Reports of Maj. Gen. M. L. Smith, C. S. Army, Commanding Division.
MAY 19-JULY 4, 1863.--The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXIV/2 [S# 37]

HEADQUARTERS SMITH'S DIVISION,
Vicksburg, May 23, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: The enemy made three assaults on my right yesterday (Shoup's brigade), were each time handsomely repulsed, and with apparently considerable loss. Brigadier-General Baldwin was wounded rather severely about 12 o'clock, and left the field. One prisoner was taken last night. Other parts of the line were free from assaults, but sustained a continuous fire from sharpshooters and light batteries. No report of casualties yet received. The Seventeenth and Twenty-eighth [Twenty-ninth] Louisiana Regiments were detached to the support of General Forney early in the afternoon, and have not rejoined the division.
        The 30-pounder Parrott burst yesterday while firing on an advancing column of the enemy.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
Vicksburg, May 28, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: Since my report of the 27th, the enemy seem to have finished crowning the line of hills in my front with rifle-pits and batteries. The enemy's fire was very brisk from both sharpshooters and artillery during the engagement with the gunboat Cincinnati, but gradually slackened off, and mainly ceased at sundown.
        A 24-pounder siege gun was dismounted during the day by a Parrott gun, but is again serviceable.
        The inspection report for the 27th is herewith inclosed.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General, Commanding.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
June 6, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: Everything was unusually quiet on my left during the 5th until evening, when the line was shelled for a time. In front of my center, artillery firing continued during the day and night; the 32-pounder was somewhat damaged, but can probably be repaired during the day. Captain Adaire, field officer of the night, was killed while making his rounds.
        On my right there was the usual amount of firing from sharpshooters and artillery, it being kept up from the latter all night. Parties of the enemy working in the vicinity of the stockade were fired upon last night by our men, but it is not thought that they were entirely driven off.
        A new one-gun battery opened yesterday in front of the center from the opposite ridge.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-general.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
June 12, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: There was rather an increased artillery fire on the part of the enemy along my front yesterday and last night, but their works remain about the same.
        My right, apparently the point of danger, is being daily strengthened. The two 24-pounder siege guns on my line near Point Hill are permanently disabled, each having a trunnion cracked nearly off; they are kept loaded with grape, and, in case of an assault, will be fired at least once more.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General, Commanding.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
June 15, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: Nothing unexpected has occurred during the past twenty-four hours along my front. The enemy is gradually approaching redan on the fight of the stockade; counterworks to meet him are being constructed. Artillery firing on my right has been heavy since 12 m. last night.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-general.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
June 20, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: The enemy made no new demonstration on my front yesterday. They continue work in the vicinity of the redan, apparently constructing something similar to a third parallel. It was the intention to explode one of the mines last night, but there being no indications of the enemy working in immediate proximity, it was deferred.
        The pickets in front of the center report that the long-roll was beaten in the enemy's camp about 2 o'clock this morning; also that the sound of wagon or artillery carriage wheels was heard at the same time. Heavy cannonade along the whole line commenced at daylight; still continuing.
        It is probable that the force in front of me has diminished, but I am unable to ascertain with any certainty.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General, Commanding.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
June 22, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of Mississippi and East Louisiana.

        MAJOR: The last twenty-four [hours] have passed about as usual. Considerable sharpshooting on my right. Casualties rather greater in number than for some days. An attempt was made to spring one of our mines last night, which failed from some peculiarity which exists in the igniting of powder in tubes. The trains are being reprepared. No essential progress has been made by the enemy in their work of approach that can be perceived.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General, Commanding.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
June 27, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

MAJOR: Nothing of interest has transpired along my front during the past twenty-four hours, with the exception that the mines near the stockade were sprung last night about 2 o'clock. The explosion took the proper direction, and it is thought the enemy suffered. Our works remain perfect.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General, Commanding.


