston's force.
     None of those wounded of Company E have died, but are getting along well, far beyond the Surgeon's expectations. Beisaker, Weller, Rassell and Russell, are still back in the hospital at Champion Hills; they will be brought to the hospital here in a few days. Nearly all the wounded and sick at Raymond and Champion Hills have been paroled by the rebel guerillas. They paroled some who died the same day. They paroled our nurses waiting upon the secesh wounded, and took some of them to Jackson as prisoners; and when our forces had left in pursuit of the enemy, the guerrillas captured the few ambulances detailed to carry the rebel wounded to the hospital, and drove them off, leaving their own wounded lying upon the field of battle. I wonder if the generous sympathizers in the North will approve this act of humane generosity.
     I spent part of the day yesterday in our Division hospital. About three hundred wounded are there, all doing well under the skillful management of Surgeon Reeves, and others. Several of the Seventy-Eighth Ohio boys are there. A visit to one of these hospitals impresses us deeply with the sad effects of war, and the dread results of an engagement in battle. Every description of wounds are seen. The loss of limbs, to me, seems the greatest, and the most to be regretted. It is surprising to see how cheerful the wounded are. How patient, submissive and grateful. The scene impresses a bystander with the deepest feelings of sadness.
     The Adjutant of the Seventy-Eighth - H. Abbott, of Zanesville - I presume is dead. The last word from him was, he would not live many days. He was shot through the neck, also breaking his skull.
     Our men have had a hard campaign; for more than two weeks they made every day a full day's march, and fought a successful battle almost every day. They started with five days' rations, and lived upon it seventeen; of course the country had to suffer, especially the cellars, smoke-houses and poultry yards. They also destroyed a sufficient quantity of provisions to supply our army for months.
     Matters about Vicksburg are in statu quo. The rebel army is still in holes, and dare not come out. The two armies can converse with each other. All our artillery is planted within two hundred yards of their forts. It is reported by deserters that the citizens of Vicksburg presented General Pemberton a petition to surrender; but he replied that they (the citizens) had abused him by circulating lies upon him, and now he intended to hold Vicksburg as long as he had a live man. The city is nearly all torn to pieces by our mortar fleet, and also our artillery in the rear. The women and children are in caves under the ground; it is reported that many of them have been killed. It cannot be otherwise.
All their mules and horses have been killed, and they are seen throwing them into the river every night. They attempted to drive many of them through our lines, but our artillery opened upon them and killed them around the forts, and they dare not come out to bury them.
     General Grant, last Sabbath week, ordered all the women out of the city; they did not avail themselves of this privilege; they would gladly do it now, but Grant says they must now submit to their fate, and help eat up the stores in the city. This seems hard but it is just. They are reaping the just retribution of their own works. It would not do for me to be General, my feelings would lead me to give them a place of safety.
     One morning last week the rebels asked a cessation of hostilities for two and a half hours. It was granted; our men went up to the fortifications, and the rebels stood on top of the forts, when mutual conversation took place. Some of the rebels came over and drank coffee with our men. Some said they would surrender the fort for a cup of coffee; one took the names of some of the Seventy-Eighth, and said, "When you take us, which will be before long, I want to find you." One private in the Thirtieth Illinois, of our Brigade, met in the fort, his own father and brother. They had a pleasant interview: the father and brother did not wish to return, but asked permission to remain as prisoners. The officers of the Thirtieth sent them back, refusing to take prisoners while a flag of truce was out. They said they would desert the first opportunity.
     Over six thousand prisoners have been sent North; some go every day. A great many are deserting to our gunboats upon the river. It is almost impossible to desert to our side on account of the sharpshooters on both sides. These sharpshooters are picking off a great number of men. We are losing some fine officers in this way. Last week the Captains of both batteries of our Brigade fell before the concealed sharpshooters. Captain Rodgers, of McCalister's Ohio Battery was killed instantly on Friday morning. Captain DeGalyer, on Thursday evening, was mortally wounded. These were the most efficient officers of our Division.
How long this siege may continue I presume will depend upon the provision stores of Vicksburg. Some deserters report that the soldiers say they will kill Pemberton if he does not surrender in a few days. It is to be hoped they will yield in a few days. We could take the forts by storm, but it would be too great a sacrifice. We have got the animal caged, but dare not enter the cage.
     The health of our army is good. Its energy and life unsurpassed: its courage and determination desperate. The army with its present spirit could successfully meet three times its number.


