Logan's Approach to the Third Louisiana Redan

From the Siege of Vicksburg Official Reports of Capts. Frederick E. Prime and Cyrus B. Comstock, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Chief Engineers Army of the Tennessee. New York City, November 29, 1863

The following were the principal approaches made during the siege, beginning at our own right, some of them being begun after the siege was half over, viz: 1st, Thayer's; 2d, Ewing's; 3d, Giles A. Smith's 4th, Ransom's; 5th, Logan's; 6th, A. J. Smith's; 7th, Carr's; 8th, Hovey's; 9th, Lauman's; 10th, Herron's.

These approaches derived their names from the brigade or division commanders who furnished the guards and working parties. The 2d of these was along what was called the Graveyard road; the 5th along the Jackson road; the 6th along the Baldwin's Ferry road; the 7th along the railroad; the 9th on the Hall's Ferry road, and the 10th on the Warrenton road. The 2d, or Ewing's approach, was directed against the northeast angle of the enemy's line, where that line, bending around the ravines at the head of a small stream, takes the form of a bastion. This approach, early begun, was the principal one in front of Sherman's corps, and with collateral work was that on which he expended most labor.

On the Jackson road, where it enters the enemy's line of defense, is a commanding hill, quite strongly salient, which had on it a redan for several guns. The ridge along which the Jackson road runs offered fair ground, and along it McPherson pushed his main approach--the one earliest begun and on which his corps did most work. A.J. Smith and Carr pushed approaches toward salient works, called by the Confederates Forts Pulaski and Beauregard, one to the right, the other to the left of the railroad. Hovey's approach on the square redoubt was not begun until late in the siege. The three last approaches were in front of McClernand's (afterward Ord's) corps.

There was another approach begun by Colonels Woods and Maurer to the right of Thayer's, and near the river. After the work had been energetically pushed by these officers, it met a deep ravine, precluding farther progress. As this approach would not have been used in an assault, it has not been mentioned in the previous enumeration. A brief history of the approaches above mentioned may be of some interest.

This was the approach in front of McPherson's corps, on which most work was done. It followed the ridge along which the Jackson road runs, and approached a high, commanding salient, called by us Fort Hill, which, if once in our possession, would have made this part of the enemy's line untenable. The enemy resisted our approach here more strongly than at any other point, burning sap-rollers, using mines, and throwing grenades. Counter-mines (see extract from Captain Hicken-looper's report, Appendix B(*) were used by us, one heavy one being fired June 25, destroying a part of the enemy's parapet. An attempt was made to hold the crater, but after heavy loss from the hand-grenades which the enemy threw into it, the attempt was abandoned. Another mine was begun, and was to have been fired when the place was assaulted, but the enemy's miners being heard at work near it, and it being feared that they might crush our galleries, which were not lined, the mine was loaded and fired July 1, destroying the enemy's parapet at this point, and giving a crater 30 feet in diameter, the charge being about 1,800 pounds, a portion of it damaged powder. It was afterward ascertained that this explosion crushed the enemy's galleries and disabled about 25 men--indeed, half a dozen men were blown into our works. No attempt was made to occupy this crater, as a similar attempt of June 25 had failed with severe loss. The enemy's salient here being too high for our men to be able to return the grenades which they threw upon us so freely, and having no Cohorn mortars, Mr. Tresilian, civil assistant engineer, had some wooden mortars made by shrinking iron bands on cylinders of tough wood, and boring them out for 6 or 12 pound shells. These mortars stood firing well, and gave sufficiently good results at 100 or 150 yards distance. (See extract from Mr. Tresilian's report, Appendix C.(+)) We afterward learned that the enemy, lying closely packed in the salient, suffered severely from this fire. Captain Hickenlooper, of General McPherson's staff, assisted by Captain Merritt and Mr. Tresilian, was in charge of this approach.   Top 

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