MOBILE, August 9, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: I have the honor to submit a brief report of the operations of my division during the recent siege of Vicksburg.
        The line of defense surrounding the city was divided into three commands, corresponding with the army division, one of which was assigned to me, and constituted the left of the line. The left of my division rested on the river above the city and extended to the right about 1 miles, where it touched Major-General Forney's command. The division consisted of three brigades; General Shoup, commanding the Twenty-sixth, Twenty-seventh, and Twenty-eighth [Twenty-ninth] Louisiana, on the right; General Baldwin, commanding the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Louisiana, the Fourth and Forty-sixth Mississippi, occupying the center; General Vaughn, commanding the Sixtieth, Sixty-first, Sixty-second Tennessee, and Mississippi State troops, under Brigadier-General Harris, together with a detachment of Loring's command, on the left.
        The works occupied by me, and which may be termed my front, were along a narrow ridge, and consisted of a line of rifle-trenches, with points prepared for field artillery. This point was rather strong, although parallel with it, and some 600 yards distant, ran another ridge of the same elevation, and in every respect similar, which was occupied by the enemy, and afforded excellent positions for their batteries as well as sharpshooters, and, when prepared with field-works looking in our direction, became itself as difficult to assail as our own line. Many advantages would have resulted from occupying this parallel ridge, and it was included in the system of defense; but, increasing as it did the length of the entire line of defense, was abandoned for want of sufficient force to occupy it.
        The enemy made his appearance before the works on my right early in the afternoon of May 18, and immediately attacked the position with artillery and infantry. They were first met by the Twenty-seventh Louisiana, subsequently by the Seventeenth and Thirty-first Louisiana and Forty-sixth Mississippi, in advance of the line, and held at bay until dark terminated the attack. During the night of the 18th, my troops and artillery were all withdrawn within the main lines, and placed in positions from which they were never for an instant dislodged during the entire siege.
        On the 19th, the enemy's main forces arrived, and proceeded at once to make a direct assault on my right. The first effort was directed against the center of Shoup's brigade; but being exposed to a heavy and well-directed fire, the enemy broke and fled. Reforming again, a second advance was attempted against my extreme right, and a bold effort made to rush over and into the works. The assaulting column seemed to consist of six or seven regiments, and was formed behind an elevation, concealing it from sight. After coming into view, it moved confidently and determinedly forward. The Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Louisiana, supported by the First Missouri, in reserve, received the charge with a withering fire, and after the second volley the enemy fled in confusion, leaving five colors on the field, and the ground strewn with the dead and wounded. One or two feeble attempts to rally were easily repulsed, and the day closed with the artillery and sharpshooters keeping up a continuous and heavy fire.
        The 20th and 21st were spent by the enemy in erecting new batteries and keeping up from daylight till dark the heaviest possible firing, both of musketry and artillery.
        The 22d passed in the same manner until about 2 p.m., when a column was discovered advancing against the right of Shoup's brigade. It was immediately driven back. Another then approached on the right of the center. This was dispersed without great effort and with considerable loss. Again the enemy appeared in increased force on my right and Forney's left. He was promptly repulsed with heavy loss. This terminated the day's operations, with the exception of the same heavy fire of musketry and artillery kept up until dark along my entire front. After these several decided repulses, the enemy seemed to have abandoned the idea of taking by assault, and went vigorously at work to thoroughly invest and attack by regular approaches; and the history of one day is pretty much the history of all.
        For the more particular description of operations you are respectfully referred to the daily reports of operations handed in during the siege. While the opposing force was running new parallels, establishing new works for heavy guns, and gradually nearing our lines, we were strengthening our positions, protecting the men with traverses and bomb-proofs from the terrific fire of shot and shell constantly poured in upon them, and which only ceased at times when the enemy seemed to have temporarily exhausted their supplies of ammunition. The fire of the enemy was only occasionally replied to, except when there were indications of an assault, or it became necessary to retard or stop operations on some particular work. The limited amount of ammunition on hand rendered this course necessary, though I am inclined to think caution in this respect was pushed rather to an extreme, and that a little more firing would have proved beneficial.
        Toward the close of the siege the attack was mainly carried on by mining. Along my front the enemy exploded no mines on us. On the contrary, counter ones were prepared, and, when their galleries approached within proper distance, were charged and fired, and, it is believed, with all the desired effect.
        The good conduct of both officers and men during the forty-seven days in the trenches is worthy of special praise. Neither one nor the other could have behaved better; and all credit is to be accorded the brigadier-generals and their staffs for their vigilance, activity, and heroic example set to their soldiers.
        Brigadier-General Baldwin received a severe wound early in the siege, but reported for duty before its close, and, together with General Shoup, receives my special acknowledgments for gallant services.
        The heaviest and most dangerous attack was on the extreme right, and nobly did the Twenty-sixth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eighth [Twenty-ninth], and Thirty-first Louisiana repel and endure it. The casualties among the officers of these regiments indicate the nature of the defense required. In the Twenty-sixth Louisiana, Major [W. W.] Martin, l captain, and 2 lieutenants killed; Col. W. Hall severely wounded. In the Twenty-seventh Louisiana, Lieutenant-Colonel [L. L.] McLaurin, 1 captain, and 1 lieutenant killed; Col. L. D. Marks, dangerously, Major [A. S.] Norwood, 1 captain, and 1 lieutenant severely wounded. In the Twenty-eighth [Twenty-ninth], 1 lieutenant killed and 3 lieutenants wounded. In the Thirty-first, Col. [S. H.] Griffin killed.
        Circumstances arising out of Lieutenant-General Pemberton's orders have prevented my obtaining reports from Brigadier-Generals Baldwin and Vaughn; hence, to continue the enumeration further is impossible at present, and from the same cause my report is probably less complete than if--since my arrival from Vicksburg, where I was detained until the 1st instant--time and opportunity had been afforded me for hearing from my division brigadiers.
        Of the following-named officers composing my staff I have to speak in terms of unqualified satisfaction; all did their duty intelligently, fearlessly, promptly, and efficiently: Lieutenant-Colonel [Edward] Ivy, chief of artillery; Major [J. G.] Devereux, assistant adjutant-general; Major [J. F.] Girault, inspector-general; Major [T. C.] Fearn, division quartermaster; Captain [M.] McDonald, ordnance officer; Lieutenant [G. H.] Frost and Lieutenant [B. M.] Harrod, aides-de-camp, and Captain [Edward] Hobart, volunteer aide-de-camp. Also Surgeon Whitfield, acting division surgeon.
        To the brave Colonel Marks and his gallant regiment (Twenty-seventh Louisiana) belongs the distinction of taking the first colors, prisoners, and arms lost by the enemy during the siege. The conduct of the entire division was most exemplary, and its courage and cheerfulness increased, if possible, from day to day under the hardships and privations of the siege.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Major-General, C. S. Army.

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