MAY 20, 1863. }

     Dear Sir - The stirring events of the past month have so rapidly followed each other, and so slight have been the opportunities for writing, that I have been unable to make a report to you, such as I felt it my duty to make.
On the 25th of April we left Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, as a part of the Seventeenth Army Corps, and marched over a military road which General Grant had caused to be made, passed through Richmond and along Roundaway Bayou to Lake St. Joseph, around which we passed, and reached Perkin's Landing, on the Mississippi River, on the 28th. The next morning we continued our march to Hard-times Landing, where transports and gunboats awaited us, which took us down the river about ten miles, and we debarked and stacked arms in Mississippi. From that point we took up our line of march along the Port Gibson road. The Seventy-Eighth was detailed to act as rear-guard to the column all that day, and was the last to come up for the bivouac at night.
     General Crocker's Division was in advance, and when in the vicinity of Magnolia Church, met the rebels, under Generals Bowen and Tracy, nearly five thousand strong, occupying a strong position, and with whom they became engaged, at 2 o'clock A. M., on May 1st. The battle was fought with varying success by that Division, until 12 M., when General Logan's Division came up on the double-quick and forced the rebels from their position, driving them back with great loss. On the next day we occupied Port Gibson.
     The country is broken, and presents a succession of ridges running in parallel but very tortuous lines, with deep ravines intervening, affording natural earthworks in great variety. The rebels were routed, and retreated in the night toward Jackson, burning the bridges over Bayou St. Pierre and several other streams.
     We left Port Gibson on the 2d of May and marched toward Vicksburg, and found the country to grow better as we advanced. We came to Little Black river just after the enemy had crossed, too late to capture them. At this point the Second Brigade had the advance, and was shelled by a rebel battery, the shells bursting over and around the Seventy-Eighth fiercely for a short time, but fortunately without hurting any one.
     We then moved toward Clinton, on the railroad from Jackson to Vicksburg, when, within four miles of Raymond, we met the enemy, eight thousand strong. General Logan was in the advance, and a fierce battle ensued. They were again routed and fled toward Jackson. In this battle the Seventy-Eighth acted a prominent part and suffered loss. Private Oliver Story, of Company F, was mortally wounded and has since died; Charles Mason, of Company D, shot through the shoulder severely; Isaac Drum, Company E, wounded in the head slightly.
     We moved to Clinton and occupied the town, capturing a quantity of clothing and army stores, tearing up the railroad, and crippling the rebels in various ways, and on the next day went toward Jackson and again met the enemy, who had taken position upon the grounds of a planter. The battle was short and decisive. The rebels were routed, leaving their killed and wounded on the field. Two batteries were captured. Our troops immediately occupied Jackson, and stacked arms on the "sacred soil" of "King Jeff." So rapid had been our march, and so sharp our fighting, that the people, deluded by the misrepresentations of the lying press at Jackson, were completely surprised, and they made a stampede that would put to blush a score of Bull Runs. At daylight next morning General Logan's Division was en route for Vicksburg.
     On the morning of the 16th of May, the advance of our column was checked by the enemy, who were drawn up in line of battle at Champion Hills, four miles from Black River. Immediate preparations were made to meet them. The engagement commenced on the left, and it soon became a fierce conflict - Hovey and Carr's Divisions being in the hottest of the fight. The roads at this point were numerous, all converging toward Black River Bridge, thus bringing our troops nearer to each other as we advanced. The battle soon involved the troops on the right of the road, and Logan's Division became engaged. At this time the Second Brigade, led on by General Leggett, participated in the fight, and I say with pride, that the Seventy-Eighth Regiment went into battle cool and determined, stood up under a heavy fire without flinching, and acquitted themselves nobly. Far in advance of the line, they stood out in bold relief, and forced the enemy to fall back.
     For three hours the rebels maintained their position, during which time there was one continuous roar of artillery and musketry. A brilliant charge was then made upon a battery of nine guns, and it was taken; then the rebel line began to waver, was broken and soon commenced a hasty retreat. They fled toward the bridge about which so much has been said and written, and were crossing pell-mell as fast as possible, when night enshrouded the scene and quiet reigned. Ere morning dawned upon the hills, Carr's Division fell upon the retreating enemy and captured between two and three thousand of them, and seventeen pieces of artillery.
     During the engagement our hospital was located temporarily in the woods at what was a suitable distance, but by a series of maneuvers batteries were planted upon the ridge near us, and as the wounded were not yet brought in, I had ample opportunity to witness the fight. Our troops were in the open field, while the rebels occupied the woods. A single gun from DeGalyer's Battery was stationed on a projecting knob, and was raking the enemy terribly. A battery of six guns was planted just under the edge of the ridge, out of sight of the rebels, and which was intended to do special work. The Second Brigade was at this time in a depression in the field. Presently the rebels charged upon the solitary gun, swarming like bees about the edge of the woods, and going rapidly toward the gun. At that moment the battery opened and dropped its shells with great precision right among the rebels, sending living and dead in every direction - particularly in the direction of the woods. The field was cleared, and the gun kept thundering away. When the rebels retreated our Brigade followed.
     In riding over the ground next day, I came to where the charge was made upon the rebel battery. The road was strewed with dead horses and broken harness, and a few broken gun carriages. Near by, six dead horses marked the spot where a single gun had been planted to deal death among our men. The gun was gone, but deep marks in the hard ground told of the fearful rebound it gave at each discharge. Within ten feet of the spot on which the gun stood, nine graves ranged side by side, disclosing the resting place of those who fell beside it.
     The battle was over, the enemy routed, and "On to Vicksburg!" was the word. On we went, and by midnight were within four miles of the city. We now occupy the rear of the city, our lines extending from Warrenton on the Mississippi to Haines' Bluff on the Yazoo river.
     On the morning of the 22d our guns were thundering, and each day the cannonading had been going on. We have free communication with Young's Point by way of Haines' Bluff, and with all below by way of Warrenton, and are receiving provisions and ammunition, in fact supplies of all kinds, by way of the Yazoo. Since coming to Vicksburg, the Second Brigade has been constantly in the field, and the Seventy-Eighth Regiment has been close upon the trenches, shielded by a ridge, waiting for their time to come to "go in."
     There is no time for writing; I am in the midst of the wounded at the field hospital of the Third Division, and send this more for the purpose of giving a list of the killed and wounded than for anything else.
     Our march from Milliken's Bend has been triumphant and full of incidents, and I regret exceedingly that I have not been permitted to pen a detailed account of it.
     At Thompson's Hill, Jackson, Raymond, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, and in all the skirmishes, we have completely whipped and discomfited the rebels, and drove them before us like scared sheep.
     Herewith I send you a list of the killed and wounded of the Seventy-Eighth Regiment, in the battles of Raymond and Champion Hills:


     At the battle of Raymond, May 12, 1863, and left in the hospital at Raymond:
Corporal Simeon H. Cockins, Company A, arm fractured; private Solomon J. Donelson, A, fore-arm, buck shot; private Charles B. Mason, D, shoulder, severely. (This was an accident, the wound being inflicted by his own gun.) Private David Miller, D, head, severely; private Isaac Drum, B, head, slight; private William C. Younger, B, thigh, slight; private Thomas Hartsell, H, head, scalp wound; Corporal Oliver Story, F, abdomen, since died; George W. Richardson, A, thigh, flesh wound.
     The following are the casualties at the battle of Champion Hills, May 16, 1863:


     Lewis Voght, private, Company A; Sergeant Abner Roach, I; Sergeant - Stitte, C; private Jno. F. McIntosh, I; private James Taylor, F; private William McBurney, H; private Enoch Gray, K.


     Private David Wilson, Company A, head, severely; private Philander S. Castor, A, shoulder, severely; private Samuel Jackson, A, head, slight; Lieutenant Jas. Caldwell, A, abdomen, severely, since died; Adjutant H. Abbott, A, head, severely; private Randolph C. Austin, B, chest and left shoulder; Sergeant Harrison C. Varner, B, shoulder; private Silas Eaton, B, fore arm fractured, resection; private George W. Lay, B, chest and back, severely; Sergeant Andrew McDaniels, thigh, flesh wound; private -, C, fracture of both bones of the leg, amputated; private Jas. D. Austin, D, neck, severely; private William Weller, E, conical ball through the elbow joint, exsection of the joint; private J. C. Russell, E, thigh, flesh wound; James Russell, E, abdomen, severely; Jacob Beisaker, E, shot through the knee joint, amputation lower third of thigh; Joseph Vankirk, F, fore arm, severely, exsection of elbow; private Robert A. David, Company G, thigh, flesh wound; private Joseph Rhinehart, hip, severely; private George Kimball, Company H, leg, flesh wound; James Huelson, Company H, hip and abdomen, since died; private Francis Scott, H, face, buck-shot; Sergeant Daniel Raney, H, leg, flesh wound; private George W. Steele, I, arm, spent ball; private Aaron Floyd, K, back, flesh wound; private Samuel Giesy, K, hand; private George Luinbatus, K, hand fractured; private John Greenbank, K, hand, slight; private Hiram Reed, K, thigh and arm; private John Weir, A, face, (lower jaw); Corporal Andrew McPherson, E, neck; Lieutenant Israel Robinson, D, hip, contusion; private Lewis Rowley, G.
     We left Milliken's Bend without much transportation, without a change of clothing, tents or cooking utensils, save perhaps a coffee-pot and frying-pan, and have slept upon the ground with the bright stars twinkling above us; and during the whole trip it has rained but twice to cause any discomfort.
     May 23. - Yesterday the First Brigade of our Division charged the enemy's earthworks, but were obliged to fall back. For some time they stood in the face of a heavy fire, and the Brigade was badly cut up. Two hundred and nineteen men were brought in and placed in the wards of the Division Hospital, many of them badly wounded. The number killed has not been reported.
     Our Army Corps is in fine spirits at our prospect of a sure and speedy reduction of this rebel stronghold, and the opening of the Mississippi.
     The health of the regiment is good, and during the present month there has been but little complaint of ill health. Captain McCarty is commanding Company E, and is deservedly regarded with favor, for he is a good officer. Lieutenant Stewart is now in command of Company K, and should receive a Captaincy, as he fully merits it.
     It is now a year and a half since I left home, and I hope, after we take Vicksburg, to visit home, and tell you of a thousand things I cannot get time to write.

Respectfully Yours,
Surgeon Seventy-Eighth Regiment, O. V. I.


     On the 22d of May the whole rebel army commanded by Pemberton, was enclosed in a wall of steel. The Union army occupied a crescent line nine miles in extent, General Sherman on the right, General McPherson the center, General McClernand the left. On the 22d the whole line charged the enemy's works. The writer stood upon an eminence with Captain Roberts, one of the officers of the Signal Corps, where we could distinctly see nearly all our line move forward to the charge. The fighting was terrible and deadly, but the works were so formidable that our men could not scale them after they had reached the base; consequently the charge proved unsuccessful along the whole line. A skirmish line was immediately established within a few rods of the enemy's works, and rifle-pits constructed which kept the enemy down inside their works. Here our troops remained for a period of forty-four days, each day pouring a storm of lead and iron into the enemy's works and the city.
     Many interesting incidents here occurred between the soldiers of both armies, which all this time were near enough to converse with each other. Many little dialogues took place, which would swell our chapter too large to narrate.
At times they would agree to be civil to each other for a specified time, and throwing aside their deadly weapons, would meet each other between the lines for social chat, and frequently make a cup of coffee, exchange canteens, buttons and rings.
     The country in the immediate rear of Vicksburg is one interminable series of swells, sandy hills or mounds, dotted with lovely groves and elegant plantations, mostly in fine cultivation. These mounds, almost straight up and down, and of a compact sandy soil, are furrowed and covered with corn.
     The hollows are deep and wide, with excellent causeways, bubbling springs and fragrant groves, and now are filled up with Yankees. No troops of consequrnce are visible till we get into the hollows, where, concealed from the enemy's view, are the tents, equipage, etc., of a powerful army.
     The Second Brigade's camp was in one of these deep ravines, near the Jackson road, which led to the White House and Fort Hill, a half a mile distant. From the White House to the enemy's works called Fort Hill, General Leggett had dug a ditch ten feet wide, and deep enough to shelter a horseman. This sap was run into the walls of Fort Hill, which was mined for the purpose of blowing up the Fort. This whole operation was under the superintendence of General Leggett. In his first effort, he used twenty-five hundred pounds of powder, which made a large entrance in the fort.
The Forty-Fifth Illinois regiment entered the gap, where quite a fight took place between them and the rebels. The fight was at close quarters, grasping each other's bayonets, and wresting the guns from each other's hands, pulling each other by the hair, etc., till both sides began to toss over shells and hand-grenades; this caused both sides to fall back from the gap. Both the Colonel and Major of the Forty-Fifth Illinois were killed; also about one hundred men were killed or wounded.
     July 1st. - General Leggett completed another mine or sap into the fort, and placed one ton of powder under the wall. When the match was applied the explosion was terrible, blowing out about about fifty feet in length, and burying rebels by the score, and throwing many high in the air. Eight of these were blown upon our side of the fort, three of whom were colored, and all were killed but two. One of the negroes was but little injured, and insists that he was blown three miles in the air. General Logan had his wounds dressed and well cared for.
     General Joe Johnston had at this time taken possession of Jackson, Miss., and was marching toward Vicksburg to make an attack upon our rear, in order to relieve Pemberton and his starved garrison, which were now reduced to the most scanty rations, consisting of mule meat and bean bread. General Sherman was ordered with part of the army in which was the Second Brigade, to march against Johnston.
     The evening of the 3d of July, every preparation was made to give the rebel army and city a grand celebration on the 4th. Consequently every piece of artillery was supplied with one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition for that purpose.


     July 1. - Affairs became desperate with the rebels, and one more effort was made to cut through our lines by concentrating upon the left, but they were repulsed with heavy loss, and driven back to their places of shelter.
On the evening of the 3d a flag of truce came into our lines, brought by two Confederate officers. The messengers were blindfolded, and remained waiting the return of General Smith, who bore dispatches from Pemberton to General Grant. Their eyes were unbandaged, and they talked freely with the Union officers. One said that iron enough had been thrown into Vicksburg to stock a foundry, and build monuments for all the citizens and soldiers that had fallen. When General Smith returned, the officers were again blindfolded and conducted to a safe point, from which they could enter their own lines.
     The character of the dispatches was as follows: "That the unnecessary effusion of blood might be prevented by the cessation of hostilities, during which commissioners might be appointed to agree on terms for the surrender of the city; also intimating that he could hold out for an indefinite period."
     General Grant replied briefly, saying that General Pemberton had it in his power to stop the effusion of blood, and the appointment of commissioners was unnecessary, as the only stipulation he could accept was an unconditional surrender; that the rebel garrison should be treated with the courtesy due prisoners of war.
The messenger had not long been gone till he returned with a dispatch from Pemberton, asking a personal interview with Grant, which was promptly granted. At 3 P. M. the interview took place, about midway between the contending forces. General Grant came slowly and deliberately to the place of rendezvous, smoking his cigar, and apparently the only unexcited person in the vast assemblage of Federal soldiers, who dared for the first time to appear outside of their rifle-pits. Pemberton first remarked that he had been present when different fortresses surrendered to the Federal arms in Mexico; in these the enemy were granted terms and conditions, and he thought his army as well entitled to favor as a foreign foe.
     General Grant proposed a private conversation, and both stepped aside. What passed between them can be known by its results. After a little more than one hour the terms were arranged, and the rebels surrendered. About thirty-two thousand rebels were paroled.
     At 10 A. M., July 4, General Leggett had the honor of entering the city with his command, and placing the flag upon the Court House. Soon the city was full of soldiers from both armies, associating and chatting freely and with much good nature with each other. No unfriendly or malignant feeling was manifested on the part of any.
The business portion of the city was plundered by the rebel soldiers, which, to the shame of rebel officers, was blamed upon the Federal army, and made capital of to incite the people of the South to hatred of the Yankees.
     The total loss of the Federal army in the series of battles is as follows:
     Port Gibson, 130 killed, 118 wounded; Fourteen Mile Creek, 4 killed, 24 wounded; Raymond, 69 killed, 341 wounded; Jackson, 40 killed, 290 wounded; Champion Hills, 421 killed, 1842 wounded, 189 missing; Black River, 29 killed, 242 wounded, 2 missing; Vicksburg, 545 killed, 3688 wounded, 303 missing.
     The Seventy-Eighth Ohio had only one killed at Vicksburg, Lyons, of Company A, who was a young man of excellent character, and an efficient and faithful soldier.

Rev. Thomas M. Stevenson, Chaplain of the Regiment; History Of The 78th Regiment O. V. V. I., From Its "Muster-In" To Its "Muster-Out;" Comprising Its Organization, Marches, Campaigns, Battles And Skirmishes; Zanesville, Ohio, 1865


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